Bobby Gillespie

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Bobby Gillespie
Primal Scream 2009.09.20 002.jpg
Bobby with Primal Scream in 2009
Background information
Birth name Robert Bernard Andrew Gillespie
Born (1962-06-22) 22 June 1962 (age 52)
Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk, indie pop, psychedelic rock, acid house, dance-rock
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, drums, percussion, guitar, keyboards
Years active 1982–present
Labels Creation, Beggars Banquet, Sony
Associated acts Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Wake

Robert "Bobby" Gillespie (born 22 June 1962)[1] is a Scottish musician and singer-songwriter. He is the lead singer and founding member of the alternative rock band, Primal Scream. He was also the drummer for The Jesus and Mary Chain in the mid-1980s.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in the south side district of Mount Florida in Glasgow, he attended Kings Park Secondary School. His father is Bob Gillespie, a former SOGAT union official and Labour Party candidate in the 1988 Govan by-election, who lost the election to the Scottish National Party's Jim Sillars.[2]

Jesus and Mary Chain days[edit]

Gillespie first became famous playing drums for the influential East Kilbride band The Jesus and Mary Chain. Prior to The Jesus and Mary Chain, he worked as a roadie for Altered Images and played bass in The Wake. Gillespie was a friend of Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart, who asked Gillespie to join the band after their original drummer had left following the release of their debut single in 1984. Gillespie's style of drumming was minimal, with his drum kit consisting only of a snare and a floor tom, which he played standing up, an idea he borrowed from The Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker. Gillespie has also said that he played only two drums due to his own lack of ability as a drummer.

Gillespie played on the band's debut LP, Psychocandy, which was released in 1985 to wide critical acclaim. By this time Gillespie had already released a single, albeit to little attention, with his own band, Primal Scream. Throughout his days as a drummer Gillespie had continued to work at Primal Scream, the band he started along with guitarist Jim Beattie in 1982. By early 1986, Gillespie had played his last show with the Mary Chain and left to devote his attentions to Primal Scream.

Primal Scream[edit]

The band signed to Creation Records in 1985, and over the next year, they released a pair of singles. However, Primal Scream didn't really take off until the middle of 1986, when Gillespie left the Mary Chain and guitarists Andrew Innes and Robert Young joined the band. The B-side "Velocity Girl" wound up on NME''s C86 cassette compilation, a collection of underground pop groups that defined the UK's mid-'80s indie pop scene. After the band rejected the initial version of debut album, Sonic Flower Groove, recorded with Stephen Street, they re-recorded the album with Mayo Thompson, and the record was finally released in 1987 on the Creation subsidiary Elevation. The album was well received in the British indie community, as was its 1989 follow-up, Primal Scream, which demonstrated hard rock influences from The Rolling Stones and New York Dolls to The Stooges and MC5.

As the 1980s drew to a close, Britain's underground music scene became dominated by the burgeoning acid house scene. Primal Scream became fascinated with the new dance music, and they asked a friend, a DJ named Andrew Weatherall, to remix a track from Primal Scream, "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have." Weatherall completely reworked the song, adding a heavy bass groove echoing dub reggae, deleting most of the original instrumentation (even the layers of guitars), and interjecting layers of samples, including lines of Peter Fonda's dialogue from The Wild Angels. The new mix was retitled "Loaded," and it became a sensation. "Come Together," the first single from their forthcoming third album, was in much the same vein, and was similarly praised.

For their third album, Screamadelica, Primal Scream not only worked with Andrew Weatherall and Hugo Nicolson, the pair who designed the sound of the album, but also The Orb and former Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. The resulting album was a kaleidoscopic, neo-psychedelic fusion of dance, dub, techno, acid house, pop, and rock, and it was greeted with favorable reviews in the UK. Released in the spring of 1991, Screamadelica also marked an important moment in British pop in the 1990s, helping to bring techno and house into the mainstream. The album was a massive success, winning the first Mercury Music Prize in 1992.

The fourth album, Give Out But Don't Give Up, marked a departure for the band from its original sound, experimenting instead with Stones-influenced hard rock. The album was eagerly awaited,[citation needed] but was not well received, and it was a relative commercial failure. More importantly, it hurt the group's reputation as innovators, a situation they reacted to with the title track to the hit 1996 film Trainspotting, a return to the dance stylings of Screamadelica. The band continued to work on their next album, entitled Vanishing Point, over the course of 1996, finally releasing it to enthusiastic reviews[citation needed] in the summer of 1997. The ultra-aggressive XTRMNTR followed in the spring of 2000. Two years later Primal Scream released Evil Heat, a guest-laden (even supermodel Kate Moss makes an appearance) album in line with XTRMNTR, and in 2006 Riot City Blues came out. 2008 saw the release of Beautiful Future.

In January 2010, Primal Scream started work on their new album, More Light, which was released in May 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Gillespie married stylist Katy England at St. Margaret's Church, Betley on 29 July 2006. They have two sons together, Wolf (born in 2002) and Lux (born in 2004).[3]

Musicianship[edit]

Although Gillespie only sings and plays occasional percussion onstage with Primal Scream, throughout his career he has played a number of different instruments, most notably drums with The Jesus and Mary Chain and bass guitar with The Wake. On Primal Scream's 2013 album "More Light", he is credited with a number of keyboard instruments along with drums and percussion,[4] and he played synthesizer on one of The Wake's singles.[5] Additionally, he is shown playing guitar briefly in the music video for "You Trip Me Up" by The Jesus and Mary Chain, and twelve-string guitar on Primal Scream's single "Gentle Tuesday", and, although able to play these instruments, did not play these instruments on either recording.

Controversy[edit]

Gillespie was criticised for defacing a Make Poverty History poster signed by all the acts at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005.[6]

Gillespie scribbled over this and wrote "Make Israel History."[7] Gillespie later said that he did this in support of Palestine, and when questioned on whether he was anti-Semitic, he responded "There's Israeli and Jewish people who support the Palestinian cause as well. We did a lot of work for the Hoping Foundation to raise money for children in the Palestinian refugee camps and the lady who got us involved is Bella Freud, Lucian Freud's daughter and Sigmund Freud's great granddaughter. They had to flee Austria to escape Nazi persecution, and she believes in the Palestinian cause. To say we're anti-Semitic is a smear, so you'd better watch what you're saying. Because you oppose one country's government's policies doesn't mean to say that you hate all the people from that country. I don't like Bush or Putin or Tony Blair, but I don't hate American, Russian or British people. Most people are just trying hard to get by."[7] In 2012 he stated that he believed the British coalition government were reactionary quasi-fascists.[8] The statement was prompted by the use of Primal Scream's song "Rocks" at the Conservative Party Conference.[9]

Gillespie was involved in a campaign to prevent a local pub gaining extended hours saying, "I found the repetitiveness [of the noise] disturbing and I was unable to sleep because of it."[10]

Steven Van Zandt, guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and The Sopranos cast member, described Gillespie as a "waste of space" after his attempts to organise a Primal Scream tour of the United States were stymied by Gillespie's drug problems.[11] Gillespie has expressed regret over this, citing his respect for Van Zandt.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NNDB Search - bobby gillespie". Search.nndb.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Primal Scream . Webadelica". Theprimalscream.com. 15 April 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Primal Scream - More Light (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  5. ^ "Wake, The - On Our Honeymoon (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  6. ^ Mat Ward (2013-05-11). "Primal Scream are back hollering for the left". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  7. ^ a b "Primal Scream . Webadelica". Theprimalscream.com. 2006-04-15. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie: 'The coalition government are reactionary, quasi-fascists'". New Musical Express. 28 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Primal Scream 'totally disgusted' after Conservative Party use 'Rocks' during party conference". New Musical Express. 5 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Milmo, Cahal (2007-01-17). "Primal scream? Not near me, says rock's wildman in pub row - This Britain - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  11. ^ Michaels, Sean (25 March 2009). "Steven Van Zandt v Bobby Gillespie". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 26 April 2009. 
  12. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (29 August 2012). "5-10-15-20: Primal Scream". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

External links[edit]