Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Vaselines

The Vaselines

“I didn’t want to use V for Vaselines… I felt like we had done enough of the Sesame Street and alphabetical spelling for people. We know that Sex ends with an X!”


Since 1986, Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee have been kicking ass in the alternative-rock scene with tracks like Molly’s Lips, Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam, and their most recent offering V for Vaselines. That’s right — we’re talking about Scottish duo The Vaselines. Before embarking on their 2015 North American Tour, we were given the opportunity of giving Frances a call to discuss brawling over band decisions, recording with other artists, and advice for young musicians. Enjoy:

AMBY: Hello Frances, thanks for speaking with me today! I want to say congrats on the release of your latest record V For Vaselines, it dropped in North America back in October. What was the experience like recording the album for you both?

The Vaselines: It was really good and we really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun.

AMBY: A famous quote of yours on a previous release is that you were “making it up as you went along.” With that said, did you take a similar approach on the new record?

The Vaselines: We always make it up as we go along [laughs]. I think we made it more up this time than the last.

AMBY: Really? Why is that?

The Vaselines: This time around, it was difficult to sort of decide what was going to go on the album and what wasn’t. We had too many songs that we wanted to see finished because we could decide what we wanted to go on the album, but that never really happened – we ended up having to make decisions really quickly.

AMBY: When making band decisions like choosing which songs go on a record, does it ever become a brawl between you and Eugene?

The Vaselines: Absolutely. He’s got this kind of “Eugene’s way or no way” attitude and I’m a bit more laid back, unless there’s something I feel really strongly about. Most of the time, I listen to what he has to say and let him do whatever he wants to do [laughs].

AMBY: The album features musical contributions from members of 1990s, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian, and other bands. What was the experience like collaborating with a bunch of other artists, rather than just recording with the two of you?

The Vaselines: It makes it so much more entertaining because when I just record with Eugene, it’s this long and boring day! He just moans endlessly about his lack of girlfriends and lack of sex.

AMBY and The Vaselines: [laughs]

The Vaselines: It’s nice to have other people around to talk to.

AMBY: When it comes to the record’s title, was it intentional to end Sex with an X with an X and begin V for Vaselines with a V? Or in general, was it on purpose to keep in the theme of letters and album titles?

The Vaselines: I didn’t want to use V for Vaselines… I felt like we had done enough of the Sesame Street and alphabetical spelling for people. We know that Sex ends with an X!

AMBY: Why did you decide to go with it?

The Vaselines: We wanted to keep giving our English lesson of the day.

AMBY and The Vaselines: [laughs]

The Vaselines: Really, I wanted to call the album The Satanic Life of The Vaselines because I feel that would have been much better, or Shades of the Vaselines.

AMBY: What would have been the significance of that title for you?

The Vaselines: Fifty Shades of Grey was a huge hit here and I thought it would have been a funny play on that.

AMBY: In support of the album’s release, you announced a two-week North American tour which kicks off in Washington on January 14th. Which songs do you think you’ll enjoy playing the most?

The Vaselines: I’m going to really enjoy playing the new album! It’s quite nice to play new material.

AMBY: And you’ve been teaching yoga for about twenty years now? Which was way before yoga was the cool thing to do.

The Vaselines: [laughs] I made it cool.

AMBY: What else do you enjoy taking part in aside from music?

The Vaselines: I like to walk and cycle a lot. There isn’t much time between teaching and music because I’ve got three kids as well, which doesn’t leave a lot of time over for other things.

AMBY: Many of our readers are in smaller bands that are just getting into the industry. What advice would you give fans of yours who want to pursue a career in music?

The Vaselines: Don’t, don’t do it.

AMBY: Why is that?

The Vaselines: Don’t do it as your main career. It’s getting so difficult. I think bands are really creative and always struggle when it comes to money; musicians are way down on the food chain when it comes to getting paid. You really do have to have something else. If it’s your passion, then do it. But try to have something else to get some income. I wouldn’t be able to live off of music, but luckily I have yoga as well.

AMBY: You have yoga, you have The Vaselines, but is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t done in your career?

The Vaselines: I want to be an astrologer. I really find the subject fascinating.


Thank you The Vaselines, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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