14:05 Thursday 21 March 2013

Third time lucky as The Fratellis plot comeback


BACK in 2006 and 2007 Scottish trio The Fratellis were one of the new bands of the moment, resulting in them winning the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough Act. Like so many though before them, the world forgot about The Fratellis but undeterred, they are back with a new tour and a new album and The Mail spoke to frontman Jon Fratelli about the past, present and future for the band.

THE difficult second album is something that has put paid to many a good band over the years.

The hype surrounding a band being the ‘best new act’ and the ‘next big thing’ can quickly disappear.

In recent years, the likes of The Darkness have found that out – a band on everyone’s lips for a year but when they returned, the world had moved on but sadly they hadn’t, and no one was interested anymore.

In the middle of the last decade the band on everyone’s lips were Scottish lads The Fratellis.

Their catchy, anthemic lad-rock, with massive guitar riffs, had critics and fans falling at their feet.

NME declared them the ‘best new band in Britain’, single Chelsea Dagger became one of the anthems of a generation and ultimately the lads walked away with a Brit Award (below right).

However, two years later, once debut album Costello Music had found itself out of the CD player and forgotten about, The Fratellis returned with a second album of similarly catchy, hook-laden rock anthems, but few people seemed to care.

Looking back at those heady days, Jon Fratelli told the Mail it was a ‘whirlwind’ few years.

He said: “All that stuff was good when it happened and when the bad stuff happened that was not so good.

“But it was good fun. I’m not sure we lived the high life enough. We probably should have lived it more and now it is probably too late.

“I’m just grateful to be able to go out and play to people as it is not something that everybody gets to do.”

After second album Here We Stand, the band went their separate ways for a while.

Jon began a solo venture, bassist Barry played with Birmingham band The Twang for a while and drummer Mince played in heavy metal outfit Throne o’ Diablo.

However, last September the band reformed and Jon admitted he can’t remember exactly how it happened.

“I honestly can’t remember,” he said. “It was probably as simple as waking up one morning and thinking wouldn’t it be good to go out and play again and thankfully one disagreed so we are doing it.

“Sometimes life can be like that.”

So was Jon glad to back with the band and ready for their new dawn?

“I guess so – it’s not bad at least,” he said.

“It’s a nice thing to be able to go out and play music to people who want to hear it.

“It is not always a given that you are able to do that.

“At the minute we are just dipping our toe back in to see if people still care.”

While the band were on hiatus, Jon released solo album Psycho Jukebox.

He told the Mail he enjoyed the change and didn’t rule out doing it again.

“I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy anything that was a change,” he said.

“That is the only reason why anybody does that sort of thing – just to work in a different way with different people was the only reason for doing it.

“It was time to finish that. I can’t say if it’s for good or not – you don’t need to overthink these things.”

The previously mentioned Chelsea Dagger is a song that can still be heard in clubs, pubs and even football grounds across the country.

The ‘da dah da dah da dah da dah’ section is the sort of simple, catchy refrain that has embedded itself in the brain.

Its enduring success didn’t mean too much to Jon - bar its financial return.

He said: “It really doesn’t impact on me one way or another – it is just a song.

“It is nice that it is used and it gives me a living.

“Other than that it is just one of the songs I wrote that particular day.”

The boys have been busy working on a third album and say it will not see a massive shift-change in their sound.

Jon said they are ‘pretty much done with it’ and asked whether he was happy with it, he was typically cautious.

He said: “My scale for judging these things is whether I’m unhappy with it and I’m not unhappy with it.

“Maybe that is just me. I think it has got the best bits of what this band can do and I don’t have that nagging feeling that we are missing something.”

The band begin a seven date UK tour next month and Jon said there will be a mixture of the old and the new in their set.

He said: “We have to play some new stuff to keep us excited enough and just for anybody who does not know if there is going to be any life after these gigs.

“But we know people want to hear songs they know so we will certainly play them as well.”

The Fratellis perform at The Institute in Birmingham on April 12. See the venue for tickets.

They are also on the bill for V Festival at Weston Park in August.

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