The Beatroots are a Glasgow based band featuring members of The Hardy Souls, Figure 5, Red Sands and the Last National Band. The Beatroots perform their own take on psych classics, with live sitar and mind blowing sounds adding their own unique twist to the mix…
Neil Donaldson (Vocals, Percussion)
Graham ‘Groovy’ Gordon (Bass, Sitar)
Seb Jonsen (Drums)
Ian Hill (Keys/Bass)
Campbell Lindsay (Guitar)
The Count/Hell Will Take Care of Her 7” single
01. How long have you been active for and how did you get together?
It happened by accident really about 2 years ago. Paul Molloy (Tailor Made/Friday Street) needed a band for his monthly night in McChuills which was in a couple of weeks time. I suggested I could get a band together for it so I got in touch with Seb and Groovy and we put The Beatroots together and played what was a probably a pretty ropey first gig at Paul’s night.
02.What influences do the band members have in common?
A love of 60s music. We all have very different tastes but a love of garage, psych and freakbeat is what we all share.
03. Are there any other bands you’d recommend from your area? Why?
We are spoiled in Glasgow really. Helicon, The Fast Camels, Big Hogg, Trembling Bells, Crash Club, The Cosmic Dead, Medicine Men, The Wellgreen and Mushroom Club are all fab. The Fast Camels are particularly great both live and on record with great pop songs that echo early Pink Floyd and Sell Out era Who.
04. What’s the 60’s/underground scene like where you’re from?
Glasgow has a great club scene with something for everyone who has a love of underground music from the past. Tailor Made, Divine, The Freakbeats Club, Gimme Shelter, Nowt But Northern, Eyes Wide Open as well as the Glasgow Mod and Double Sight Weekenders all play quality tunes from start to finish.
05. How would you describe the style you play?
Like a 60s Psych Pop version of a trad folk band. We select not-so-well known songs and do our own interpretation of them. With added sitar.
06. What are your live shows like?
07. What are your main influences in music? Who do/would you play covers by? And who do you despise?
We play mostly all covers with only a couple of originals. Every musician that plays or has played with The Beatroots has their own band/project that they are involved in so we get together to indulge ourselves in doing songs by our favourite bands of the 60s and obscure psych 45s. Like The Doors’ Peace Frog or I Know What I Would Do by The State of Mickey and Tommy.
I don’t really depise any music these days, I have mellowed somewhat and grown to love a lot of 80s Pop that I would have once hated so I am wary of slagging off anything in case I go on to like it later in life. I do however despise the duke box in Nice n Sleazy. It is beyond pretension. Not that the music on it is bad, but when you are in a pub at 1am you don’t want to be hearing some Low album track. They should check out the Kempock’s in Gourock for some tips!
08. What are your main influences outside of music?
The more dandyish aspect of Mod fashion. And grass.
09.Who writes your songs and what subjects do you deal with?
Oh all the usual… love, betrayal, murder and death!
10. What’s your favorite song in your repertoire currently? What’s your favourite song by another artist?
I love doing the 2 songs that are on our 7” single. Our own song The Count and the b-side Hell Will Take Care Of Her originally recorded by Brass Buttons.
11. How would you describe the current underground scene? Do you participate?
Colourful and vibrant. That you can be in London, Derby, Belfast or Berlin and have a mental night and meet so many lovely people is a beautiful thing. I have had some of the best nights of my life at weekenders all over the UK, at home and abroad since first going to Scarborough Mod Rally in 2002.
12. What has been the biggest challenge to date?
Dealing with Seb!
13. How often do you Rehearse? Play Live? Record? Anything interesting coming up?
We rehearse every week and gig about twice a month.
14. What do you think of the music coverage in the media?
It is pathetic. Especially on telly. We really need a less mainstream programme than Later with Jools Holland that would showcase the likes of Wolf People and Dead Skeletons and also cover the Liverpool Psych and End of the Road Festivals. Youtube and the internet is all well and good but I do miss looking forward to a good music programme on Channel 4 or the BBC. Shindig! TV perhaps?
15. Do you rate any current mainstream or underground bands?
The War On Drugs, Cate Le Bon, Real Estate, Warpaint, Kurt Vile, Woods, The Sufis, Quilt, Ty Segall and Goat all spring to mind.
16.Who/Where would you most like to record with and why?
Recording the Red Sands album with Marco Rea at the Barne Studio in Clydebank was a great experience and what I would do again if making another record.
17. What should we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and ambitions? What interesting gig dates have you got coming up?
Martin Keith that played guitar with me in both Figure 5 and Red Sands will be joining us along with well known face on the scene Charlie Bennett for the show in London at New Year which will be our last. For a good while anyway. I am going travelling in 2015 but I would like to think we will play again at some point, it has been a blast.
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