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Duglas T. Stewart: The incredible pop life of a BMX Bandit

Duglas_T_Stewart
 
We seek to write the perfect sentence. The one that opens the paragraph, like a key in a door, to places undiscovered. It was how to begin this story on Duglas T Stewart, the lead singer and mainstay of BMX Bandits, whether with a fact or a quote, or oblique reference that would set the scene to unfurl his tale.

Duglas has written his fair share of perfect sentences - in dozens of songs over his twenty-five-year career with BMX Bandits. From the first singles in 1986, the debut album C86 in 1989, through to Bee Stings in 2007, Duglas has been at the center of an incredible family of talented musicians who have together created some of the most beautiful, toe-tapping and joyous music of the past 3 decades.

In the early 1990s, when Nirvana was top of the tree, Kurt Cobain said:

’If I could be in any other band, it would be BMX Bandits.’

It was a tip of the hat to a man who is responsible for singing, writing and producing songs of the kind of beauty and fragility Cobain aspired to.

Not just Cobain, but Brian Wilson and Kim Fowley are also fans, with Fowley explaining his own definition of what it means to be a BMX Bandit:

’It means a nuclear submarine floating through chocolate syrup skies of spinach, raining raisins on a Chihuahua covered infinity of plaid waistcoats, with sunglasses and slow motion. It sort of means, pathos equals suburban integrity of loneliness punctuated by really nice melodies.’

But let’s not take Kim’s word for it, we decided to ask Duglas to tell Dangerous Minds his own version of his life and love as a BMX Bandit.

DM: What was your motivation to become a musician?

Duglas T. Stewart: ‘Initially it was two things. I heard Jonathan Richman in 1977 and it sounded so human and full of warmth and humor and beauty. It also seemed to fly in the face in the punk ethos of DESTROY. It really made a connection with me and I thought I’d like to try to do something that hopefully might make others feel like I did listening to Jonathan. Listening to his music gave me a sense of belonging. I felt less alone.

‘The other thing was I met Frances McKee, later of The Vaselines, and I thought she was incredible. I loved everything about her from her mischievous sense of humor to her slightly overlapping front teeth. She said to me one day she thought it would be fun being in a group, and so I thought I would start a group and she could be in it and that way I could spend more time with her and have a vehicle for expressing how she made me feel.

‘Also I had a lot of self belief so I knew if I started a group it would be way better and more interesting than any other local groups at that time.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The fabulous BMX Bandits: Interview and performance of ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)


 
More from Duglas on music, art & books, and from BMX Bandits, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Duglas T Stewart
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Reminisce on this: De La Soul and Teenage Fan Club - Fallin’


 
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this one. I stumbled upon it quite by accident while meandering through the musical maze of YouTube.

“Fallin’” is a perfect collaboration between three groups separated by multiple miles of geographic space but inhabiting the same lysergically-tinged musical universe.

Tom Petty provides the sample and Teenage Fanclub provide the jangly guitar and background vocals as De La Soul spin 70s pop culture references into the weave of this ditty from the sound track of 1993 action film Judgment Night.

...remember when I used to be dope, (yeah!)
I owned a pocket full of fame
(But look what you’re doing now), Well I know, I know
I lost touch with reality, now my personality
Is an unwanted commodity (believe it)
Can’t believe I used to be Mr Steve Austin on the mic
(Six million ways) I used to run it
I guess Oscar Goldman got mad
Cause I got loose circuits (so loose, so loose)
I be the mother goose with the eggs that seemed to be
Fallin’...

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment