When I got my first CD player in 1987 (an Amstrad MCD-7) having spent all my money on the player, I didn’t have much left for CDs to play on it, so I had to choose wisely, and a lot of the Indie stuff I was into wasn’t available on CD at the time.
Looking at my CD player owning friends for inspiration on what to buy first, (in those days only people with a few bob or really, really wanted one had one, a far cry from today when Argos has a portable CD player for £6) there were a handful of titles that everyone I knew seemed to own – Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen, Misplaced Childhood by Marillion, and Hipsway’s self titled album.
To be honest I didn’t know a lot about them, I’d seen the advert for their album on tv and they did an advert for McEwans Lager (whose legendary adverts were much better than their lager it has to be said!) they kind of fell between two stools, not huge enough to be on high rotation on daytime radio, but not small enough for Peel to champion either.
But my mate played it a lot when I was round at his place, and one of the pubs we frequented, The Nova Hotel in Bruntsfield, colloquially known as “Chick’s” (as it was formerly owned by the comedian Chic Murray) where one of the barmaids was a big fan so used to play the album regularly, and I got really into the album, for me they were up there with Roddy Frame / Aztec Camera and Deacon Blue, so it was one of the first CDs I bought. I never did manage to catch them live though.
Fast forward 3 decades (a wee bit too fast if you ask me!) and I got to wondering what they were up to now, and with so many bands reforming, could they be joining in the fun?
The only lead I could find was that the lead singer, Graham Skinner had given up pop stardom and was managing a bar in Glasgow.
However, the next time I was in Glasgow, I saw a poster for a one-off concert that year. Would they be making a comeback?
Oh yes! Mot only are they doing live shows, but as I speak they are only 1% away from their Pledge Music target to record a new album “Smoke and Dreams”.
Judging by their recent live videos on youtube, they’ve still got it!
Exciting times! I hope to catch one of their shows and will report back, meanwhile here’s the official spiel!
HIPSWAY – Smoke and Dreams 2018
In 1987 a young band from Scotland seemingly had the world at their feet. With a hit single (Honeythief) in both the U.K. and America, 500,000 albums sold worldwide and successful tours of Europe and the States, their future path was surely one to glory.
Two years later they disbanded before their second album had even been released; bass player Johnny McElhone formed Texas while drummer Harry Travers left to pursue his studies.
This left singer Grahame Skinner and guitarist Pim Jones with an album they no longer cared about and a record company that no longer cared about them. As Witness they signed afresh to A&M Records but all momentum was lost, as was their A&R man who deserted them – again – just as they began promoting the new material.
So far, so familiar. These stories are legion in the music business but every now and again redemption pops its unlikely head above the parapet. Cut to 2016 and to celebrate the deluxe 30th anniversary re-release of the HIPSWAY debut album, Skin and Pim decided to play a one-off show at Glasgow’s ABC theatre. This quickly sold out as did two further gigs – to date the band has now sold over 10,000 concert tickets in Scotland.
This caused the ‘boys’ to reason that it might be worth making a new record which brings us to ‘Smoke and Dreams’, the new release from HIPSWAY.
Recorded in 3 x 3 day bursts over the winter/spring of 2018 the album was recorded ‘old style’ with all the musicians crammed together in one room striving for the best unified take of each track and allowing a continuity of sound where, stylistically, the tunes may differ starkly.
Thematically the songs are about deception – be that by ‘the self’ or on a grander ‘fake news’ scale – hence the album title. Nostalgia plays its part in a let’s-learn-from-our-mistakes attitude. Musically, influences cover the art-pop of Bowie and Radiohead to the earthy funk of the Meters and Funkadelic and much more besides.
We put our heart and soul into this and we hope you’ll give it a listen.
Live shows confirmed for 2018:
Rewind Scone Palace 20th July,
Ardrossan Civic Center 21st July,
Fringe by the sea North Berwick 4th August,
Hamilton Races 20th September
Winter tour TBC
Looks like there’s lot to look forward to for Hipsway fans!