In February 1997
Phil Scanlon decides to leave the band and concentrate on his studies
(he's since become a highly successful chemical engineer, now living
in Detroit). Roddy asks friend Bob Fairfoull (Born August 6th 1976)
to join as bass player. Bob had been present at every Idlewild show
since last summer and had impressed the band with his spoken word and
solo acoustic shows (along with his involvement with Edinburgh performance
noise troupe, Pussy Hoover). He plays his first Idlewild show on February
28th in Glasgow at Nice and Sleazy's.
The debut single,'Queen of the Troubled Teens', is released
on March 17th 1997. It begins building on the reputation that their
chaotic Scottish concerts have already garnered and it's not long before
the record has been picked up by Radio Scotland DJ Peter Easton along
with influential Radio One DJ Steve Lamacq. Who was so impressed with
the song 'Self Healer' that he asks on air after playing it, if anyone
knows anything about this band to contact him.
Someone contacts him.
The buzz begins to grow. In the summer of '97, Idlewild play their first
London gigs, attended by Lamacq and certain people from Deceptive Records.
They get their first live review in the NME and Melody Maker and are
compared famously to "a flight of stairs falling down a flight
of stairs" (it's a positive thing). Supports slots with Scarfo,
The Fall, Jonathan Fire*Eater and Superchunk follow. And the band are
soon asked to record a single for Simon Williams and his Fierce
Panda label. At the same time the band agree to record an EP/mini album
with Deceptive. It makes sense to record them together, so in October
of 1997 Idlewild spend six days with producer Paul Tipler in River Studios
in south London. Six important days. Tipler turns what is essentially
an enthusiastically played out of time racket with a few pop hooks and
repeated lyrics into 'Captain', an innocent, frank, nugget
of noise pop magic. Surprised and amazed (in the best possible way)
by the transformation, Idlewild soon become the object of desire by
major record labels in the UK. They resist temptation until after the
'Chandelier/I want to be a writer' single appears on Fierce
Panda on December 3rd to a great response, then sign a modest deal with
Food Records/EMI. Mainly because they like and trust the A+R man Matthew,
and they like new label mates Blur a lot. Roddy quits his college course,
Colin quits being a pizza chef, Rod quits serving customers at a retro
clothes store and Bob quits being unemployed. more...