L-R: Rod, Bob Fairfoull, Colin, Roddy


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...