Some people have Primal Scream's 1991 cosmic piece-de-resistance Screamadelica played at the birth of their children; others have it played at their funeral. In 1993, the band's front man Bobby Gillespie (the Citizen Caned of rock - caned on cocaine, heroin or Ecstasy, ketamine and LSD) and his far-from-straight co-conspirators looked likely to be playing at their own funeral sooner rather than later, such was their intimacy with hard drugs. Some feared Primal Scream's relationship with hard drugs was enough to jeopardise the existence of one of Scotland's greatest exports as well as the lives of the band members themselves.
That year, Q magazine published an on-the-road article with the Scream that focused on their chemical dabblings and indeed listed the Class A drugs that the band had in their diabolical dressing room: heroin, Ecstasy, cocaine, speed and bottles of methadone, to which, we were told, some members of the band were said to be forming a dangerous attachment. The magazine feature resulted in unwelcome attention from nosy customs officers, as well as extreme paranoia within the band as they didn't want to go to prison.
"We got a bit ill," is the euphemism Gillespie used for where he and his co-workers were at that (vanishing) point in their lives and career. An indication of just where the band's heads - and blood systems - were at during that dark period. Sessions for the new album at London's Roundhouse Studios were so, shall-we-say, spirited that Gillespie renamed the studio Brownhouse as a homage to the band's new hobby, heroin. So, to record the long awaited follow-up to Screamadelica, presented something of a problem for the sonic revolutionaries. To keep them out of harm's way, they needed to go somewhere where it mightn't be overly easy to buy drugs, and where the studio would not as a result degenerate into "a cross between Carry on Screaming and Fellini's Satyricon".
Gillespie admits to Uncut magazine: "We had to get out of London. If we'd made a record in London, New York or Los Angeles, there would have been two, maybe three deaths in the band the way things were going." Primal Scream settled on Memphis, Tennessee, in May, 1993. Judge the results for yourself but as Gillespie told New Musical Express in 1999: "We made Give Out because we had a lot of heroin addiction in the band, a lot of cocaine, we were f**ked up and we wanted to make a different record. It turned out the way it turned out."
This is hardly surprising. During a break in recording in Memphis, Scream members Throb and Duffy decamp to New York, whereupon at a party the latter climbs up on a book cabinet, falls on to some broken glass "and stabs himself within an inch of his kidney". He subsequently missed a playback party in Memphis because airport officials said he was in no state to fly. Despite the playback party, the album is anything but finished.
On a day off, Primal Scream visit Graceland. Andrew Innes throws up on the grass outside Elvis's mansion and is thrown out, but not before he announces to the speechless tourists as the security guards drag him out: "First guy to do it since the King!"
The original tapes have lain down the back of the aforementioned Mr Andrew Innes's metaphorical sofa for the last 25 years until now. The tracks, recorded with producer Tom Dowd and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, never saw the light of day because the band decided that they simply weren't up to scratch and subsequently brought in George Drakoulias to sonically re-edit it all. The results were released in 1994 and were largely unremarkable. (Mercifully, 1997's Vanishing Point was a return to form).
By: Irish Independent