Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 5th 2010 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"There seems to be an interest in that kind of mid-'80s British noise-pop, I suppose," guitarist and primary songwriter Paul Court tells Spinner. "And yeah, we were part of that, so it's kind of interesting that these groups are looking back to [us] for influence, in the way we did stuff [from] the '60s."
After a two-week UK tour, the Primitives head to the United States for a May 8 performance at the Bell House in Brooklyn, N.Y. Court and singer Tracy Cattell, better known as Tracy Tracy, decided to reform the band last year, following the death of founding bassist Steve Dullaghan. It wasn't the first time fate had brought the two together. In the mid-'80s, before Cattell joined the Primitives, the quartet played a more menacing, less commercial brand of retro punk, referencing such groups as the Cramps, the Birthday Party and the Gun Club.
When original lead singer Kieron McDermott quit, Court scrambled to find a replacement. At the time, he had no grand vision for the band. He wasn't thinking of pairing distorted guitars with sugarplum female vocals and creating a roughed-up version of vintage Phil Spector pop. Then, one day, Tracy showed up to audition.
"It was kind of accidental, really," Court says. "We tried to do the same material, and it just wasn't working. So I was like, 'Maybe I should just write some sweet little pop songs and make them noisy as well.' That's how it happened, really."
"I'd been playing around with the ideas for this melodic stuff, [but] I always thought you had to be a lot better musically to do that," Court adds. "I thought to write a pop song, you've got to be able to read music or something. Then the [Jesus and] Mary Chain came along. You could hear they had these pop songs, but it wasn't about musicianship as much. That's what I'd been trying to do myself at home -- almost writing these kinds of Mamas and the Papas-type of tunes."
Tracy proved to be the missing ingredient, her blonde-bombshell looks and candied voice propelling the Primitives onto the UK charts. The band even managed to crack the US market, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart with the 1988 single 'Crash,' still their best-known tune.
The group scored a string of hits and released three albums before splitting in 1992. In the years since, Court has turned his attention to painting and design. While he says he's relieved to no longer have the stress of being in a full-time band -- particularly one signed to a major label -- he hasn't lost sight of the Primitives ethos.
"You can write songs as good as the Beatles, in a way, if you want to," he says. "You don't have to be able to read music or play the piano or anything."