Interview: Kevin Rowland, Dexys frontman

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DEXYS leader Kevin Rowland has said he’d rather slit his wrists than just play the band’s old songs. Fair play to the man.

“There was no attempt to be nostalgic,” insisted the 59-year-old singer. “We’re not trying to be like Dexys [formerly Dexys Midnight Runners] in the Eighties. We wouldn’t dream of it.

“If we’d wanted to do that, we’d have done it years ago.”

Speaking ahead of the Dexys’ much-anticipated gig at the Queen’s Hall on Tuesday, the band’s Scottish trombone player, “Big Jim” Paterson says he agrees wholeheartedly with his bandmate.

“We’ve no desire to do a ‘chicken in the basket tour’, when you do all your old hits and take the money and run,” says the man who co-wrote classics like Come On Eileen. “That’s not us. We’re still creative people, and we still want to do new things.”

The 27-year gap between newbie One Day I’m Going To Soar and 1985’s Don’t Stand Me Down was a long one, especially for Paterson, who’d more or less retired.

“I was out of the loop for a while, yes,” he says. “I didn’t know much about the new album until a couple of years ago when Kevin asked me to listen to a couple of demos.

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure if I wanted to do it. Especially playing live. I hadn’t played for 16 years. I was still writing songs, but I’d retired from playing the trombone. It was in the attic gathering dust.”

After giving it some thought, the Aberdonian decided this could be his last chance.

“I’m getting on a bit, so I decided to take the plunge. But really glad I did. I’m loving every minute of it now.”

He’s not the only one. Dexys’ return has been hailed by many as 2012’s best comeback, which is impressive coming in the same year as reunions from Blur and the Stone Roses.

To say Dexys have a fervent following would be to severely understate things. So what is it about them that inspires such devotion?

“I suppose it’s because we’ve never really towed the line,” says Paterson. “We’ve always tried to be different, you know.

“We put our hearts and souls into it. And there’s a lot of people out there who just want honest, decent music.

“I think Dexys is way more than just a band. For me, it’s been a way of life. It’s a passion, it gets inside of you.

“Kevin’s lyrics are just so emotive. People really relate to them, and that’s obviously got a lot to do with it.


“The melodies get inside your head.

Paterson promises that fans are in for a treat next week.

“I’m really looking forward to the Edinburgh gig, being a Scot and all that. What can the fans expect? Passion, humour, honesty... oh and great songs.

“It’s two hours long, the show... so tell your readers to bring sandwiches!”

Asked what the future holds for Dexys and Paterson hints that they’ve no intention of heading back into retirement.

“I can’t really divulge anything at the moment, or else I’d have to kill you. And we don’t want that,” he says

• Dexys, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Tuesday, 7.30pm, £25, 0131-668 2019