A couple of years ago, Mogwai celebrated their two decade-long existence with a handful shows in their hometown of Glasgow, as well as London and two Irish dates. Looking back, they did make a pretty impressive statement with their debut record, but I think no one could have foretold that over the ensuing twenty years, they would go on to create an additional eight studio records, five soundtracks, two full-length remix albums and a live record/DVD set. That a band who rarely uses a vocal microphone has achieved this level of lasting power is a testament to their endless drive and creativity that keeps on finding new paths of dynamics, guitar hooks that lodge in your head never to leave, and thundering live shows.
As is their habit, the release of a new record finds them on the road and back in the States, but in a slightly different format. Prior to the sessions for the Atomic soundtrack, original member John Cummings left the band to pursue other interests, leaving them as a four piece. When asked how this changed the band’s method of working, de facti front man Stuart Braithwaite replied “We’ve all had to work a bit harder with one less writer and musician but truth be told it’s been totally fine.” Bostonians will get a rare second chance this calendar year to see for themselves when the band plays Royale this Thursday. Pro tip – wadded up cocktail napkins don’t attenuate the sonic onslaught of a Mogwai show to an audiologist-recommended level, so bring some hearing protection.
DigBoston caught some free time with Braithwaite via email as the band tours from West to East, and the questions were all taken from song titles, in another installment of Wheel Of Tunes.
1) “Secret Pint”
DIGBOSTON: As part of the Rave Tapes roll out, you partnered with Glenallachie Distillery to make a limited bottling of your own whisky. Would you prefer a secret dram, or is beer your preferred tipple?
BRAITHWAITE: I like beer more than whisky. I’m quite fond of the Williams Brothers beers.
2) “Crossing The Road Material”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your favorite stupid joke?
BRAITHWAITE: Knock knock. Who’s there? Dr. Dr who? Yes, Dr. who.
3) “AKA 47”
DIGBOSTON: Is the second amendment the most inscrutable thing you find about the United States?
BRAITHWAITE: It’s up there with medical treatment not being available to all. Seriously. WTF?
4) “Stanley Kubrick”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your favorite film of his and why?
BRAITHWAITE: 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s just a really beautiful film and I like how ambient it is.
5) “Ratts Of The Capital”
DIGBOSTON: Has there ever been any hair metal played in the Mogwai tour bus? If not, do you know of any secret copies of Cinderella or Poison records which inhabit the deepest corners of any band member’s record collections?
BRAITHWAITE: We used to listen to Manowar for a laugh but that’s about it sadly.
6) “You’re Lionel Richie”
DIGBOSTON: Which Richie or Commodores song could Mogwai reasonably pull off?
BRAITHWAITE: I don’t actually know any. “Hello” maybe?
7) “White Noise”
DIGBOSTON: With a band as loud as yours, how do you prevent total hearing loss?
BRAITHWAITE: I wear ear plugs though I fear the damage may already have been done.
8) “I Love You, I’m Going To Blow Up Your School”
DIGBOSTON: What’s the best of the newest work from Heather alums Christian Slater and Winona Ryder, Mr. Robot or Stranger Things?
BRAITHWAITE: I’ve never seen Mr. Robot. Stranger Things is good fun, though.
9) “Hunted By A Freak”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your favorite horror film?
BRAITHWAITE: The Exorcist.
10) “Take Me Somewhere Nice”
DIGBOSTON: Where is the best place you’ve ever been on holiday?
BRAITHWAITE: Probably Ko Lipe in Thailand?
11) “No Medicine For Regret”
DIGBOSTON: Is it easier to ask for permission or forgiveness?
BRAITHWAITE: Permission. All day long.
MOGWAI, XANDER HARRIS. THUR 12.07. ROYALE, 279 TREMONT ST., BOSTON. 7:00PM/18+/$25. ROYALEBOSTON.COM
Primarily based in Boston, Massachusetts, Tim Bugbee is no stranger to traveling throughout the country or overseas to capture the best live music photos.