NOVELIST IAN RANKIN gives his assessment of the music and legacy of The Associates as part of a feature on Billy MacKenzie’s ’80s eccentrics in the new issue of MOJO.
Explaining how the Dundee group’s music and lyrics enthralled him, the writer discusses their creativity, vision and impact on his own art as part of a wider celebration of the band in the latest issue of MOJO, (July 2016 / #272), on sale now.
“They were experimental. They looked at Bowie’s Berlin period, Kraftwerk, Weimar cabaret, something that meant they could escape their fairly mundane roots. Dundee at that time, there wasn’t an awful lot of glamour, and Billy MacKenzie was chasing that glamour all his life,” Rankin tells MOJO.
“Then there was that voice, which was unique. Nobody else sounded like that… And Billy got lucky because he met [bandmate] Alan Rankine, who could realise what he was trying to do. I don’t think their sound has aged. You could play something from Fourth Drawer Down today and think it was a brand new band.”
It could also be a plot... well, the band’s 1980 song Even Dogs In The Wild could, as it helped to inspire and title Rankin’s 2015 Inspector Rebus novel of the same name.
“My decision to use Even Dogs In The Wild as the title for the Rebus book was serendipity,” explains the author. “A storyline emerges halfway through the book and it was there in the song. Then I looked at the title and thought, That’s a great title. But please don’t read the lyrics until you’ve read the book, as it’s going to give something away!”
Get MOJO now for the full piece by Rankin and our in-depth Associates feature. Meanwhile, the MOJO 272 cover story celebrates 50 years of Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde. 22 pages of Bob coverage are augmented by Blonde On Blonde Revisited, the original album reinterpreted by a host of choice contemporary acts. For more info and contents.
It’s also available as a Limited Vinyl Edition – WHILE STOCKS LAST.
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PHOTO: Sheila Rock