Bourgie Bourgie
Paul Quinn & Edwyn Collins
Paul Quinn & Vince Clarke
Paul Quinn & The Independent Group
Paul Quinn & The Nectarine No. 9
Mick Slaven Interview Aug 2009

Mick Slaven played guitar in Bourgie Bourgie and then later
was a member of Paul Quinn & The Independent Group, so
I was chuffed when he offered to answer some questions
by email about his work with Paul over the years.
Questions in blue and Mick's answers in black

The origins of the Bourgie Bourgie seem to be quite confusing.
How did you get involved? Were you already
playing with Jazzateers at that point?

I knew Keith (Band) and through him met Ian (Burgoyne), they
were recording the 'Gun' LP for Rough Trade with Skin on vocals
and Colin Auld on drums. They asked me down to Park Lane studio
to listen to the tracks and we had a jam while Kenny (McDonald) mixed
some tracks. It was already arranged that right after the album was
finished Paul was coming back in and the name was changing to Bourgie Bourgie
They asked me to join the new group and the first gig we played was
'The Switch', which was also already arranged as I remember. Skin formed
'The White Savages' with Douglas MacIntyre and shortly after joined 'Hipsway'.

In retrospect, when I read the band interviews from the time,
there seems to be an undercurrent of unhappiness with the way
you were being pushed by the label, compared to your ambitions.
Is that how you remember it?

I dont remember any major problems with MCA, we had a good deal
with them and we worked with good producers in good studios. They
just picked a crap song for the second single.. The video for
'Careless' was a shocker too..

The story goes that Paul walked out on the band whilst recording
the album in Bavaria. Was it as dramatic as that? Are you still
in touch with the rest of the band?

Not dramatic at all, we finished recording and all came home together,
a couple of weeks later I heard that Paul had left the band. That was
always on the cards to be honest, so it was no big surprise. I see Keith
very occasionally, he lives in New York. We usually catch up when he's over.
Kenny has moved to New Zealand. I hardly ever see Ian and I haven't seen Paul
for years although we always got on very well. I'll catch up with him one of
these days..

So the album was finished rather than abandoned?

The Bavaria session was completed in that all the songs we worked on
over there were finished and mixed, but that still only gave us about
9 tracks if you include Breaking Point. We would probably have needed
to do another session to have had enough for an album.

Do you think those tracks are ever likely to see a release? Presumably
they are still owned by MCA/Universal but independent labels like Cherry
Red and Marina seem to have done well at unearthing stuff like this from
the archives and licensing it. I'm sure there would be some interest.

I don't know if they'll ever be released. I'm sure Universal would be
happy to licence them out if there was enough demand and if they can find
them and they haven't been taped over. For all I know they might have
recycled the tape stock and used it to record the next Musical Youth album..

Which was your favourite Bourgie Bourgie track? Some of those unreleased
tracks I've heard from the album sessions are excellent and a real shame
that they never saw the light of day.

My favourite track is probably Breaking Point, but I also like the
7" version of Change of Attitude. From the album sessions,
Something to Prove and I Gave you Love.

You didn't play on the first Independent Group album. How did you come
to be involved in the second one? Had you had much contact with Paul in the
intervening years?

I cant really remember, I played with Skip (Reid) in the Leopards
and I knew Campbell (Owens) through Skip. I knew Andy (Alston) cos we
both played in del Amitri on their 1st A&M LP and I was still in touch
with Paul every once in a while. I remember supporting the Independent
Group at the RAF club when I was playing with James King and shortly after
that I was rehearsing with them and we were getting the second album together.
We only did two gigs: one in the Old Athenaeum and one in the Glasgow Film Theatre.

The track "Will I Ever Be Inside Of You" is so epic, and I love the
guitar solo. How did that song come together? The operatic backing vocal
is a particular piece of genius!

We recorded a demo of that track in Blair's house with the working title
'Silvermen'. Blair had put down a keyboard part and Paul put a vocal on
it. I put a guitar solo on it which lasted the entire length of the
track, about 7 min, just to get ideas and I remember Alan played the
track at one of the RAF club nights. When we recorded it we added the
rhythm guitar part and the opera stuff, samples and trimmed the solo down.

You have a co-writing credit on the track "Outre" on that album and a
track with the same name appears on the James Kirk solo record (which you
produced). Is there some relationship between the two songs? They seem to share a
similar chord progression but little else.

They both came from a James chord progression. James is a fantastic
player and his ideas are great. That song is my favourite on James' LP
great live take, brilliant vocal, great keyboard stuff from Andy. I love it..
I think the title may have been James' idea

Also, Paul gets a writing credit on two tracks on that James Kirk album
("Rehab" and "Ligging Around Again"). Do you know what his input was
to those songs?

James had been working on those ideas with Paul but I dont
think they were finished. James just added his own title and lyrics, but
I guess credited Paul cos they had been working on the numbers together.
Paul may have come up with melody ideas, I'm not really sure..

Since the site went live, I've had several people email me to tell me
that there was a third Independent Group record started but never finished.
Is that something you were involved in or know anything about?

I dont remember a third LP, there was plenty of material about.
(As mentioned) James was working on a few songs with Paul and Alan
which ended up on his LP, but I dont know if anything was ever recorded
for another Independent Group album.

And finally what are you up to musically these days? Will there be further
records from The Leopards?

A 2nd Leopards record is almost finished and should be ready soon,
sounds good. I will look at options for release..
Also recently recorded tracks for Justin Currie's new solo record
which should be out fairly soon. On top of that I'm currently working
on a couple of theatre soundtracks..

Many thanks to Mick for taking the time to talk to me
and also thanks to Jim from The Vinyl Villain for suggesting
a few of the questions