No Northern Soul this time for Fratellis star

The Fratellis
The Fratellis

Barry Fratelli had better be disciplined this week.

His official job is to act as bassist for The Fratellis, the Scottish band who burst on to the scene in 2006 (when the infuriatingly catchy Chelsea Dagger was everywhere), took a break, and are now back with a vengeance.

They play 53 Degrees in Preston on Friday, but the bass player is tempted to nip to Blackpool and check whether there’s any Northern Soul on.

“I love Blackpool and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been there,” said Barry. “When I was a kid I went about five or six times to see the Lights and do the usual stuff but I was down a couple of years ago for the Northern Soul dance championships, which was a cracking night.

“Northern Soul is a real passion of mine and I’m really into that scene. So me and a couple of mates came down for the all-nighter at the Tower and had a great time.”

Unfortunately for Barry, The Fratellis aren’t playing Blackpool as part of their comeback tour.

A shame as they have history with the resort.

“We had a great gig at the Empress Ballroom three or four years ago, which a few locals might remember,” added Barry.

“We were supporting Kasabian on a tour at the time but we nipped off to have our own 3,000 capacity show in Blackpool, which is quite a nice position to be in. It was a terrific gig, so that’s another fond memory of the place.”

The Fratellis (named after the criminal family in The Goonies) seemed to appear from nowhere. Legend has it they were signed after nine gigs in their home city of Glasgow.

“I’m not sure that is true. Nine gigs doesn’t sound many,” said Barry. “But it did happen quickly.

“I like to think a lot of people saw some sort of unpretentiousness – if that’s a real word – in us. We were never pretending to be anything we weren’t. We were just a rock ‘n’ roll band, simple as. We also had good songs, which helped.”

Debut record Costello Music peaked at number two and was in the album charts top 100 for 83 weeks.

Follow up Here We Stand went gold, selling more than 100,000 copies.

The came a lengthy break, Barry and bandmates Jon Fratelli and Mince Fratelli (none of the band are related, they’ve just all adopted Fratelli as a surname) deciding to take a step back.

“We’d had such a meteoric rise and if we’d have carried on, something would’ve had to give. We’d have killed each other I think,” explained Barry.

Third album We Need Medicine was released to good reviews in October and the band have US and European tours lined up once they’ve been around the UK.

“It’s great to be back and we haven’t put any pressure on ourselves,” added Barry. “We know there is no way anything we ever do will scale the heights of the first record again.

“Is that depressing? The very fact it did happen to us once, whereas it didn’t happen to a lot of other bands and musicians, is enough.

“It would be a lot more depressing if we were still skint and sitting about dreaming about doing this or that. We’ve actually done it, so we can just enjoy all the good parts now.”

l The Fratellis play 53 Degrees in Preston on Friday. Tickets are £25.30 from www.53degrees.net.