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A brief chat with Lloyd Cole


Lloyd Cole is, of course, the brains behind 1980s alt-rockers the Commotions. Besides an anniversary reunion tour, that band split in 1989 and Cole has been performing as a solo acoustic artist for much of the time since. He latest record, Standards, sees Cole return to rock with a bang. It’s a great record, and so it’s great news that Cole is coming to Colorado to play Daniels Hall @ Swallow Hille Music on Sunday, February 8. We spoke to Cole about all of that and more… L

Yellow Scene: Standards is a great record – what made you want to make a rock record again after going the folky route for so long?

Lloyd Cole: The songs that I wrote basically seemed to demand a treatment that was not quiet, and was electric. Once I had then committed to making some kind of rock ‘n’ roll record, it snowballed. I started to be excited about it, and I started to write with that in mind, the type of record that was in my past. So yeah, it was that and the ability to finally let go of the idea of what was age-appropriate music. I don’ty think I worry about that anymore.

YS: Is it fun to play them live? You’ve been playing your old songs arranged acoustically for a while…

LC: It is. The shows that I’ve done after Standards came out, with the exception of about five shows, have been solo. It’s been about a year and a half of touring before I finally found a way to play “Women’s Studies,” the second song on the record. that was the one that I couldn’t seem to find a way to play acoustically. It seems that there are very few songs in my catalog that I don’t eventually find a way to play acoustically. Sometimes it just takes a little while, and I have to come at them with some weird, lateral thinking to find he right way to play them. In the same respect, sometimes the songs want to be rested a while before you play them again. There are probably only six or seven songs in the set that I play every night.

YS: Do you like playing Colorado?

LC: I only really know Denver. I think the Commotions played in Boulder once and I may have played solo acoustic in Boulder once, but I’ve actually had great concerts in Denver. Surprisingly well attended too. I have a few friends around there. My experiences have been good, which isn’t always the case traveling around the major cities in the United States when I get away from the coasts. Sometimes it’s slim pickings, so Denver has always been a pleasant one to go to.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

LC: I don’t really know. I don’t want the set to vary massively from the one that I play in most of the countries in the world over the last year or so. I toured for about a year and a half, and during that time the set sort of evolved. I don’t have a set list, but it ends up being a similar shape most nights. I don’t want it to vary too much from that. There are songs from almost every album. The last version of the set had at least one song from very record, with a little extra focus on Standards, Music in a Foreign Language, and some of the very early material.

YS: What’s next for you, after this tour?

LC: I’ve been working overtime (and I’m still working) on a Commotions collected recordings – five CDs and a DVD box set – coming out soon. That’s been an awful lot of work. It’s almost done. Just as it was almost done, they sent me another email asking me if I want to do the solo records box set as well. It’s so much work, but I suppose I would like to get it out of the way if we’re going to do it. Universal want to get these things back in print, and it’s nice to have your catalog in print. I know it’s all available as files on iTunes, but there’s something nice about knowing that people can go out and buy a CD or a box or an album, or whatever.

Lloyd Cole plays at 7 p.m. on Sunday, February 8 at Daniels Hall @ Swallow Hill Music; 71 E. Yale Ave., Denver; 303-777-1003; $23-$25.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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