It has been 15 years since Kenny Anderson AKA King Creosote launched his solo career in conjunction with his own label Fence Records. Feeling cynical towards the music industry at large he tucked himself away in North East Fife, aiming to pursue his solo project in as stress-free an environment as possible. He has built up a great cult following yet stubbornly remains one of the best kept secrets of Scotland’s music scene. In the words of the NME: ‘If anyone could make songs about cross-dressing, kilts, playing cards and nosy neighbours sound sublime, it’s surely the big KC’.
Although known to shy away from the lime light, King Creosote agreed to answer a few questions. We’re not entirelysure how serious all the answers are but they certainly gave Charlotte Payne a few laughs:
Where does the name King Creosote come from?
“Once I’d settled on the name of ‘Fence’ for my own label, I then chose creosote over, say, green paint, to go on it. Not sure why I jotted down the word ‘king’ in front of ‘creosote’, but I immediately liked the look and sound of it. I used to love the smell of the real carcinogenic stuff itself, and knew my dad would approve of my new nom de plume.”
What music did you grow up listening to and how has this influenced your sound?
“I started buying albums of my own in 1982. Up until then I’d pick out the best of my sister’s vinyl, or in desperation go buy 12” singles of songs I heard on the sunday night chart show. I bought Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘17 of Their All Time Greatest Hits’ or whatever it’s called, then Simple Minds ‘New Gold Dream’ and Tears For Fears ‘The Hurting’ – on the same day! – swiftly followed by The Bluebells debut, Aztec Camera’s ‘High Land Hard Rain’, and then ‘Sparkle in the Rain’ (I played a lot of ceilidhs from the age of about 14 so had plenty of cash).
“Mix these six albums together, divide by however many songs there are in total, and you probably have ‘Not One Bit Ashamed’ by King Creosote.”
If you could cover any song what would it be and why?
“I’ve already covered a number of songs I like. It’s more difficult to remember the words of other people’s songs, especially when you’ve misheard them in the first place, so before I attempt a new cover version at a show I’ll record it first. ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, ‘Come on Eileen’, ‘Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice’ and most of Michelle Shocked’s ‘Short, Sharp, Shocked’ are in the KC canon, all with lyrical mistakes. I’m working on ‘Jewel/Duel’ by Propaganda, and a couple of hymns.”
Are there any bands or records you’ve encountered recently that you think people should know about?
Do you have a favourite venue or event that you’ve performed at?
“My favourite venues are all here in the North East UK – the AIA hall, the Hew Scott Hall, and the upstairs room in the Smugglers Tavern.”
Why should people listen to you if they haven’t already?
“I’m not sure people should listen to me – the worst aspects of my character tend to end up in my songs.”
What was your favourite toy or game as a child?
What TV programme do you wish they still made or aired?
If you were a teenager again, what three songs would you put on a mix tape for your girlfriend/boyfriend?
“For my girlfriend, ‘I Won’t Let You Down” by PhD (but I no doubt will), ‘Love Action’ by The Human League, and ‘You’re the One That I Want” by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. For my boyfriend, ‘I’m Not In Love’ by 10CC, ‘Behind the Green Door” (not the back door) by Shakin’ Stevens, and ‘I’d Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That” by whats-his-name [Meatloaf I believe].”
Which fictional character would you like to see rule the country, and why?
“Hagrid. His accent.”
What would be the title of your autobiography?
‘The Oldest Boy in Scotland’.
Thankfully King Creosote has once again been tempted out of Fife and is playing a series of dates across the UK. He will be performing solo at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham on Saturday 10th April. Goodnight Lenin’s John Fell will also be bringing along his guitar to provide a rare performance without the other boys in the band. Fingers crossed it doesn’t give him any long term ideas! This is Moseley Folk Festival’s Lunar Society offering for April and so advance tickets can be purchased for £8.50 + booking fee here