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Gerry Love: Part One

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We know from our tours how deeply Teenage Fanclub are loved. Like many Glasgow bands, they are not ones to blow their own trumpet or make a fuss so when founder member, bassist, singer and ace songwriter Gerry Love departed the group at the end of 2018 after almost thirty years as a Fannie, he did so with a minimum of drama.

One year on, as he prepares to revive his Lightships project and make his live return at the forthcoming Great Western Festival, Gerry spoke to our guide Fiona about the parting of the ways and life after Teenage Fanclub.

Over the next few days, you can read Gerry’s thoughts on his farewell shows with the group and his feelings about striking out on his own as Lightships. But in the first instalment of our exclusive interview, Gerry opens up about the circumstances behind his departure from Teenage Fanclub:

As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t leave the band. It was not a decision I took. It was over a dispute over a specific tour, not touring in general. It wasn’t that I’d reached a point where I thought this wasn’t something I wanted to do. I honestly thought the band was in a strong position after the last album.

Then we installed a manager and he more or less produced a world tour out of his back pocket. I took time to think about it but I hadn’t expected to do it and I really don’t like flying. I’m prepared to do it when it’s necessary but the more I thought about it I thought I really don’t want to do this tour – as much as I like touring and being in other countries, it’s the getting there that kills me. So therefore I started the conversation with Norman and Raymond that I don’t want to do this, and this conversation lasts a long time.

The default position for our band was that if somebody doesn’t want to do something we don’t do it – that’s why we’ve lasted so long. So I’m basically out of the band at the point that they confirm the tour, knowing full well that I’m not doing it. It’s a difficult thing to say, you can’t put it in a nutshell – he left, they sacked him. It wasn’t like that. It was quite a sophisticated, complex thing which has got different dimensions. The future that I saw for the band and the future that Norman and Raymond saw for the band was different.

The only thing that bugs me is the narrative that I left the band. That’s not the way it is, it wasn’t my choice. It was a disagreement that turned into a dispute that turned into a stand-off that turned into a solution that suited neither party. Every time I’ve thought about it there has never been one point where I thought I should have done it. I was very strong with that and I accept the consequences.

I don’t feel I was the victim, I had a part to play in it. It was as amicable as it can be in the circumstances, in that I can take it on the chin. It wasn’t as if there was a punch-up or an argument, there was really no discussion on the whole business from day one until the end. I’ve spoke to you more about this up to now than I’ve ever spoken to Norman and Raymond about this ever.

Any collective only exists at the point of agreement really and diversity has served Teenage Fanclub well over the years for a musical point of view. Three different ideas of how to approach music provided a broad palette. If it was just Norman writing all the songs we wouldn’t have lasted as long, as good as Norman is. Diversity in a musical context is what we existed on but then you take it into a business context and diversity causes problems.

Teenage Fanclub were almost contrary. McGee found us frustrating – that’s why he loved Oasis so much because they wanted it, whereas all these other Creation bands like My Bloody Valentine were highly thought of but contrary when it came to business. For me, business follows music, and that’s the way we always operated.

Part Two of Gerry’s interview follows tomorrow when he talks about his final shows with Teenage Fanclub