Drunk Gods are a 3 piece from Lanarkshire, Scotland. Having previously played together as Gobstopper, Ewan released the debut “Drunk Gods” album in 2014 and got the members of Gobstopper back together to play the songs live.
I recently caught up with Drunk Gods main man Ewan McGhee to talk about what motivated him to make and release Drunk Gods. I also wanted to find out what is next for Drunk Gods.
Drunk Gods Album
The first track on the album is “What’s Ma Motivation?”, so what is your motivation?
‘What’s Ma Motivation?’ Well, at the time when I was writing and recording the album, there was very little music around that I found exciting and provocative. Little that wouldn’t sit obediently on the state radio playlist of any repressive regime or military dictatorship. Hardly anything had any spunk or spine, it all seemed to have been dreamt up by disembodied brains floating limply in fish tanks. It kind of made me want to start a fire, ye know.
And I love great lyrics, I’m very much a words man, so I wanted that aspect of the album to be compelling and provocative, too, ye know? That’s why they’re about sex, and death, and growing old, and infidelity and soul-less wage slavery, and suicide and greed and the like.
I grew up in the shadow of my local slaughterhouse, and I sometimes wonder if that gave me a darker outlook on life. Our dog that we had when I was younger used to disappear for hours and then he’d appear back, wi a cow’s ear, or sheep’s leg or something. He’d obviously been up the slaughterhouse scavenging. And then I used to walk past the slaughterhouse every day, and there would be animal shite all over the road at the entrance. I used to wonder if that was because they could smell or sense where the lorries had brought them, and they were terrified.
Aye, so I wanted the music to have that visceral quality to it, too, I wanted it to have guts and energy and aggression. To kind of buck and kick, like a trapped animal, because I think, ultimately, that’s what we are, trapped animals. TV and all sorts of distractions might be there for us to try to hide it from ourselves, but we’re all heading for the slaughterhouse, too, sort of, and kind of flailing around trying to work out what to do with the time that we’ve got.
That all sounds pretty desperate and it is, but the music elevates it above that, I think. It’s discordant but also melodic and not difficult to listen to it, I don’t think. I suppose, it’s life-affirming, in a way, trying to create some fire in the dark, or rage against the dying of the light, whilst not deluding yourself. But, aye, a real beauty can come from very dark places, like with Joy Division, for example, and I’m very drawn to that. But there’s some humour in there, too, laughter in the darkness and all that stuff.
Tell us about your experience of recording the album, it was very much a one man production.
Writing and recording the album took me maybe 3 or 4 years – I’ve got a wee home studio, which is perfect for that, it’s really liberating. You can just bang ideas down and then they start to grow arms and legs. They write themselves really, I find, you’ve just got to let the ideas ferment in your brain overtime, and then it all comes together. But it took so long, because I was working full-time, as well.
You are credited with everything on your CD so you’re obviously a talented man. You do have a “live” band thought – tell me about them.
When the album was done, I just loved it so much that I knew I had to play it live. So Keith (Darling, drums) and Fags (Gary Collins, bass) signed up to help me out with that.
We’ve been pals for a long time. We played together as a 3-piece called Gobstopper in the early to mid nineties. We did 3 or 4 demos and played various places in and around Glasgow, King Tut’s, in particular. So, Keith and Fags were the obvious choices for the rhythm section when it came to Drunk Gods.
You’ve got a gig coming up on October 21st in The Lantern Bar, Wishaw with Savage Cut & El Cogez, Any other live dates imminent?
We don’t have any other gigs lined up at the moment, apart from the Wishaw one. It’s not easy getting decent gigs. Having said that, Keith’s just bought a new drum kit, so we’ll have to get some more lined up!
Your debut album was 2014, any plans for a follow-up?
As to another album, I don’t know if the album format is relevant any more and they are a lot of work. We’ll probably just stick to doing batches of two songs at a time from now on, maybe a couple every 6 months.
We’re in the studio next month, September, finishing off two songs – Found The Lord And Lost Ma Soul, and Pet Hate – for a double-sided ‘single’ if that has any relevance at all in today’s download world, but it will be available as a CD, too.
The album was released in 2014 but I have been a recent convert to the band having seen them live in Ivory Blacks last year.
How to describe the sound? Dark, post-punk, industrial, melodic, aggressive, intense…… there is a whole mix of styles that come together with Ewan’s vocals, sung in local accent, to bring a powerful sound – cacophonous at times, harmonious at others. Just listen, its bloody great!
The talent is obvious with Ewan playing all the instruments on the album and the production and sound is clear and sharp. Ewan is a self-confessed “lyric man” and the lyrics are personal & dark but humorous at the same time covering a wide range of (mostly) gloomy subjects. That doesn’t make for a gloomy album though. The tunes and melodies are uplifting and varied, making you want to listen for what is next.
With album opener What’s Ma Motivation? the protagonist lays himself bare with lyrics speaking initially of tangible things lost (I admit I smiled at “Gimme back ma ginger hair”) but ultimately of loss of identity and self.
Turn up the Laughter Track speaks to me personally and reminds me of one of the reasons I started this blog. Covering up anxieties/depression by laughing things off and being “happy” a la Tears of a Clown (“Turn up the laughter track, my anxiety attacks are back, we watch the colours fade, the beauty disappear”)
Anti-love song Fuck Buddy (The Heart is Just a Muscle) next with its driving guitars building into a cacophony of frustration with the refrain repeated over and over above the music.
Wage Slave is an ode to work destroying your very being – wasting your body and spirit.
People Make Ma Head Hurt has an almost Skids-esque feel to me, with the layered refrain demonstrating in sound exactly what the song is saying. Great almost cheery melodies hiding a sinister ending – “Leave me well alone, I’m a loner, that means a serial killer, I keep my victims in the cellar, cut you up, put you in the river”
Goth-like in its intro and bassy vocal and almost whispered vocals towards the end, Repossession is another cheery tale. This time of debt, fearing the postman and ultimately getting a gun and, well, I’ll let you make your own mind up.
Don’t get me wrong, I may be painting a bleak picture with the themes here, but there is humour to these songs and the tunes are not in the least bit bleak, often uplifting & layered. Take Consumption for example a humourous take on greed and consumerism but with a serious point.
The Surfer kicks of with surf/rockabilly guitars and goes on to become a track with a rhythm section Pixies would be proud of.
Penultimate track Kill Me starts off as a straightforward rock song, before it breaks down and builds up again several times building to a peak before fading out.
On final track Dirty Honey, Ewan comes over kind of Nick Cave/Martin Metcalfe-like in his vocal delivery. Some lyrics almost breathed rather than sung. The quiet moments are broken again by crashing guitars and drums. A great album closer.
Looking forward to hearing the new tracks.
Go and find out for yourselves now…..
Listen and Buy
Check out the Drunk Gods on Soundcloud.
Buy the album on iTunes or Amazon