INTERVIEW: RODDY WOOMBLE
Roddy Woomble has got it right. He’s fulfilled the rock star dream fronting Idlewild; scratched the writing itch with several contributions to newspapers and magazines; achieved critical kudos with his captivating solo folk music; and dabbled in radio presenting, painting and (once upon a time) photography. Now nestled away in the western isles with his family (chickens and all), Roddy’s appearances on the music scene are rare compared to his Idlewild days, but when he ventures out you can count on a special show. This winter, the Tolbooth will play host to Roddy’s Christmas Hootenanny – an evening of high-spirited festive entertainment from Roddy, his band, and hand-picked supports.
You are curating a special Christmas evening at the Tolbooth on 16th December – what do you have in store for guests?
We’ll be doing a full band set and a few Christmas songs. Seonaid Aitken is opening up with her band which will be great, and also Foxface, so it’s a good bill for sure. There’ll be a session going on in the bar too (musical rather than drinking – perhaps both).
For those who haven’t heard of your support acts, what can they expect?
Seonaid’s band are along the trad folk route and Foxface are a bit more left-field, country-ish. Both are well worth listening to.
Are you a fan of Christmas time? How will you be celebrating this year?
I love Christmas and will celebrate it as I do every year, with my family, a large meal and a decorated tree.
You live in the western isles and own chickens, which reminds me of Alex James from Blur retiring for a quiet life. Has it been a dream to settle down after years of mad touring?
I’m not a rich man like Alex James so can’t retire, but I’m happy living where I do and I prefer the space and quiet and trying to rely less on shops and suppliers. But I also like visiting cities, eating in restaurants and playing gigs, so I’m not a hermit. Not yet, anyway.
You have ventured into journalism – any plans to write something more substantial, like a novel or autobiography?
I’d like to write more, maybe a book, non-fiction. Who knows when.
Having experience of both a very successful band and a well-respected solo career, where do you sit on the commercial success Vs artist respectability line?
Who wouldn’t want to be popular critically and commercially? Unfortunately that happens to very few people. It’s either one or the other. The general public don’t really care what critics say – they care about what they hear on the radio and TV. It’s the music fans who read the critics, and they’re a picky and fickle bunch! I’ve come off lightly thankfully, but a few more nice reviews and record sales wouldn’t hurt.
We interviewed Rod Jones recently, whose new band The Birthday Suit goes down the rock route and has been hailed by some critics as similar to early Idlewild material. He said he is still influenced by you. Have you listened to his new record, and what do you think?
I have and I like it. Rod’s a fantastic guitar player and melodist and really pays attention to detail. I’m a lot more ramshackle in my approach. I suppose that’s why we worked well together.
What do you think of Stirling? Any favourite haunts?
I like it, although I haven’t spent much time there. I like the Tolbooth the best of course.
Roddy Woomble’s Christmas Hootenanny takes place on Friday 16th December at 8pm. Call 01786 27 4000 for more information.
Interview by Hannah Currie