Cosmic Rough Riders: Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine – Billy Sloan’s Best Scottish Albums
Cosmic Rough Riders. Enjoy the melodic sun. Released – 2000.
DANIEL Wylie was on his way to a recording studio in Glasgow when two guys rushed over and stopped him on the street.
“I didn’t know them. But they recognized me and in a few seconds, they got the better of me, ”recalls the singer.
“One of them said, ‘I thought it was great when you dedicated your song to Castlemilk. It’s going to mean a lot to a lot of people ”.
“They left and I have never seen them since. ”
Their gratitude was due to an impromptu moment on Top Of The Pops three days earlier.
In 2001, Wylie – and her band Cosmic Rough Riders – made their debut in the series performing the hit single Revolution (In The Summertime).
As guitarist Stephen Fleming played the intro, Wylie grabbed the mic and told a puzzled studio audience, “This one’s for Castlemilk.”
The song was a product of C-Sharp Music Factory, which opened in the sprawling housing estate in 1990.
The community studio, in a local mall, was the former Galloway the Butchers room.
The group recorded the track adjacent to the refrigerated store where carcasses of meat hung.
“It was important for me to say that. It wasn’t planned, I just did it on impulse, ”said Daniel.
“I knew a lot of people in Castlemilk – in music and the arts – who maybe never had the confidence or
self-confidence to surpass oneself and go further,
all really gifted individuals.
“I just wanted to show them that if I can do it, so can you. It could be done. I hope what I said meant something to them.
Appearing on Top Of The Pops was an ambition fulfilled.
“It’s every band’s dream to have a hit record and play it on the show. We were nervous. Who would not be ? he said.
“But there is a huge difference between watching it on TV every Thursday and actually being there.”
The BBC production team asked them to perform live.
“No one else on the show was playing live, everyone miming,” he said.
“The exception was Atomic Kitten, # 1 with Eternal Flame, a cover of The Bangles song. But they were singing on a backing track.
“The crew threw it at us. They wanted to do something real to change.
“We were a great live band but my immediate thought was… what if I screw up? There will be millions of people to watch. It was THE most nervous I’ve ever been in my life.
“Back then, I felt like everyone had a better boost just because they mimed. They sounded exactly like their records. But we didn’t.
“I watched the clip recently and felt great. It might not have been a perfect voice, but it was close. Live isn’t meant to be perfect.
Wylie retains a genuine affection for C-Sharp, which has played a crucial role in his career.
“Two local guys – Drew Phillips and Rab Patterson – came up with the idea of opening a studio in Castlemilk,” Daniel said.
“They approached Urban Aid for funding and it was a huge process to get it started. Anyone in the area could request check-in time.
“The contract was that you had three days, from 10 am to 5 pm, to record and mix your songs. Once you did that, you had to go back to the end of the queue and wait your turn until the next free time was available.
Wylie and guitarist Fleming also took advantage of C-Sharp’s downtime, often working all night.
“It was just the two of us most of the time. I wrote all the songs. I had to learn a bit of engineering with him to be able to record his parts. Stephen played guitar and bass and we both did a bit of drums and percussion so it was a real team effort.
Over a period of two years, Wylie amassed a collection of demos. After receiving a small artistic grant, they recorded other songs at Riverside Studios in Busby.
In 1999, the Cosmics released their first album, Deliverance on their own label Raft Records, selling 1,000 copies.
He paved the way for a second album, Panorama, 12 months later.
Illustration for both was done by graphic designer David Wells.
“David knew Alan McGee from Creation Records. They had both been members of the H20 group a few years before, ”Daniel revealed.
McGee was launching a new label called Poptones, named after a song by Public Image Limited.
“David sent him the albums and said, ‘I think you should sign them’.”
The Scottish music maverick – who had launched the careers of Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Super Furry Animals and, more famous, Oasis, on Creation – was suitably impressed.
“McGee said, ‘Why don’t you take the best songs from Deliverance and Panorama and put them together? “,” Said Daniel.
“But he insisted that I also do some new songs. He wanted to promote it as a new product. That was his thought behind it all.
Wylie wrote three new songs – Melanie, Sometime and Morning Sun – which boosted nine Panorama picks and three Deliverance re-recordings.
“If McGee had said, ‘Can you do an album with none of the old songs?’ I thought I had written enough already to do it easily, ”he said.
“I would have preferred to pass two records. Panorama has only been out for six months and has sold 2,000 copies. So for me, it was still very much alive.
“But the opportunity for McGee to bring these songs to more people was really appealing.”
The Cosmics joined a motley roster of new artists on Poptones, which included US group Oranger, UK duo The Montgolfier Brothers and El Vez, an Elvis Presley tribute band from Mexico.
“There weren’t a lot of bands signed to Poptones at the time. McGee chose carefully, ”recalls Daniel.
“It was very important for us to be in touch with him. When someone like that is involved, you know that all the right people will be able to hear your music. What if the album was as good as I thought it was… I thought he might do well.
Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine was released in November 2000. Revolution (In The Summertime) was a big radio hit and broke into the Top 40.
“A few years ago, I had been an apprentice carpenter and attended Langside College to study carpentry,” Daniel revealed.
“At the end of the week, I was going to Queen’s Park with the guys in my class. It was summer and the place was full of pretty girls. We relaxed and had a few beers.
“Once there was an army recruiting booth set up in the park with tanks and armored vehicles as part of the presentation.
“The squadrons were distributing leaflets trying to recruit young people to enlist. I remember saying to one of them: “We don’t need a summer revolution”. As silly as it sounds, this is how the song was born.
The Pain Inside – originally on Panorama – gave the group their second hit single.
“We had so many good reviews in the music press that the file was as thick as a phone book,” he said.
“It was one of those records that got 99% positive reviews across the board.
“And every time we did a gig, the sales went up. We opened for U2 at SECC and sold 3,000 copies the following week. So people seemed to like it.
The album spent 17 weeks in the top 200 and sold over 100,000 copies. Q-Magazine ranked it among the 50 best records of the year.
“Every now and then McGee will send me a Facebook message saying, ‘Dan, I was listening
Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine today and it’s a real job of genius, ”Daniel said with a laugh.
“And his marketing idea worked like a charm. He did the exact same thing with The Hives on their UK debut album, Your New Favorite Band.
“Next month our record will be reissued on the Last Night From Glasgow label. It was remastered by Paul McGeechan, and he sent it to me.
“I listened to it to the end for the first time in many years.
“There wasn’t a single second I wanted to take it off. I’m as happy with the album now as I was when it was finished in 2000.
* THE Billy Sloan Show airs on BBC Radio Scotland every Saturday evening at 10pm.
COSMIC Rough Riders played some of the biggest gigs of their careers thanks to the album’s success.
They couldn’t believe their luck when asked to support U2 at the SECC in Glasgow just
48 hours notice.
The Irish supergroup have announced dates for their Elevation world tour and have left Scotland out of the schedule.
There was a general outcry. I ran a hastily organized campaign asking them to rethink. It paid off.
“It was the biggest audience we met at home. Their road team couldn’t have been more helpful, ”recalls Daniel.
“After the first night, U2 had a series of limos parked outside our locker room so they could have a quick jaunt.
“I saw Bono hurtling down the ramp from the stage – wearing a hooded boxer dressing gown – and he said, ‘Hey Daniel, thanks for doing the gig.’
“It was our pleasure. We were such huge fans. He even verified us by name from the stage.
“People talk about Bono and his politics. Some don’t like him for that. But I had first met the group at Tiffany’s in Glasgow. I thought they were nice guys then. And seeing them years later when they were one of the biggest bands on the planet, I don’t think they’ve changed at all. They were still
down to earth and very normal.
I hit the road with the Cosmics – Wylie, Fleming plus Gary Cuthbert, James Clifford and Mark Brown – when they performed at the Summersonic Festival in Japan.
They shared a bill with Marilyn Manson, Primal Scream, Ocean Color Scene, Slipknot and Elbow.
But their appearance looked like something from the parody rock movie, This Is Spinal Tap.
“We were playing in an arena with a capacity of 15,000 and our time on stage was 11 am,” recalls Daniel.
“I thought there would be no one there. Who’s going to a concert so early?
“But when we got on stage, it was full. The audience knew our songs and sang along with them. We have suffered an absolute storm.
“Our album was released on Sony over there, the same label as Abba and Michael Jackson. It worked pretty well. We sold 9,000 copies.
“The Japanese audience also has to be the most polite you can play for. They go crazy during the songs. And they stay in total silence to listen to what you say between numbers. They were so well behaved.
“Can you imagine that happening in Barrowland?” ”