Following a short sabbatical, Aberdeen alternative rockers Turning 13 are back in the thick of it and busier than ever as New York Johnny found out when he spoke to their drummer Jeff Bruce recently.
Tell the unenlightened a wee bit about Turning 13. Who does what and where does the name come from?
Ahh, Steven Bruce – Guitar/Vox, Nath McDonald – Guitar/Vox, Jeff Bruce – Drums, Callum Chapman – Bass.
As far as songwriting goes, we all contribute to Steven’s ideas. He lays down riffs etc, and we work rhythms around them into verse chorus verse bits!! Steven and I organise gigs etc, make decisions on our look and sound!
The name came from a Tony Gale novel called Turning 30 about the trials and tribulations of men getting to a certain age and the expectations and responsibilities that come with that!, We just added a twist with 13 – the first year of the terrible teens!!!
Who was the inspiration for you to a) first pick up your instrument and b) get the band together?
Lots. My dad played in bands so I was always around drums etc. so it seemed logical to have a go!! The first drummer that stood out for me and had it all was Rick Buckler from The Jam, then Mike Joyce from The Smiths. Showing my age a bit!!
The inspiration for the band was simple, just to be heard and hopefully make a contribution the music scene in Scotland.
This is your second bite of the cherry as a band so to speak. What did you achieve first time around? Why the break? What prompted the return?
We achieved quite a lot supporting some high profile bands such as Biffy Clyro, playing festival showcases, etc. The break was due to me having a young family, other members with health issues and studies. The return was a response to what the music scene is currently championing. I think we were a bit ahead of our time before!!
What have you learnt in your “time out”? Are you doing anything differently this time around?
We’ve leared to relax and enjoy it!! We were maybe too hung up on “making it” before!
I believe you have a new EP out shortly on Fat Hippy Records. Tell us a little bit about that.
The launch gig is on 26th March at Drummonds. The EP contains 3 tracks, 2 of which are new and an older track which, judging by the feedback we have received, is a popular one!
Was it a conscious decision to do it locally with Fat Hippy or just a question of economics?
Both. We just asked if Tom was interested in helping, he was. So we knew he had the experience of releasing music from other local bands with a degree of success. Doing it locally helped also cause we all have other commitments with jobs etc.
And there’s a wee tour coming up in support of the EP, right?
Correct. Early April, just Scottish dates. We are confirming things as we speak, talking with a few bands to drag along!! The dates will be up on our Myspace page very soon.
There was whisper about a name change for the band. What happened with that?
Again, we maybe thought of a name change to connect with the new songs. However, the feedback we recieved from people who like us convinced us to remain Turning 13.
How does the Aberdeen music scene compare with other places you’ve played?
Its very healthy. Lots of good bands, and most importantly plenty of top class venues that give you the opportunity to play without paying! Compared to how its done in some cities, its great!!
Mark McGhee – good or bad appointment for the Dons?
Good. A boyhood hero returns. Lack of funds will be a major issue for him but given time a cup win is not too much to ask for!!
Is a top-six place on the cards?
I don’t see why not. This has been a poor season so far for all the clubs in the SPL, including the Old Firm!
What’s the best gig that Turning 13 has played?
There’s been a few, but for performance and sound, our last gig supporting Future Of The Left was as good as I can remember!!
And the worst?
Cafe Drummonds, the one just before our hiatus. Things just went wrong all night! Technical problems, lateness and alcohol issues. We needed a break!!
And your dream gig would be?
Playing Glasgow Barrowlands with Fugazi or something to that effect!!
Your five desert island tracks?
Fugazi – Waiting Room
QOTSA – No-one Knows
The Pixies – Gigantic
Gang Of Four – Damaged Goods
McLusky – To Hell With Good Intentions
There would probably be some Nirvana in there also!!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to all the people who have kept encouraging us to keep it going, rock on!!
And finally, your favourite flavour of crisps?
Salt & Vinegar!
Thanks for talking to Flares n Seagulls Jeff and good luck with the record. New York Johnny
Turning 13 play Cafe Drummond on March 26th where they’ll be launching their new EP.