How did the solo effort come about? Were these songs you originally planned for the Ronelles?
RM: I wasn’t really planning on writing an album to be honest. I’d just been writing on and off since the Ronelles stopped playing. There were some songs better than others and eventually I decided that there were enough to maybe try and do a solo album. These songs would never have worked as Ronelles songs, which is probably why it sounds so different from my older stuff.
Name three guitar heroes you grew up with who influenced you.
RM: Growing up I’d have to say it was all about Noel Gallagher for me. I was too young for The Stone Roses in their prime but Oasis were right on cue. I’d say it was more the songwriting that attracted me to Noel but I’ve got to say that every guy in school wanted to pick up a guitar and be in a band because of him. They changed my life and I knew it was going to have to be a life in music after Definitely Maybe and Morning Glory.
Keith Richards has been my idol since my early teens. Everything about him is so appealing, from the riffs he’s written, to the guitars he plays to the clothes and the image to the myths surrounding him. It’s everything. The Stones music has been the back drop of my life and I’d cite Exile as my favorite and most played album. His playing is truly unique and I’ve lost days of my life trying to learn his stuff in the open tunings.
Growing up, I’ll never forget the night I first heard Never Mind The Bollocks. It blew me away and sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. For that reason, Steve Jones is on my list of 3. The playing probably wasn’t considered technical around that time with the likes of Page and Townshend in their prime but to me Steve Jones was the complete guitarist. His sound, his playing, all of it epitomized what the Sex Pistols were about and his white Les Paul is as iconic as the rest of the Pistols paraphernalia. He had a great stance too!
How did you meet up with Phil Cheveron (The Pogues) and Jon Fratelli?
RM: Phil Chevron from the Pogues is someone I’d known for a few years before he worked on the album. When he was on medical leave from the Pogues, I used to send him demos and see if he liked any of the music. He liked a track Waiting For Lucy and flew from Dublin to Glasgow for 2 days to record guitar and backing vocals. It was fantastic to finally work with him and I’m hoping it’s a partnership that continues onto some of my newer songs.
Jon Fratelli was someone I vaguely knew through a friend. I always loved the sound of his records and his songwriting is phenomenal. Over the past few years I got to know him a lot more and ended up touring with him as his guitar tech on the Psycho Jukebox tour. He mentioned one night that he’d had this song for a while that I might like to finish and put on my own album. He sent a rough version over and straight away I was excited by it. I finished it off and it became the title track, Fables and Follies. He also came out to the studio for a day to lend his playing to another track Happy Pretending. It’s a real honour to be able to say I worked alongside him.
Where are you currently touring?
RM: I’ve currently no plans to tour sadly. I play occasionally across the UK but these shows tend to be acoustic and in intimate settings. I try and play in Glasgow as often as I can but I’m currently finishing songs for the next record so that’s taking up my time. Recording starts imminently so that will take up a few months. I’m hoping to secure licensing deals in the US, Japan and Central Europe and bring my music to new ears. The interest seems to be there and I’m looking into playing shows abroad again as soon as its possible.
Do you have a “most embarrassing moment” on stage? What was it?
RM: My most embarrassing moment onstage is hands down one night in Glasgow at the Art School. I’d managed to consume a bottle and a half of Jack Daniels before show time and things were pretty hazy. I wasn’t much of a fan of the people who frequented the place and felt I’d better tell them… I managed to have my little outburst and collapse backwards onto my guitar, split it in 2 to the sound of silence. The guitar was a write off and the hangover lasted days. I’m glad to say I’m now almost 3 years sober and a bit more reserved when it comes to playing live. It was a hugely embarrassing moment.
Who have you learned the most from in your journey from Ronelle to solo artist?
RM: That’s a good question. I’ve been really fortunate with the people I’ve worked with and more so with some of my friends. Guys like my good pal and drummer on my record Ross McFarlane who’s worked in bands like Texas, The Proclaimers and more gives me great advice. He’s been there and done it. Guys like Jon Fratelli and Phil Chevron have given me pointers, even if they didn’t know they’d done it. If I’m around people like that, it’s impossible not to take something from the way they work, the way they handle certain things.
What’s next for Raymonde Meade?
RM: I guess what’s next for me is to try and spread word of the album whilst working on the new one. I was always pretty convinced that there wasn’t much for me in Britain and I still feel that way, especially in Glasgow. If your face doesn’t fit then you can forget progressing onto better bills or festivals. My plan is to keep doing what I do, try and write better music and come and play it to people who know what they like rather than what they’re told to. I’ve got an albums worth of material written and I’m looking forward to hearing it come together.