Good feeling again for Travis

In retrospect, Fran Healy didn’t set out to plumb the sonic and lyrical depths into which he descended on “12 Memories,” the ’03 album from his typically optimistic chime-pop outfit Travis. But there’s a good reason the Scotsman courted bad vibes on such dirges as the abuse-themed “Re-Offender” and the anti-war “Beautiful Occupation.”

“I wasn’t particularly comfortable talking about this at the time it came out,” he explains at a recent pre-release party for his band’s latest recording, the conversely chipper “The Boy With No Name,” on Epic.

“But ‘12 Memories’ was about going into therapy, and the record was the therapy sessions. I was feeling really, really bad, and I didn’t want to take any drugs to get myself out of it. So I had three months of hypnotherapy instead, where you went back and fixed your memories. So that’s where the album title came from, and each song on it was a memory I wanted to address.”

Psychoanalysis handed Healy a solid, if somewhat sinister, concept album. And a sense that he’d purged his personal demons.

It was easy, he says, “because I’m the biggest blab — I will confide in everyone. But my worry about going into therapy was, ‘What if I fix what’s wrong with me, but I can’t write songs anymore because I fixed the thing that makes me write songs?’”

Compounded by his getting so caught up in world affairs, Travis performed at the MTV Europe Awards among some hundred naked people onstage who were holding up signs saying “no war” and “no bombs”; the band also publicly expressed its displeasure at Tony Blair’s performance.

But the 33-year-old Healy is over politics and out of his funk.

“I feel older and wiser,” he says.

That’s the reason there are no protest songs on “Boy,” just playful, ringing odes to his wife, Nora (“Closer,” “Battleships”), old friends (“Selfish Jean”), and his year-old son Clay (“My Eyes”), whose birth last March softened the singer’s steely heart.

“He’s a beautiful little guy, really cool and calm,” pop says of the boy, who’ll accompany him on tour when Travis hits the Fillmore tonight. “And I had a lot of friends saying ‘Oh, when you have your child, it’s going to blow your mind; suddenly you have all this responsibility and you grow up.’ But I realized that I’ve been a father already for 10 years in Travis. I mean, just looking after Dougie [Payne, mischievous band bassist] alone is serious business, so I’ve been preparing for fatherhood for a long time.”

There’s also a certain sense of parental concern involved with songwriting, admits Healy, who’s actually issued more single B-sides than album tracks. “You give birth to the music, nurture it, introduce it to its audience.”

He adds, “And then let your songs go into the world to do their own thing — even on ‘12 Memories,’ an album of all dark moments and not a lot of sunshine.”

Travis

Where: The Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. today

Tickets: $35

Contact: (415) 421-8497 or www.ticketmaster.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes sit in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
<ins></ins>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read