courtesy photoThe Fratellis play Popscene this week in support of their new album.

courtesy photoThe Fratellis play Popscene this week in support of their new album.

Scottish trio The Fratellis are back after breaking up

It wasn’t a break, it was a break-up. Glasgow trio The Fratellis grew sick of each other. After spending four years together, vocalist-guitarist Jon Lawler, bassist Barry Wallace and drummer Gordon “Mince” McRory couldn’t handle being in the same room.

“It just caused a lot of tension,” Lawler says. “We, or at least I, didn’t deal with that tension very well. I felt like the only thing to do was run away in the opposite direction.”

Yet the band is back together on its first American tour in four years, promoting its new blues-rock-heavy album, “We Need Medicine.” The tour stops at Popscene on Thursday in The City.

The Fratellis had a quick rise to prominence in 2006, with an iPod ad highlighting the single “Flathead,” British press declaring them the best new rock band and the song “Chelsea Dagger” getting featured at countless sporting events.

The following year, the band was the opener on the Police’s reunion tour and at the height of its success with its debut album, “Costello Music.” But in 2008, with the follow-up, “Here We Stand,” it disappeared.

“We had that kind of classic rock ’n’ roll tale of this steep ascent and sort of falling from the cliff on the other side,” Lawler says. “Nobody tells you how to deal with it when it happens. It’s not the end of the world — it’s just music — but at that time, when you fall off that cliff of success … you’re not sure how to deal with it. Our way was to go off and do something else. Looking back on it, it’s just sort of running away.”

For three years, the three didn’t speak to each other, choosing to pursue other projects. Wallace joined a rock band, McRory a heavy-metal act, and Lawler recorded a solo album and started a retro-leaning band called Codeine Velvet Club. None neared the success of the Fratellis.

Then Lawler awoke one morning and questioned why he gave up on the thing that made him happiest.

“Why were we not going out and playing for people?” he says. “It’s all we ever wanted. It’s all anybody ever wants.”

Lawler had a solo performance coming up and invited McRory and Wallace to join him. While rehearsing, the band wrote two new songs, “This Old Ghost Town” and the appropriately titled “Rock ’n’ Roll Will Break Your Heart.”

“We had an audience, and I guessed half of them are probably still out there,” Lawler says. “It took the entire three years we didn’t play together to really [understand] that. Artists will tell you they do it for themselves, but at some point, you really … need that reaction from real people.”

IF YOU GO

The Fratellis

Where: Popscene, Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.

When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday

Tickets: $15 (sold out)

Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.popscene-sf.comartsFratellisJohn LawlerPop Music & JazzWe Need Medicine

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants short stop Mauricio Dubon (1) breaks his bat on a ground out in the 4th inning against the Miami Marlins at Oracle Park on April 22, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Wood, bench power Giants past Rangers

After a bullpen implosion cost Alex Wood a win in his prior… Continue reading

San Fernando, CA, Thursday, April 29, 2021 - California Governor Gavin Newsom waves goodbye to friends after attending a press conference where he signed legislation that will provide a $6.2 billion tax cut to the hardest hit small businesses in the state at Hanzo Sushi restaurant downtown. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Portrait of Art Gensler (Courtesy Gensler)
World-renowned architect Art Gensler dies

By Keith Burbank Bay City News World-renowned Bay Area architect Art Gensler,… Continue reading

Most Read