Pilotcan


About Band

 

PILOTCAN

Formed in by friends Joe Herbert and Keiron Mellotte after a lot of drunken talk, only to have their bluff called by Boss Hog's Jon Spencer, who offered them a gig supporting his band in The Venue, Edinburgh. Problem was this gig was 6 weeks away and they didn't have any songs. Worse, Keiron had never played the guitar before... They recruited friend Stuart Nicol from The Zephyrs to play drums. (Interestingly he'd never played the drums before) and a bass player called Kev and play the show they did. It was awful.

Never the less the two friends were bitten by the bug and Pilotcan was born. Tours with Brainiac, Rocket From The Crypt followed and Pilotcan were joined by dance drummer Stephen Murgatroyd. A 7" single was released by Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite on his Rock Action Records. It was called "Rusty Barker Learns To Fly" and it sold out in 6 days. "sounds like Stereolab's estranged cousin giving it tongues with The Jesus And Marychain. Feels like a Class venture on all fronts" NME

 

A second Rock Action single "Five Minutes on a Tuesday Night" similarly garnished rave reviews before Pilotcan decided after being a band for 6 months that things weren't happening fast enough. So in 6 days they recorded the 14 track debut "Socially Inept Disco" with legendary producer Jamie Watson (The Vaselines, Long Finn Killie). It came out on Keiron's own EVOL Records and went on to sell 12,000 and Picked up favourable reviews in Japan, USA, Germany and Spain :

"Socially Inept Disco" is as visceral a piece of home recording and brash pop as you'll hear all year.. It deserves your attention." John Peel

"7/10" - NME

"Think Pavement, Flaming Lips and a dash of country.. 4/5" - Kerrang

The next single was the infectious "Losing More Than My Fingers" . This saw the band visit Ireland/Europe and tour 'till Keiron had completely lost his voice. A six month break followed.

The band were happy that their debut record had made money but six months later the band could even bare to listen to it. The knew rightly that the shambolic recordings were at odds with the new material and the energetic live shows. So in the spring they convened with Jamie to record the second LP "The Boy Who Knew Maps", which gained favourable press on its release:

"a stellar leap from their debut, and one might venture, a proper LP, with dimension, melody and a lot of weird atmospherics. 4/5" - Rocksound.

"Ideal for set of headphones coming down Sunday morning" - 4 stars , Kerrang

John Peel, Steve Lamacq and Jim Gellatly all played the LP a lot on their respective radio shows. But disappointing record sales still resulted. Even the addition of new blood in the form of exceptional guitarist Scott MacDonald, the bands driver and friend, didn't help to bolster their spirits. After six months touring the album and playing on any stage that would have them Pilotcan, were ready to call it a day...

Then John Peel invited them to record a Peel Session... It was like a lease of new life. The resulting session was, they felt, their best work.. Then soon after they won the T Break competition to play T in The Park. Spirits were lifted and London shows began to get busier and busier. Things seemed to be picking up. So the band began recording their third LP in Fife with Mogwai/Super Furry Animals live engineer Michael Brennan Jr.

The sessions were slow and spread out because they were recorded in the down time between Michael working with Snow Patrol and The Zephyrs. Tensions flaired between the band. Only Keiron and Scott were actually making it into the studio. Kev's bass lines were often needing re done and Michael lost half the recordings. This didn't help matters much. Eventually Kev's departure from the band amid bitter personal problems and enough acrimony to fuel a small civil war resulted in the LP being put on hold.

That summer the bands friend David Jack joined up to play Bass and help them re record the missing tracks.. the LP was then finished by the end of the year but Keiron was exhausted with the whole process. "I felt like I'd ripped myself open for these songs but it was just too much. The subject matter was too close to home about a lot of things and I think by this point I just didn't care any more." Drummer Steve and Bass player David left around the same time and there just wasn't a band anymore.

A six month hiatus turned into a year and Keiron formed a new band, Bee Thousand, with Kiwi brothers Nathan and Ryan. Two years of silence came from the Pilotcan camp. But the band, it seemed never left Keiron's mind. "Songs kept popping into my head and I kept writing.. but I still didn't feel like it was time. But I couldn't shake the feeling that I wanted to do something with them. By this time Pilotcan was basically myself and who ever else was around. Any gigs that we did do were largely guerilla affairs; unrehearsed, mainly acoustic, and often just improvised." In 2004 he mastered the third LP and played a few shows with Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers.

Scott parted company and was replaced by ex-Major Major guitarist Pete Dunlop. Nathan Wallace from Bee Thousand joined on drums and sometimes cello player Caroline Gardiner became a full time member. The demise of Bee Thousand in 2005 made Keiron decide to concentrate his creative energies on Pilotcan and a number of well received gigs followed. "Eventually, All Your Friends Will Let You Down, Eventually" the third LP from Pilotcan was be released earlier this year - an unfortunate four years late. "It still sounds like what it is.. a home made collection of heart felt love songs and tales of broken friendships. It's a low key affair. I like it. I'm glad people will finally get to hear it."

Pilotcan now (as of 2006) have a new direction, a new line-up and are both rehearsing and gigging with renewed enthusiasm and a refreshed, optimistic view for the future.

Ally Hall has joined on bass, whilst ex-Fatalists drummer Mr Tom Reid has filled Nathan's ample shoes, together creating a solid backbone to Keiron's songs, old and new. Expect infectious, emotionally charged tracks, further enhanced by Pete's creative lead, successfully fusing pop sensibilities with a twist of lemon and soupcon of EXTREMEFUCKINGNOISETERROR (™).

(but in a good way)

Pilotcan are:

Vocals, Rythm guitar - Keiron Mellotte

Lead guitar - Pete Dunlop

Bass Guitar - Paul Jarvie

Drums - Tom Reid

Please be our friend. It's cold here, and there are wolves...

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