Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Belle and Sebastian
392 music COLOR.jpg (18838 bytes)

They’d rather be jamming...
Ronnie Black

For such a notoriously publicity-shy band, Scotland’s Belle and Sebastian certainly have created a buzz. For two nights in November, Tokyo audiences will get their first chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Formed at an all-night cafEin Glasgow in 1996, Belle and Sebastian were not named for members of the band, but instead for a cult ’60s television show. The band centered around songwriter Stuart Murdoch (vocals/guitar/piano) and Stuart David (bass), until David left last year to launch his solo project, Looper.
Within months of forming, Belle and Sebastian had generated a word-of-mouth buzz that had them packing in the hometown crowds. But despite their surging popularity (or perhaps because if it), they adopted a policy of refusing to release photographs or personal information about the band. And, since a disastrous 1997 NME interview, it would seem they haven’t subjected themselves to any sort of press inquisition either.

Instead, Belle and Sebastian have opted to let their music do the talking, a sensible approach given the depth and richness of their dark, quirky. string-based soul. Releasing their first, mail order-only album, Tigermilk, in 1996, the band signed to independent London label Jeepster Records for three subsequent 1997 EPs, Dog On Wheels, Lazy Line Painter Jane and 3…6…9…Seconds of Light.

At this point, they filled out the band-now a sextet featuring a violinist and cellist-with the addition of trumpeter Mick Cooke. They also secured distribution in North America, signing with Matador for 1998’s full-length, The Boy With The Arab Strap. The album went on to earn Belle and Sebastian a BRIT award for Best British Newcomer, paving the way for the overwhelming success of their 2000 release, Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant. Meanwhile, bassist Stuart David left the band to launch his own project, Looper.

In the latest news, Belle and Sebastian have scored the soundtrack to a new film, Storytelling, directed by Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse) and due out this fall. The soundtrack is to be released by Jeepster in the UK and Matador in the US. In Japan, Belle and Sebastian are distributed by German independent label !K7.

Belle and Sebastian play Akasaka Blitz on Nov 14-15..See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana