Interview from Smash Hits, 1981

Mackenzie & Rankine

39 Lyon Street

All sorts of records a speciality. Mark Milligan goes through the books and finds a bewildering variety of projects going on.

Unemployment is one thing that won't be affecting up and coming Scottish band The Associates during 1981. Vocalist and founder-member Billy Mackenzie has hatched a plan to release a total of ten singles and an album during the year under one name or another.
So far they've released one single under their own name called "Tell Me Easter's On Friday" (a classic track which unfortunately only achieved cult status) and there's another, called "Kitchen Person", coming very soon.
However, these young gentlemen have their fingers in more than one pie and, under the peculiar name of 39 Lyon Street (which basically stands for The Associates backing up the delicate voice of Christine Beveridge), they have just put out their own version of Simon Dupree's '60's hit, "Kites". With its poised melody driven along by a bass-led arrangement it's the perfect rendition of a perfect song.
Billy explains the idea behind 39 Lyon Street: "Around 1976 a lot of us (including Alan Rankine, the other founder member of The Associates) were living in a flat at 39 Lyon Street in Dundee. We used to hold parties almost every night and the kind of music we used to play was sophisticated club-style music. Some of us even used to sell 1920's clothing. Christine was one of the people who lived there.
"When me and Rankine played the cabaret circuit we used to play the 'Kites' number. The next thing to be released by 39 Lyon Street will be a quasi-Neil Sedaka song called '18 Carat Love Affair'." Under their own name, The Associates' singles will be put out by the Situation 2 label (part of Beggars Banquet) while their 39 Lyon Street offerings will surface on RSO. As if this wasn't complicated enough they are also negotiating a deal with another major label for the release of the LP which, along with the last in a sequence of singles, they're recording at the moment.
But don't they feel that they owe their loyalty to one particular record company?
"I don't think it's right for a band to be tied down to one particular label. They should have the freedom to go and do different things for different companies," replies Andy.
Mr Mackenzie and his partner, Alan Rankine, have some very colourful ideas for the way they want to channel their energies in the future. Apart from this imminent flood of vinyl they've also got plans for a 45 minute two man show to cover versions (similar to "Kites") at a leading "exclusive" London hotel.
As for the records, Andy describes "Kitchen Person" as "a musical version of Buster Keaton meets Gloria Swanson".
Other titles include "White Car In Germany", "I Never Will", "Club Country", "Australia" and "Wait For The Love". The album currently has two provisional titles; either "Nothing And Something Particular" or "Love Of Argument".
By the end of this year Andy hopes he'll be able to look back on the release of 36 new tracks. If they're up to the standard of the ones he's released already they should be well worth hearing.