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Baker's Dozen

Coming Back To Beauty: Kevin Rowland's Favourite Music
Fergal Kinney , August 19th, 2020 08:16

Kevin Rowland guides Fergal Kinney through the songs that saved him, from self-discovery as a musician through the saving grace of music in recovery from drug addiction. Rowland portrait by Eliza Hill.


Mama Cass - 'It's Getting Better'
About 1995, I started playing this over and over again. About 1995 things were getting really fucking good. I never liked it, but I was playing it over and over. Her vocal. That track’s so pure, just amazing. I was in a really hopeful place from 1995 onwards really. About that time I got the idea to start wearing a sarong, and then sandals, and then I had a leather kilt made and I wore Roman sandals with it. People thought it was amazing and the look developed from there, I was on a buzz! I felt that I was restarting my life in a lot of ways and I didn’t want much to do with the past. 

And did the clothes represent a clear break with that past?

To other people, perhaps, but for me it was just... I felt really in touch with myself in a way I hadn’t done for a long time. I’d spent a lot of my life reactive, reacting to things – oh they’re doing that, I’ll do that then – and I just felt myself. More than I ever had done.

What was the reaction like to those clothes from your friends who you’d socialise with?

They fucking loved it. Wow, that’s fucking great. Women were saying it was sexy. I was wearing nail varnish, painting my toenails. They liked it, y’know? 

You've insinuated in other interviews that this reissue might be the last thing you do in the music industry...

I wasn't saying that this album is the last thing, there's other reissues in the pipeline. I just want to do other things, I don't want to be that guy - that Kevin Rowland from Dexys guy - there's other strings to my bow really. 

Thank you Kevin Rowland.

Thank you. You've got my life there, man. That's the story of my life.