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The following list of questions have all been discussed at one time or another on the old AC/RF mailing list. In fact, much of what you'll see below was pulled nearly word for word directly from the list. We've done our best to try and answer as many of the common questions as possible. If you've thought of something else you believe should be asked on the FAQ, please let us know about it and we'll do our best to find your answer and add it to this page.

When will Roddy's next CD be released?

We've heard Roddy's been writing a bit, as usual, but he has no plans to begin recording anytime soon.


When and where can I expect to see Roddy on tour?

Roddy will be touring as part of Edwyn Collins' band this Spring, but he hasn't announced any plans to do any shows on his own.


Where can I purchase Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera CDs online?

With the recent re-issue of Knife, Love and Stray on the American Wounded Bird label, it's become slightly less difficult to track down Roddy's earlier albums. Dreamland and Frestonia have yet to be re-issued and are now out of print, so you may have more trouble trying to locate them. All that said, here are a number of places where you might want to begin your search. Your best bet for finding the rare stuff would probably be eBay or Gemm.

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What exactly is "the dip" in Down the Dip?

"... I'm going down the dip with you."

We (on the list) have come up with two possible meanings, neither of which may actually be the real answer. The first one relates to England's "Tube" (underground train). "The dip", some say, may be in reference to the very long escalator ride from street level to the actual train platform.

The other explanation comes from a Scottish list member. She says "the dip" was a local pub in East Kilbride called the Diplomat and everyone used to say, "Are you going down the dip?"


What is "facing all the red" and "chasing all the orange" mean in Down the Dip?

"'Cause I been facin' all the red, me, I'm chasin' all the orange..."

The meanings behind these are still very unclear to us, though some list members believe them to be further references to Britain's Underground and the various (train) lines. Other people on the list think of "orange" as meaning the sunrise and "red" as sunset.

Another possibility is that the "red" is a reference to socialism - something Roddy was fairly vocal about in the early days. And "orange" possibly is in reference to the Protestant religion (as in William and Mary of Orange).


What is a "packamac" from Down the Dip?

"... With the broken backs and their packamacs saying that's the way it goes..."

According to list members in the U.K., a Macintosh is the British name for a raincoat. It is often shortened to Mac, and a pac-a-mac was the trade name of an extremely thin variety that could be rolled up and put in your pocket.


Who are "the Hollowmen"
from Down the Dip?

"... I've been hanging with the hollowmen who never got the groove..."

Roddy's been known to read his fair share of poetry and prose over the years. "The Hollowmen" was the name of a T.S. Eliot poem. You'll have to dig up a copy for yourself to see how they fit in the context of the song.


What is "Hogmanay" in The Boy Wonders?

"...So come Hogmanay when love comes in slurs, resolutions I'll make and you can label them 'Hers'..."

According to the dictionary, it's a Scottish celebration on December 31st. "Hogmanay" is a term only ever referred to in Scotland. You'll rarely hear a Scot refer to New Year's Eve. Scottish tradition is to get very drunk and make New Year's Resolutions (usually not to get so drunk again) that you've forgotten by the morning. This all coming directly from a Scot who probably has fond, if not sometimes blurry, recollections of Hogmanays past.


What are the Queen's Tattoos?

"We do the Queen's Tattoos..."

The Edinburgh Tattoo takes place throughout the Edinburgh Festival period in August/September and consists of soldiers marching in/around the esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. According to one Scottish list member, it's not quite as militaristic as it used to be, but it's a huge tourist attraction and is sold out for every performance. This isn't necessarily what Roddy was referring to, but it may offer some insight into how the word "tattoo" figures into the song.


Who are Johnny Yens from Queen's Tattoos?

"Here come a million Johnny Yens again, hard pushed, hard bitten, that's a show..."

As best we can tell, Johnny Yen is a sort of live fast/die young poster boy created by Iggy Pop for his song "Lust for Life" (which recently appeared on the "Trainspotting" soundtrack). Roddy has often mentioned Iggy as one of his earliest influences and has said in interviews that he sometimes "borrows" bits from songs as sort of a tip of the cap to the original writer. This appears to be the case with "Queen's Tattoos", as the first line of the song is suspiciously close to Iggy's - 'here comes Johnny Yen again with the liquor and drugs and the flesh machine, he's gonna do another striptease...'


Who are "Martin Fry and Mills and Boone" from Queen's Tattoos?

"That kind of love gets all the biggest kicks, from Martin Fry and Mills and Boone..."

Martin Fry was the lead singer of the British band ABC - their big hit in the early '80s was "The Look of Love". Mills and Boone are writers/publishers of trashy romance novels. According to one list member, they seem to churn out a million variations of the same 100-page love story each year.


Who or what is Jack Jones in Just Like the U.S.A.?

"... I need her heart and get a Jack-jones for my sins..."

We've debated over this for a long time. The most plausible explanation is that "jack-jones" is British slang for "on your own". Sometimes also used in the form "I was on my Jack".

Other less likely answers... Jack Jones was a crooner type singer, probably more 60s and 70s and a bit into the 80s. Son of actor Alan Jones. Jack Jones appears in the film Airplane 2 as the singer just outside the mental asylum if you really care.

Someone also said they believe Jack Jones was the man who sang the theme to the lame '70s/'80s US television show "The Love Boat". Perhaps Roddy was just using his name in the song to evoke an image of cheesy American Pop Culture.

However, a new source indicates that "Jack jones", in the context of the song, is actually both a yearning or "jones" for "Jack Daniels" (that esteemed beverage and symbol of the American Rock 'n' Roll lifestyle) and an allusion to the famous crooner. Looks like we were half on the right track.


What or where is Westwood
in Somewhere in My Heart?

"From Westwood to Hollywood, the one thing that's understood..."

Westwood is the suburb of East Kilbride where Roddy is from. That's probably what he's referring to, but Westwood is also a suburb of California which is not too far from Hollywood.


Who are The World Saxaphone Quartet
from Stray?

"... 'Cos I've been there and these are the notes from the overground, The World Saxaphone Quartet, the smell of violets and a passing friend won't let you down..."

The seven notes during Stray and at the end are a sampled bit from a World Saxphone Quartet album. Roddy apparently liked them and thought it would be cool to not only mention them in the lyrics, but also to include an actual chunk of one of their songs. (Also see the related interview clip in the Audio section.)


Who are Jock, Paddy, Neil and Taffy
in Good Morning Britain?

"Jock's got a vote in Parochia... Paddy's just a figure of fun... Taffy's time's gonna come one day... your sons are leaving home, Neil."

"Jock" is slang for Scots, "Paddy" is slang for Irish, "Taffy" is slang for Welsh and Neil is Neil Kinnock, Welsh former leader of the Labour party who pushed through a number of party reforms which were quite radical at the time. Nearly won a general election until middle England lost their nerve on voting day and blew it. The reference is to the restructuring of the Labour Party and the fact that it alienated 'traditional' supporters but didn't attract enough 'new' supporters.


Who is the female singer in Salvation?

We had the opportunity to ask Roddy this very question one day in the KMS Chatroom. Here's what he had to say... "[The singer was] the assistant or intern as you Americans would have it. She seemed pretty shocked. She was a lovely french girl whose name escapes me... isn't that dreadful! I think her singing was perfect."


Who is Vinnie Riley in Salvation?

"Salvation is a sweet sound, Vinnie Riley and the lips that would kiss..."

According to a couple of contributing anoraks, the Durutti Column is/was the "trade name" for Vini Reilly [the actual spelling], much like Aztec Camera was the "trade name" for Roddy Frame. Reilly also played on Morrissey's first album and when Johnny Marr left the Smiths, was touted as a possible replacement, along with Roddy himslef.


What is "Gaudi's soft confusion" in Spanish Horses?

"Ran a red light, running lonely through Gaudi's soft confusion..."

Gaudi was a Spanish architect and sculptor who was born in 1852 and died in 1926. His most famous masterpiece is the Segrada Familia church in Barcelona which was left unfinished. According to list members, one look at his work will explain the term 'soft confusion'. Many of his structures were highly organic forms that broke from the strong classical/moorish styles of his time. Perhaps 'soft confusion' does allude to his way of perceiving the world in various shades of colours, shapes.


What is the "gentle jones" in Spanish Horses?

"... Such a gentle jones, running through my bones..."

This is somewhat similar to a reference used by Roddy in "Just Like the U.S.A." with Jack-jones. "Jones" is really slang for "craving" or "yearning".


Who or what is Black Lucia about?

"... I can almost feel the sunshine, when Black Lucia led the white parade... she's not your blue-eyed girl... Black Lucia lead me into night..."

December 13th, in Sweden, is St. Lucia's Day - a custom whereby Swedish people express their love for light. On this day a very young girl (usually she isn't even 18) goes into the guest room and parents'/relatives' bedrooms in the early morning, wearing a crown of candles around her head and, followed by a parade of young girls, she sings the famous neapolitan song Santa Lucia or some other traditional song.

In this case it refers to a major procession in honour of St. Lucia, for which the young girls usually chosen to be Lucia are white and Roddy is referring to a particular instance when they chose a black girl. That's why he says "she's not your blue eyed girl..." and consequently the white parade is the parade of white girls who follows her.


Who is Sister Ann?

"... Sister Ann says 'there's no need to find solace in anything if you don't want to'..."

At his acoustic shows in 1993, Roddy said that Ann Adams is a friend of his who was a nun and wrote a book called "Silver Boat". The story is a healing metaphorical fantasy written for persons who had been abused as children.


What does Frestonia mean?

The meaning behind "Frestonia" was debated for several years on the mailing list and perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of those discussions is this: a friend of someone on the list took one look at the album title and noticed it was an anagram for "in a forest", which doesn't seem terribly coincidental considering the picture on the sleeve.

Coincidental as that may be, the real story behind it is that the studio in which the album was recorded is located on Freston Road in West London. During the '60s and '70s, I'm told, this area was sort of a hang out for hippy-types (another Haight/Ashbury?) who at one point declared independence under the flag of "The Peoples Republic of Frestonia". Word is that Roddy liked the story so much that he went with it as the title of the album.


What is the "silent LD" in Sun?

"... Moon, through many stages move and light love like a silent LD..."

We've been discussing this since the day Frestonia was released and I'm not so sure we've come to any conclusion. Just about everyone on the list associates a different meaning with LD. One thing we do agree on is that it's an abbreviated form of some word(s). Here are the meanings that have been suggested by list members: LED (or Light Emitting Diode, which is a small colored light you might find on a recording console or other electronic device); Long Distance phone call; "Laser Disc"; in the science world, LD stands for "lethal dose"; the dictionary lists Ld as an abbreviation for Lord; "lucid dream"; and finally, my favorite, "laudate domine", which is Latin (I'm guessing) for prayer.

But as of Roddy's gig on August 18, 1998 at Dingwall's in London, it seems we finally have the real answer. After playing "Sun", someone in the audience yelled out, "What's a silent LD?!" Roddy responded, "I thought you could've found that out on the internet."

He then answered that much-investigated list question, saying that an LD was a Lighting Director, most of whom never shut up. According to those who were there, the LD of the gig that night flashed the stage lights on and off during Roddy's description. (See the Caught on Tape section of the KMS archive for an actual audio clip)


What avenue is On the Avenue about?

"... And it shines like the sun inside of everyone, like the neon that I see in the rain, On the avenue..."

Roddy said on Later With Jules Holland that 'On the Avenue' is "where Madison Avenue meets Holland Park Avenue." I'm not so sure that helps to clarify things. He also said it was based on a song called "Triangle of Hair" by Ivor Cutler, a Scottish poet of sorts. I'm told he's an elderly man who writes slightly surreal tales of normal life, a lot of which are extremely amusing in a downbeat, sardonic kind of way. John Peel is a big fan. His most famous collection is 'Life in a Scotch Sitting Room'. You can get his work on CD or in books.


What is the 'Old Grey Whistle Test'

In 1982, Aztec Camera played ten songs on a UK television show called The Old Grey Whistle Test. In 1993, the audio portion of the broadcast was to be released on compact disc (aka, Aztec Camera Live at the Test). However, according to legend, the company that was to release the CD jumped the gun - they went ahead and printed them up before they ever got Aztec Camera's permission. Subsequently, they were told to destroy all 10,000 copies.

Many of us have seen this CD "for sale" at online record shops and most of us have even ordered copies. Apparently this item is listed in many music catalogs, but is always "out of stock". In other words, if there were copies out there at some point - and I know of a few people that managed to pick one up - they're all gone now. I guess Live at the Test would officially be considered a bootleg. If you have a copy, don't lend it out to anyone. :)


What are the Japanese compilations New, Live and Rare, Spanish Horses, Dream Sweet Dreams, Covers and Rare and Reason for Living?

Over the years, much (if not most) of Roddy's b-side material has been gathered up and re-released as new import compilations by a Japanese sister-label. Such is the case with all of the above titles.

New, Live and Rare contains b-sides, remixes and live performances of tracks from the Love album.

Spanish Horses is made up of all the live tracks featured on the first two CDs of the Roddy Frame Live Collection (the Ronnie Scott's Club show).

Dreams Sweet Dreams contains all the live tracks featured on CDs three and four of the Live Collection.

Covers and Rare is made up of all Aztec Camera remixes, b-sides and a couple of live tracks.

Reason for Living was originally released in England as a two part single with four b-sides. The Japanese import combined both U.K. singles onto one CD and used both of the original sleeves (one on the front, the other on the back). Strangely, the Japanese import left off the "Biba Nova" b-side and instead included it on the import release of The North Star as a bonus track.

Detailed track listings for all of these CDs can be found in the Discography section.






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