Texas: Glasgow's Lone Star Band On The Rise Again

It's been almost ten years since the Scottish band named Texas scored its first hit in America with the folk-rock, slide-guitar grooves of "I Don't Want A Lover," the lead track off the group's 1989 debut record, "Southside."

Now the Glasgow group, which takes its name from Wim Wenders' 1984 film, "Paris, Texas," is witnessing its newest single, "In Our Lifetime," begin to take off on alternative radio stations here in the U.S.

The situation marks a far cry from where the band found itself two years ago, when Texas' last record, "White on Blonde," was left DOA at the group's previous American label, Mercury Records.

According to lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, the label was having problems internally with "White on Blonde," a record that eschewed the roots-based stylings of the group's first three albums in favor of a more contemporary dance and synth-friendly sound. The move went over well in the U.K. and in the rest of the world, where "White on Blonde" sold some 4 million

copies, but in America the record staggered to reach the six-figure mark.

"At the end of the day, we really felt we had to change as a band in order to survive and to be relevant now with the sort of music that was coming out. But also for our own sanity and ourselves. You've always got to be doing something new to keep it fresh and keep it moving. You've always got to push."

Now the group (which also includes bassist Johnny McElhone, guitarists Ally McErlaine and Tony McGovern, keyboardist Eddie Campbell and drummer Mikey Wilson) has become one of the few clear-cut winners to emerge from the recent Universal-Polygram merger. Before the "Uni-gram" deal was finalized, Texas inked a new U.S. contract with Universal, which ended up becoming the parent company to the band's old label.

The Texas turn-around has become nearly complete with the quick acceptance of "In Our Lifetime," which was one of the most added singles on alternative radio a few weeks back, thanks in large

part to a catchy hook that Spiteri says is based upon a pseudo-Far Eastern melody.

"'In Our Lifetime' has a very distinctive sort of Cantonese hook in the guitar part," Spiteri explained, "and a lot of people have asked, 'Why were you going for that?' I think it was growing up in the '80s and hearing bands like Japan, Siouxsie and the Banshees with their 'Hong Kong Garden' and even David Bowie doing 'China Girl.' There was a real sort of thing for the whole Asian culture at the one point. Everyone was obsessed with it and I was a part of that. It was part of my growing up, and I think it's kind of stuck with us since then."

Texas already has a video for "In Our Lifetime" in the can and is currently sorting out plans for a second single, which Spiteri hopes will be the Blondie-ish rave, "Summer Son." Texas' new album, "The Hush," is due in stores on May 18.