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Twisted

With the whirlwind that was ‘Change Everything’ beginning to digest, in 1993 Del Amitri decamped to a stately home to start building their new album as a more cohesive unit.

Over two weeks in Haremare Hall, Justin and Iain were able to write together, and bring new material to the band as they worked on it. At the end of the fortnight, they had the best part of the record that would become ‘Twisted’.

Still toying with the idea of an American producer, Justin and Iain spent time in the states meeting with some heavyweights, including Bill Botterll, of Michael Jackson’s ‘Black Or White’ fame, and Tom Lord-Alge, known for work with Oasis and U2. A meeting with T Bone Burnett, hot from recent work with Elvis Costello and Counting Crows, was hijacked by a storytelling Costello. With none of these meetings of minds bore any fruit, the band were left slightly disillusioned until south Londoner Al Clay was suggested.

In March 1994, the band set about recording album No. 4 at The Chapel in Lincolnshire, relishing the prospect of recording. Iain had at his disposal an arsenal of amps and guitars, and plans for intricately interlocking dual guitar parts with David Cummings began to materialise.

However, drummer Brian McDermott was lost along the way, pulling the plug on his time with the band. Chris Sharrock was drafted as a replacement and instantly impressed.

The band finished recording Twisted in June ’94, with A&M slating it for release in February ’95. But with Sharrock unwilling to commit to being a full-time member of Del Amitri, the band were once more on the hunt for a new drummer. Enter Ashley Soan, poached from Tom Robinson and coveted for his youthful energy and impeccable time keeping – both of which would be vital for the upcoming tour.

The album hit the shelves in May 1995, announcing itself with lead single ‘Here And Now’, the success of the Harvie/Cummings partnership apparent. It was followed by the heart-wrenching ‘Driving With The Brakes On’, now an enduring live favourite. Third single ‘Roll To Me’ gave the band their biggest US success, but almost didn’t make it on to the album, deemed too pop for the album Del Amitri were crafting. In the end it was included for the sake of light relief. The album campaign was rounded out by ‘Tell Her This’, marking a quartet of future classics…

Charles Rawlings-Way’s definitive account of the band’s career These Are Such Perfect Days: The Del Amitri Story is out now.

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