In 1986 Del Amitri returned from their first, storied tour of the States, battle-hardened and world-wisened. The eclectic tastes driving US college radio had opened their eyes to the UK’s puritanical approach to rock music and already their music was beginning to embrace a much more diverse range of influences.
With the band’s musical evolution accelerating and a new sense of professionalism and ambition, guitarist Mick Slaven joined the band, fuelling an intensive period of songwriting.
Stone Cold Sober, released September 1989
This development culminated in the demoing of ‘Stone Cold Sober’, ‘When I Want You’, and ‘Slowly’ at Park Lane studios, and the addition of keys player Andy Alston. In spring ’87 the band added ‘Move Away Jimmy Blue’ and ‘Talk To Death’ to their new arsenal of genre spanning tracks during recording sessions with producer Gil Norton. A bidding war among London labels began, all enthralled by the new sound coming out of Glasgow. This resulted in a cleverly orchestrated deal with A&M records.
Kiss This Thing Goodbye, released July 1989, re-release March 1990
After a perilous period attempting to record ‘Waking Hours’ in London and L.A., leaving the band frustrated and disillusioned, producer Hugh Jones set the project back on track with the recording of ‘Nothing Ever Happens’, ‘Empty’ and ‘You’re Gone’ at studios in Chipping Norton. Engineer Mark Freegard took over production and recorded ‘Opposite View’, ‘Kiss This Thing Goodbye’ and ‘Stone Cold Sober’ with the band in a Milton Keynes studio.
Nothing Ever Happens, released December 1989 (UK) and January 1990 (US)
Finally after two long years in the studio drummer Paul Tyagi and guitarist Slaven departed, and with the arrival of respective replacements Brian McDermott and David Cummings, ‘Waking Hours’ was released in July 1990.
Move Away Jimmy Blue, released May 1990
The album itself saw wide critical acclaim, while the chart success of ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ – peaking at #11 in the UK – brought the band to a wider audience. The sound developed between 1986 and 1989 was one that helped shaped the band for years to come.