Saturday, 8 June 2013

Sunday Sessions: Stiltskin

We seem to have an almost alliterative thing going here with the Sunday sessions - recent bands all starting with S....

...well this week we're no different. It's not intentional I assure you!

This week we present Stiltskin.

After a rant about the bands that have gotten short shrift in the memories of our nation's music fans, here's an also-ran UK band whose biggest claim to fame arguably was soundtracking a Levi's Commercial.

It didn't hurt that the song they donated to the corporate world was a dead-set classic in the making. The short-lived Scottish band was the brainchild of guitarist and incidental music composer Peter Lawlor. Peter wrote the songs and formed a band to play them, calling them Stiltskin (as in Rumpel...). One night Peter met a guy who'd been in a car accident and was hitching a lift to make a gig he was performing that night. Peter duly obliged with the ride, and watched the vocalist's set that night. The vocalist was Ray Wilson, and Peter was impressed enough to offer Ray the gig as vocalist in his new band.

Their first mission was to record the soundtrack to the now famous Levis commercial, shot in black-and-white, centred around the coming of age, of sorts, of a pair of teenage sisters on a picnic (that's not as sinister or as suspect as it would seem. Look, just watch the clip).

The song Peter wrote was called "Inside" and he played all the instruments on it, with the exception of the choral voices at the start and the lead vocal. The song was released as a single and hit #1 in the UK in 1994. In Australia or the US it didn't get that far, but it is still a track that is worth revisiting again. Follow-up singles didn't hit the mark with only "Footsteps" reaching #34, thus consigning Stiltskin to "One-hit Wonder" status.

Stiltskin officially broke up in 1996 during the recording of their now-unreleased second LP. Ray, incongruously, replaced Phil Collins as vocalist in Genesis, working on the 1997 LP "Calling All Stations" and on the subsequent tour. Stiltskin have reformed with only Ray being the only original member of the new lineup. Peter Lawlor still writes music for commercials and TV shows in the UK.

The song has this massive sound and a grand, theatrical sweep to it that compliments the ad perfectly in this writer's view. Ray's gruff voice suits the post-grunge rock of the track, however he doesn't have a massively wide vocal range (which is why I thought his position as Genesis vocalist was and/or is a bit strange). The guitar riff is a killer - quite simple and effective, and heaps of fun to play for any budding guitarists out there!

So for your listening perusal, I present "Stiltskin" with their classic "Inside".

Enjoy your long weekend (Australian Readers!)

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