Pick your own favourite Primal Scream story. Personally I most remember sneaking underage into a late eighties gig to find that the stage had been erected fifteen feet in the air at one end of the room, the consequence being that for once standing at the back was the only way to see the band - who played for less than forty tuneless minutes and refused to encore. I admit that this anecdote is mildly interesting, but doesn't really capture the essence of the throwback hedonists' raison d'etre.
The story that really opened up my naive suburbanite eyes, though, came by proxy. Written by the now Mojo correspondent Andrew Perry and published in an early issue of dumbed-down UK guys' mag Loaded, an account of the Scream's US tour supporting the at the time (very) broken Depeche Mode read like something from the pages of Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries — minus groupies. Long transatlantic flight? Lead singer Bobby Gillespie recommends a large brandy supplemented by two Valium. Post-set warm down? Imbibe enough powders to be still talking to the same people in the same spot at six the following morning. Somewhat prophetically, one of the images accompanying the article featured Gillespie posed with a t-shirt printed with the otherwise innocent slogan "Coke Adds Life To Me". People have been making long odds wagers since money was invented, yet even the most compulsive gambler would've regarded the possibility of this band managing to survive a predilection for self-destruction wider than the Thames - and as a result to still be rocking twenty-five years after their formation - as the longest shot since David picked up a staff and sling and said, "Let's have it then," to Goliath.
But we know how that scrap finished up. And a quarter of a century later, through shifting personnel, labels, and musical precepts the Scream are still very much alive and kicking, especially in the form of didactic front man Bobby Gillespie. Things have changed of course — now 46 and a good burgher of Islington in North London, seemingly without irony in 2007 he complained to his local council about late night music coming from a local bar — but the Scot's zest for musical fulfillment continues to power the good ship Scream through rock and roll's assault course. All this means that the announcement of the band's ninth studio album Beautiful Future is still, let's face it, worth making a smear in the diary for.