No More Workhorse caught up with Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai via email to discuss his autobiography Spaceships Over Glasgow and a few other things besides:
Having played with Mogwai for more than 25 years, lockdown saw Stuart Braithwaite at something of a loose end, and that led to him deciding to write an autobiography. “During the pandemic when there was no live music, I was looking for a project and remembered that Lee Brackstone at White Rabbit had asked me about writing a book years ago. I got back in touch to check that he hadn’t been joking, and thankfully he hadn’t!”
Of course, Braithwaite was not the only one to embark on a venture like this, but he’s confident his will stand apart: “I suppose what sets mine apart from others is that this is my story, and it’s not that similar to too many other people’s. I read them all the time. Some of my favourites are Cosey Fanni Tutti’s, Julian Cope’s, Mark Lanegan’s and Bobby Gillespie’s.”
One of the more interesting parts of the book is his forensic account of the formative gigs he went to growing up. “My memory isn’t actually that good! Thankfully I have a lot of friends who were at the gigs and we managed to get enough information by chatting about them to fill in all the blanks.”
The book also gave Braithwaite a chance to reflect on the band’s albums, and he is particularly proud of the early ones, considering how young they were when they made them. On the other hand, he says their soundtrack albums are written specifically for the project at that time. Such a large catalogue can be daunting for the uninitiated so where would a newcomer start?
“From the 90s, I would suggest Ten Rapid. From the 2000’s I would suggest Happy Songs For Happy People. From the 2010’s I would suggest Hardcore Will Never Die.”
As regards gigs and live music, he is still in touch with the Glasgow scene, admitting “I don’t go to as many gigs as I used to” but he is really enjoying playing live again. “It’s just so good to be back on stage and being around other people.” He also still buys a lot of music, with special mention to his current favourite artist, Growing, and is working hard creating music: “I have a record I made with some friends coming out next year and Mogwai are about to start writing new music.”
Outside of that, Stuart Braithwaite finds time to skateboard and walk his dogs, and run their record label Rock Action. “I’m really excited about some new records we have coming out by Cloth and Lichen Slow.”