MUSIC – The Detours find their way back to Glasgow

FOR a Glasgow rock band, The Detours are very polite.

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The Detours hope their King Tut's gig will be another sell-out
The Detours hope their King Tut's gig will be another sell-out

But their mannerly presence is a far cry from their exuberant stage style.

With the hunt for a new guitarist well under way and new tracks under their belts, The Detours have plenty to be excited about.

"We always find gigs get quiet at this time of year because everyone's skint so we don't tend to play as much. Instead, we do all the behind-the-scene stuff," says Ross Neilson, the band's drummer.

"We already have three tracks recorded that we're going to release at the start of next year.

"The next step is getting all the artwork, new merchandise and photo shoots. We just want to hit 2013 with a bang."

In the meantime, the group is in no way off the radar. After playing world-famous venue Barrowlands earlier this month, tickets are already on sale for The Detours next Glasgow performance in King Tut's Wah Wah Hut next month.

"If the tickets for the next show sell out it'll be the third time we've sold out King Tut's this year," Ally Graham, bassist, proclaims.

SO what keeps the crowds coming back for more? Vocalist Matt Littlefair reckons he knows the answer.

"We try to craft our show to every audience, we make sure whether it's an audience of 50 people or 2000 people we give it the same amount of energy.

"We strive to make sure it's not just the music, it needs the whole visual element."

And Ross adds: "Most of our fans are students - they're skint. So the fact they're paying to come to see us is flattering. We want to give them something they'll go home and remember."

The band started when Ross and guitarist Michael Smith were asked to perform in a variety show at their school when they were aged 12.

"It was absolute cheese," recounts Ross. "But we gave it a shot and it was good enough for us to keep playing. There was a spark there but we needed to draft in more members.

"Originally, Ally was just standing in while we found a new bassist."

"We haven't found anyone yet, so he's still standing in," jokes Michael.

The band is a close knit group, meaning choosing a new member is harder than it sounds.

"When we've been auditioning guitarists recently the ability to play guitar is only about 10% of the criteria," explains Ross.

"The other 90% is about whether we can get on with them for the next 40 years. Are they going to be a mate?

"That's what most people don't realise about a band, it's more important that you are mates than if you can play well together."

"It's a bit like dating. You go on a first date with them to see if there's a rapport or chemistry, ask them out for a second date then third date they get into the band," laughs Michael.

Metaphorical dating aside, the band are excited about the newest addition to the group.

"It's a big deal for us getting a new guitarist, it gives us something new and exciting to go and shout about," says Ross.

Since winning music competition Live and Unsigned in 2009 the band has gone from strength to strength.

They say playing at Rock Radio's music festival Mockfest has been a highlight of their career.

However, like most bands, The Detours love playing in their hometown.

"Playing in The Cathouse last year was a highlight for me," says Matt. "I'd never seen the place so packed. It was a great crowd and a great night.

"But in five years time we need to be on a massive tour, off the back of an album."

ROSS continues: "It does sound like the rock star dream but five years is a long time and every year that we're a band we accomplish bigger and better things.

"We want our next step to be getting on the big festival circuit."

With the age of band members ranging from 21 to 27, Matt says it can be hard to use the group's own experiences as inspiration

"I'm too young to be that experienced in a lot of topics so I take a pinch of reality and elaborate it into lyrics," he says.

"I like to write lyrics that will have meaning for a long time so that when I'm singing, I remember what I was feeling when I wrote it."

n The Detours play King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, St Vincent Street on December 17. Tickets, £5, from ticketscotland or www.facebook.com/thedetoursuk

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