LIKE many a rock’n’roll tale, it is based on flimsy authentic material, but in the late 1970s, when singer-songwriter Nick Lowe was the go-to producer for New Wave artistes making their first records, it is said that he was known as “Basher” Lowe, a nom-de-guerre derived from his instruction to musicians of sometimes rudimentary technical ability: “Just bash it down and we’ll tart it up later.”

The Nick Lowe who arrives at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on June 12 has recently been a man with a more considered approach to recording. In fact he considered that it was in his past.

“I thought I was done with making records,” he confirms. He was, he says, a product of the analogue age, and ill-suited to the complex technology of modern studios. The loss of two of his closest friends and associates from the second phase of his solo career, drummer Bobby Irwin and co-producer and engineer Neil Brockbank, both to cancer, left him re-assessing his priorities.

“That really took the wind out of my sails,” he tells me. Happily married to his second wife, graphic designer Peta Waddington, with a teenage son, Roy, Lowe’s most recent appearances had been solo, touring with Ry Cooder, or in a threesome with Andy Fairweather-Lowe and Paul Carrack. Seeing him in those contexts pleased the legions of fans who remembered his hits I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass and Cruel to be Kind just fine, but he now arrives in the company of Los Straitjackets, a surf instrumental band from the US who take the stage wearing Mexican wrestling masks.

The partnership has made two EPS together, the most recent leading with new Lowe songs Love Starvation and Trombone, which reveal his songcraftsmanship to be in very fine fettle as he coasts into his 70s.

It may seem a far cry from the Brentford Trilogy, the three albums – The Impossible Bird, Dig My Mood and The Convincer – that were the beginning of a new phase of his writing, but taken in the context of Lowe’s long rollercoaster career, teaming up with Los Straitjackets is less surprising.

One of Lowe’s best known early songs, (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, dates back to his time in the band Brinsley Schwarz, and would be covered by one of their fans, Elvis Costello, before being sung by Curtis Stigers on the mega-selling soundtrack of the film The Bodyguard, giving Lowe a welcome windfall of royalties.

As house producer at Stiff Records, and author of its first single release, the Phil Lynott-parodying So It Goes, Lowe also made the UK’s first punk 45, New Rose, with The Damned, and crafted the sound of all of Costello’s early releases. At the same time he was a member of Rockpile, a rock’n’roll quartet led by Dave Edmunds and also featuring Scottish guitarist Billy Bremner, for which combo he wrote classics like the Chuck Berry-derived I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock’n’Roll).

Los Straitjackets, whose associates have included another great Scottish guitarist (and graphic designer, oddly) in George Miller of The Kaisers, have also covered Peace, Love and Understanding in their own inimitable style, and their latest release is a collection entitled Channel Surfing that features twang guitar treatments of TV theme tunes including Game of Thrones and Sex and the City.

As well as sharing a manager and a US record label (Yep-Roc), it was Christmas that made Lowe and the band a gift for each other. Somewhat against his better judgement, Lowe was persuaded by the label to make a Christmas album for the American market. His idiosyncratic collection, in which originals rub shoulders with covers of Silent Night and Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, was the US hit the label hoped for, despite Lowe entitling it Quality Street, a joke that must scream over the head of much of the US audience. With his labelmates already having their own Christmas album – 2009’s Yuletide Beat – to re-promote on an annual basis, joint gigs were arranged and the team came together.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” says Lowe of the success of the Christmas album, “and I’ve had a deal of success with it in the last five years in the US, where most of my work is these days. And I’d known the band for a long time. The great thing about them wearing masks is that it disguises a flow-through of members. They have a very anonymous look, wearing the same suits and always playing the same guitars. There is some clever thinking behind it, because it means that the focus is always on the melody and the groove.”

The old ethos of “Basher” Lowe starts to re-surface when he talks about how they work together.

“I’m fortunate to be webbed up with them. They are absolutely not my backing group. They first went to work that way, copying my records note for note, but I told them it was much better if they treat the songs the same way they would anything else they play. A good song will take any kind of abuse, just learn the chords and go for it! And then I started writing songs for this project.”

“Eddie Angel, who is their leader, always says: ‘I don’t want any musicians in my group.’ Skill is not the main thing so much as a feel for the music. It is a brilliant groove and we have a ball.

“This will be my first UK tour with a band for 25 years and it will be in the nature of a review. We’ll come on together and then they’ll do their own spot and then I’ll come back on. They have a huge repertoire of their own songs – and you can turn anything into a surf tune.”

Lowe is anxious not to appear like his own tribute act, trading on past glories, and is happy that he sees younger people at his gigs in America.

“If you were only preaching to the converted it would be a living hell, but at the same time the most dreaded words in the English language are ‘this is from the new album’!”

He promises a show that finds room for his hits of yesteryear alongside some of the newer ones, and even ones that the partnership has not yet released. “It all seems to fit together and people seem to dig it.”

The songs that have been recorded with the band have been “bashed down” wherever Lowe and Los Straitjackets have happened to find themselves with some time on tour together, booking into a local studio. He’s fairly self-deprecating about the result, as he is about the Quality Street album, but clearly having a fine time on the road with the band.

“My career as a pop star was long over in the UK, but in America I am perceived very differently. I had to reinvent myself and face the fact that I was getting older.

“Now there are new geriatrics everywhere! In jazz and blues you can’t be too old, but it was a no-go in pop unless you were a crooner. I used that to my advantage. Touring solo with an acoustic guitar makes you appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of songs, so it helped my songwriting. With a band you can sometimes be a bit flabby, waffling over the weak-points.

“I’ve always been self-critical, and now I hear things I wrote long ago that I think are really hopeless, but after 50 years, I still usually have four or five on the go. I’ve written hundreds of songs but I still have no clear idea how the process works – and I’ve written tons of rubbish and too few good ones!”

Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on June 12.