Teenage Fanclub

Oct 29, 30 and 31, Barrowlands, Glasgow

Norman Blake needs another cup of coffee. He's taking a break from an eight-hour shift at Gorbals Sound Studio where Teenage Fanclub have been rehearsing solidly for five weeks. It's run by Paul Quinn, one of three drummers keeping time for Teenage Fanclub since Blake and fellow vocalist/songwriters Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love formed the band in Bellshill in 1989.

Fusing the shambling indie sound of the time with Beach Boys harmonies and power pop melodies, the Fanclub's rep as a much-loved, landmark indie band and as one of the country's best bands of all time has strengthened over those near 30 years.

Earlier this year they announced the reissue of albums released by Alan McGee's Creation Records. Remastered from the original Abbey Road tapes, Bandwagonesque (1991), Thirteen (1993), Grand Prix (1995), Songs From Northern Britain (1997) and 1999's Howdy are now out on heavy-duty vinyl.

They play the entire collection in chronological order at a series of three gigs each in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London.

"The first night we'll do Bandwagonesque and Thirteen, the second night is Grand Prix and Songs From Northern Britain, and on the third night we're doing the Howdy album and out-takes and b-sides; unreleased things that we've been working out how to play," says Blake, who divides his time between Scotland and Ontario, where he lives with his wife.

Each reissue comes with an additional seven-inch single featuring two rarities. It's the "lesser-spotted" songs that have kept them the most busy.

"Some we have never played, and many we haven't played for years," says Blake. “We're up to about 80 songs, and though we've probably played near 30 or 40 of those over the years, we've had to work on a lot of the others."

He adds: "Most of the time it hasn't been too difficult. You play a song a couple of times and then the old muscle memory kicks in and you're like, 'Oh yes, I do remember this one'."

Less well remembered are songs from The King, an album released and deleted on the same day in 1991. These shows are unlikely to include messy takes on Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive or Madonna's Like A Virgin.

"We never really saw that as being an official LP," Blake says. "Most of it was improvised, those covers too. I've no idea why we did Like A Virgin – we were probably just messing around and someone pressed the record button."

Brendan O'Hare, Quinn and Francis MacDonald: Teenage Fanclub's original, subsequent and current drummers respectively, will each appear at these shows alongside keyboardist Dave McGowan, Blake, McGinley and Love.

"They're playing on the albums they originally played on," Blake says. "As well as playing drums on some of the later songs, Francis will playing guitar and keyboards on some earlier tracks. Everyone is involved, the whole gang is there."

For now: in August, they announced that Love would leave the band on November 15, the day of their last show at London's Electric Ballroom. There are no "differences" – it's just that Gerry wasn't keen on all the flying involved in the band's February tour to Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“The inter-band relationships are really good,” says Blake. “Everyone is very happy and looking forward to these shows. Last night Gerry and I were trying to recreate a little loop that starts one of his songs from 25 years ago. We had to dig out this ancient, dusty Roland synthesizer, and around 11pm we managed to get it like it was back then.”