|FORMED: 1982, Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow's Del Amitri has gained a strong cult following for their country- and folk-inflected rock & roll and the quality songwriting of bassist/vocalist Justin Currie and guitarist Iain Harvie, plus the frequently ironic lyrics of the former. Currie and Harvie formed the band in 1982, releasing the independent single "Sense Sickness" in 1983 with guitarist Bryan Tolland and drummer Paul Tyagi. In 1984, the band was invited to record for BBC DJ John Peel, and tours with acts like the Fall and the Smiths helped the group build a fan base and get a deal with Chrysalis.
Del Amitri's self-titled debut album was released in 1985 and featured a country- and new wave-influenced brand of pop/rock, but unfortunately, the group had appeared on the cover of Melody Maker two months before its release; critics slammed the album in the wake of excessive hype, while potential fans perceived the lack of product in record stores as a sign of the album's quality. However, a network of fans helped organize a low-budget Del Amitri tour of the U.S. Encouraged, the band returned to England and hammered out new material, which helped get them signed to A&M in 1987. Tolland was replaced by guitarist David Cummings, and Tyagi by drummer Bryan McDermott; the group also added keyboardist Andy Alston.
1990's Waking Hours accentuated Del Amitri's roots-rock feel and produced the British singles "Kiss This Thing Goodbye," "Nothing Ever Happens," and "Spit in the Rain"; the former scraped the lower reaches of the U.S. Top 40. The 1992 follow-up, Change Everything, solidified their popularity in the U.K. and produced another minor American chart single, "Always the Last to Know." Drummer McDermott left the band in 1994 and was replaced by Ashley Soan. Twisted was released early in 1996, followed two years later by Hatful: The Best of Del Amitri. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide