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September 2008

IT has been building all year. At the beginning they were among the top tips for success. Alan McGee, the man who discovered Oasis (and Primal Cream, Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Super Furry Animals, Teenage Fanclub...) called them Scotland's best band in 20 years.
And now the debut album, called simply Glasvegas, is here, released this week and heading to the top of Sunday's chart, if midweek sales figures are anything to go by.
"In some ways you are always ready for this moment but you're never ready as well," says bassist Paul Donoghue.
"Because if someone had given us a record deal two years ago when we were starting out, we wouldn't be the band we are now."
The way they did get together is a traditional rock'n'roll story. Paul and guitarist Rab Allan went to school together. Singer, songwriter and guitarist James Allan is Rab's cousin. Three kids from a dreary Glasgow suburb called Dalmarnock, all tower blocks and derelict housing -- though there's hope of a revival of the area, as it's the proposed location for the athletes' village when Glasgow hosts the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The fourth member of Glasvegas, drummer Caroline McKay, is the wild card, chosen because the other three "liked the look of her". She couldn't play drums, so they taught her from scratch.
(EG was scheduled to talk to Caroline but she's "off getting food", he says).
"When I first joined I could play the bass a little, Oasis tunes and that but Rab and James had to teach me all the notes. But what we do is more about songs and emotion rather than playing ability, bass solos and all that."
And the production, of course, a reverbing Phil Spector Wall Of Sound treatment of Jesus & Mary Chain guitars and James's distinctive Glaswegian vocals.
After gigging around the city for all of 2006 a friend of the band who knew Alan McGee asked him to check them out.
His seal of approval meant a lot as Oasis were their collective heroes.
"The reason I got in to Oasis was because my mum and dad used to smoke Benson & Hedges. They used to get these cards in the packs where you could pick free stuff out of a catalogue. So they got me Definitely Maybe.
"Although the first record I ever bought was East 17, when I was at school. The first band I ever saw live was Ocean Colour Scene with some school mates at the ICC in Glasgow. I'd be about 13 or 14. It was amazing – because we got drunk."
He adds: "I wasn't really in to music until I was 16. Even though my brother was in a band. He and my sister are about ten years older than me so their record collections weren't much of an influence.
"My mum was into country and western. She'd play Johnny Cash's A Boy Named Sue and I thought 'that's sh*t!'. Then you grow up and listen to it and 'what a tune, man'.
While Oasis were a big influence, his Desert Island Disc is White Man In Hammersmith Palais by The Clash.
"I've got an original 7" of it in the house and if the house burnt down that would be the thing, aside my girlfriend, that I'd risk my life to get."
Their first single was a 7" vinyl, released in late 2006. The track, the sweary terrace chant Go Square Go! appears on their debut album. As does follow-up Daddy's Gone. That was voted the second best single of 2007 by the NME and prompted a record company bidding war.
Since signing to Columbia, they've had two Top 20 singles: Geraldine and a re-recorded Daddy's Gone – and been on a relentless round of gigs and promotion.
"A day off for us is doing interviews," says Donoghue. He's in Stoke, pre-sound check. The tour comes to the Rescue Rooms on September 25 and like the rest of the dates it's been sold out for weeks.
An additional show has been booked for Trent University but its 1,000 capacity is still not big enough. The 1,700-holding Rock City would make more sense.
"We don't want to jump too much," he says.
"The last time we did venues of 200-300, this time it's between 500-900. If it's a bigger capacity we feel we need to put on a bigger show. That'll take us a while to sort out, get more lights and a longer set."
They first played Nottingham at The Social last year, then in May had a half past midnight slot at the Rescue Rooms as part of the Dot-To-Dot Festival.
"We were all getting ready to go to bed before it," he quips.
"They had to get us out of our nightgowns and our night caps for it."
The December tour will follow the band's Christmas album.
"Or EP, whatever it's going to be," he admits.
"We're going to Transylvania to do it. James is getting the songs together now."
Is it going to be Merry Christmas Everybody and Jingle Bells, Glasvegas-style?
"Nah. We're talking about doing maybe one cover but the rest will be original material."

Glasvegas play the Rescue Rooms on September 25

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