1998, and the UK punk scene, like many around the world, was flushed with bowl haircuts, baggy jeans, chain wallets and earnest young bands getting their emo on.
It was also the year Scottish band Broccoli released their album Home on Rugger Bugger Discs.
Recorded in South London over five days, the album was stacked with layers of melody and urgent and emotive raspy punk. Their name may have been terrible, but the Dundee three piece of Graeme Gilmour, Grant Myles, and Scott Stewart, wrote impressive songs that drew comparison with US bands J Church, The Get Up Kids and the legendary Jawbreaker, who they played with in Glasgow in 1994.
A number of EPs and singles preceded Home but many considered it the band’s high-water mark. Long out of print, the album is getting a reissue through Drunken Sailor records to coincide with the band's forthcoming Japanese tour.
Nearly 20 years on, Home sounds as dark, desperate, and urgent.
Stream it below and read a brief chat we had with Grant and Graeme.
Noisey: From your earlier and rawer Dag Nasty and Squirrelbait melody to the Mid West emo vibe of Home your sound had a big US hook. When you started the internet was in its infancy. How were you keeping in touch with US bands/news?
Graeme: Swapping mix tapes, checking the thanks lists on records we liked, hunting stuff down that we'd heard somebody banging on about. Checking stuff out on labels we liked. I stumbled across Let it Be and Tim by The Replacements, New Day Rising by Husker Du and This Side Up by Scream in a long gone Dundee record store in one fruitful afternoon in 1986. I think we'd all been nosing through MRR, Flipside and other assorted zines for a while. Buying stuff in the strength of a review.
Grant: Graeme, was the main source for me initially. He would pass along mix tapes of US stuff. I think he was definitely looking for like-minded people to make this kind of music with, and I basically became a student in his musical reeducation program. I just really fell in love with that stuff. It seemed that a lot of the punk crowd were being drawn towards more punk / metal cross-over stuff, and I was moving in the opposite direction. There were also a lot of decent record shops around Scotland, and I often would just take a chance on something in the US punk vinyl section which sometime led to great discoveries.
Had this shift towards a more US influence been happening for a while in UK punk scene?
Graeme: We were preceded by bands like Mega City 4, The Stupids, The Depraved, etc, who were all gravitating towards a more melodic US influenced style. The shift probably started around 86-87. Snuff, HDQ and Leatherface all emerged from that scene. Melody with a healthy dose of heft and momentum.
What was it like playing with Jawbreaker in Glasgow?
Graeme: I remember their set culminating in a stunning version of “Bivouac”. Blake and Adam swapping instruments towards the end. We didn't know it at the time, but they'd just signed to Geffen. They played a few tracks from Dear You as well. It was October 94, so it might have been before they recorded their major label debut.
Grant: When I heard that the wonderful Glasgow Music Collective were putting on Jawbreaker I basically insisted that we play with them. I was a complete fan boy. They were really great. I remember they played an early version of “Accident Prone” which was stunning. They took off pretty soon after the show, so we didn’t have much chance to hang out.
Your vocal style was similar in a way to Blake from Jawbreaker. His vocals got shot towards the end. How did yours hold up?
Grant: I lost count of the times that I lost my voice. It was extremely frustrating. I didn’t really want to be the singer, but circumstances, being that I was the songwriter really required it. If you make a list of the worst things you could do if you plan on taking care of your voice, I was pretty much checking them all off on a daily basis. Surprisingly enough several years after the band broke up I had a full check up with an ENT doctor who told me that my vocal chords were actually really healthy.
You have a good relationship with Japan. And have been there a few times? Why do you think the Japanese are so into you?
Grant: I don’t really know. Yoichi Eimori put out a couple of compilation CD’s called The Best Punk Rock in England. We were on one of those, and that led to a split 7” with a Japanese band on his label. A few other bands from that time also headed over there after recording for his label. I think it sort of became its own little sub-genre with its own momentum around bands like Broccoli who within about one year at the end of the 90s mostly all broke up.
You never made it to the US did you?
Graeme: There was some talk about a US trip being planned for 1999 perhaps with Braid or someone like that. By the time we broke up I was personally just totally burned out emotionally and physically, so perhaps it was a small mercy that it didn’t happen. It would have been extremely expensive to ship my body back to Scotland from the USA.
Was Chestnut Road an actual place?
Graeme: Yes! Our practice place was a joiners (carpenter’s) workshop on Chestnut Road near Gipsy Hill in South East London. It's where the bulk of Home was conceived and arranged. We got kicked out eventually because the neighbours we're getting pissed off with racket.
'Home' is available now on Drunken Sailor records.