It’s 15 years since Dundee band The View released their self-titled EP. Gayle Ritchie looks at the evolution of the rebellious rockers.
In 2005, a group of like-minded, shaggy-haired Dundee teenagers got together to form a band.
The lads, pupils at St John’s RC High School, started off doing covers of tunes by bands like Squeeze and the Sex Pistols.
The View, as they called themselves, soon began working on their own songs and performed them at school talent contests.
Fronted by lead singer and guitarist Kyle Falconer, with guitarist Peter Reilly, bassist Kieren Webster and original drummer Michael Annable, the Dryburgh quartet were hugely popular.
They progressed to play more cover gigs and weddings around Tayside, and after their second concert at Dundee’s Doghouse, they were signed to the city’s independent record label Two Thumbs.
Confidence among band members was soaring and they started to push for bigger gigs that would boost their profile.
When Falconer heard Pete Doherty was doing a gig with his band Babyshambles at Dundee’s Fat Sam’s in late 2005, he saw it as an opportunity to promote The View.
In true brass-necked Falconer style, he turned up at the venue and begged to be given a support slot.
Former general manager Colin Rattray gave in to his pleas and handed the band’s demo CD over to Doherty.
He loved it, asked if they were still kicking around, and agreed The View could open the gig for him.
That was the beginning of their break into the big time.
Happy 15th anniversary
Fifteen years ago, in March 2006, the band released the self-titled The View EP.
It was the first official release by the band and was limited to just 2000 copies.
It was made available to the public through the band’s online forums, and sold out within a matter of weeks.
Three tracks from the EP, Comin’ Down, Street Lights and Face for the Radio, would later appear on the band’s critically acclaimed debut album, Hats Off to the Buskers, released in 2007.
This topped the UK Albums Chart in January 2007 and was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Music Prize.
The View emerged alongside a host of British indie bands, but few others have stood the test of time.
“Big thrill seeing lads from my home city playing big smoke”
Dundee-born DJ and broadcaster Jim Gellatly first played The View on XFM Scotland in December 2005.
He had been tipped off about them by Grant Dickson, who was managing the band at that time and had sent Jim one of their CDs.
“I’m pretty sure I read a lot about them in The Courier at the time – my mum kept the weekly Rocktalk column for me!” said Jim.
“I played them on XFM for the first time in late 2005 and it wasn’t long until they were a staple on my playlists.
“The demo version of Same Jeans was a particular favourite, and it was pretty exciting to see them live for the first time in Glasgow and get introduced to the legendary ‘The View are on fire’ chants.
“I remember seeing them at the Art School in Glasgow and I’m pretty sure most of the audience had come through on a bus from Dundee, but word soon spread.”
The band played their first XFM session for Jim in April 2006 by which time they were starting to break-out with official support slots for Babyshambles and Primal Scream.
“They did wonderful stripped-back versions of Same Jeans, Face For The Radio and Wasted Little DJs,” recalled Jim.
“They really were the perfect band for XFM Scotland and ticked all the boxes.
“More than once I had to translate the broad Dundonian for my colleagues and that became a bit of a standing joke.”
Jim reckons the support the band got from Radio 1 was “probably key” to their success.
“It was pretty special hearing Zane Lowe big them up for the first time,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to see them at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Caird Park in 2006. That was pretty special.
“It was just so exciting to see the band develop in a fairly short time with bigger venues each time and some memorable festival appearances.
“I remember seeing them do an acoustic thing at Koko in London when they were nominated for XFM’s New Music Award in 2008.
“It was a big thrill seeing a bunch of lads from my home city playing in the big smoke.
“For me they had a certain swagger and were brilliantly shambolic at times.
“But they had such great tunes, and countless anthems. It’s such an honour to have played a very small part in their story.”
A trail of rock ‘n’ roll madness
Alan Wilson, Rocktalk writer for The Courier for more than a decade, was the first music journalist to write about The View.
“It was obvious from the first time I met them they were something different from everything else around at the time,” said Alan.
“They were all about 16, rehearsing in the upstairs room in the old Doghouse.
“A friend of mine John More was looking after them and he was gushing about them and took me upstairs to meet them. They sounded amazing and their songs were so catchy.
“Then Grant Dickson became their manager and he sent them on their ‘World Tour of Dundee’, playing gigs in just about any pub that would have them, which meant they were mentioned in the gig guide every week for about six months.
“It also meant their Dryburgh fanbase spread right through the entire city and beyond, with hundreds of kids turning up everywhere they were playing, before they had even released a record.”
Alan said Grant, who lived nearby, would ring his doorbell almost every week to play the band’s latest demo CD.
He was blown away by tracks like Face For The Radio, Same Jeans, Wasted Little DJs and Claudia.
“I became good friends with them and all their families and there were some great nights at gigs all over Scotland,” said Alan.
“There were crazy times. Kyle, Kieran, Steve and Pete were wild, sometimes outrageous and they left a trail of rock ‘n’ roll madness all over the UK.
“One minute you found yourself in Kyle’s house rubbing shoulders with film crews, and the next you were breaking up fights in Ullapool. But they are good guys and it’s hard not to like them.
“The View have turned out to be one of, if not the most successful Dundee band ever in terms of chart success.
“And it’s good to see them all still working on their own projects, but don’t think for one minute they won’t play together as The View again. Watch this space!”
“Just a wee break”
The View decided to take a break in 2017 to pursue other projects.
Falconer said “everyone’s doing their own thing”, but insisted the band would be able to put their differences aside to reform at some stage.
“It’s just a wee break,” he said. “Absence makes the heart fonder.”
Over the years Falconer has gained a reputation as something of a wildman and a loose cannon with stories of his hedonistic exploits and angry outbursts hitting the headlines.
In 2017, he was fined a total of £25,000 for aggressive behaviour and using homophobic language that caused a Scotland-bound plane to divert.
The singer-songwriter objected when he wasn’t allowed to sit next to fiancée Laura Wilde on a flight from Spain in June 2016. He then bumped into the woman next to him and started a fight with her husband.
He shouted and swore when asked to behave – before calling the male cabin crew member “a p***.”
The flight had to be diverted to France to have Falconer removed, at a cost of £14,000 in extra fuel costs, compensation for passengers who missed connecting flights by the two-hour divert and other airport costs.
Falconer was arrested in Nantes, France, after pilots made an emergency landing to have him kicked off the plane.
He also had to cough up nearly £9,000 in legal fees and was hit with a £1,000 fine over his antics, with his lawyer saying he had been left almost penniless despite having a successful music career.
With five albums by The View, a solo EP and an album, Falconer is due to release his new solo album, No Love Songs for Laura, in June.
And Falconer recently shared the video for his new solo single, Stress Ball.
“I wrote Stress Ball in a taxi on the way to a session,” he revealed.
“For me, it was about using this song as therapy to relieve your stress. I tried to relay that in my vocal by making it fun and feel-good, rather than a serious song about being stressed.”
“I’ve been writing too seriously for a while and I wanted something uplifting to make you happy and upbeat when you’re listening to it.”
It follows his 2018 solo debut, No Thank You – an album named by Liam Gallagher while they were on holiday together with their partners in Thailand.
The album reached number one in the Record Store Chart within days of its release, and entered the top 40 in the UK Album Chart, with a sell-out tour in venues in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, and, of course, Dundee.
The record went on to win Best Solo Album at the Scottish Music Awards.
No Love Songs For Laura will see Falconer explore Motown, soul and funk influences on material recorded last summer at The Libertines’ Albion Rooms hotel and studio in Margate. It’s available to pre-order at kylefalconer.tmstor.es