Richard Colburn of Belle & Sebastian Shares Memories of Alan Rankin Being a Teacher


Richard Colburn of Belle & Sebastian wrote about the late Alan Rankin, a musician and college teacher who played an important role in the early days of the band.

The drummer revealed yesterday (January 4) in a Facebook post that the former guitarist of the Scottish post-punk and pop band The Associates, who died after spending Christmas 2022 with his family, was an important mentor and advocate for their music in the middle. The 1990s.

In his post , the drummer of Belle & Sebastian said: “I first met Alan in 1995 when I was a student at Stow College. He was my lecturer in the music business course. The college had its own small label, Electric Honey Records, and thanks to my connection with the band, I was able to transmit an early demo of “Dog On Wheels”. As soon as Alan heard the demo, he decided that this song and the band were supposed to represent Electric Honey Records this year.

“Usually the label would release a single with two or three songs, but Alan prudently (and with a slightly larger budget than a year earlier) asked us if we could record an entire album instead. We did so, and the result was Tigermilk, which was recorded in five days at CaVa Studios in Glasgow.

“I can’t stress enough the influence I had on Belle and Sebastian at the very beginning. He was so reassuring. Thanks to his knowledge and contacts, he managed to advertise what we did with Electric Honey records throughout the music industry and create a real buzz around the band.

“He also arranged the first two concerts we’ve ever given. Stones in Edinburgh was the first performance, followed by a performance in Dunkirk. Both shows were completely messy, as most of us in the band had no idea what we were doing at the time, but Alan remained patient and helped us along the way. If it wasn’t for Alan, our path would have been completely different. We owe him a lot.

“Alan was a fantastic, generous and talented man who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. He was an incredible musician and his musical legacy will live on forever.

“Thoughts and condolences to his family, from me and all of Belle and Sebastian.”

Rankin formed The Associates in the late 1970s with singer Billy Mackenzie, releasing three albums: “The Affectionate Punch” (1980), a compilation of singles “Fourth Drawer Down” (1981) and “Sulk” (1982).

After leaving the band in 1982, Rankin became a successful producer and worked on Cocteau Twins albums and others before starting a solo career in 1986.

He later lectured at Stow College in Glasgow, helping students set the Electric Honey record, which was instrumental in the early careers of Biffy Clyro and Snow Patrol, as well as Belle & Sebastian.

Others paid tribute to Rankin, including BMX Bandits singer Douglas T. Stewart, who tweeted: “Today is very sad news that Alan Rankin has died,” he tweeted. I first found out about Alan through The Associates, and later got to know him a little. I send love to his family and everyone who loved him.”


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