Here’s an excerpt from the Fratellis feature that appears in Sentimentalist Magazine issue 24. For the full text, check out the back issue. Enjoy!

“Journalists always accuse us of telling a lot of lies…we only tell the truth man… it’s them that write fuckin’ lies,” says Jon (Fratelli) lead singer of Scotland’s The Fratellis (Baz Fratelli is bassist and Mince Fratelli the drummer). Whether this is the case or not, in their interviews their music speaks for itself. Their debut album, Costello Music, has been album of the year for many across Europe with the band touring heavily to sold out crowds. Now U.S. audiences are about to get a dose of their good time rock and roll when the band touches down here in March.

The band’s beginnings have been romantically reported. As the story goes, they met while working at a traveling fair, and then quit to form the band. According to Jon, however, there was nothing romantic about it: “It was all people stabbin’ each other, puking on themselves and shagging behind caravans. Do we miss it? No, things are a wee bit more glamorous now!”

After coming together in Glasgow and only playing their first gig in a bar in March 2005, their meteoric rise involved getting signed to Island Records and flying to LA to record with Beck producer Tony Hoffer. Unlike most, the band seems to take it in stride with Scottish swagger and aplomb. “Look, we never had some big plan. It’s all about people liking the songs and having a good time,” says Jon. Good times is the phrase that keeps cropping up with them and by now you will have heard their insanely catchy tune “Flathead”, which is on the new iTunes advert. However, according to Jon, “we didn’t know anything about it, but anything that lets America hear us can only help. Mind you there’s been no free iPods or laptops coming our way!” (Note to Steve Jobs!)

America is next on the agenda with shows at SXSW as well as LA and New York, and then back to tear up the Coachella crowd. On hearing people tend not to drink too much at Coachella due to the heat, Jon seems a little worried, saying, “we love crowds that are drunk.” What could be more worrying for Jon on the festival circuit is a fallout from their song “Got ma nuts from a hippie”, where he sings of a romp with one of the flower power crowd. “It’s a bit of a problem as all the hippies take it for granted now. I have to be more specific or you can end up with some 57 year old guy hippie approaching you, although I must say Glastonbury cultivates a higher quality of hippie than most.”

It can be a tough crowd for some British imports hailed as the next big thing in America. Some U.S. audiences are getting a little bored with depressing tales of working down coal mines, struggles to stay off skag, or singers who fail to turn up for gigs, but The Fratellis are out to change that. Jon stresses, “It’s all in the songs man, people said Europe was tough but we have seen the crowds going nuts, and you see people who come in determined not to have a good time, but by the end they can’t help it, they are smiling and dancing with the rest of them.”

Check out Sentimentalist’s coverage of the Fratellis’ show at Mercury Lounge in March 2007 here.

–Patrick Daly, Photo by Tear-n Tan