Name: The Wasp aka Wayne.

The Wasp.

Alongside Bruce Watson of The Skids and Big Country, I’ve been known to do an impression of Hale and Pace. Funny you should say that, Harry and I have been known to go on the road as a Hale and Pace tribute act.

I had heard. Bruce and I did Hale and Pace’s ‘The Management’ in Tappie Toories last year. Harry and I were just boys when we emulated Gareth and Norman, but I imagine we were better than Bruce and you. We could do ALL the comedy characters: from the sexually-inappropriate children’s TV presenters, Billy and Johnny, to The Man Who Can’t Take Anything Seriously.

Was the latter played by Harry? How did you know that!?

Oh, just a wild guess. Do you know that Ainsley Harriott appeared alongside Hale and Pace? He plays William and walks on holding a blow-up doll moments before the dominatrix appears to whip Billy and Johnny. No, that’s news to me.

Well then, you’re obviously not the top Hale and Pace impersonators you claim to be. It’s just a story Harry and I tell to impress girls.

Tribute act or no, I assume you’re fully committed to TwinsTown now? Oh aye, I quit the band every now and again, or leave our WhatsApp group, but that’s just to keep Donald and Stuart on their toes.

How is the debut album Brankholm Brae sounding? You mean Flare It!

Sorry I forgot about Harry and you preferring the name Flare It! Whatever it’s called, how’s it sounding? It sounds okay.

C’mon, Brankholm Brae is better than okay, it has your unique drumming all over it? True.

Do say: “You remind me of The Who’s Keith Moon.”

Don’t say: “Is Wayne in the band today?”

Name: The Duke aka Harry ‘Jug of Lager’ Dixon.

The Duke.

Are you partial to a jug of lager? No, I’m actually teetotal. My friends are fans of irony.

I see. Was your friend Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew, the world champion boxer, being ironic when he called me an uncultured swine? I’m afraid not.

Did you encourage the Bomber? Not at all. Tony Bellew is now a erudite boxing commentator. Those are his own choice of words.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J. K. Rowling.

With that in mind, choosing TwinsTown seems to be working out for you? The only band I ever wanted to play for. Donald and Stuart made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Mo Johnston said that moments before betraying Celtic when Rangers’ Graeme Souness made him an offer…? Yes, but I’m not an uncultured swine.

No, but you are a fan of Dirty Dancing…? Patrick Swayze could FLARE IT!

Nobody puts Harry in the corner, aye? Exactly, although John Barnes said it best: “Express yourself, its one on one. Express yourself, you can’t be wrong, when somethings good it’s never wrong”.

There’s only one way to beat them, get round the back. Catch me if you can
’cause I’m the TwinsTown man and what you’re looking at is the master plan.

Do say: “Flare it!”

Don’t say: “You do realise that your TwinsTown debut album is called Brankholm Brae, not Flare It, don’t you?”

Before lockdown and later restrictions, TwinsTown were busy rehearsing at Scott Gilbert’s Penthouse Practice Suite, situated above the Seven Kings at 2a Chalmers Street, when Stevie Agnew walked in, and joined in.

Stuart Mackay, Stevie Agnew and Donald Mackay at Scott Gilbert’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

You can’t beat a bit of Stevie. Back in summertime I was lucky. My birthday is 7th July and this year beer gardens reopened on 6th July. I wandered down to The White Gates thinking it’d be busy and I’d have a wee birthday bash a day early. It was busy, and even better, Stevie and Jock Boland were there to entertain us. James was also playing but I’ve forgotten his surname.

Stuart starring in a Penthouse Practice Suite ad.

This was before anyone decided to ban singing and it was a brilliant night. I kid you not, Jock was trying to go home for half an hour. The “one more tune” calls didn’t stop. He played some magnificent folk songs. The local talent we have is just astounding.

Jock Boland (right).

Stevie and James were awesome too, playing some well known covers before mixing it up with novelty songs and other oddities.

Stevie Agnew (centre) at The White Gates.

I had a brilliant birthday just one day early.

Stevie Agnew (centre) and the boys at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

The next Saturday afternoon The Stevie Agnew Band played the roof at The White Gates. It was like U2 playing the rooftop in Los Angeles for their Grammy Award-winning music video. Stevie and his band missed a trick by not blasting out Where The Streets Have No Name.

Stuart and Donald at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

A little later The White Gates built a new stage on a lower level than the beer garden. From the roof the sound was disappearing up the village. The new stage solved that problem and The Stevie Agnew Band returned for a second scintillating post-lockdown gig.

The Stevie Agnew Band on stage at The White Gates with former TwinsTown drummer Ronnie Dalrymple. Ronnie has 8 fingers and 2 thumbs, “lock up your daughters, sisters and mums,” as you’ll hear on our video page.

TwinsTown love Stevie – who doesn’t!? – and his album Hurricane Road. Informally, just entertaining friends, I’ve heard Donald and Stuart sing Stevie’s Wreckin’ Yard, albeit given a wee TwinsTown makeover. The best cover versions usually have a wee twist.

Anna Heslop and Stuart Mackay wearing Stevie Agnew Hurricane Road hat.

It’s always good to see local artists supporting each other. Until recently Eggman Studios, the home of up-and-coming Fife band Shambolics, sat next door to Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite, and Shambolics popped along to support our TwinsTown rehearsal.

Shambolics watching TwinsTown.

Scott Gilbert aka Toastie recorded his forthcoming single Walk On By at Eggman Studios, next door to his own Penthouse Practice Suite.

Scott Gilbert aka Toastie recording at Eggman Studios.

Shambolics and Eggman Studios have now relocated to Glasgow and all at TwinsTown wish them the very best of luck. Although with their obvious talent and having already signed with Scottish music mogul Alan McGee, who is also based in Glasgow, Shambolics won’t need luck. McGee’s old label Creation Records famously signed Oasis, Primal Scream, as well as Jesus and Mary Chain. His new label Creation23 is focusing on releasing vinyl as TwinsTown intend to do for debut album Brankholm Brae.

Eggman Studios, Dunfermline, is no more. Our own Wayne is pictured 4th from the left.

Amazingly, in almost 4 years, I’ve not managed to book Stevie Agnew or his band to play Tappie Toories. I’ll need to rectify that error asap. How brilliant would it be to have Stevie and TwinsTown in Tappies on the same night. Maybe one day…

Name: Hornet aka Donald.

Hornet at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

Stuart, Wayne and you were Wingnuts and Wolves before TwinsTown. How is the new band going? We couldn’t be happier with TwinsTown. I’m buzzing. It’s fate, us all coming together; Harry, Mark, Billy and you.

Hopefully our next recording trip to Tpot Studios in Path of Condie will be free of Covid-19 restrictions. I hope so, we are booked in for the end of November and it should be a special weekend. Completing our debut album Brankholm Brae is growing ever-closer.

Apart from Big Daddy the manager, I hear you’re the driving force of TwinsTown, a sort of band leader or club captain in football parlance… We’re all captains.

I see you organising and being the most sensible, although I also hear that one of you goes bananas occasionally. Is it you? No comment.

Something about the wrath of the rum…? That’s a track on our debut album, Brankholm Brae. We wrote it back in our Wingnuts days and it’s completely a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents in the song are the products of our imaginations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Why are you consulting with your solicitor…? Moving on. Are you in the news? Yes, the Dunfermline Press, all about TwinsTown recording Brankholm Brae at Tpot Studios in Path of Condie.

Is the recording going well? No one has gone bananas. That’s always a good thing. Not even Robin, the studio engineer, has lost the plot, and he has to spend 12-hour shifts working with Stuart and me.

Your band manager Big Daddy went a wee bit bananas, didn’t he? Well, aye, but that was in Dunfermline the morning before the recording started. Robin and I were house on fire in the studio.

I’ve actually seen you go bananas. Mind that time in Toastie’s practice suite when you roared: “ARE YOU JUST PHONING IN THE CHORUS!?” He wis PHONING IN the chorus!

You having none of it, aye? AYE!

Do say: “Keep the heid,” and “Quick, hide the OVD”.

Don’t say: “Is that Donald going bananas, AGAIN!?”

It’s a beautiful drive from Dunfermline to Tpot Studies in Path of Condie. Stopping in Kinross for square sausage and bacon rolls only added to the pleasure. I was buzzin’ and looking forward to seeing TwinsTown in action.

Path of Condie. Actual mode of transport may vary.

I was lucky. Doing public relations and photography gave me the second household spot as each of the five band members arrived, laid down their tracks individually, and departed. It made for a long two days but, boy oh boy, it was fun.

I watched all the divas taking tantrums, making unforced errors, losing their nerve, losing their minds and some even lost their hair! I’m sure I could see baldy bits. Embrace the baldness, boys. It’s the price of art.

Prohibited: no baldy bits allowed, say paranoid pair. Be like sound man Robin and buy a hat.

And debut album Brankholm Brae is going to be a work of art. There’s no doubt. We reviewed the final take on each track and when it worked, it worked.

Donald and Stuart Mackay know how to write a catchy tune. TwinsTown manager Big Daddy aka Billy George described one track, Welcome to My World, as REM on speed. I liken Spitfire to Primal Scream giving it laldy singing, “get your rocks off, get your rock off, honey”.

Before the two household restriction, I attended two TwinsTown rehearsals at Scott Gilbert’s Penthouse Practice Suite, above the 7 Kings at 2a Chalmers Street. At the first rehearsal, Zena and I were laughing, singing Wolves lyrics to the new tunes. Wolves being the twins’ former band, after starting out with The Wingnuts. The old lyrics just seemed to fit and we left thinking TwinsTown hadn’t really progressed musically. Fresh lyrics, same tunes we thought.

Zena and Stuart at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

By the second rehearsal I attended the songs had developed. It took hours upon hours of work. I know, I was there to see it. When TwinsTown arrived at Tpot Studios to record the album the songs had improved immensely, and I watched as sound engineer Robin, socially distanced in a sound proof booth, tinkered with his mixing desk and offered advice to each individual performer. It’s a process.

The end result is going to be worth the effort.

Of course, I’m bias. I’m the band’s PR and photographer. I booked the Wingnuts to play East End Park in support of Pars United, back in 2012 when we all bought and saved Dunfermline Athletic. Beatnic Prestige headlined and I remember Albo giving the sonic twins a guitar masterclass in the green room. They learned well.

Albo, sporting his blue Fred Perry, giving another masterclass with The Stevie Agnew Band at The White Gates.

I also booked the Wolves for The Creepy Wee Pub. It was their first gig and we made the whole upstairs a stage. What a gig that was!

Wolves after their first ever gig at The Creepy Wee Pub.

I also booked The Mackay Twins to play Tappie Toories, their first gig under that name. I’m sure the old TwinsTown featuring Jimmy Clouston played Tappies too. They just turned up and gigged.

The Mackay Twins play Tappies.

What I’m saying is, I’m a fan. I always have been. As a longtime fan I can honestly say the twins’ new material is their strongest.

My old Wingnuts favourite Wrath of the Rum sits on Brankholm Brae alongside 11 brand spanking new tracks. Wrath deserves a return. It’s a classic. It’s not my favourite anymore though. Spitfire has that honour now. I love it, especially the twins’ Winston Churchill impressions. It’s inspirational, it’s funny, it’s TwinsTown. It’s what the boys are all about.

Spitfire a stunning track from Twinstown’s debut album Brankholm Brae.

Please don’t think TwinsTown is all about the twins. As Harry Dixon tells us, we’re all brothers. Shame you didn’t remember that, Harry, when you got Tony Bellew onto me. The world boxing champ called me an uncultured swine! I’ll be giving the Gypsy King a call, or are you best pals with him too…

I give up!

Seriously though, I used to watch Harry playing songs about his maw buying substandard t-bags from charity shops and despite the strong lyrics his guitar work was inept. Several jugs of lager too many.

Sober Harry is brilliant, on both bass and lead guitar.

To promote Brankholm Brae we’ll be producing a ‘making of’ video and additional ‘in the studio’ videos showing each band member performing a track individually. I’ve already edited Harry’s video, playing bass on Big Heart. It’s impressive, although look out for his wee hussy fit at the very end, and listen on as Robin counsels him over the headphones.

Wayne is also outstanding. He’s like THE toun drummer in Dunfermline. He was a stalwart with The Falcons for years. I think he’s also featured with The Wingnuts, Honk, Beatnic Prestige, The Modern Faces, and the list goes on. He reminds me of Keith Moon from The Who. He’s steady, keeping the beat, steady, steady, and then he goes off unexpectedly. He improvises. He makes every drum track his own.

Wayne drums like Keith Moon from The Who.

New member Mark keeps calling me Bowser ‘cos I can drink 20 cans of T without paying a visit. Nae wonder we call him The Darkness. He’s a bad man and the less said about him the better.

Only joking, Mark does a mean Top Gun impression and he’s a big Ainsley Harriott fan. These are meaningful credentials in TwinsTown. His piano and keyboard work is next up in the studio, so more about The Darkness will follow in due course.

Mark: The Darkness. He’s a bad man and loves Ainsley Harriott.

Big Daddy says he’s planning on old school vinyl for the release of Brankholm Brae. I know everyone says this, but it’s true, vinyl does have the edge over digital. Digital wins on convenience. Vinyl wins on quality and aesthetics and everything else.

Big Daddy aka Billy George, in the red shirt, with his own band Honk (original lineup).

For my part, I’ll be posting here, taking pics and working on the video The Making of Brankholm Brae, plus individual In The Studio vids for each of the famous 5.

Joe Graham aka Bowser doesn’t like having his picture taken.

Flare it!

Twinstown say Flare it!

Star Wars started with Episode IV: A New Hope. I’m starting with Episode II: Joe’s Blog.

Last night, I explained this to Big Daddy the irascible manager of arguably Dunfermline’s brightest indie rockers, TwinsTown. Billy was very kindly driving me home a day early from Tpot Studios in Path of Condie. I’d had a crisis in the hospitality industry foisted upon me, and my wonderful staff, in my pub Tappie Toories, and I need to deal with the aftermath today.

I should be in the recording studio now with TwinsTown frontmen Donald and Stuart Mackay, the effervescent duo were in dazzling form from morning to very late last night as they laid down the final vocals for their debut album Brankholm Brae, and I was privileged to be the only other household allowed to join them.

I should explain: I’m Joe Graham, and when not in Tappies, I do public relations and photography for Twinstown. This blog starts with episode two as it was actually my second visit to Tpot Studios with the lads. I didn’t blog about my first visit as we only set this website up earlier this week. Episode one will follow shortly.

Anyway, lets get to the point. Big Daddy is irascible. No, only joking, the point is Donald and Stuart are startling. Their final vocals are outstanding, and a massive step up from the early (episode one) rough mixes I have downloaded to my phone. TwinsTown’s debut album Brankholm Brae is going to be an incredible addition to Dunfermline’s rock and pop history. Even the ever-irascible TwinsTown manager Billy George agrees with me. Okay, I’ll stop saying that now. It’s alright, he knows I like a wind-up.

I need to cut this short, you know, new Government guidelines to be appalled about and to try to cope with, a business and a bunch of jobs hang in the balance, and I promise to return with episode one soon.

Today, in advance of their forthcoming debut album, Brankholm Brae, indie rockers TwinsTown have launched their new website.

“During these gig-free times, it’s another great way for us to keep in touch with our audience,” explained Stuart Mackay, who fronts the 5-piece with brother Donald.

“Our ever-growing audience,” chimed Donald, keen to point out the increasing popularity of the band on Facebook and Instagram. The TwinsTown Twitter page is a recent addition and hasn’t caught on yet.

“We’ll continue to use Facebook and Instagram as usual, and now Twitter too. Our website will be an addition, with all the social media links available.

“Let’s hope TwinTowners share freely.”

Before social distancing, and before Mark joined TwinsTown. Wayne, Zena, Harry, Stuart and Donald.

Talking of sharing freely, I’ve been sharing a few with the boys in Tappie Toories, the band’s spiritual home, as it was for Big Country when the popular Dunfermline boozer was owned and operated by frontman Stuart Adamson and his wife Sandra. I drank in Tappies with Stuart behind the bar or playing tunes. I remember reading an NME article around that time listing Big Country as the third biggest act in the world behind U2 and Simple Minds respectively.

I mention this as TwinsTown don’t just share Stuart’s old pub, they share his drive and ambition too. On one of the nights, Tappies hosted band member Harry Dixon’s birthday party and the social distancing didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.

Wayne looking reserved and smiley.

I asked the more reserved members, Wayne Robertson and Mark Guyan, if TwinsTown share a wee bit of Big Country’s talent. Drinks were set down for a round of serious nodding. I think I heard a couple of “Oh! aye!” remarks but difficult to know for sure when sitting 2 metres away.

Mark: “Oh! Aye!”

Please watch this space for more TwinsTown updates.

THE Mackay boys are back in town as the guitar-wielding brothers announce their debut album.

Donald and Stuart Mackay lead from the front in the Dunfermline five-piece’s 12-track record Brankholm Brae.

Donald and Stuart Mackay

When gigs return, they intend to “flare it” to the masses with the help of guitarist Harry Dixon, drummer Wayne Robertson and Mark Guyan on keyboard/piano.

Featuring indie pop melodies mixing with rock vocals, the studio album will be released after the recording process is finalised.

They hope to get that done and dusted as soon as possible but the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down their efforts; keeping all but the Mackay twins (who shared a household) apart for long periods.

Donald said: “Working within COVID-19 guidelines for the past few months has caused us to be both careful and innovative, however we do plan to complete the recording, and stay safe.

“I’m excited about TwinsTown and our forthcoming album. I think we are all looking forward with hope and just a little expectation.”

Harry also added: “We love Dunfermline and we hope Brankholm Brae will be loved in both Dunfermline and beyond.

“When we are allowed to gig, we intend to flare it!”

Brankholm Brae will be released across streaming services in due course.

Originally published in The Dunfermline Press on 1st October 2020.