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!

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.