It wasn't headline news when Swervedriver quietly broke up in 1998. The British quartet, often lumped into the "shoegaze" genre but more muscular and freewheeling than most of its contemporaries, was sonically influential but, aside from some early chart success in its native England, rarely high-profile. Still, the band's discography, most of which is out of print in the U.S., is full of gems from the carnivalesque Raise EP to the band's swan song, 99th Dream. Swervedriver's best-known album in the U.S., 1993 release Mezcal Head, was reissued and expanded not long after the band's 2008 reformation. We asked frontman Adam Franklin about the circumstances surrounding that album's creation.
Adam Franklin: "There was a lot of political upheaval in the world. Yugoslavia was collapsing and the whole thing with Bosnia, and there was this upsurge of skinheads and right-wing parties in Eastern Germany. The original working titles of the songs were based on that. 'A Change is Gonna Come'...the original working title for that was 'Bosnian Refugee,' for some strange reason. I don't quite know why. 'Girl on a Motorbike' was originally called 'Rise of the Right.' That was the working title all the way through recording it. But 'Girl on a Motorbike' sounded much more like a Swervedriver song. "