Teenage Fanclub are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in Bellshill in 1989. The band comprises Norman Blake (vocals, guitar), Raymond McGinley (vocals, lead guitar), Gerard Love (vocals, bass), Francis MacDonald (drums) and Dave McGowan (keyboards), with songwriting duties shared equally among Blake, McGinley and Love. In concert, the band usually alternate among the three songwriters (who all sing lead vocals on their own songs) giving equal playing time to each one's songs.
Although often pegged as alternative rock, the group have incorporated a wide variety of elements from various music styles in their songs.
Teenage Fanclub have had a succession of drummers, including Francis MacDonald, Brendan O’Hare and Paul Quinn, who was later replaced by the returning Francis MacDonald. Keyboardist Finlay MacDonald (no relation) has also been a member.
As of September 2016, the band will have released ten studio albums and two compilation albums.
Teenage Fanclub emerged from the Glasgow C86 scene. Their sound is reminiscent of Californian bands like the Beach Boys and the Byrds, and their seventies counterparts Big Star. Originally a noisy and chaotic band, their first album A Catholic Education, released in 1990 on Paperhouse, is largely atypical of their later sound, with the possible exception of "Everything Flows". The King, their next album, received critical reviews; it consisted of a number of self-confessed shambolic guitar thrashes and a cover of Madonna's "Like a Virgin".
Their next album, Bandwagonesque, released on Creation Records in the UK and Geffen in the US, brought Teenage Fanclub a measure of commercial success. Bandwagonesque was more deliberately constructed, the hooks became stronger, the guitar riffs were brought under control, and the harmony vocals took shape. Bandwagonesque won Spin magazine's 1991 end-of-year poll for best album, beating Nirvana's Nevermind, their Creation stablemates My Bloody Valentine's album Loveless, and R.E.M.'s Out of Time.
The subsequent, Thirteen, suffered scathing reviews on release. Brendan O'Hare left Teenage Fanclub during this period because of "musical differences", to be replaced by Paul Quinn (formerly of the Soup Dragons).
Grand Prix, Teenage Fanclub's fifth album, was both a critical and commercial success in the UK, becoming their first top ten album. Released at the height of Britpop it almost certainly benefited from being released on the Creation records label. In the United States however the band failed to regain the ground that Thirteen had lost them. Around this time Liam Gallagher of labelmates Oasis called the band "the second best band in the world" — second only to Oasis.
Songs from Northern Britain followed Grand Prix and built on the former's success. It became their highest charting release in the UK and contained their biggest hit single to date, "Ain't That Enough".
The follow-up album, Howdy!, released on Columbia Records in the UK after the demise of Creation, continued the sound of Songs from Northern Britain. Francis MacDonald rejoined as the drummer for the tour supporting the album after Quinn left the band. Quinn went on to form The Primary 5.
In 2002, they released Words of Wisdom and Hope with cult icon Jad Fair of Half Japanese.
Their final release on a Sony label, Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub, collected the Fanclub's best songs along with three new songs (one from each member).
Their next album, Man-Made, was released on 2 May 2005, on the band's own PeMa label. Man-Made was recorded in Chicago in 2004, and produced by John McEntire of Tortoise.
In 2006, the band held two special concerts (in London and Glasgow) playing their 1991 album Bandwagonesque in its entirety.
The band began work on their ninth album in August 2008, booking an initial three weeks at Leeders Farm recording studio in Norfolk. The album was called Shadows, the first to involve keyboardist Dave McGowan as a full-time member, and was released on the band's own PeMa label. It became available in Europe, Australasia and Japan on 31 May 2010, and was released by Merge Records in North America on 8 June 2010.
Teenage Fanclub are influenced by Big Star and Orange Juice. They performed a cover of Orange Juice's "Rip It Up" with Edwyn Collins. In December 2010, at the ATP Bowlie 2 music festival, they performed as the backing band for Edwyn Collins. Teenage Fanclub were regularly name-checked by Kurt Cobain in interviews and described by him as "the best band in the world".
Juliana Hatfield covered the song "Cells" on her 2012 self-titled album.
In May 2015, Teenage Fanclub played support for the Foo Fighters at their Old Trafford Cricket Ground gig.
On June 21, 2016, Teenage Fanclub announced details of their tenth album, Here, to be released on September 9.
Norman Blake formed the two-person band Jonny with Euros Childs. Bassist Dave McGowan, who has also played with Teenage Fanclub, also plays on the 2011 eponymous debut album. As of 2012 Norman Blake has also formed a Canadian-based supergroup with Joe Pernice and Mike Belitsky called The New Mendicants.
Gerard Love released his own solo album Electric Cables in 2012 using the alias Lightships.
Raymond McGinley joined Dave McGowan's folk group Snowgoose, whose debut album Harmony Springs was released in 2012.
Francis MacDonald released an album of minimalist classical music, Music For String Quartet, Piano & Celeste, in 2015. MacDonald played piano and celeste, with strings by members of the Scottish Ensemble.Norman Blake - vocals, guitar (1989-present)
Raymond McGinley - vocals, guitar (1989-present)
Gerard Love - vocals, bass (1989-present)
Francis MacDonald - drums, vocals (1989, 2000-present)
Dave McGowan - keyboards, guitar (2004-present)
Brendan O'Hare - drums (1989-1994)
Paul Quinn - drums (1994-1999)
Finlay MacDonald - keyboards, guitar, vocals, bass (1997-2001)
A Catholic Education (1990)
The King (1991) No. 53 UK
Bandwagonesque (1991) No. 22 UK, No. 137 US
Thirteen (1993) No. 14 UK
Grand Prix (1995) No. 7 UK, No. 68 Japan; No. 57 Australia
Songs from Northern Britain (1997) No. 3 UK; No. 70 Australia
Howdy! (2000) No. 33 UK
Words of Wisdom and Hope (2002) [with Jad Fair]
Man-Made (2005) No. 34 UK
Shadows (2010) No. 30 UK
Here (2016) No. 10 UK
Deep Fried Fanclub (1995) (B-Sides compilation)
Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds – A Short Cut to Teenage Fanclub (2003) [Compilation] No. 47 UK
Ruby Trax – The NME's Roaring Forty (1992)
DGC Rarities Vol. 1 (1994)