I’m going full wiki this week:-
“The Soup Dragons formed in Bellshill in 1985. The line up was Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice) who replaced Ian Whitehall, and Sushil K. Dade (bass). The original drummer, Ross A. Sinclair, left the group after the first proper album, This Is Our Art, to pursue a career in art, and was replaced by Paul Quinn. Most of their songs were written by Sean Dickson.
The Soup Dragons recorded their first demo tape, You Have Some Too, after playing a few local gigs, and this was followed by a flexi disc single “If You Were the Only Girl in the World”.
They signed to The Subway Organization in early 1986 and their first proper single (The Sun in the Sky EP) was Buzzcocks-inspired pop punk. The band’s big breakthrough came with their second single for Subway, “Whole Wide World” which reached No. 2 on the UK Independent Chart in 1986. Dickson and McCulloch also moonlighted in BMX Bandits at this time.
The band were signed by former Wham! co-manager Jazz Summers‘ label Raw TV with further indie hits (and minor UK Singles Chart hits) following during 1987 and 1988. Over the course of six singles (the first three collected in 1986 on a US-only compilation, Hang Ten), they gradually developed a more complex rock guitar sound, which culminated in their first proper album This Is Our Art, now signed to major label Sire Records. After one single from the album – “Kingdom Chairs” – was released, they then returned to original label Raw TV and Big Life Records.
In the year following This Is Our Art, The Soup Dragons’ sound underwent a change from an indie rock sound, to the rock-dance crossover sound; this was mainly due to being without a drummer and buying a sampler and drum machine and experimenting with sound with the release of the album Lovegod. This change can be attributed to the rise of the ecstasy-fueled acid house rave scene in the UK. In 1990, they released their most successful hit single in the UK, “I’m Free”, an up-tempo cover of a Rolling Stones song with an added toasting overdub by reggae star Junior Reid, which reached No. 5.
Subsequent albums continued in the band’s own style and in 1992, they enjoyed their biggest US hit with “Divine Thing” which reached No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit No. 3 on the Modern Rock chart.
The Soup Dragons disbanded in 1995.
Paul Quinn joined Teenage Fanclub.
Sushil K. Dade formed the experimental post rock group Future Pilot A.K.A. and is now a producer for BBC Radio 3.
Sean Dickson formed The High Fidelity, came out as gay, had a breakdown, then met his husband and established a successful career Djing as HiFi Sean.
Jim McCulloch joined Superstar, wrote and recorded music with Isobel Campbell, and formed the folk group Snowgoose.
Ross A. Sinclair had a successful career in art, winning a number of international awards and becoming a Research Fellow at Glasgow School of Art, and still makes music to this day.
The story of The Soup Dragons is traced as part of the 2017 documentary Teenage Superstars.”
A group whom I thoroughly enjoyed throughout their career. Why I’ve never got round to compiling an ICA is beyond me…..it’s a genuine failing on my part.
mp3: The Soup Dragons – Hang Ten!
A personal favourite…..two minutes and a few seconds of rollicking, fun-filled indie-pop. But really, today’s choice could have been one of many fabulous songs they delivered over the decade they made music.
I’ll also take this opportunity to mention that Hi-Fi Sean’s next album, which he’s written and recorded with David McAlmont, is being issued by Last Night From Glasgow this coming September. I was lucky enough to be at LNFG’s HQ a while back when a test pressing had been delivered, and I got to hear the opening track. On the basis of those few minutes, it promises to be one of the best albums of 2022.
3 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #312: SOUP DRAGONS”
Ah, wonderful. I’m with you, JC, I enjoyed The Soup Dragons throughout their different musical directions and callings. I have you to thanks for bringing my attention to HiFi Sean. I’m really looking forward to the forthcoming album with David McAlmont, a dynamite pairing.
Saw the Soup Dragons during a visit to London in 1986, at Dingwalls. They were very heavily into their Buzzcocks phase. Their guitar amps kept cutting out and they had to stop and start a couple of times. On the third fault someone shouted “Something’s Gone Wrong Again!” which I, the crowd, and the band themselves thought was hilarious.
Jim McCulloch put out a wonderful 10” last year that went largely unnoticed . Worlds apart from what Sean has been up to but well worth your time.