Travis have gone from emo boys to loving dads

Family men (from left) Neil Primrose, Dougie Payne, Francis Healy and Andy Dunlop. -- PHOTO: FOREFRONT ASIA
Family men (from left) Neil Primrose, Dougie Payne, Francis Healy and Andy Dunlop. -- PHOTO: FOREFRONT ASIA

Members of alternative rock band Travis are now all dads and put their families first

Scottish alternative rock band Travis are leaving behind their art school days and songs about being 17 and embracing middleaged life.

Priorities have changed for the band, whose members are all in their 40s now, notes their bassist Dougie Payne - and that comes through Travis' latest album Where You Stand (2013).

Payne, 41, who was speaking to Life! over the telephone from Japan ahead of their show at the Star Theatre tomorrow, says with a chuckle: "I think it's definitely looking at both ends of life.

"We are in the middle, I guess. We're all dads now. It's quite an optimistic and emotional - in a good way - record as well. You're looking at your children and wondering what life is going to be like for them and thinking about how they've impacted upon your life and changed your priorities.

"It's kind of like looking back with fondness, and looking back with optimism."

Indeed, this interview easily veers from music to the topic of him playing house husband, cooking his speciality dishes (such as a mean lemon and tarragon roast chicken and shrimp tacos) and spending time with his wife and two sons when he is not touring with the band.

While fatherhood, according to him, has not changed the way the band approach their music, their lives as touring musicians have certainly changed.

He says: "We definitely approach touring with a bit more trepidation and we try to tailor it so we're not away for too long. Two weeks at any time is enough. Two weeks is like an eternity when you're a five- or six-year-old."

Travis, which also include singer Francis Healy, guitarist Andy Dunlop and drummer Neil Primrose, formed in the early 1990s, but shot to international fame only with their sophomore album The Man Who (1999), which produced the hit singles Driftwood, Why Does It Always Rain On Me and Turn. The album's success won them the Best Album and Best Band title at the 2000 Brit Awards.

They followed up on The Man Who with the equally successful The Invisible Band (2001).

Their next three studio albums released between 2003 and 2008 did not fare as well, but that was not the reason for the five-year break before Where You Stand came along last year.

Payne says the band "needed to spend time with our kids and with our family".

Knowing when to take time out has also helped keep the band together for more than 20 years, he adds.

"Taking time off, and waiting for the desire and hunger to return, that will keep you together."

The creative streak in the band may have returned, as Payne says Travis are already working on new songs, with about 20 tracks in "various stages" of production.

Has going back on tour inspired the band?

Payne says with a laugh: "We would never write about touring. There are just so many sh** songs about touring, the last thing you want to hear is about the band on a tour bus."

melk@sph.com.sg

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