C86 Show - Indie Pop

The Vaselines with Frances McKee

June 6, 2020

The Vaselines with Frances McKee in conversation with David Eastaugh

The band formed in 1986, initially as a duo backed by a drum machine. Originally intending to create a fanzine, Kelly and McKee decided to form a band instead. Stephen Pastel of The Pastels is credited with coming up with their name. After playing their first gigs, they signed to Pastel's 53rd and 3rd label and recorded the Son of a Gun EP with him producing, released in summer 1987. The EP featured a cover of Divine's "You Think You're a Man" on its B-side. By late 1987, Eugene's brother Charlie Kelly had joined on drums with James Seenan on bass. With this line-up and with Stephen Pastel producing again, they recorded the Dying for It EP, released in early 1988. It featured the songs "Molly's Lips" and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," both of which Nirvana would later cover. In June 1989 they released their first album, Dum-Dum, again on 53rd and 3rd but distributed by Rough Trade. The band broke up shortly after its release due jointly to the dissolution of 53rd and 3rd Records and the end of Kelly and McKee's romantic relationship. They briefly reformed in October 1990 to open for Nirvana when they played in Edinburgh.