Glasvegas' James Allan: 'There's no end to the Boss's abilities'

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The Independent Culture

The first piece of music I ever bought was "Streets of Philadelphia". I was 11. It's a love song. A message of love, highlighting pure community and freedom of faith. I like those things. I really do. When I was a little boy, I never wanted to admit I liked music or girls. I was really crippled by shyness and for reasons I don't understand now, I hid the tape from my mum. I was attracted to his obvious soul, good heart and pure genius. The movie Philadelphia and the Care Bears cartoons broke my heart and made me want to show compassion to others.

At that age, the only music I would hear was the stuff my older sister played – Top of the Pops music, like Madonna. Maybe it's not natural for a kid that age to listen to "Streets of Philadelphia". The lyrics are pretty heavy and hardcore for a pop song so for me going from Madonna to Bruce, I think it's only when I look back that I can see how maybe it opened a few doors for me. Perhaps not at the time, but later, when I had aspirations to be a rock star. I can see how he made an impact.

It's not just the lyrics, it's the way the melody moves. If you just had the music, the music would break my heart, too. That's pretty gifted. What I've done with Glasvegas came to me quite uninvited. All I know is that Bruce's music moves me. It has either recognised some of the euphoria there is in hope, in me, or it would recognise some of the heartbreak and darkness in me.

The next time I came to Bruce, it was when my girlfriend at the time and I went on holiday to Andalusia. Her brother had given her a CD player and when we opened it, there was Bruce's Greatest Hits inside. It started on that holiday and that was at a time when I was unemployed and it was a mad time for me. Every night while she was getting ready to go out I'd put the CD on. I'd make it to track 16 every day. Bruce captures the euphoria, but also the romance in me. That was summertime and we signed our record deal five months after. I'd written half the album before the holiday. The chances are he inspired the album. Something that moves you inspires you; it inspired me to express myself in my own band. He must have been an influence. "Lonesome Swan" is about a swan-shaped pedalo on that holiday that nobody ever took out, and that was the time I had Bruce on every day. It's the electricity, the soul, Bruce has got it. There's no end to the man's abilities.

We're signed to Columbia, the same label as Bruce's. I'm not embarrassed to say that I'd be happy if in my lifetime I could be half the guy I believe Bruce is. The way Bruce recognises the heartbreak and cruel fate others can experience to this level of expression is other-worldly. Bruce, thanks. See you at Glastonbury.