Kurt Cobain's favourites The Vaselines' kiss and make up

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The Independent Culture

It almost feels like the subtitle for our band should be 'The Vaselines: As Endorsed By Nirvana'," says Eugene Kelly. "But we can't avoid that, it's part of our history. If it wasn't for Kurt Cobain we'd be just another group who released a couple of singles and an album, then disappeared into obscurity."

As far as band lifespans go, The Vaselines' was particularly short. Formed in 1986 and disbanded one album (Dum Dum) later in 1989, the duo had earned popularity in their native Glasgow and little recognition further afield. What would later seal their reputation as one of the true cult greats of the last two decades, however, was the fact that Kurt Cobain had heard and fallen for their music. His band, Nirvana, would go on to release covers of three of their songs (most notably "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" on the MTV Unplugged in New York album, albeit pessimistically renamed "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam"), and he would name his daughter Frances Bean after Kelly's partner in the band, Frances McKee.

Now, after a hiatus of more than 20 years, the pair return this autumn with a second album on Sub Pop named Sex with an X (wryly titled as ever: the break-up of Kelly and McKee's own relationship was the reason for the band's original split) and a national tour. Having played live since 2008, including an appearance at Sub Pop's 20th-anniversary show in America, the pair originally started writing again simply to bulk up a back catalogue which is 45 minutes in length. "It feels like enough space has been put between then and now," says Kelly, "and, to be honest, we've also got the audience that wasn't there before."

How long they last this time round is a question of the pair's interest levels and the album's reception, although there are currently no bookings past the new year. "I hope people don't see us after all this time and think, 'is that it?'" says Kelly. "I know we've already blown the mystery a bit, I liked the fact there were no videos of us on YouTube and only a few pictures out there. But we've got a good band and we've practised really hard. We want to at least try and impress."

'Sex with an X' is released on Monday on Sub Pop. On tour from 15 September (Subpop.com/artists/the_vaselines)

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