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Interview:
Travis re-releases debut album "Good Feeling," 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Friday, April 9, 2021

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It's fair to say that the Scottish group Travis' worldwide breakthrough came with its 1999 album "The Man Who." But that wasn't the real start of the story.



In 1997 the quartet released "Good Feeling," which was recorded at legendary Bearsville Studios in New York with famed producer Steve Lillywhite. It debuted at a respectable No. 9 on the U.K. charts and earned Travis a Brit Award nomination for British Breakthrough Act, and its raw attack -- the lead single was called "All I Want to Do is Rock," after all -- was an early indicator of what was to come for the next nearly 25 years.



Travis has reissued "Good Feeling" on vinyl, replicating its original packaging and including the initial recording of the Top 20 U.K. hit "More Than This." That's given frontman Fran Healy, who now lives in Los Angeles, and his three bandmates something to focus on while they wait to resume touring to support its most recent album, 2020's "10 Songs"...



Healy, 47, says by phone to preparing "Good Feeling" for re-release has allowed him to regain some perspective on Travis' debut. "It's funny; My view of that record is tainted slightly by the fact it did nothing (commercially) when it came out. I didn't know this at the time but I was told later that people at (the label) were talking about us being dropped 'cause 'Good Feeling' under-performed so much. We were never privy to that, but we definitely knew it wasn't a big hit. So it's always bene tainted, slightly, because I feel like it didn't do as well as it should have. But when I listened to it for the first time in 20-some years, it's, like, our best recording."







Healy does acknowledge that "Good Feeling" "was unlike any of the albums at that time. It came out at the height of Britpop, and (Radiohead's) 'OK Computer' and (the Verve's) 'Urban Hymns' and 'Be Here Now,' a huge Oasis record, all came out within the same two-month window. So it was like a sock in a blizzard. It vanished almost instantly when we released the record."



Healy remembers that the opportunity to record in Woodstock, N.Y., meant a lot to Travis because of the area's great musical legacy. "The thing you have to understand about Travis and Scottish bands in general is we were very much more influenced by American bands and Americana than English bands are. In Scotland we always had this big, wide-eyed view of America. All our influences -- R&B, The Band, Jeff Buckley -- found their way onto 'Good Feeling.' So it was a real treat for us to be making the record in a place that was so connected to The Band, Dylan, all of that history.



During its time in Woodstock, Travis took some time out to go to a local bar where it was told The Band's Rick Danko would be playing a surprise show. "It was this smallish bar, and the place was rammed with people -- almost too many. We were there for an hour and a half. (Danko) was supposed to go on stage at 11. At half past midnight I was, 'I can't stay here. It's so hot. I'm going back to the studio.' The next day we heard (Danko) turned up five minutes after we left and played an absolutely stunning show. That was our big chance. We blew it!" (laughs)



Healy says the Travis hopes to resume touring as soon as possible and plans to play in the U.S. next year. Nowadays, however, the band members' focus tends to be on their children -- he has one, a teenager, and there are five between the rest of the group. "Your children are the biggest songs you'll ever right. They have the potential to go out and be useful in the world. So I think you definitely need to spend more time producing them than the songs."

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