Q Magazine

March 1992

Where Are They Now

Strawberry Switchblade

'Everybody on the Glasgow scene was in a band, why not us?'

This reasonable assumption led to Jill Bryson and Rose McDowell [sic] forming Strawberry Switchblade in 1985, purveyors of 'short, simple catchy little songs in the 60s style', as Bryson put it. Bill Drummond, present KLF cohort but Warners A&R manager at the time, heard their Peel session and signed them, leading to a Top 5 hit with Since Yesterday.

As subsequent singles failed to break the Top 40, they found that the fun had disappeared. 'you're under a lot of pressure once the record company gets hold of you,' sighs Jill Bryson. 'You have to know what you're doing once it all starts, and I don't think we pulled together'. What are they doing with themselves? asks Michael Mavor of Whitley Bay.

Jill Bryson (vocals): Since the group split, has been a buyer for a clothes designer and written songs - 'The music's still pop, but not as bubblegum' - but hasn't returned to the musical fray: 'I'm still clearing up the financial mess splitting up leaves you in, which has put me off'.

Married ex-Farmers Boys keyboard player Frog in 1990, who was a member of strawberry Switchblade's backing band when they toured Japan. The couple are currently writing, with a view to starting a group, as yet unnamed - 'it's hard enough thinking of a name for the baby!'

Rose McDowell (vocals): Contributed backing vocals on record and live to a variety of names, including Bronski Beat, Psychic TV, Primal Scream and Current 93 as well as guitar to Felt. Moved to Japan for six months, working under the name Candy Cane, but never released any of her recordings. Returned to London, married Canadian Robert Lee (Band Of Holy Joy, Heavenly Bodies) and had a baby.

Presently living in Canada, but planning to return to UK soon. Has 'millions of fond memories of Strawberry Switchblade, up until the very end, when we lost direction and turned into something we didn't set out to be because we were too busy to see what was happening. On top, we had personal problems, so it was the easier thing to call it a day.'