“Let’s Work It Out” single featuring Thierry Henry
Sharleen Spiteri has history. It’s now 31 years since she and some musician friends founded Texas in their hometown of Glasgow.
By Craig McLean.
Nine band albums, two solo albums, and 40 million record sales later, the singer/songwriter/frontwoman stares down a busy 2017 in support of latest collection Jump on Board with typical unblinking honesty.
“It’s really good at the moment. Part of you is thinking, 30 years on, we’re putting out a new record, and it’s nerve-racking, but whatever…. But we came in the album charts at number six in the U.K. and number one in France. We’ve always been two in France, so it only took us 30 years to top the charts in France! I’ve had a smile on my face all week.”
It’s a deep-career triumph for a group who’ve cultivated a ceaseless, restless creativity. Spiteri ascribes it to France’s long-running love affair with her band, to healthy radio play for first single “Let’s Work It Out” —“and having Thierry Henry star in the video is gonna help as well!” she says, beaming.
The French footballer legend is a good friend of Spiteri’s from his time playing for her local London soccer club, Arsenal. “Literally every interview I’ve done all over the world, they go: ‘How did you get Thierry Henry?’” Spiteri laughs.
The musician had better be prepared for another round of excitable enquiries when people see the video for the follow-up single, “Tell That Girl.” It stars actor Rory McCann on drums. The Scotsman—another friend of the band—is better known as The Hound in Game of Thrones. The fanboy/fangirl excitement from the show’s horde of fans is already clamorous.
“Rory came down to see us at rehearsals. He mentioned he’d seen the Thierry video, and I said, ‘Well, why don’t you be in the next one?’ He was like, ‘What can I do?’ I said, ‘Just do what you do, and play.’ And you know what? He’s got really good rhythm. I was really surprised. He was even singing along! He picked it up in five minutes. It was absolutely amazing.”
Spiteri had to admit to McCann, guiltily, that she’d never watched HBO’s blockbuster series. “Next thing I know, I’m watching it back-to-back while I’m traveling, addicted! You come offstage, high as a kite, you’re on the bus, you get in your bunk, you can’t sleep, and before you realize it, you’ve watched half a series.”
Tragically, appallingly, the ghost in the room is another storied star of a Texas video. Alan Rickman and Spiteri tangoed in the clip for 2000 single “In Demand,” a collaboration that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Indeed, the actor and Spiteri were jointly interviewed by Mission for a prototype of the magazine. A few months later, he was dead, killed by the cancer that he’d kept secret from most of those who knew him well, including Spiteri.
“I had no idea he was ill when we were sitting in my house that day,” she recalls quietly. “But that’s Alan—the most generous and patient man I’d ever met. I just loved his enthusiasm. When I went to his memorial, apparently he’d organized the whole thing. It was literally the best theater production you’d ever been to, with some of the greatest actors doing readings. It was just the most beautiful, emotional, funny, sad day I’d ever had.”
No doubt her late friend won’t be far from mind during Texas’s world tour in support of Jump on Board. Fittingly, the European leg ends with three nights at the legendary Olympia in Paris. For Spiteri, it promises the best of times and the worst of times: The first night is her 50th birthday.
“It’s crazy!” she exclaims. “Every one of my mates is going, ‘I’m coming, I’m coming!’ I’m thinking: ‘Not a chance! First of three nights? I’m gonna have to be on my best behavior!’ And they’re all thinking they’re gonna get a big party! So,” says this gregarious woman who’s also a dedicated performer, smiling, “we’ll need to see what happens….”