Michael Head, Liverpool’s great lost songwriter, on beating heroin – twice


The former Shack frontman is back with more brilliant Byrdsian guitar pop, the first he’s ever made clean – even if some of his family prefer him on the drink

A rumpled man in a Liverpool pub, a pint of lime and soda in front of him, ponders his place in the cosmos. “I’m a great songwriter,” he says, quietly. “Someone asked me on the radio, ‘Do you really think you’re the greatest songwriter in the world?’ And I said yeah. Well, what do you expect me to say?”

Mick Head is perhaps more famous for being called a great songwriter than he is for his actual songs. Over the years he’s been hailed again and again by the music press and championed by Noel Gallagher – whose Sour Mash label released the album On the Corner of Miles and Gil by Head’s band Shack in 2006 – but the record-buying public have resolutely refused to take heed. His latest record, as Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band – called Adios Señor Pussycat – is another wonderful collection, mixing Love and the Byrds and Burt Bacharach, but it’s hard to imagine it’s going to change his fortunes.

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