Alex talks Girls into singing backing vocals on Bowie hit
FRANZ Ferdinand star Alex Kapranos yesterday revealed his stunning new bandmates - Girls Aloud.
The two chart-topping groups got together for an all-star cover version of David Bowie's Sound And Vision.
And Alex took time off from rehearsing the band's new albumto tell the SundayMail how he recruited the sexy girl group as backing singers.
Franz were recording their version of Bowie's 1977 classic for a Radio 1 40th anniversary album when he realised the Girls were in the studio next door.
Alex said: "I asked Girls Aloud to do the famous 'doo doo doo doo doo doo' backing vocals on Sound And Vision.
"They were in the studio working on their own record so I went next door and asked them.
"They're pretty laid back so it was a music marriage made in heaven - the song worked really well."
They performed with Brian Higgins of Xenomania - the award-winning UK production team behind Girls Aloud and a string of hits by Kylie Minogue, Cher and Sugababes.
The Franz boys - singer Alex, guitarist Nick McCarthy, bass player Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thompson - enjoyed the experience of joining the glossy Xenomania pop production line.
Alex said: "We've been interested in Brian for years. His production of Girls Aloud's Wake Me Up first caught my attention. I remember thinking: 'What the hell is that? It's amazing'.
"There was something about their sound which was immediate but dangerous - rare in a girl group. It was really edgy.
"I've a lot of admiration for the Xenomania team.
"It may seem odd as they're the complete opposite to us but there are lots of similarities.
"We're both a collection of independently-minded people who want to do things their way. Franz Ferdinand have much more in common with Girls Aloud than certain other bands."
The all-star compilation album - titled Radio 1: Established 1967 and out next month - features 40 cover versions, one for every year the station's been on air.
Artists include Scots The Fratellis who cover Jimi Hendrix's 1968 hit All Along The Watchtower, KT Tunstall does Roxy Music's 1976 single Love Is The Drug and Paolo Nutini has chosen Madness' 1981 classic It Must Be Love.
It kicks off with Kaiser Chiefs doing Flowers In The Rain by The Move, the first ever song played on Radio 1..
Alex said: "Radio 1 offered us a few years to choose from. 1977 jumped out because it was the summer of punk, which changed the face of British music. Sound And Vision was recorded at a more experimental time when Bowie wasn't a chart fixture. It caught the mood of 1977 while not being an obvious hit from that period."
Alex was happy to join the all-star tribute to Radio 1 because he says the station taught him about music.
He said: "I grew up with Radio 1. On Sunday nights I'd sit with a cassette recorder holding a little microphone against the transistor trying to tape my favourite singles from the Top 40.
"The trick was to cut out the DJ talking between songs."
Tonight, Franz kick off a mini-Scottish tour at Stirling's Fubar followed by gigs in Inverness, Fort William, Skye and the Shetlands as they try out material from their eagerly-awaited third studio album, due for release in 2008.
Franz have already aired new tracks and don't care if fans pirate their unreleased songs.
Alex said: "I'm glad there are versions of our new songs flying about.
"Too many bands want to hide new material. That means they don't get to play songs live before going into the studio.
"It's a real loss because you can transform new songs when you get a positive response. Then you can lay down the definitive versions."
Alex revealed he is an avid collector of bootleg recordings himself.
He said: "If I can hear an early version of a new track that's only going to make me more excited about what a band is doing.
"I'm sure record companies will be horrified to hear me say that.
"On our debut album we encouraged fans to pirate early versions of the tracks. Those early versions were not how they appeared on the record.
"If somebody shoots us on a mobile phone and it appears on You Tube how could we possibly expect to make any money from that?
"So bootlegs don't cost bands cash. Fans who buy them don't have the final version. To get the definitive version you have to buy our records.
"I love bootlegs of other bands so I don't see why I should discourage fans from bootlegging us."