Many bands start with a name that's actually a placeholder until they can think of something better. Only 'better' never comes. Glasgow's Mogwai, also the name of creatures in the film Gremlins, is a perfect example. "It has no significant meaning and we always intended on getting a better one, but like a lot of other things we never got round to it," said guitarist/vocalist Stuart Braithwaite. 'Mogwai' means "evil spirit" or "devil" in Cantonese.
Braithwaite and Dominic Aitchison brought in school friend Martin Bulloch in '95. John Cummings was added shortly after Mogwai's live debut. A couple EPs ("4 Satin" and "No Education = No Future") plus a few singles preceded the arrival of Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O'Hare who joined as the band was recording their debut album, "Mogwai Young Team."
Mogwai was different from their contemporaries in that they produced a large number of instrumentals. "I think most people are not used to having no lyrics to focus on," said Braithwaite. "Lyrics are a real comfort to some people. I guess they like to sing along and when they can't do that with us they can get a bit upset."
Sophomore effort, "Come On Die Young," dropped before O'Hare was sacked and replaced by Barry Burns. According to Braithwaite, Burns was invited into the band because he was a good laugh.
Though Mogwai's '01 set "Rock Action" was their most commercially successful effort to date, the album peaked out of the U.K. Top 20 (#23).
"Happy Songs For Happy People" arrived in '03. Three years later, "Mr. Beast" dropped. Also in '06, Mogwai provided the soundtrack for the film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait and collaborated on the soundtrack for The Fountain.
'08 album "The Hawk Is Howling" arrived prior to Mogwai's appearance in the documentary Introspective. That year also saw the release of the "Batcat" EP which was notable for Roky Erickson's (Texas singer, songwriter and psychedelic guitarist) vocals on "Devil Rides."
Mogwai issued their live LP "Special Moves" in '10 and that was followed a year later by the studio set with the witty yet prickly title, "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will." The group's seventh studio effort entered the UK Albums Chart at #25.
In '12 a remix album, A Wrenched Virile Lore was released which included tracks from "Hardcore…"
"Rave Tapes," produced by Mogwai and Paul Savage, a Sub Pop release in the U.S. dropped in '14.
The next year, Cummings left the group. "(He) has decided to leave Mogwai to pursue his own musical projects," Mogwai wrote in a statement. The group continued as a quartet but added supporting musicians for live shows.
Cummings was last heard on '14's six-track EP "Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.," which contained three original tracks recorded during the "Rave Tapes" sessions and three remixed tracks from that album.
1997 Mogwai Young Team
1999 Come On Die Young
2001 Rock Action
2003 Happy Songs For Happy People
2006 Mr. Beast
2008 The Hawk Is Howling
2011 Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
2014 Rave Tapes
2010 Special Moves
1997 4 Satin
1998 No Education = No Future (Fuck The Curfew)
2001 Travels In Constants, Vol. 12
2006 Travel Is Dangerous
2011 Earth Division
2012 Les Revenants
2014 Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1.