Nick Lowe has a fondness for slogans. Pressed for an instant appraisal of himself Lowe offers that he is "a flea on the back of the elephant of the rock and roll business" — a claim to be an irritant which is tempered with the understanding that the rock business is a cumbersome and thick-skinned animal which is hard to rouse, but that it is at lease worth making the effort.
"Pure pop for now people" is another Lowe catchphrase, coined in 1976 as a flip description of his own musical output, and that of Stiff Records, the label which he had been instrumental in founding. Variously styling itself as the label where the fun never sets (nor the pun, for that matter) and "undertakers to the industry." Stiff breathed new life into the music business, and into the corpse which Nick Lowe's career had become at the time.
As house-producer at Stiff, Lowe nurtured the early career of Elvis Costello, as well as producing such British arts as Graham Parker and the Rumour and Dr Feelgood. Having since helped to steer Costello into the mega-dollar league in America over the past 12 months, Lowe has gone on to lay the foundations for a career as a solo artist, songwriter, and member of Rockpile, with whom he winds up a current tour in Edinburgh on Friday.