Bobby Gillespie / Tenement Kid

An autobiography from the Primal Scream frontman

Bobby Gillespie, singer, songwriter and founder member of Primal Scream has written a book, Tenement Kid, which will be published later this year and is available as special signed editions.

The book is Bobby Gillespie’s story up to the recording and release of the Screamadelica album in 1991. The story is one of a working class upbringing in Glasgow and Gillespie’s “rock n roll epiphany” which would ultimately lead to him becoming an artist initially in the Jesus and Mary Chain then in Primal Scream.

Rough Trade ‘White Rabbit’ collectors edition

Tenement Kid is available as a standard hardback edition and Rough Trade in the UK have an exclusive “White Rabbit Collector’s Edition” which is SIGNED, hand numbered, has a lyric stamp, specially designed endpapers and comes in a bespoke slipcase. These are limited to 1000 units at cost £49.99.

If you just want the standard edition, signed, then Waterstones in the UK are taking pre-orders for £20.

Tenement Kid is published on 28 October 2021

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Hot tip for my fellow American fans: the New York City Rough Trade store site is also accepting preorders of the special edition for $79.99. The rate conversion is a bit less favorable, but you can opt for free tracked shipping via media mail, so it’s not a bad deal!

Richard S

Dropped to around £14 on amazon UK at the mo.


Off topic but there’s a Kim Wilde biography coming out June 3rd 2021:
“This Day In Music Books | Kim Wilde: Pop Don’t Stop” https://thisdayinmusicbooks.com/product/kim-wilde-pop-dont-stop/


I saw The Jesus and Mary Chain in Tampa, FL on the Automatic tour.

Can anyone comment as to whether Bobby Gillespie was the drummer?

I’ve always assumed it was…..and can only imagine how much he would have kicked that drum machine’s ass in the studio during the Automatic sessions…..

dave mcgonigle

..but not on the automatic sessions. He left after ‘psychocandy’ – basically the reids gave him an ultimatum to choose either primal scream or the mary chain…in the nicest possible way that boys frae barheid can, a’course!

John MC cann

I thought they where from east Kilbride? Read a book about them a year ago!

Rich M

Automatic was released in 1989, Gillespie left in 1987. He would have been recording/touring Primal Scream’s second album by then.


Bobby was long gone by the time of Automatic.


Yes – he left after Psychocandy. Wouldn’t have been him. I saw them on the Automatic Tour in the UK and he definitely wasn’t involved – unless he stepped in on the American leg if the tour. I’m a big Mary Chain/ earlier Scream fan and interested in that whole Scottish indie scene of the 80s – the recent Sky Arts documentary on this was excellent. My interest in PS waned after Screamadelica so this book sounds right up my alley – should make a good companion piece to the documentary. I’ve ordered the signed collectors version from Rough Trade which looks a nice package with the slipcase. I’m hoping for some great insights into the Mary Chain too, although I suspect there’s no love lost between them so could be spicy.


Richard Thomas was the drummer during the Automatic Tour. A drum machine(s) was the drummer during the Darklands and Automatic album sessions.


Similar to Brett Anderson’s first memoir, it finishes as his group releases its Mercury-winning lp.

I imagine like Brett, Bobby will write a follow-up if this sells well.

Mark G

Thanks for the Waterstones ‘signed’ link, that’s fine.

What even is a “lyric stamp” OK I can guess, but what are ‘end papers’ and how they get ‘specially designed’

I’d be happier if I could be sure BobG is of the “when the legend contradicts the truth, print the truth” mindset, but I guess it’ll be entertaining, so.


A shame it only goes up to Screamadelica. As the input of Mani would have made it an even more interesting read.

John MC cann

Hopefully Colin Dobbins Will get a menchy,,, him Alan and Bobby where best of pals,,I remember Colin telling me about the time the 3 of them went to see the clash in the Glasgow Apollo, great guy wee Colin,,


Green dust jacket signed Ltd End of 500 also available from your friendly local independent record shop (Drift, Resident, Piccadilly etc.) for same price as the Rough Trade edition


Thanks. While I was on the Waterstones site I also picked up a copy of Tracey Thorn’s “My Rock’n’ Roll Friend” about her friendship with the Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison. Also available signed.

Graeme Ewan

Other indies have a 500 unit Ltd edition as well. Piccadilly records for example.