Causing a commotion
Lloyd Cole is just back from the "school run" – 3,000 miles from where his pop career exploded into life with The Commotions, the band he formed with Blair Cowan in 1983 when they left Glasgow University.
Since 1988, Cole has lived in the United States and now has one son away at university with his 13-year-old's collection from his studies being the reason for a slight delay with the interview.
Cole said: "The kids are in the education system and we live in Massachusetts so we're trying to keep it pretty settled.
"Perhaps we may go back to New York one day, but if we ever came back home it would be to Whitby, somewhere like that – near the sea."
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At the moment his UK visits are temporary ones, a solo acoustic tour starts next month which includes a date in Nottingham.
And what strikes you most when revisiting the Commotions' three albums and hearing them stripped down is the strand of quality running throughout them.
Cole told The Week: "I am proud of the Commotions stuff, I don't think the first album (Rattlesnakes) had a duff track on it.
"There was Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken, Perfect Skin and Forest Fire, which I really thought should have been on the urban charts in the States.
"We were into R & B, a bit like Scritti Politti at the time who had similar influences. I loved Isaac Hayes and there was even some talk of Booker T (of the MGs) producing one of our albums.
"But we didn't have any great ideas for a fourth record and we were not the kind of band to keep doing the one thing, we were always looking for other directions."
That direction took him to New York and his first solo album, Lloyd Cole, shocked critics with its ravaged rock and roll sound.
That seems hardly surprising now. He said: "I was 11 when I bought my first record, T. Rex's Electric Warrior album.
"I loved the band and it was probably the song Telegram Sam which really hooked me."
The follow-up, Don't Get Weird On Me Babe, was another pearl and since the disbanding of The Commotions, Cole has had a steady career as a songwriter, quietly releasing a number of critically acclaimed records over the past 15 years.
He is also a big fan of Krautrock and is recording an ambient album with Hans-Joachim Rodelius of Cluster.
However, Cole admits to recently struggling with his songwriting.
He said: "I've got a bunch of songs which are three-quarters finished and I will take them out and do them live, see the reaction and then perhaps record them, that's always been the process for me. "
He also admits to some nerves when he first started doing solo acoustic tours.
He said: "I rehearsed for weeks until my fingers were really sore, I wanted to get it right although I've never really seen myself as a guitarist. I've also toured with a band (Small Ensemble) and we switched around the live set. When someone calls out for a song, I'll try to do it even if I only get it 30 or 40 per cent right.
"I've been doing solo acoustic for about five years and I suppose I have got to the stage where it has become quite slick, that's quite worrying, I've never really wanted it to be like that."
Lloyd Cole plays The Glee Club in Nottingham on Wednesday, March 7. Tickets at: