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Your Song of the Day

Discussion in 'OFF TOPIC' started by Prime Time, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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    How these guys go twenty different directions and come back together on cue and doing it live has always blown me away
     
    #1321
  2. Prime Time RODerator

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    Two from the new Yes album 'Heaven and Earth' followed by an interview with guitarist Steve Howe.





    [​IMG]
    By Roy Rahl/08/09/14

    Steve Howe is a legendary guitarist with a phenomenal career spanning over forty years. He is one of the most respected rock guitarists of all time. As the guitarist for Yes, Asia, GTR, and numerous solo projects, Howe has seen it all, done it all, and doesn’t need the stinkin’ tee-shirt!

    Yes is currently on tour promoting their new album, Heaven And Earth. The album delivers the first written contributions from Yes’ newest member, lead singer Jon Davison. Its musical approach marks a departure of sorts from the material of the past. It is more subtle, laid back, and presents shorter songs than most previous releases. New listeners of the group will hear fresh and interesting explorations. Like all fans of dynastic groups with long established styles, diehard Yes fans will determine on their own if this new direction is a good one.

    Classic Rock Revisited spent some time talking with Steve Howe on a wide array of topics. At times Howe is philosophic and introspective. Other times he is opinionated, straightforward and blunt. But like his music, he always delivers a strong message worth hearing.

    Roy: Full disclosure from the top: When I was about ten years old I listened to Close To The Edge and I said I want to play guitar and I want to play like that. For about forty years now I have been trying to imitate your music. You have been an inspiration to me.

    Steve: Well, that’s very nice. Thanks.

    Roy: How was your personal approach to songwriting different on Heaven And Earth compared to some of your previous albums?

    Steve: Well, I mean, I had songs, you know, I had plenty of songs. I could have written, like Jon [Davison] could’ve, either of us could’ve written the whole album. But, we didn’t want to; that wouldn’t be Yes, and so we had plenty to collaborate on and plenty for my next project [laughs]. But, having said that, it’s what people go for, you know, in the songs. The guys heard “It Was All We Knew”, Jon liked it, and we did “It Was All We Knew”. I didn’t know whether it was going to make it through the sometimes dubious course of being talked about, being recorded, and then being overdubbed and then being mixed. There were places along there, with all the songs, there were risky moments.

    But that’s the way albums are constructed. I mean, I have not changed. I just do the same thing. It just so happened that “It Was All We Knew” was a song that stayed like it was originally, more or less. Then the other two songs that I helped with … I wrote most of “Step Beyond” and Jon collaborated with me. And in reverse, Jon wrote most of “Believe Again” and I collaborated with him. So, you know, we have done that and maybe we’ll do that a lot more together in the future.

    So, as a guitarist, we make albums. I held back a lot ‘cause I said we need a lot of material. Well, we only had enough for an album by the time we were ready, but most of it had been semi-approved and very, very little had been throwbacks from prior from here. So in a way we tried not to do that - just do things that were throwbacks prior from here that we didn’t do then - because we thought that the material needed to be fresh. And, for the most part, that’s what we did. So that material was not only comparatively fresh, it was recorded starting January and then it was released in, what, July-August. So, the fact is it could be the freshest Yes album ever as far as it being created and then released.

    Whether that’s a good thing I can’t say. In a way it isn’t totally a good thing because we could’ve spent a bit more time on it. We were up against the wall. We had a tour coming and we just tried our hardest. We worked incredibly hard to bring the album in. But we could have spent another week on mixing and refining it. But, there again, we didn’t; and we couldn’t. So, we had to kind of move on. That happens.

    Roy: Between Yes, your solo tours, and your personal appearances, when do you have time to write? It’s like you never stop working or traveling.

    Steve: Well, I mean, it’s not really quite true. If you stand back and look at the sum of the schedule it does look a bit that way. We’re actually, this year, a lot better than last year’s. So each year I’m determined to get them better. In other words, if you look back four years or six years, when Yes started up, and obviously in Asia, it was just crazy! I didn’t have time for solo concerts.

    I did some recording projects in between, like all the Homebrews. And even Time, which I am very, very proud of, got finished in that period. I don’t know quite how. I mean, my wife understands that I work pretty hard, But basically there’s a sort of a plot that goes around this where I get time. I force time off. This year has been a little bit tighter than it was supposed to be and I actually lost a week off where I would have been having a week off. So I lost that and that was pretty gruesome because that wasn’t in the plan. Having said that, I can see that it’s pretty tight.

    I’ve got two weeks off before I do my solo stuff. But you see, they’re different creatures here. A solo tour to me [laughs], it’s the luxury of music there that I can do, because I can play tunes on my own. And I’ve written, I don’t know how many, twenty-five or thirty pieces for the solo guitar. In fact, it’s a golden opportunity for me to go out and I am pretty relaxed. There isn’t any pressure; I don’t have to ask anybody if it’s okay to do this. So I’ve got complete musical freedom and that takes a load of stuff off my mind, ‘cause I’m not relying on anybody else, but I also make all the choices and all the mistakes myself [laughs].

    But similarly, In October when it appears I have the whole month off I’m going to be doing recording, and finishing up a new trio album. It may be called The Steve Howe Trio in the future, although we may modify that a little. We’ve got a fantastic new recording that’s all original in music. No direct Jazz music in it at all. But we do swing, and hopefully that’s the whole point: it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

    Roy: That’s with your son, Dylan [Howe], Right?

    Steve: That is with Dylan, and the fabulous Ross Stanley. He is such a brilliant player. Plays the Hammond with me. Plays the bass parts as well. I’ve seen him do things that two people struggle to do in Yes, but he can do it and he’s one person. Like, he plays the bass of “Heart Of The Sunrise” at the same time as playing the chords of the instrumental section, which I definitely could not do. I love working with people who never fail to surprise, and he’s a great guy.

    So, to try to find a quick end to this answer is [laughs], yeah, it does look like I’m crazy and I’m bent over and everything, but in fact there is a little bit more space in there that I do enjoy and I love spending time with my family. And, I’m now a double grandparent. I have a granddaughter of two and a grandson of less than a week.

    Roy: Congratulations!

    Steve: We’re very excited and we’re very much family people, basically. They’ve been very understanding. They're probably the most understanding people in the world, my wife and family. Somehow they’ve been part of this, I was going to call it a collusion, I don’t quite know why. You can’t call it a game either, but it’s part of why music is very demanding.

    And my sons have found that in their work. And it’s not like you get all the options, all the freedoms, all the downtime you want. If you got a career you got to meet the demands. If you’re in demand it’s not the time to say “I think I’ll go away for a year and have a holiday”, because when you come back things may have changed a bit and you might not be in demand [laughs]. It’s something you’ve got to watch, that you don’t want to take five years off when, in fact, everybody wants to see you.

    But, there again, I also respect people like Bill Bruford immensely for deciding that for him, he played what he wanted to play, he reached the top of his game, and I say top of his game as a drummer, and then he quit, you know. We were all flabbergasted. He just said “no, no, I’ve done it”, you know. He wasn’t going to plow into another era of his career when he wasn’t playing as well, maybe. You know, and he had some other things that he wanted to do which didn’t involve as much playing. But, you know, he’s a very methodical and creative person. So he’s still doing that but he’s not on the road slogging away and meeting people.

    I don’t know if you read his book, the autobiography, but it does tell you a very tough, dark side of the business. Maybe you wouldn’t think “hey Bill Bruford, you know, just a groovy drummer who came into Yes and played with King Crimson and played with Genesis and played with King Crimson again and played with Yes. But Earthworks, and Bruford was his own, and UK of course was much more his own. He did all those things!

    Now, much like I’ve done an immense amount of different music, he’s done a lot of music and he quit because he wasn’t going to end up being anything less than the best that he was. And I think that’s the other side of it. I was using that as a parallel side to say you’ve got to be there when the demand’s high, but also you’ve got to work within the framework of when you’re hot to trot.

    Roy: It’s always the delicate balance between work and family.

    Steve: Well anybody has that. I see a guy driving a semi down the I-95. Do I ask myself what his life is like? Well, I do. I stop and think that his life is not that much different from mine [laughs]. There’s a lot of tough things that we have in life. And it’s not all just men who have to do this tough life, because the toughness falls on the rest of the family. And sometimes obviously women. Women have jobs that are very demanding and some of them are very very successful at it.

    Roy: How does it feel to play alongside your son?

    Steve: Well that’s one of the best. I played with Virgil [Howe] as well, my other son. He’s also a drummer and plays keyboards and production. Dylan is just a wonderful drummer to play with. I’ve always been a very drum-orientated musician. I look at the drummer and I can’t help it. It’s a bit like television. You know, when the television’s on you can’t help looking at it. I can’t help looking at a drummer. He’s hitting things and that helps to give me telepathy of what’s going on. So, working with Dylan isn’t dissimilar to working with Bill Bruford actually. Dylan is a very conscientious, very hard worker. He practices for hours. He learns whole albums because he thinks it will be good experience. So he’s not shy to work extremely hard.

    He’s got his own project now called Subterranean. which is a take on a David Bowie album, I think it’s Berlin, but I might be wrong. I do appear on it. I play on a koto on one track. Also, David Bowie had a koto player on that song. He’s dreamed up his own kind of music, really. He’s been a band leader for a long time, and he knows, and I do, how hard that is, how tough that is, ‘cause you know, the buck stops with you so to speak [laughs]. But he’s an all-around dedicated musician and I’m very proud of him, as I am also with Virgil. Dylan’s put in the extra years. He’s now forty-five, so he’s about seven years older than Virgil.

    That’s quite amazing that I have two sons that both do fall in love with the drums, which was an instrument I loved, you know. I said to somebody yesterday, I said maybe I should have been a drummer because I’m so opinionated. I love Chico Hamilton, who’s a really subtle jazz drummer. I think he passed away not long ago. He used to play with brushes, only who plays with brushes, you know? He played on some great records with Jim Hall and Howard Roberts on guitars.

    So I love drummers that can be understated. But in understatement it is sometimes not too subtle. I mean, take Alison Krauss. One of my favorite bands is Alison Krauss and Union Station. I mean, if she’s not understated I don’t know what is. She’s just a wonderful singer. And Jerry Douglas, of course, virtually reinvented the Dobro guitar. I mean, I don’t think anybody’s ever played it like him. They know I love ‘em. I managed to run into some of the gang in Nashville quite recently, so I’m happier because of that.

    I like the way the industry’s gone for people like myself, and hopefully for many other people. That music still has a sense of freedom about it. That’s why Elvis went Heartbreak Hotel, ‘cause he was free to do that. I mean, he was singing the wrong music! I mean, people said to him “you shouldn’t be singing this. This music belongs to another set of people”.

    So, that’s how free Presley was. I love Presley. I love loads of the classic musicians. But also I’ve got Chet Atkins. For me, Chet, like Wes Montgomery, like the late Paco de Lucia, like the zillion guitarists that I love so much, and I’ve already mentioned Jerry Douglas; class, you know.

    It’s not about technique. It’s not about “oh, hasn’t he got a good technique”. Technique is almost an encumberment if you don’t know what to do with it. It’s taste. It’s style, it’s influence. It’s not technique. I hate people who haven’t thought they’re technique is, you know “what’s their problem?” They’ve got such good technique that they don’t know what to do with it. So, technique is just part of the story of being a musician. In fact, it’s being a musician and not being a techno-whiz freak.

    Obviously, a lot of good successful musicians know how to play. That’s fundamental. But don’t let that get in the way of knowing what to play, because that counts for some people. They can’t cross that line. “Okay, now I’ve got technique, what is there I’d like to do? I’d like to do this, this is beautiful”. Instead of “Oh I want to go and show off.” Because showing off is nowhere. It’s about as nowhere as music gets.

    I was accused of all sorts of indulgences in the seventies, which fortunately ceased. Maybe partly ceased because I learned from the seventies a lot more about music and being a musician than I did about being a guitarist. I found that the Gibson ES-175D was the best guitar I needed. So, why did I need all these other guitars? You know, I’ve still got a hundred. But basically they're all about a few guitars that are quintessentially wonderful and the others are kind of safety valves [laughs]. You know, in case I needed them. So, I’m lucky to be able to do that.

    Roy: Well, I believe that the seventies were the golden age of rock music because you had that ability to express yourself. You didn’t have record companies saying this has to be done this way and this must be done this way. Yes was definitely in the forefront of all of that.

    Steve: And Yes was not the only Prog group that got criticized for being rock dinosaurs as soon as punk came along, and we weren't the only musical form to be criticized. Music is always being criticized. Think about how everybody slagged off the eighties. You know, all those disco beats, all those Synclavier tracks with the drums on. When you look back on every era the critics were wrong. There was something to take with you from whatever decade you were most influenced; or maybe you were influenced by them all.

    Basically, you just can’t knock music. Because some of these jerks, you know, decided that .. even somebody decidedFragile was a load of rubbish when we released it. Even Melody Maker, one of the most supportive magazines of Yes up until that point, slagged off Fragile. And, in fact, Fragile was a very creative record. We did things. I loved playing “Five Percent For Nothing”, which is thirty-four seconds of total madness. That is a wonderful thing to play. Thank you, Bill! [laughs]. That basically echoes my last statement about freedom. Each era has the freedom to develop, partly due to the technology, but partly the writing and the style of music.

    And of course, the nineties and the 2000’s saw all sorts of things coming back. Grunge wasn’t punk, you know, they didn’t spit on you, but basically Grunge was a revitalization of guitars coming back into music after the eighties was all digi-synths and Howard Jones and lots of people I like. I mean, I like Go West, the most phenomenal pop band I’ve ever heard. And I like the Buggles. Yes chose both members of the Buggles to join us. So we weren’t really, if there’s such a thing, as politically musically motivated. We didn’t say “oh, these guys are pop artists, we can’t play with them”. We play with anybody.

    Roy: Last one: For all the guitar junkies out there, including me: If you could keep only one guitar in your collection which would it be?

    Steve: Well, I don’t have to stop and think, really. I mean, assuming electricity is still possible, it would be the [Gibson] ES-175D, the 1964 one I have. But it’s very close. The decision would be if there was no electricity then I would have to take the Martin OO-18 which is a 1953. That’s the first Martin I bought. So the first Gibson I bought and the first Martin I bought are primarily my favorite guitars. It doesn’t mean to say that I’m not awestruck quite often by, you know, even things like the [Gibson] ES Artist that I played with Asia. Awestruck! That is a dynamic guitar! And several guitars, I mean the ESY that I have and the [Gibson] Super 400 that I don’t play in public a lot that I adore. I have a lot of very high quality guitars like the Les Paul Custom I was playing, the Black Beauty. I have wonderful guitars. I’m so lucky.

    But, yeah, it would be a hard call, but like I said, electric: 175, acoustic: the OO-18. Both are the best guitars I’ve ever played and I’ve still got them. So, I am lucky guy.
     
    #1322
  3. Dieter the Brock SON OF JEN-ORIS

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    here you go

     
    #1323
  4. Dieter the Brock SON OF JEN-ORIS

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  5. Dieter the Brock SON OF JEN-ORIS

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    more for Code Monkey
    some serious shite

     
    #1325
  6. Selassie I H. I. M.

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    This one has a little more meaning to me now...

     
    #1326
  7. Force16X anti pedestrian

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  8. Force16X anti pedestrian

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  9. Prime Time RODerator

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  10. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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  11. Rams and Gators Well-Known Member Pit Boss

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  12. Prime Time RODerator

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    An interview from last year with drummer Charlie Watts follows.



    Charlie Watts
    by Caspar Llewellyn Smith


    [​IMG]

    So Charlie, the Stones are playing Glastonbury! Excited?

    I don't want to do it. Everyone else does. I don't like playing outdoors, and I certainly don't like festivals. I've always thought they're nothing to do with playing. Playing is what I'm doing at the weekend (1). That's how I was brought up. But that's me, personally. When you're a band … you do anything and everything. But Glastonbury, it's old hat really. I never liked the hippy thing to start with. It's not what I'd like to do for a weekend, I can tell you.

    But surely …

    [Interrupting] The worst thing playing outdoors is when the wind blows, if you're a drummer, because the cymbals move … it really is hard to play then.

    Well, you're also playing Hyde Park this summer. What do you remember about your famous gig there in 1969 (2)?

    Oh, quite a lot. The Dorchester! That was our dressing room. And Allen Klein walking about like Napoleon. He was the same kind of shape. And the armoured van going into the crowd. I had to rush around and get my silver trousers done for it. And then Mick Taylor, of course, it was his first big gig. And my wife got hit with a stale sandwich. I remember her going mad with that. I don't blame her. She got hit on the back. She reckoned it was stale because it obviously hurt a lot. The butterflies. I didn't like that, because the casualty rate was worse than the Somme. Half of them went woosh. And the other half of them were dead.

    Were you still in shock from Brian [Jones]'s death?

    Shock? Brian dying? No. It was very sad but it wasn't unexpected. We'd carried him for a few tours and he was quite ill. We were young, we didn't know what was wrong with him. I still don't really. He always suffered from terrible asthma, and he drank heavily on the road and he got into drugs before anyone else in the band. It was a question of, "Do we carry on?"

    And Mick Taylor joined the band …

    Amazing player. I think we did our best music with Mick.

    Hyde Park was the height of the hippy thing …

    Altamont was more hippy than that, I thought. That was a very peculiar one, that was.

    With a lot of big stadium bands these days, it feels like the staging of the show is the most important thing, whereas the Stones still strike me as being a real band. Sometimes you're good and sometimes … less so.

    Mick [Jagger] is the show, really. We back him. But Mick wouldn't dance well if the sound was bad. It doesn't come into it with a lot of bands because the lead singer just stands there. We've always been about playing it properly. I don't mean technically brilliant … The rest is candyfloss, it's froth. You know, the costumes you're wearing, that's … [shrugs] What you're really doing is playing the drums or the guitar.

    [​IMG]The Rolling Stones in 1969, before their concert in Hyde Park. Left to right: Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Mick Taylor and Keith Richards. Photograph: PA

    What do you think of drum machines?


    They're great for songwriters and producers. Recording is a very precise thing – it's playing it dead right every time, and it can be fun. But if you're writing a song, it's great to be able to tell the machine you'd like it louder, rather than having to tell the drummer. It's not what I'm interested in. I like the drum kit sound and somebody playing it – preferably me, but it could be anyone.

    Given your jazz background, was it a bit of a comedown when you joined the Stones?

    It was more of a shock joining Alexis Korner (3). I'd never played with a harmonica player before – I couldn't believe Cyril Davies when he started playing! We only played out of London once, in Birmingham. Cyril got £1 because he was a professional musician; so did [sax player] Dick Heckstall-Smith and [bassist] Jack Bruce. I wasn't so I got half a crown. Fantastic, isn't it? Half a crown! The Stones were just another gig, but then we started touring around England … I was waiting to start another job, but I never went back to it. I was a bit out of sync with all of them, Brian, Mick and Keith [Richards], but Keith taught me to listen to Buddy Holly and things like that. Mick taught me a lot about playing with songs, really, the melodies and that.

    Was part of the Stones' success down to the fact that each of you had really done your homework?

    I sort of agree with that. Everything's easier and quicker now. I wanted to be Max Roach or Kenny Clarke playing in New York with Charlie Parker in the front line. Not a bad aspiration. It actually meant a lot of bloody playing, a lot of work. I don't think kids are interested in that. But that may be true of every generation, I don't know. When I was what you'd call a young musician, jazz was very fashionable. It was very hip to know there was a new Miles Davis album out. Now no one knows what records come out. Especially me! Because of this thing [gestures at my iPhone recording the interview, with the inference that it is somehow the devil's work] … But in those days … an album: you kept it, you treasured it.

    You must have really studied the records you had.

    Oh, we did. I remember a Duke Ellington album that we played for ever.

    And you must have had to save up for them.

    I'd swap things: a cymbal for a certain record … Then I'd go to Ray's Jazz Shop (4). That's when it was in New Oxford Street, in the basement of Collet's. God bless him! He was green, he was never allowed to see daylight, they used to keep him in the cellar. And then I'd sell the record and go and buy the cymbal back.

    What was your big problem with the hippies when that all started?

    I wasn't a great one for the philosophy and I thought the clothes were horrendous, even then.

    So what did you think of the rest of the Stones in their Satanic Majesties phase?

    I didn't mind them doing it. Brian was the first one at it. I remember him doing the London Palladium with his bloody hat on, and his pipe and sitar … fantastic. Brian was the first one to know and meet as a friend Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. He used to be fun in those days.

    At the height of the Stones' success in the 60s, did you have a sense that you were making history?

    No. It was just a case of keeping up with everyone else. It's still the same now.

    You said the band did its best work with Mick Taylor. What's your favourite Stones song?

    God, I don't really have one to be honest, I don't really listen to them that much.

    Do you think Bill [Wyman] made a mistake in leaving the group?

    No, not a mistake, because he was in the middle of a terrible marriage that he should never have got into – he had a horrendous time with the Mandy girl – and he then married a very good woman and had three children very quickly … and he was very, very happy. But it was a shame he left because a) it was great having him and b) I think he missed out on a very lucrative period in our existence. There were very sparse periods you went through building the band, and he didn't really reap the rewards that we do now.

    What do you spend your money on?

    Me? I collect things.

    Old records?

    Yeah. There's a great place in Vienna. I collect jazz mostly. Drum kits as well. I've got one of Kenny Clarke's drum kits that he gave to Max Roach – I bought it off his widow. I have Duke Ellington's, the famous Sonny Greer drum kit, it's fantastic. Big Sid Catlett, one of the great 30s swing drummers, one of his … [continues in this vein for some time]. And books. Not antiquarian books. Signed first editions of mostly 20th-century writers. Agatha Christie: I've got every book she wrote in paperback. Graham Greene, I have all of them. Evelyn Waugh, he's another one. Wodehouse: everything he wrote.

    It sounds like quite a healthy addiction.

    Well, I'm old. It's not the sort of thing a boy of 20 would be keen on.

    Have there been times when you've thought about knocking it on the head?

    I thought that before the O2, but it was actually very comfortable to do. It was good fun, is what I meant to say.

    But you had misgivings.

    Misgivings? Yeah, oh yeah, I always do. It's a young person's [game]. The thing I find difficult is that 50% of it is image, not my side of it, but it is, and as you get a bit older you think, "Oh gawd!" I don't like looking at the pictures. I think Bowie looks all right. For some reason everyone's talking about David Bowie at the moment. But he does look good. Some others haven't weathered so well. And some guys who were really on fire haven't made it. It can take its toll on you. Without you knowing, or caring at the time, because you don't care when you're in your 30s or 40s.

    Was it fun playing with Mick[Taylor] and Bill again at the O2 show?

    It was great. I loved it.

    And what about your guests, there and in the States?

    It was really good. We were lucky we had Jeff Beck. He's a phenomenal player.

    What about the younger bunch like Florence and the Machine?

    Florence, she was all right. Lady Gaga was a really good sport. But they hung about with my granddaughter more than they did with me. We're silly old farts! I think Mick tries to keep up with them …

    As well as Hyde Park, you've also announced a US tour.

    It's a very short tour for us. It's only 18 shows. It's nothing.

    Who's the driving force in putting the band back on the road?

    Well, you wouldn't do it if Mick didn't want to do it. You've got to have Mick and Keith, but the driving force is Mick. If he's enthusiastic, he'll push everyone along. Keith's much more laidback about it.

    Are they getting on well? Keith was quite rude about Mick in his book.

    Oh yeah. Oh, that. Brothers, innit? Brothers in arms. You just let it take its course, really, things like that.

    Is there any more new music in the offing?

    There's nothing yet. I've lost track with the record industry world, I don't get it any more. It's gone beyond me. The last single I thought was very good, but things don't mean anything any more. They're just tacked on the end of a reissue – and that ends up selling more than a new album. It's not like when Sgt Pepper came out and you thought, "Blimey! We'd better do one better …" People say you need a new album out when you go on tour. Well, we did that on our last tour, and I don't know if the record sold. I suppose, as Mick says, it gives us something different to play on stage. It's not Brown Sugar again.

    Does it ever feel like you're just going through the motions on stage?

    Sometimes you're pot-boiling. Sometimes you're on song.

    So will you get to a point where you say, "That's it, no more"?

    You do now seriously have to look at your age, because if this goes on for another two years, I'll be 73. But I say that at the end of every tour. And then you have two weeks off and your wife says, "Aren't you going to work?"
     
    #1332
  13. Thordaddy Binding you with ancient logic

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  14. Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    Some classic Sevendust to get pumped up for the game!
     
    #1334
  15. Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    My first concert back in 1983. My older cousin took me.
    Amazing.
     
    #1335
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  16. Dodgersrf Well-Known Member

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    It makes sense. Two different bands.
    Many prefer the old blues band.
    I like them both. I just don't compare the two.
     
    #1336
  17. PhxRam The Estimated Prophet

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  18. PhxRam The Estimated Prophet

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  19. Force16X anti pedestrian

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  20. Prime Time RODerator

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    Personally I think that Rod Stewart's best work was done while with the Faces. This tune is followed by an interview done some time last year.



    Rod Stewart: 'I thought songwriting had left me'
    As the singer prepares to release his new album Time – the first he has written for in 15 years – he talks frankly about women, drugs – and his lifelong struggle with his craft

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    Rod Stewart: 'I’ll take any stick the press can throw at me.' Photograph: Penny Lancaster

    We are talking about soul music. Rod Stewart is telling me what a disaster his 2009 covers album Soulbook was. "It was a DNA rifle-up," he says, his raspy voice made raspier still by a developing cold, "simply because you can't beat the originals. You'll never beat the originals, because they're still on the airwaves."

    He didn't hear Cliff Richard's soul abum from 2011, then?

    Stewart looks a little astonished. "He didn't do a soul abum …"

    He did. Revue-style live show, too, with Percy Sledge and Freda Payne and James Ingram up on stage with him.

    Stewart looks even more astonished. "Really?"

    Yup. He looked a bit out of his depth, to be honest.

    "Oh, bless him."

    At 68, hair still spiky and sandy, skin the colour of antique furniture, Stewart remains a musician, then. If he is better known for countless things that have nothing to do with music – a list of statueseque, blonde partners (including three wives) longer than that of Cyprus's creditors; a selection of myths and legends ranging from him having been an apprentice professional footballer, to his stomach having been pumped clean of semen after he performed fellatio on a bar's worth of sailors in San Diego, to his having invented a way of taking cocaine anally – then it should be remembered that no one would know any of those stories if the music hadn't captured the public imagination in the first place.

    The couple of albums he made with the Jeff Beck Group in the late 60s laid down the template that was then developed and coloured by Led Zeppelin. The solo albums he made for Mercury in the early 70s were perfect fusions of his musical loves – soul, folk, rock'n'roll – and the second side of his 1971 album Every Picture Tells a Story is as perfect a 20 minutes as rock has produced. The Faces, the group that ran concurrently with those albums – and with whom he would be delighted to reunite next year after everyone's schedules are clear, developed a reputation, through the booze fumes, as the surest guarantee of a good time that live music had to offer.

    The problem for many listeners lies in the 40 or so years since. Which is an awfully long time, even if they have been punctuated with the occasional gem. Never mind that Every Picture and its attendant single Maggie May both topped the US and UK charts simultaneously – Stewart never seemed afraid to lower his standards in search of hits. And so we got the critic Greil Marcus's famous assessment: "Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely.

    Once the most compassionate presence in music, he has become a bilious self-parody – and sells more records than ever." And that was written 33 years ago. Chances are, Marcus hasn't changed his mind since, especially since Stewart's Great American Songbook series of albums became the most commercially successful of his career.

    But you know what? He gets a free pass, because most singers don't even manage his few years of near perfection – even if he doesn't seem too fussed about his art. It's perhaps telling that he seems more interested in talking about football, north-London property prices and our respective children than he is about Time, his new album – and the first on which he has contributed songwriting since 1998's When We Were the New Boys, a misfiring effort that also featured him coveringOasis and Primal Scream.

    He is known less as a writer, though, than as an interpreter of other people's songs, and at his absolute best he deserves to be treated as rock's Sinatra – a superlative interpreter of superlative songs. He gets lots of Identikit Rod submissions, all swirling bagpipes and roaming in the gloaming, but he ignores them. But when he hears the right song, he looks for the way to make it a Rod Stewart song. "For instance, I'm sure Tom Waits wouldn't mind me saying this – Tom's Downtown Train, I realised there was a melody there in the chorus, and it's beautiful, but he barely gets up and barely gets down to the lower notes, so I took it to the extreme. That was a case where I brought the chorus alive and there have been a couple like that."

    He says he's a better singer now than in his youth, despite his voice having lowered half a tone after his throat cancer in 2000. "I've got much better pitch, much better control, much better understanding of a song. I've always been able to get inside a song really easily, and if it's my song I can make it seem honest."

    What happened to his writing? Why did he stop? "Ayeayeayeayeaye. A combination of the Great American Songbook albums, being somewhat lazy, and certain remarks made by a high-flying executive at a record company saying that my songs were crap and didn't sound like nothing new. Songwriting's never been a natural art for me; it's always been a bit of a struggle. I just thought it had got up and left me. I'd done the best I could and maybe I'd got nothing to write about any more."

    He puts writing lyrics off until the last minute, "when the song's got a hook. The way I do it is hum and hah along while the band are playing. I sing whatever comes into my head and nine times out of 10 that will be the title of the song. Either that or I'd just write down a good title – likeYoung Turks or Baby Jane – and wait until the right vehicle comes along for it."

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    Stewart (right) with Ronnie Wood and the Faces performing live in 1972. Photograph: Ian Dickson/Redferns

    But some of the lyrics on those Faces and early solo albums are wonderful – a unique combination of picaresque tales, music hall bawdiness and reminscence. "You really think so? Bless you. I always thought they were … Well, they're just black and white. I tell stories. I can't do that wonderful thing that Tom Waits and Bob Dylan do – to do imagery. I'm not good at that. I just write from the heart."

    He only started writing again because his friend Jim Cregan forced him into it on a visit to Stewart's Essex mansion (he splits his time between there and LA). "He comes round for Sunday dinner when I'm in the country and always brings his guitar. I watch him come up the drive and … 'Oh, freaking hell, he's brought his guitar again.' He's always pushing me to write a song. So he says: 'Come on, siddown, let's have a go.' I said: 'No, I wanna have a little lie down. Just had Sunday dinner.' So he said: 'Come on, have a little go.' So I started singing, and he took it home, worked on the track a little bit, added a couple more guitars, and that was Brighton Beach."

    That's one of the semi-autobiographical songs on the album, reflecting on his weekend beatnik days, hanging out under the pier with his girlfriend and his acoustic guitar in the early 60s; it's complemented by songs about his kids, his dad, his divorce. It's all very pleasant, though those who love Every Picture are unlikely to be putting it on constant rotation, despite the acoustic guitars and mandolins and fiddles being a presence again.

    The critics, the sneerers, perhaps despair of Stewart because he has never been remotely apologetic about his success and its trappings: he's always happy to show off his latest car, blonde, house. "I've always put myself out there for ridicule," he says. "And the rewards are just wonderful, so I'll take any stick the press can throw at me."

    Among the rewards were the string of women Stewart couldn't keep his hands off. Large chunks of his autobiography, published last year, are devoted to his efforts to keep his various girlfriends separate from one another, or from the press, before he chose fidelity in 1990 with his second wife, Rachel Hunter (they parted in 1999, divorcing in 2006). "There was a lot of smoke and mirrors in those days," he agrees. "It was like a Brian Rix comedy. One door slams, someone runs out in their brassiere, another door slams and someone comes out with their trousers round their ankles. It was very much like that."

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    Stewart with his third wife, Penny Lancaster-Stewart. Photograph: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

    Did he never think: Is this really worth the effort? "Nah," he says, sounding rather wistful, despite his evidently devoted marriage to wife No 3, Penny Lancaster-Stewart. "It was lovely. The only time it was getting sad was probably late 80s, when we had this 'Long Hot Summer' – me and one of my best mates were down in the south of France [he was making a video with Tina Turner]. And the girls were just coming in and out, from all over Europe. It was wonderfully easy, but there was a sadness about it, a shallow emptiness. Once you'd got your leg over, that was it."

    Ah, the Long Hot Summer. In the book, he describes sleeping with a roll call of women.

    "Let me say it was a minimum of three. It wasn't like one every night, coming in and going. It wasn't that bad! Jesus Christ! Three would be the number. Probably a maximum of four.

    "I dunno how I got away with it. I was never ever a good-looking guy, but I knew I had a certain amount of charm, and most importantly I was the singer in a rock group. And I had a couple of bob. That's what turned the key in the door for me."

    Did it make it harder to find The Right Woman when the choices open to him were so wide? Because he – in his prime, at least – could probably pull more women even than me. Probably.

    He looks shocked.

    "Than you?"

    Than me.

    There's silence for a couple of beats, then a rattle of outrageous laughter. "I thought you were serious. I'm a ROCK SINGER! It's dead easy. That was always my downfall. There's always someone prettier or better looking. Maybe I believed something magical was going to happen. And it did eventually."

    The women aren't a myth. Some of the other things are. Stewart was never a grave-digger ("I just measured up the graves") nor an apprentice footballer ("I didn't even get close. I was good but I wasn't good enough"). He made those stories up to make himself more interesting in interviews. And he claims a publicist made up the one about the sailors and the stomach pump. "He had an evil streak in him. But you won't find, so far as I know, any written material on that anywhere. It was purely done through the grapevine. And I think the same thing happened to Richard Gere with a small rodent."

    But the anal ingestion of cocaine is true. After his Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood discovered a hole in his septum, the pair decided to eschew the nasal route – which also helped Stewart protect his voice ("It dries all the membranes out. What it does to your nose, it does to your throat as well, cos it'll all go down the back of your throat as well") – and pack their coke into emptied aspirin capsules to take in suppository form. There was a problem, though: "It didn't have the same thrill as putting it up your nose, you know?"

    And presumably it removes some of the social element from the ritual of taking drugs.

    "No, you can't go in the toilet with the lads and lay one out." He hoots with laughter.

    We part, and I mention I'd been playing my kids his old albums in the car.

    "Did they like them?"

    Sorry, no. But you know the maxim: Spare the Rod, spoil the child.

    "Spare the Rod, spoil the child," he laughs delightedly. "Exactly!"
     
    #1340
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