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Interview with John Waite | «Being in Bad English was a strange experience, because they were frankly quite conservative»

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Let's start with whats new with you. What have you been up to these days?

John Waite: We have been on the road for the last 3 years. We play the Wooden Heat albums, mainly acoustic songs. We have a set that is basically 'An Evening with John Waite'. We play acoustic songs, electic songs and we throw a Dylan song or a Hank Williams song on a whim.


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Any plans for a new record or tour?

John Waite: We have been all over the US mainly. We'd like to play in Europe soon but it's a nightmare logistically, you know, we want to play our music but also ...feed the band (laughs). We went to Australia last year and it was lovely, we hope to do the same thing in Europe, especially the Mediterrenean, we'd love to play there.


You have achieved so much in your career. Any wishes at these point?

John Waite: I get this question a lot, you know. I've been doing that for a long time since the 70's and The Babies, i've done it all pretty much. Maybe I'd like to play on top of the Eiffel tower (laughs). But seriously, I'd like to do a choice album, Fran Sinatra, Charles Asnavour, songs like a play from Bertold Brecht, intense songs about life. Songs that I haven't written, it's a good feeling to measure yourself against the best with their own songs. If there is one thing I haven't done so far, is a more theatrical album, more like cabaret. I came close on the Mr Wonderful album, so you never know. Usually something get's stuck on my mind and I end up doing it to the end. Right now for example, I like to paint and read books, so that's what I do all day.



Do you prefer to be a band member or a solo artist?

John Waite: I think being a solo artist is like being a painter, or an actor, you are an island. When you want to do something you don't have to look across the stage and say 'are we ok with this, can I do that'. You just do what you want. Being in Bad English was a strange experience, because they were frankly quite conservative and the closer we got to the dark things, the edgier things they were more uncomfortable. The Babies weren't that in the beginning. But it's all about the content and the performance, once you start discussing where you are going as a band you're dead in the water. And I see this thing now, people are nostalgic about the 80's and there are bands who go out there and do the same shit like then and I'm like 'Oh, I couldn't that, I'd rather be home painting'. So, yeah I'd rather be a solo artist because the great thing about rock 'n' roll is that you might write something in no more than 3 minutes and that thing might change the world, but if you write by committee that never happens.



Please mention a moment in your career which is unforgettable to you.

John Waite: I think the most dramatic moment for me was hearing western music for the first time, Marty Robins in particular and then falling in love with rock n roll, the electric guitar and songs about gunfighters and the lone figure moving through the world. It's very Keith Richards you know, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, that heroic figure going up against the world. It's only a hop, skip and a jump from cowboys and indians to rock n roll, they're both American. That moment, looking through the window of a record store in Lancaster, England when I was about 5 and seeing an album of Robbins called Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs that album changed my life.And that's the point, fame doesn't interest me at all I've never been a slave to that and I was embarassed to be famous really. It's the romance of being a musician, that's all there is to me.



Will we be able to see you in Greece?

John Waite: Well, it's been more than 5 years since we toured Europe in general. We'd love to make it back again but as I said, it is difficult to align everyone's plans together and still make enough money to pay the band. And as I am getting older I really don't want to be staying at YMCA, you know (laughs). Going abroad is wonderful, you meet great people.



What would you like to say to your Greek fans?

John Waite: We'd love to come to Greece, for sure. Tell your local promoter to bring us and we'll jump on a plane.


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Chris Mouskos, Elena Manta


Black Velvet Radio

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