Experimental Music Love

January 8, 2008

Alan Fletcher (aka Dr. Karl Kennedy) Interview

Filed under: Features,Interviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 8:17 pm

Experimental Music Lover – Is this the first time The Waiting Room have played in Scotland?

Alan – No. We’ve played Glasgow twice before. We’ve been at The Walkabout and that was really good, but I’m really looking forward to playing the union tonight. I’ve been here once before for a meet and greet that went berserk.


EML – I can imagine.

A – It was only a one day thing cos I just flew up from London did the meet and greet then went back to London for a gig so it was pretty chaotic. But we’re here a bit longer so I’m hoping for a bit more of a luxurious time in Strathclyde.


EML – How do UK audiences compare with those back home?

A – Well Australian audiences for Waiting Room are generally UK fans. Once a week at The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, cos I can’t really go out Melbourne, and they’re just full of backpackers doing the Neighbours tour. They’re basically just mini UK gigs with 200 – 300 people and they have just as good a time as the mob who come and see us in the UK.


EML – What can we expect from a Waiting Room gig?

A – A good time. Party time, sing along time. We do anthems basically. We do Kaiser Chiefs, we do Oasis, Franz Ferdinand.


EML – You’ll Never Walk Alone?

A – That might be in there.


EML – That’ll be popular among Celtic fans in the crowd.

A – Oh is that they’re anthem as well? I thought it was just Liverpool. I didn’t know that.


EML – Is there a particular favourite song that you like to perform?

A – Oh yeah. I just love doing Don’t Look Back in Anger. We;re ending the set with it tonight. Unless we do an encore.


EML – Oh, you must.

A – I love doing that song. It’s a terrific song, beautifully written. And I Predict a Riot, all that ‘na na na na naing’ that’s always fun. And we’re doing Foo Fighters as well, Best Of You.


EML – I’ll look forward to that. You’re one of these traditional classic rock and roll bands. Is that the sort of stuff that you listen to yourself?

A – The early influences for me were all punk musicians. When I’m writing stuff, I have a punk style in mind. I like quirky lyrics, I like stuff that’s a little left of centre, which is why I like a lot of the indie rock around at the moment like The Kooks and The Feeling. I love Kaiser Chiefs. Bands who are writing songs about ugly nights out.


EML – Have you been playing music all your life?

A – I’ve been working as a musician all my life in the sense that I’m an actor and a singer. I’ve been performing in stage musicals and all sorts of stuff. But I’d never been in a rock and roll band before, and it was only 3 years ago that I actually started playing with a band. And it’s all good.


Alan’s phone goes off. It’s the Glasgow Uni TV crew inquiring about their interview. Lots of apologising ensues, as he is a lovely man, then back on with the interview.


EML – How does acting compare with music?

A – I don’t really have a preference. I’m an actor who sings. I’m a performer, I’m an entertainer. The two go hand in hand. Most actors are singers as part of the tools of their trade so I wouldn’t like to choose one over the other.


EML – You mentioned most actors being singers there, and there’s been quite a few from Neighbours like Kylie and Jason…

A – …and plenty more to come I’m sure.


EML – Have you ever thought about any collaborations with any?

A – No no no. I don’t see myself lying on the couch wishing I was a pop star. I just like to perform live and be part of a band and that’s my passion. My expectations for musics are just to keep gigging and performing.


EML – What about a duet with Jackie Woodburne (plays other half of the Susan/Karl Kennedy super couple in Neighbours)?

A – Well, Jackie claims she can’t sing. She’s resisted any suggestion of us doing anything together, so I can’t see that happening.


EML – Have Neighbours used any of your music in the show itself?

A – Well yes. A long time ago I wrote a song for Karl Kennedy which he did at a talent contest. They wanted me to sing some uncopyrighted piece of nonsense like She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, but I said that it was just stupid. So I wrote the song and you can see it on my website. I did on a morning TV show in Australia.


EML – You’ve also done lots of film and theater work as well. Has Neighbours helped or hindered you’re other acting work?

A – Well, since I’ve joined Neighbours I haven’t done anything else other than pantomimes. But it has helped me in some ways as I was invited to play Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady last year which is a great role and I doubt I’d have been asked to that if I didn’t have that Neighbours profile.


EML – Have you enjoyed the pantomimes?

A – Oh yes. Particularly Captain Hook in Peter Pan, that’s probably my favourite.


EML – I can see you as Captain Hook.

A – I always play the baddy.


EML – You’re also a keen photographer as well. Has there been any particular place that has inspired your photographic eye?

A – Oh well, certainly anywhere in Italy. Just stick a pin in a map and you’ll find something beautiful. I’ve also traveled extensively in Asia, particularly Sri Lanka and India and they are heaven for photographers.


EML – Have you had a chance to take in Scotland’s scenery?

A – I haven’t really had the chance. I’ve seen what there is between towns just through traveling. I was in Edinburgh for the first time last night but just had no time to do anything. On tours like this I don’t really even have time to scratch myself.


EML – Last question, you learnt to fence for your role in The Three Musketeers and you incorporated that knowledge into your role on Romeo and Juliet by being the fight choreographer as well. Has that skill come in handy on the set of Neighbours at all?

A – (laughs) No I can’t recall Karl doing any fencing in Neighbours. Physically I don’t think I could do it anymore anyway. It was an interesting time being fight choreographer, because I learnt from a master and he was incredible and that was an exciting part of my career.


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