Experimental Music Love

October 27, 2008

Paul Heaton Interview

Filed under: Interviews — by Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 12:20 am
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Paul Heaton Interview

I met the affable from Beautiful South frontman just before the first gig of his current solo tour to promote his very good new album, The Cross-eyed Rambler. There wasn’t a lot of time, so things were a bit rushed and lot of topics weren’t covered.  He’s still a lovely man though.

EML: It’s your first set of the tour tonight. Are there any first night nerves?
Paul: I don’t really get nervous. And that’s nothing to do with arrogance or experience. I used to when I drank, I got all jittery buggery.

EML: Are you teetotal now?
P: I was for three and a half years, but for the last couple, I’ve been dipping in and out of it. I think some of that was down to my two daughters. One’s four and the other’s seven.

EML: Did having children change your personality?
P: I wouldn’t say I changed. I can’t stand people who say that having children was just this amazing, life-changing experience. It has been positive though.

EML: Was there a reason why you chose Glasgow as the first date of the tour?
P: There’s no real reason why it’s the first date. It’s always been pretty good up here though. With The Housemartins, we were due to play The Barrowlands, but we were also on Top of the Pops that day as well. And Radio 1 said that our gig was cancelled, and that was because I wouldn’t fly. That nearly made a lot of angry people, but Radio 1 were wrong and the show did go on because I did manage to get on that plane. It was only on the condition that my brother came with me though, and that there was a bumblebee suit as well.

EML: A bumblebee suit?
P: That’s only because if there was a plane crash and we did end up in the water, I don’t think there are many greater images than that of the emergency crew rescuing this giant bumblebee from the wreckage. It’s the way I would have wanted to go.

EML: You have been touring for years now. Is it something you still enjoy?
P: Definitely. I think I found that when I was younger, I wanted to be in a band not to get on TV or anything like that, but I wanted to travel and see places and hear cheering crowds. It’s the simple things like that make it worthwhile. There are some things I don’t enjoy, like the videos, and flying. But it all comes back to music, and that’s the one thing I’m in this for.

EML: Is it odd touring without old band?
P: Yeah, it is. Touring with the Beautiful South was like touring with a debating society. Whether it was politics, or football, there was always lots of talking. That was 10-12 years of our lives that, and we did all get very close.

EML: How’s Cerys (Matthews from Catatonia who is supporting Paul on his tour)?
P: I’ve not really met her on this tour yet. The first time we did talk was in 2001 in some night club. And I don’t think either of us was in a particularly good state that night. We did say we should do something together sometime though, and here it is.

EML: Is there a favourite place you’ve found to play in?
P: Well, Belfast and Glasgow have always been really good. And the west coast of the US as well. San Francisco was fantastic.

EML: This is the first album you’ve released under the Paul Heaton name. How much of it was your writing?
P: I wrote five songs, Steve the guitarist did the rest.

EML: How was it being out the comfort zone of The Beautiful South?
P: I was fearing for the album a little bit. It’s difficult to explain how I want a song to sound. I have an unusual songwriting technique, where it’s all in my head and and I have the tune, but it’s the wrong chords. And sometimes I try and write on top of something else, like when I get some guitar chords first and build a bridge and chorus from that, and get the tape recorder and try and get it right. It’s hard to explain to someone how I want my songs to sound.

EML: Have you been pleased with the reviews? They seem to have been pretty positive.
P: It’s good that we’ve got critical acclaim, but I think I’d much rather have the radio airplay. It’s frustrating because we know people would buy the record if they knew it was out there, but we’re slaves to the radio and we’re not being heard. We’d have a good shout if things were fair and even, and we’d be alright, but we’ve only sold 10,000 copies of this record.

EML: Who would you like to cover one of your songs?
P: Steps! Are they still going? A band like that who would just totally change something I’ve written. I’ve already done the serious version, so I’d like a fun chart friendly gay anthem or something. Anything but mine really.


1 Comment »

  1. Cool interview. I’m seeing him in both London and Cardiff. Hope he’ll be selling CDs at the shows.

    Comment by Cary — October 27, 2008 @ 6:09 pm |Reply

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