When John Waite recently played on some Dutch stages your favourite webzine LazyRocker.com took the opportunity to talk to the ex-front man of The Babyís and Bad English. But above all we wanted to know more about his impressive solo career.
With a new live album out on the market and a new solo album expected soon, there was enough to talk about. Scroll down or click on "read more" to read the interview.
*Itís a pleasure meeting you and thanks for inviting me.
*Is the release ĎIn Real Timeí a way of looking back at your ideals about music?
In some ways itís the sound Iíve been known for. Some songs are very obscure, some are very famous. Itís like recognizing the past and the recent past. Itís part of my life. We played in Europe last year and it felt like it would be the last time, some songs were played like that. Everything changes all the time and sometimes there are moments when you depart and start working on new stuff and it feels like that happened. Iíve got a new EP coming out in about 3 months in America. Itís recorded as a three-piece band, like in the late 60ís rock in London. Thatís why it going to sound more raw than before. It has no overdubs at all and no keyboards. One of my favorite live albums is "Free live". Thatís performance, thatís what it sound when you come to the show. Thatís what I like about live performance.
*Is there sometimes a desire to be part of a band again, like in the Bad English days?
For me itís always a band, it isnít just me. Everybody has the same spotlight. The Babyís was never like my band, it was always a four piece band, if someone didnít like something we didnít do it. Thatís also how I see this band with Tim, Louise and Billy. We want to be happy and enjoying playing these songs.
*How do you look back at your eighties releases, like one of my favorites, íRovers Returní?
Thank youÖ well it were the eighties, a lot of bands do experience with different sounds. I think ĎNo Brakesí is a pretty down to earth record, even as ĎMask of Smilesí. They were overproduced records, rhythm driven and being guitar orientated. Sometimes we used synths to experience, but it always was about the guitar. I strongly believe in Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards and David Bowie/ Mick Ronson. I believe the singer always has to have a great guitar player and thru the eighties I always had a great guitar player in the band. ĎRovers returní actually I made it twice. I recorded it, scrapped it and rerecorded it with entire new songs.
*Through the years your music always was recognizable? Do you agree with that?
Where I come from in the first place is country and bluesÖ thatís what rock Ďní roll is. Iím a rock Ďní roll singer so I never could depart on ĎRock Ďní rollí. With ĎWhen You Were Mineí I wanted to do a Bob Dylan sounded record. I never try to do what I did previous. Sometimes people expect me to do that but I wonít do it. I donít want to be someoneís puppet. I love being a artist and not a businessman.
*What does it mean to you to give some "all time classicsĒ to music history? You did it with The Babyís, Bad English and as solo artist.
Well I always tried to do that. I approach the songwriting very seriously and always try to write big songs. Iíve always had an enormous respect for rock Ďní roll and I wanted to be part of that. When people talking about like ĎSatisfactioní by Ďthe Stonesí or something, you might mention ĎMissing Youí in the same way, I donít know. There are a lot of big songs. Itís very interesting to be recognized for.
*Is it always a challenge as a artist to write such mega hits? It seems like there are artists who write in that direction.
Well you can write songs like that. There is a part of me that wants to turn away from that. How can you make something really wonderful that doesnít sound pop. If you make it too pop, you possible sound like Abba, which is great pop, but do I want to sound like Abba...or like Bon Jovi...NO! But I try to speak in a manner to engage people that doesnít sound too sacred but deal with real topics. I knew ĎMissing youí going to be a huge hit, but it isnít really a sweet song. Itís dark, about denial. The challenge of songwriting to me is to make a hit which isnít too pop.
*How do you look back at you rerecording of ĎMissing Youí with Alison Krauss?
Wow Ö well we became very close and she values enormous my life. She showed me a lot of things about Bluegrass, that I wasnít that familiar with. The songwriting put you on a higher level. They tell great stories about the history of emotional America. Alison showed me all that, and I was a willing student because I love country music. Far back on ĎTemple Barí I tried to introduce elements of that kind of songwriting. Working with her is really fantastic!
*What gives you the inspiration for writing new songs?
AgeÖyes itís age! I find as I leave part of my life. I turn around and look forward. The world is different all the time, through the experiences of people leaving, loving, dying whatever. I write about my experiences. I canít write about peoples life. I write sometimes about political issues but usually from the standpoint of in the first person.
I know how it is to live in a world of terrorism now but there was always terrorism. The Irish were blowing up Birmingham and Manchester when I was 20 years old.
*What can we expect of your new solo album?
Well itís pretty wild. Itís going to be country guitar driven rock, and one of the songs is almost like 70ís Rolling Stones dance music. Which is probably going to be the big single. Me and Carl Cook (from Matchbox 20) wrote the songs for the EP album, except one song who is written with Mark Spiro. Itís going to be an EP with 5 songs. I had 5 great songs in me and if I should do another 5 it would destroy the album completely. As a kid I also used to buy EPís with 4 songs.
*What is musically the moment you treasure the most?
Probably playing at the Opryland in Nashville with Alison Krauss and Vince Gill. It was a country audience and I had my band on stage there. I had a black bass player, my guitar player from New Jersey and me English. That was a real honor. I was looking at the audience and saw family people, farmer people, tourists and country fans. And itís being broadcast live.
*How you want to be remembered when the day comes to stop making music?
That could happen any moment. Every time I walk off stage can be the last time. I said earlier to someone, any second now I could leave. I want to be a father as well ,and not be away every night to go on stage. I have spoken to nearly 4 generations. There comes a time I say thank you I had a wonderful time. When that time comes I hope people remember that I was sincere and I didnít compromise. What I did was always from the heart. To be remembered in that way would made me proud.
*Thanks for the interview.
Youíre very welcome and I hope you going to enjoy our concert tonight.
(LazyRocker.com: You can read a review of this concert by clicking HERE