Hi Nick, how’s life treating you at the moment?
“Well, I’m currently in Florida in my studio just playing about with a few ideas pretty much how I worked for Woodland Echoes. It’s such an inspirational place out here. I had a friend who had a studio on his houseboat and I went and recorded there and that was extremely inspirational. Everything from the lime green lizards, the dolphins swimming around the boat, it all brightens you up!”
“It was very different to when he used to record in Fulham all those years ago in a basement where he wouldn’t see daylight for hours on end. Don’t get me wrong, I love England and every type of weather inspires me – parts of the album were even recorded looking out over a white landscape. I’m very nature driven and write about love whether it be universal love or romantic love. I’m inspired by all the different types of weather even when I get allergies. Maybe I’ll write the next record about sneezing?
“When it comes down to it, you’ve got to make music for yourself first of all and not worry about anything else. I did get a bit down when I saw The Observer didn’t like the record but that was a bit predictable that they wouldn’t. You’ve got to make music for yourself and be enthusiastic about it.”
You’ll be back in the UK in May and June for a series of shows. How is preparation going?
“It’s going well. We’ve got a Whatsapp group going with myself and the band where we discuss what we’re going to do. We’re going to do old things, new things, new old things. There are times when you think about playing an old song that you may not have played for thirty years then you have to relearn it.”
What can fans expect from the tour?
“Well, a bit of everything really. I’m going to do some Haircut 100 songs but not the main ones, some new songs obviously. I’m going to do a few songs from 1983, my first solo record then stuff like Warning Sign which came out in 1985 but wasn’t on any album. It’s definitely going to be value for money with about twenty songs and me really going for it.”
“I really do go for it on stage as well then, if I have to do a meet and greet after the show I’m wiped out. I remember doing that one show then driving home afterwards and ending up in somebody elses driveway. I had no idea who they were so then I realised I had to look after myself plus I didn’t want a restraining order taking out.”
On a similar theme, you must meet lots of fans out and about. Any good stories you can tell us?
“Not so much these days as it’s very different. One particular story that stands out was when I was performing in California and this man came up to me afterwards and said “I heard you talking about wanting somewhere nice to see in California”. He told me he knew somewhere then got his phone out and started showing me these photos and the first one was one of him stood there with his wife stood next to him stark naked. Luckily she was talking to some other people so that saved any real embarrassment.”
Recently on Twitter you posted a photo of a cover of your first feature back in the day with NME. What do you remember about those days?
“It was a very different time before the music industry ended. I think it was also a very naive time. Personally I found it very exhilerating time and I didn’t expect it to happen like it did. It was a bit overwhelming, very exciting and at times it was too exciting for words. You’d be on a coach going from one exciting thing to another, you’d be doing Top Of The Pops, exciting interviews. It was also very cultural as well. When you were on Top Of The Pops then everybody would be watching from mum to daughter to grandparents. I think the best way to describe it though would be to say it was overwhelming and unexpected.”
What advice would you give a band or musician these days?
“There are three things you need. A cup of tea, a guitar and a pencil. Get that right and it all falls into place. It should all be about being creative because there are so many different outlets these days for you to show off your creativity. I can tell you about loads of great guitarists on instagram these days playing some amazing music but it wasn’t like that in 1981. There is no Top Of The Pops any more so it’s down to you. It’s down to the brave and who has got the most drive because there are so many places you can share stuff instantly. You don’t need to wait around anymore but, at the same time, there are so many people playing in their bedroom who aren’t brave.”
Going onto Woodland Echoes your album last year. It went to Number four in the independant charts. How did that feel?
“Yes, it was the independant charts because that’s all it could do and it got to number four whatever that means. It’s like doing a painting and it getting fourth prize. When I was writing the album I did it in my spare room. I was sat there thinking “Bohemian Rhapsody” wasn’t written like that – in fact none of the great albums were written in a bloody spare room then all of a sudden it went to number four and it was really nice to see that people really liked it.”
I saw one review where you got compared to Paul Mccartney. How does it feel being compared to such a musical icon?
“Ha, yes, well, that’s the end of that then. Penny Lane. I don’t need that kind of pressure haha. Seriously though, I’m all things Liverpool. I love the place. I almost lived there because it’s a lot cheaper than London and I get a warm, fuzzy feeling there. I love going to the Tate Gallery and I loved it even more when Liveprool got the European City because it meant they brought together the old with the new.”
So, you’re obviously looking forward to heading out on tour again. How different will it be to the sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of the ’80s?
“It’s very holistic. It’s about pacing yourself especially if you’re in it for the long run. Our guitarist Ryan is only young, in his twenties, he looks at us like we’re nuts. I wish I’d got into this a lot earlier maybe when I was thirty-seven. I think that’s the right age to be getting into this because if you’re any older, say in your fifties, then you have all sorts of ailments to deal with. Life because more of a survival course then.”
“I look at somebody like Mick Jagger and he’s still going strong. What I’d like to do it to use the time on stage as a way of keeping fit. I was thinking of a way of including yoga into the live show – maybe during the breaks. It’s just breathing at the end of the day. I’d also like to make a full stage performance around Woodland Echoes, I think the album lends itself to that but maybe that’s an idea to keep to myself for now.”
Okay Nick, thanks for your time, it’s been great talking to you. Finishing off, when you look back over your career, what will be your one last memory?
“Hmm… It changes really. It’s the little things that I like to think about, you know, like overcoming not believing in yourself. You know like that art teacher who told you your paintings were a waste of time and sometimes I get that doubt when I go onstage but then, like I said, it’s about believing in yourself and doing it for the right reasons. It’s those reasons that will be my lasting memory.”