Thomas Dolby - On the Edge - Westwood One Radio - December 19, 1992
(transcribed by Russell Milliner)
(Radio Show into)
When I started out there were very few people working with electronics in music. And now it's like everybody and their brother...you know has a sampler and a drum machine. My cat has a sampler, so it's less inspiring for me to work in that area.
(Close But No Cigar plays)
Well I have people playing on the album like Eddie Van Halen, Gerry Garcia and Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead to Siouxe and the Banshees, Ofra Haza, and Eddi Reader, who is a Scottish singer who was quite successful is a band called Fairground Attraction but she has now gone solo. Eddie Van Halen is kind of a distant neighbor in the Hollywood hills here. My wife is an actress, so she knew Val, his wife, and we sort of got together socially and he was in the middle of recording the last Van Halen album. And he was kind enough to play a few like on mine. And I was very honored because it's only the second time he's done that, the first one being Michael Jacksons Beat It.
Bob and Gerry from the Greatful Dead, I was a big dead head when I was about 15 years old. I used to spend many a rainy english afternoon studying the back of their record covers. And it was kind of like a flash back to the past to actually work with them and have them play on my album. Very kind of them to do it. I mean they were in the middle of rehearsing for a tour. Bruce Hornsby had just joined the band. and they said we're in a warehouse in Marin. Why dont you just come up for a few hours and we'll see if we can do something on your tune. So I got the plane up there and same plane back later on in the day and had the tape in my pocket.
(Beauty of a Dream plays)
The secret of love has been preserved by a select few down the ages, and that even people like Albert Einstien are better off than you and me when it comes to knowing that secret. But the people who have kept the secrets are the Astronauts and Heretics. Astronauts are people that society chooses to send off into outerspace to tell us what's there. Heretics are the ones that society banishes that heretics are the exiles from society. Who are exiled because they know more about what is going on in outerspace than we do. People like Galileo for example. But it also refers to kind people I hang out with around the world, and to the guests that I have on the album.
(Eastern Bloc plays)
It's easy to think overhere, well alot of great music comes out of England, but alot of it is actually regurgitated from elsewhere. And I think the english especially in the media, would love to imbue their music with a certain ethnic authenticity. See they think that blues or jazz or soul has a certain authenticity because it was born out of a certain neighborhood in an American city. I think they like take their own bands and then somebody like The Smiths and just sort of..just assume that that is the way those guys are. That they get up in the morning that's the way they dress, and that Morrisey would be spouting poetry before he's even had a cup of tea. And I really happen to like the Smiths. But if you were to read the press you would think that they were our artists who ??? endure. Which I dont think is strictly true. So I just found it tough there cause I am white and middle class and clever, and only journalists are allowed to be that.
(She Blinded Me With Science plays)
In the past Ive tended to write very escapist songs lyrically, songs about submarines, and the north pole and the rainforest and things like that. And I would steer away from things dealing with personal relationship. I think this album is alot warmer in that sense. There is even a song that one night I couldn't sleep and I came down and sat at the piano and wrote this love song. I got so excited I went up and got Kathleen sat her on the stool next to me and sang this song to her. This is the way you picture Burt Baccurach writing a song, but it was never me. It was always me up all night with the machines in the old days, and I am kinda a beginner at that. But I feel that there is a place for that now in music. Because so much music is so refined to the point of being....kinda clinical in a way. You have to buy into the whole video image and the whole production veneer of it. There is very little direct communication between the artist and the listener. Certainly when you listen to music from the 60's, you know, Dylan or somthing like that, you can just hear this guy sitting on a stool singing a song. And I miss that these days, so in a way that ??? me to get back to that a little bit.
(Silk Pajamas plays)
I think it is good in some ways for the video to be a little bit unclear. Because sometimes the visual images you end up with dont coinside with the ones that people have had that have been running around listening to your song. And I've heard people say that can spoil a song for them. I also think that in music we cut no corners at all. You take as long as you need. Not always, but I tend to end up taking as long as I need in the studio, to get to really right. And I wont let something go out unless it is perfect. And yet in video you have to use a reduced size film crew, and you have to get it done usually and hand it in next Monday, and so you rush through the editing. It seems a shame to do first class music and the third class visuals. But for as long as I am going to do that I want to enjoy it. I dont want to do anything that's like a boring nine to five job. I want to be on my toes all the time. And I dont know how much longer it'll be possible for me to do that. MTV are telling me, they dont really consider Thomas Dolby an MTV artist. Which is pretty funny considering, if you took a look at them eight years ago. But actually if you look at they're playing now, it's understandable. So, I just have to find a new format.
I dont have a full time band, so I have to put one together and rehearse them everytime. It's also tough because there are so many different style in the music that I make that it is hard to find one single group of people that can pull it off to play all of it. I did some gigs in England when it came out there. And I really enjoy it, it was more laid back than stuff I've done in the past. I just sat behind the piano Elton John style and played and sang. We didn't really do any sort of coreography or anything like that which I've done in the past. So I think that if and when I do tour it's going to more like that. It's going to be a more quiet and sort of intimate kind of an evening.
(Europa and the Pirate Twins plays)