Lovely interview, kind of biography written and told by John Waite personally. Topics are his childhood days in Lancaster. Growing up in a terrace cottage house over looking the fields. Telling about his father, mother and brother Jo, en Niece Mary and Cousin Michael who played and got famous in his own right with The Temperance Seven. His first record Apache. But also Love for cowboy music. And how Alison Krauss bought and framed the Marty Robbins album More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs for Christmas. listen and learn about John Waite and his insights on Lancaster.
JOHN WAITE IN CONVERSATION WITH IAN JOHNSON
John Waite a name that conjures up many things to many people. Lead singer with The Babys and Bad English. A solo artist with multi million selling albums and a hit single that was number one around the world. John Waite is also a man who even after thirty and more years in the music business, still wants people to enjoy his music. He talks with Ian Johnson about the early years, his new album and surprisingly Canal Barges.
Can I first ask you John, why another live album rather than a studio one.
Purely inspiration Ian, these guys inspire me and it was an artistic choice to go out and record a live album with this band. It was never about making money or anything like that I just wanted to get what we had down on tape. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, anything could happen, the band could break up someone could get knocked down (laughs), so I just wanted to capture the moment of playing live with these guys.
Talking of the new band members Keri Kelli is a hell of an addition, he really is a great guitarist. What can you tell us about him.
Well what happened was that we had a vacancy in the band and he came along and filled it, simple as that. A good friend of mine a DJ called Jacky Bam Bam, told us about the guy so we invited him over to a friend’s house where we jammed for a couple of hours and it was apparent really quickly that this guy could play. When he knew he was coming over he’d learnt about eight or nine of my songs and even though he wasn’t song perfect, I reckon we could have played live that night because he is that good a player.
To tell you the truth Ian, that was our only rehearsal together before we performed the live shows, we never played together until we did a live show a couple of months later. I just gave him and the other band members about fifteen or twenty songs to learn which they did and then we just got up on stage and played. I think we play together well, I’m singing a lot better now than I have for years and he’s a great guitar player and the other fellas are very tight on stage, so everything seems to be working out for us. Also when your onstage as a singer you need to know that you have the best guitarist you can have at your side and vice versa, luckily over the years I have had just that, the best.
The live album was recorded in two parts the first in an old Philadelphia Church called Philly Sound, which is also a radio station and the second part in Manchester New Haven. You also opened the doors to anyone who wanted to come for free, why did you do this.
Again it was the DJ Jacky Bam Bam who invited us to play. I’d been thinking of a new live album even before Keri came along and when this opportunity came up I thought why not. Tim Hogan my bass player is from Philly and he was up for it, so the idea for a new live album took shape from this. Jacky then went on air and invited anyone who wanted to come down to the recording studio and watch us play to come. The place only holds about 400 people but it was packed out and it was so hot in the place that the instruments started to go out of tune because of the heat. I’m really proud that on the whole alum there is only one overdub and that’s just a technical thing. What you hear is a totally live album.
You handled the production yourself and it has that wonderful raw feel that a proper live album should have, are you happy with the sound and how the album turned out.
I am Ian, what you get on the album is just us, a band playing live. I don’t use a lot of effects on my vocals and I don’t like guitar players who use tons of effects either. The guys I have been lucky to play with are great guitarists who know how to play without lot’s of gimmickry. And that’s the John Waite band when it plays live it’s a warts and all experience. I really wanted a 70’s sound on the album and in a live situation I strive for that sound as well. I write music that can be played in a van driving up the M1, my songs are rock ‘n’ roll songs and I hate stuff that is too overproduced, or live albums that have had so much work done on them in the studio, that there isn’t any live stuff left on them. The hardest thing for me during the making of this album was editing the album and deciding what songs to put on it. When I sat down you see to choose what was going to go on the album, I didn’t want to just put out a best of or greatest live hits album, instead I wanted a straight from the shoulder live release with great songs on it and hopefully that’s what I’ve done.
I imagine that with your back catalogue of work with The Babys, Bad English and your solo career, that it is hard for you to sit down and choose a set list that will please everyone. Or do you choose a set of songs that will please John Waite and hope the fans like what your doing.
No what tends to happen is that I try to do quite a lot of my solo stuff then I add in a couple of Babys tracks here and there and a few Bad English ones if we’re doing a long show. But no I don’t pick songs just for myself, the show is all about the fans if they are happy then so am I. What I try to do is pick stuff that suit’s the band and it’s playing style. Sometimes you’ll put something in a set and someone in the band your playing with at the time just doesn’t get the song for whatever reason, so you have to change that song so that the vibe within the band when it plays live is a good one. If they don’t get it what’s the point of arguing about it? Instead we pull the song and try a new one. Playing in any band is a give and take situation. I always like choosing songs that have great lyrics and when you play them in a live setting, you feel a great energy and buzz coming from the band and audience as they are played. Like ‘Wild One’ which I love but had to leave off the album because as I mentioned earlier it was so hot in the Church, that Tim’s bass I think went out of tune during the track and I didn’t want to fix it in the studio.
Off topic a little John. When you were in The Babys and Bad English did you ever feel that you and those bands didn’t get a fair chance, with record company politics etc.
To tell you the truth I’m not sure if anyone else could have survived all the crap that went on and still would want to continue in this business. I do this because I love it. I love singing, and playing music and the strange thing is that as all that crap was going on, I had a worldwide hit single where I sold two or three million singles. But what you gonna do Ian. Whatever we did in those bands nothing seemed to go right and I’d rather leave that question for others if you don’t mind.
No Problem John.
If I may though, what do you think of Tony and Wally reforming the Babys and were you asked to join.
They did ask and over a two year period there were a lot of e-mails flying around but I’m very comfortable with being John Waite the solo artist and I really didn’t want to go back and re-tread the old stuff once again. Saying that though Ian, I still think our last couple of Babys albums were five years ahead of anything else around at the time. I’ve also heard the new song by the guys and it’s very good and I wish them all the best with it. I still respect Tony and Wally a lot, and I hope that they have a great time with it.
Can I ask what is John Waite the solo artist going to do next. Another live album a world tour a studio album, or all of them - what?
I’m going to wait for a little while and see how the live album goes. I’ve had some of the best reviews in my career for this album but as we all know you can get great reviews for something and then the boat can sink. Speaking of which if the album doesn’t succeed and things don’t go well I might just pack it all in (a gasp of no from me). I remember you see those long summers in England and watching the barges and narrow boats on sailing along those English canals. I might just buy myself one of those if things don’t work out with the album and instead I’ll tour the waterways of England on my barge. It’s something I have always wanted to do, so I might take a year off and spend it on the canal. I bought a book last year all about the heritage of the canals and when I do get to come back home to Lancaster (North West, England), I spend a lot of time walking by the side of the canal. So maybe if the new CD doesn’t take off that’s what I’ll do.
I’m not blowing my own trumpet Ian but I think this is a great live album but we live in a bullshit showbiz world and if this album doesn’t work, I feel that I’m probably banging my head against a wall for nothing.
Talking of the North West of England and your home town of Lancaster, when can we see you over here playing live once again.
Well Ian, I played there a few years back with my American band which I loved but the problem was you couldn’t get hold of my albums anywhere at all. The local record shops didn’t hold any of my stuff, which stops people knowing who you are, which then stops them coming to your shows. So in a way that’s why I put this album out via I-Tunes, so I could sidestep all that record release and availability bullshit. If you don’t have any product available in a record store you don’t have a presence and no one wants to come and see you. I love getting music from the internet. You can get the stuff you want right then and there, which helps you to keep your profile up and running, so when you do a tour people are excited and want to come and see you. In a nutshell if the album sells then I’ll tour everywhere I can.
I found it interesting that you’re a fan of downloading albums from I-Tunes etc. Would you ever then consider going down the pledge route and asking the fans to pay for you to record another album.
God no Ian. What if it was a load of rubbish, what if I took the money and made a shit album. No I don’t understand the pledge thing, these days you can if you know what your doing make an album for about £10,000 maybe less. If you can do it this way, then it’s up to you to make it the best you possibly can. If someone else is paying and they can’t get in touch with you to say let me hear what you’ve done so far and if no one’s there to say that’s shit do it again, you could get away with murder. I’m not saying any one has or will do this but personally I’d rather make my own records and then let everyone decide if it‘s good or bad. Let’s face it with just a little knowledge these days, you can sit in your garage/bedroom working at your computer and make great music. The good thing about this, is that the record companies are now on the back foot because people don’t need them like they used to. You can do what you want, when you want and surely that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.
I know you’re a big fan of country music. Have you ever thought of doing a purely country album.
I have Ian, I love the storytelling that those guys put into their music and as you know Nashville is the hit song capital of the world. It’s strange now though because country rock sounds more like the stuff I do, than I do and because of this I now want to make more rock sounding albums that country ones. Again I’ve been lucky to have been able to play at the Grand Ole Oprie with Vince Gill and Alison Krauss and that was something special but again how do you top that. Maybe I’ll go a different route and do a blue-grass album instead of a mainstream country one but with a very dark edge to the songs. I know a lot of rock musicians who have moved there because that’s where the money for good songs is but you also have to be wary because it’s a very straight laced Christian place, that has this attitude of, if your not from here or the South, then you’re an outsider no matter what you do. You just have to work around that.
A question I’ve been lucky to ask recently is did you ever think that you’d still be making music all these years after you first started in the business.
Good God no. I knew I always wanted to do something creative when I was growing up. I went to art college because I wanted at that time to be a painter but whilst at college I started a band and music became my life. All I wanted to do from then on was play on a record, even if it was just for the one time. I knew that I had to make an album. If this happened I thought that even if it didn’t work out and I had to go back to my old life, then it wouldn’t be so bad and I could settle down in Lancaster get married live in a cottage and do normal things I suppose. but. I went off to America for about five months looking for the right band to be in and then I came home and helped to form The Babys. The rest as they say is history. I’m especially glad of those early years because that’s where I learnt to be a song writer and when you’re a song writer, it then helps you to become a better singer. You learn your craft over the years and your life becomes part of your work and even as rocky as my road has been, I’ve enjoyed almost every single minute of it. So the roundabout answer is that no I just can’t believe it.
Finally John I really hope that everything goes well with the album and we do get to see you and the band on tour.
Thanks Ian, it’s been great to talk with someone from the North of England again and if things don’t work for me and the album, you can always come and wave to me as I chug by on my barge.
John: I sang with Alison Krauss on a couple of her albums and I would love to do it, but one of the reasons I did All Access Live is because everyone has gone country, so the only honorable thing for me to do was to make a rock record. I’m like that…if the trend goes one way, then I go the other.
© Copyright 2011
at The Pop Machine, Indianapolis, IN
Produced by Eric Klee Johnson, Marc
Johnson, and John Waite
Mixed by Eric Klee Johnson
Vocals - John
Drums - Kenny Aronoff
Bass - Eric Klee Johnson
Guitar - Marc
Hammond Organ - Kevin Silva
John Waite Talks New Live Album,
Co-Writing Love and Theft's 'If You Ever Get Lonely'
- Skyward rereleased as is If You Ever Get Lonely
- John bought the Rough and Tumble album back from the record company
- The live album will be released this summer 2013 on Sony
- The best singer according to John Waite : Allison Kraus.
- And more !! enjoy !!
Source: Break Out
Pages: pages 28-29 Bad English centerfold, page 41 three different debut reviews
The magazine included in this edition a centerfold poster of the band photo, that is also used on the debut cover. On Page 41 the three different authors review the debut album. This section was called "Parallel Proof". The following is the translation of those reviews:
If bands like AC/DC, THE CULT, AEROSMITH and LED ZEPPELIN belong to your idols and if in recent times only albums by GUN'S 'N' ROSES, BADLANDS or DANZIG found their way on your record palyer, you may have problems to get the groove listening to a classic mainstream production. This won't happen with BAD ENGLISH and their debut, that contains keyboard parts and highly sophisticated melodic arrangements that are anything else than boring. Producer Richie Zito - known for his collaboration with CHEAP TRICK - took care of preserving the edges and some roughness. Probably this hasn't been to diffcult working with Neal Schon, one of the few mainstream guitar players, who know how to keep some rock in aor music. Schon's former JOURNEY pal Jonathan Cain delivers refined keyboard sounds and his variations never seem to be superflous. First time I heard of drummer Deen Castronovo must haven been six years ago listening to the debut of the WILD DOGS. Well, the drummer has not lost his punch. Albeit BAD ENGLISH are an extremly airplay oriented band, Castronovo plays very heavy; an ace among the drummer's elite. Naturally a gathering of such extraordinary players needs to be crowned with a first class vocalist: John Waite (THE BABYS), who is well known among fans of american rock music. Ricky Phillips on bass guitars completes this line up of experienced musicians. Right from the start "Best Of What I Got" leaves no doubt about what the listener will get during the next hour: Highly melodic hard rock with e perfect balance between the guitar and keyboard ingedients. I am reminded of Ted Nugent's album 'Predator'. Hopefully this debut does not share the same fate of Nugent' masterpiece: neglect on the german market. This parallel proof shoul d arouse your awareness of the class of tzhis album. Three Break Out writers are rarely of the same opinion, especially when two of them usually favour classic rock and thrash metal.
In an era where Sleaze and Glam rule the music scene in the U.S. and speed and thrash metal become trendy BAD ENGLISH are the glorious exception. Rich AOR oriented mainstream rock in the succesful style of bands like FOREIGNER, REO SPEEDWAGON, JOURNEY, NIGHT RANGER and LOVERBOY seems to be their mission. BAD ENGLICH are anything but newcomers dut to the fact that the band consists of experienced members of JOURNEY and singer John Waite, who has been successful with his solo career. Besides, the multi talented Neal Schon just recently published the extraordinary solo album 'Late Night'. One might wonder, where the source of his creativity is. Everyone, who wanted BAD ENGLISH to be the JOURNEY folow up, might be disappointed. The band creates a sound of its own and Waite's vocals establish a trademark, that is closer to his solo releases than to JOURNEY. Principally it is inappropriate to highlight single songs of this remarkable record, but anyone should give a listen to the rocking midtempo tracks 'Best Of What I Got' and 'Heaven Is A 4 Letter Word' as well as to the ballad 'When I See You Smile'. No one less than Richie Zito, who worked with EDDIE MONEY in the past, produced. BAD ENGLISH debut offers more than sixty minutes of first class music without any fillers. It deserves the label 'special value'.
May we serve another super group? Without hesitation BAD ENGLISH can be called 'super group' . That's why this debut did not end up as our monthly newcomer tip. Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon have been essential for JOURNEY's sound and John Waite can look back on four mainly excellent solo albums in his discography. The line up is completed by the sought after session drummer Deen Castronovo and bass player Ricky Phillips. It's quite obvious that nothing less than above average rock music could be the result of this debut, that reshapes the genre. Thirteen tracks and a playing time of more than sixty minutes cover rich hard rock ('Forget Me Not, 'Ready When You Are', 'The Restless Ones') as well as pittoresque and soulful ballads ('Possession', 'The Price Of Love', 'When I See You Smile'). It is difficult to highlight songs, because there is not a single filler. The most potential as an upcoming radio hit may lay in melodic tracks like 'Heaven Is A 4 Letter Word' and 'Ghost In Your Heart'. Although known for his work with CHEAP TRICK and EDDIE MONEY, Richie Zito's production is not overly smooth and maintains the essential rough edges in the music. This lets the album stand out of many other albums of the genre. It is astonishing that the album tends more to the musical style of John Waite's solo records than to the sometimes ostentatious and overtwisted element's of JOURNEY's music. Keyoboarder Jonathan Cain only sporadically seeks the spotlight ('Tough Times Don't Last'). Even Neal Schon plays modestly and his voluminous, heavy guitar sound adds a nice flavour to the sound instead of dominating it. Nevertheless his masterclass is heard in any tone. As the last chords of the calm 'Don't Walk Away' end the album, one thing is definite: BAD ENGLISH offer more than an hour of pure rock and forego any of the typical image obscurities of the genre. Any complaints?
Shaun Hague - Guitar
Rhondo - Drums
Timothy Hogan - Bass
Debby Holiday - Vocals --> female backing vocals on most of this songs
Rocker John Waite went to the movies in Los Angeles a couple of days ago to see Warm Bodies. His 1984 hit "Missing You” plays during a pivotal part of the Jonathan Levine film–a moment where the action shifts from the terrifying to the tender. "I was really very pleased,” says Waite. "It’s a great movie.”
For those who haven’t yet seen it, the movie is based on the Isaac Marion novel of the same name and takes place after an unnamed catastrophe has obliterated much of the planet, leaving behind a population of zombies. One in particular, R (Nicholas Hoult) eats the brains of Julie’s (Teresa Palmer) boyfriend, ingests his memories, and falls in love with her. Because he’s a zombie he can only grunt and groan, so music plays an important part in the wooing process. The soundtrack for the film is filled with welcome surprises: "Patience” by Guns ‘N Roses, "Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen, "Rock You Like Hurricane” by the Scorpions and "Midnight City” by M83.
But, says Jonathan Levine, the "Missing You” addition almost didn’t happen. "I’d love to take credit for this, usually I do for music but that’s something my music editor put in. I’ll take credit for liking it,” says Levine, who had written "I Remember You” by Skid Row into the script for that scene. But, he says, "It didn’t work rhythmically and we put ["Missing You"] in and everything just clicked.”
ONE of Lancaster’s favourite sons has joined forces with a former President of the United States for a very good cause.
ONE of Lancaster’s favourite sons has joined forces with a former President of the United States for a very good cause.
Rock star John Waite met Bill Clinton at a recent health summit at the swish Ritz Carleton hotel in Laguna Beach, California.
Lancaster-born John, famed for his worldwide smash ‘Missing You’, is friends with Joe Kiani, the medical entrepreneur who hosted the Patient Safety, Science and Technology conference.
The event aimed to sign up manufacturers and developers of health monitoring devices hoping to reduce unnecessary patient deaths in the USA.
Kiani, owner of leading health technology company Masimo, has been described as the "Bill Gates of the medical world”.
"It’s a very moving thing – many of us have had loved ones who have been in care and didn’t survive,” said John, speaking exclusively to The Visitor from his home in Santa Monica, California.
"Joe is trying to create a database where every doctor can have access to every patient’s complete medical history.
"President Clinton gave a tremendous speech.”
Waite, who was educated at the Storey Art College in Lancaster, has enjoyed two number one hits in America – ‘Missing You’ in 1984 and ‘When I See You Smile’ as lead singer with Bad English in 1989.
‘Missing You’ was also a Top 10 hit in the UK and was covered by Tina Turner.
The rocker, 60, returns home to Lancaster on a regular basis.
He played a live gig at the Grand Theatre in 2011 and was back for three weeks at Christmas to visit friends and family, including his proud mum Veronica, who lives in Scotforth.
"Lancaster is still very much part of my life because it’s a great city,” he said.
"I’m currently mixing an album and working on just a few bigger gigs this year, which opens up more time for me to come home.
"I was just thinking, why is it that the first thing you see driving into Lancaster is a KFC?
"I’ll be back in the spring for a nice holiday. You’ll find me in the Boot and Shoe!”