One of The best Interviews ever with John Waite !!!( may 2012)

Original source : Rock and Roll Interview

Hey, It’s 1980!…I’m cruising down the road and as usual have the radio blasting. The DJ says something about a new Babys song coming up next, cool a new Babys tune! The song comes on and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, great guitar work and a smoking grove. The song starts to fade out and John Waite is just singing his heart out and……Huh…wait…did I just hear what I think I heard? No…couldn’t be! Ok, I am on a mission, off to Tower Records to see if the album is actually out yet. Ahhh…it is! Back at the house, on the turn table, volume up, track 3, playing………Well I’ll be damned, yep…that’s what I heard (I’ll just keep you wondering if you don’t know) hehehe!

John Waite’s music has been a staple on radio now for over 30 years. He has penned huge hits as a member of the Babys and Bad English and continues to have a remarkable career as a solo artist. His finely crafted music has always been a favorite of mine and I always look forward to his new releases. His current release Rough and Tumble is now available and is a real treat for fans and will certainly capture a whole new listening audience for Mr. Waite. The new album packs a punch with a somewhat different direction from previous releases with a more "in your face” kind of production. The new tracks are sure to please and John’s vocals are superb as always.

I was having some technical issues with my brand new "Made in China” telephone recorder and after a quick exchange on the phone and an explanation as to my difficulties; John offered to call me back in five minutes. Still struggling and "sweating my balls off” trying to get this damn thing to work…he calls me back and seconds before I answer…it starts to work! Kind of reminded me of a movie where there is this huge Ocean Liner bearing down on the poor little fishing boat with the guy in the boat desperately trying to restart his stalled-out motor before being smashed to pieces…whew!

GM: (struggling with recorder) Hey, John.

JW: Hey, how you doing?

GM: Hey, thanks…I got it going here, so –

JW: Oh, there you go.

GM: Those bastards!

JW: Those f*****g bastards! Piece of crap…piece of crap!

GM: Yeah, right from China.

JW: Yeah, well there you go. They send all the bad shit over to us.

GM: (Laughing)

GM: Thank you so much for taking this time; I appreciate it wholeheartedly. You know I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since – I’m not trying to date anything here, but when I was in high school you guys came out with the Babys albums and so forth. So turning 50 this year and –

JW: Yeah.

GM: I’m about what, nine, ten years –

JW: I’m only 32.

GM: Yes, sir, yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what, your voice sounds like it, so –

JW: Oooooouch!

GM: Seriously though….It never seems to age!

JW: Somebody asked me the other day in an interview, they said how do you keep your voice like – and I said I don’t even warm up, and I have kind of contempt for singers, people that say "I’m going to sing that song”. Oh, you know it’s like all that shit gets on my nerves. I don’t even warm up and I smoke cigarettes and I generally drink a Pepsi. You know, I mean there’s just nothing – the real honesty of singing comes in the performance.

GM: Yeah, I mean it amazes me because I was cruising around listening to your new album in my car and then I was reviewing some of the older stuff and it’s like, God, his voice sounds exactly like it did 20 years ago.

JW: Well I would think I was a better singer then…you know I don’t pay a lot of attention to it, it’s the song that matters to me.

GM: Yeah.

JW: I’m just a sort of a sidecar event. It’s the song that’s the star of the show.

GM: Well, you know what? There are not a lot of people out there that can – that actually have that gift. And one of them that comes to mind right away is James Taylor.

JW: Oh, he’s very good!

GM: I was listening to one of his live DVDs and I think it was put out about three or four years ago. And his voice sounds exactly like it does on the recordings and it just amazes me.

JW: He’s a great musician. I mean his guitar playing has been an inspiration to generations of songwriters and he’s a very talented guy.

GM: Yeah…Yeah, I know. But it’s amazing. Some of these guys, you know you just wonder how they even keep going with the – I mean the voice is just shot and it’s like…oh no!

JW: Money!

GM: Man, you know just stop and smell the roses for a while!

JW: Yeah, I would say get off the bus at that point.

GM: Yeah.

JW: I promised myself that I’m going to keep writing songs and singing them but the day I have to drop any keys, I’m out the door. They’re all in the original key and they’re going to stay that way because that’s how they were written and if that doesn’t cut it, then I’m – there’s no point in, you know doing it in half measures.

GM: Your voice is clear as a bell, it’s right in there, it’s dialed in. Just really nice and it’s good to hear. So I’ve got some questions here –

JW: Yeah.

GM: The new album Rough and Tumble. You made mention to the fact that it’s kind of a step to the left for you or kind of a new direction. You know personally I think it’s gritty, it’s full of punch, tight, it’s not over produced and it’s really a wonderful album.

JW: Oh, thanks.

GM: A wonderful album and I really enjoy it, you’ve done a wonderful job.

JW: Well, it was a complete accident. I mean me and Kyle got together, wrote some songs and then recorded them and it was going to be an EP, five songs. And then I went off to Europe to tour, came back and the management wanted more songs. And I just kept putting it off and putting off because I had no more ideas. I had written it to be an EP; I mean to me it was perfect. And it got to August and I’d promised my mother I was going to go back to England to say hello in September and it got to the beginning of August and I thought well, if I don’t do it now I might as well just shelve the whole thing.

So I’d run into a studio in Thousand Oaks, the Dog House Studio, it’s Roger Carter. He’s an old friend of mine, he plays drums and stuff and he has a great little studio. I took the band in, my touring band and recorded like seven songs in four days. Just kept cutting tracks and re-arranging and got the rest of the album, it was like default. I mean I don’t know how it happened, it could have all gone to hell.

GM: Well, it must –

JW: I was enjoying the risk of it, you know!

GM: Yeah, well, there’s got to be some special chemistry there.

JW: No…it’s just been absolutely – there’s no plan B. With anything that’s successful there is no plan B. And I could go in the studio with half-formed ideas. I wrote "Rough and Tumble” the day before I went in to record on day one. But it’s just that if I’m going to win something; you better step out of the way. I mean I’m very determined and I just took on the energy of being producer, singer, songwriter and making the sandwiches. You know I just did it…there was nowhere else to go but up.

GM: Yeah.

JW: So…that’s why it has the energy it’s got.

GM: Well, it’s definitely got the energy. Were there any specific roles when writing the material? I mean as far as between you and Kyle?

JW: No, it was a shared thing. It was like playing ping-pong.

GM: Like lyrics, or you know….

JW: No. It was like with "If You Ever Get Lonely”, it was like, you know… thanks for calling, It’s so good to hear your voice. And then he said you keep breaking up, you know the static and the noise. And then I said, then I’ll keep listening because I never had a choice when it came to you, it was like that.

GM: Oh, that’s cool.

JW: Yeah, me and him are about the same. We didn’t take it as far out as we could have done because we were just getting to know each other. But he’s, you know he’s a very, very gifted guitar player and when our guitar player left the band before we were supposed to go on the road, he stepped in and played an American tour with us, and then toured England and Holland and Germany with us. He’s a standup guy, you know. But it’s those kind of people that can really play.

He can throw down the guitar solo in "Piece of Mind” and is one that he just threw in as we were recording the track live, you know. And that’s the kind of player he is and that’s what I’m looking for really in people. I don’t like the ordinariness of –

GM: The spontaneity?

JW: Yeah… I get lumped in with a lot of bands I think are crap, you know. And it’s because of my age probably or the history of coming from the ‘70s. But I look around me at most people that people kind of put me in a box with and I just think I can’t believe they can use a knife and fork.

GM: Yeah, I know….

JW: It’s just…it’s bad beyond belief to me.

GM: That’s a good point because artists from the ‘70s and the ‘80s have been lumped into this group and it’s kind of like Bob Denver gets stuck in the Gilligan’s Island role, it’s like they get –

JW: Wow!

GM: You know what I’m saying?

JW: Well, there’s always Ginger!

GM: (Laughing)

JW: You know!

GM: That’s what people were alluding to when I was reading some reviews. there were always the compliments, but it said unfortunately some people that were so successful in the ‘70s and ‘80s have been put in this box…have been put in this cage by the media and just can’t –

JW: Yeah, but this is – the whole industry’s based now on just going out and performing the hits of yesterday and most of those bands are playing along to tapes, most of those bands have replacement members in them. They’re going out on package tours and they’re doing it for the money.

GM: Right!

JW: You know it…I know it. They did crap and it was insipid crap back then really and there’s no fierceness in it, there’s no delivery, there’s no real intelligence, it’s just Muzak.

GM: Well, if you don’t have anything new that you’re passionate about –

JW: Exactly….Yeah.

GM: What’s it going to be? That’s exactly what it’s going to be, boilerplate, right?

JW: Yeah, Boilerplate. It’s something that works for a certain audience. So you bring them into these amphitheaters, charge them a lot of money to park the car. Then you charge them twice the price to buy a beer, then you sell them a tee shirt and a CD and you leave town.

GM: Yep.

JW: And people – people fall for it. But, you’s the real world, its business. It’s just the way the world is.

GM: Yeah, I know…and I’m sure that the whole – the music industry’s a big pain in the ass…you know as far as trying to get anything done and heard and out there.

JW: It certainly is, but this was done completely away from that. It was recorded and conceived of and written away from any kind of record company and then it was licensed to a record company. I wouldn’t let an A&R guy in the studio, I never have.

GM: I guess it’s kind of a double edged sword now. You may not have the big label money behind you like in the ‘70s and ‘80s spending the money on marketing and promotion and everything else. But on the other side of the coin you’ve got the freedom. You know you can go into you can go into your 10 x 12 office and with recording equipment and Pro Tools and, you know pretty much do an entire album yourself basically.

JW: Well, there is that, but you might miss out on the humanity of the performance.

GM: Yes…I agree with that!

JW: I mean you can get in an eight by ten room with three other guys and a tiny drum kit and you can create something like Bob Dylan. There are professional songwriters that sit around because they’re trying to sound like whatever’s current and usually that’s done on Pro Tools, yeah.

GM: So were you guys all together then when you were cutting this album?

JW: Yeah, that was part of the deal. It just had to be like that. I mean I’ve worked with producers, who actually, you know who get the song, they cut the drums, they don’t even record you and they get the drums perfectly in time. Then they cut the base and that’s kind of like this poor thing going direct. Then they start layering in guitars, 12 strings, f*****g everything in the song. And by the time you get to sing the song, it’s dead!

And the thing I’ve learned and I always loved about music is the thing that’s kept me coming back was the imperfection of it. It’s what makes a woman beautiful, if she has some slight imperfection, or if you’re making a statement, it’s how you use the words to make – jar people and bring people around. It’s the adventure of throwing things into it that are sort of odd, in the live performance you get that.

GM: Yeah…which you didn’t really have the creative license I guess you’d call it, I don’t know. But prior to that when –

JW: Yeah, we came to America and we were recording albums and stuff.

GM: When everybody else was telling you what to do. You know everybody else was producing and pushing you… you’ve got to do this and you’ve got to do that in order to sell this and sell that. And it’s got to sound –

JW: Yeah…yeah…yeah, but there’s a language to winning. There’s a language to doing it with integrity but it’s got to have heart. I mean integrity in itself. There’s very little of that in the music business. When people do have it and they do record that and it goes to tape or virtual tape, hey man, you set up the mic and it’s there. It’s either there or it’s not and everybody knows who’s got it and who hasn’t got it, they just do.

GM: The newer solo stuff is organic. I mean it seemed to me to be organic and you know a little rough around the edges.

JW: Yeah, yeah.

GM: It wasn’t like over produced.

JW: No. I tried to get as much as I could in. You know when you’re making a vocal, you go to the mic and the first time you sing it, you don’t know how loud the mic is. You don’t know how to approach the song with the instruments playing. But you go to the mic and you put a scat vocal on the song and it’s always the best one because you don’t know what’s coming next. It’s like using a flashlight in a dark room, you’re just throwing down, you’re just looking and whatever that is, is the stuff that counts. Once you have that information in your head and you try to do a second time, it’s never as good.

GM: Yeah, it’s like taking a test, you know you always go with your first instinct.

JW: Yeah, and it’s certainly a test…yeah.

GM: Question, the track "Evil”

JW: Yeah.

GM: Very sexy, very cool groove. I love it. And if you ever make a video for it I can tell you exactly what needs to be in there. But it would never make it on MTV or VH1 or You Tube.

JW: Well, you and me both.

GM: You know what I just picture in my mind is this, you know…..

JW: Steady!

GM: Yeah, I know…That’s the kind of tune it is for me personally. It’s just a really great groove and I –

JW: You know that 90 percent of that track is a track that was cut in Kyle’s spare room. It was all the guitars and all the vocals, but the base and the drums were then put on later. But the track that was supposed to go on the album was the original demo with keyboard base and sample drums. But I would sing a line into the mic and then he would take the same mic and put it on the amps and then play a guitar line and then I’d take the mic back and sing it to – and that’s what you’ve got. That vocal is the vocal that’s on the record. And all the backing vocals, it’s just me and Kyle messing about. But it’s – yeah, that was an interesting – interesting – interesting song to write.

GM: I liked it. I just – I really liked that. It’s one of my favorites among many others on the album. But that just – that just comes to mind as a very good video, but not for You Tube.

JW: Wow…Let me tell you!

GM: I notice that If You Ever Get Lonely was kind of a group effort in the songwriting department.

JW: Well, there was a song. My manager at the time found this song and he kept saying you got to listen to this song. The song had this beautiful, beautiful chorus and the rest of the song was just not happening. Every time I hit the chorus I looked at him and he looked at me and I thought well, this is just beautiful but the lyrics and the chord progression were just middle of the road Nashville pop, you know. Me and Kyle sat down, took the chorus and rewrote everything else. All the verses, B section, bridge, breakdown, guitar like in the front, everything…but I thought it was only right to give the original writers of the song top billing. I thought it was only fair to do that but we basically rewrote 90 percent of the song.

GM: Well, it’s a classic!

JW: Yeah, but only because somebody of me and Kyle’s caliber can look at that. It’s like I’m a producer really. You know a producer – I can’t be bothered to produce other people’s work, but when I look at the song I know how to arrange that in five minutes to make it better and rewrite aspects of it or move the key around, it’s what I’ve done all my life.

GM: Yeah.

JW: If I’ve done a cover, I’ve just about rewritten it. But I knew – I knew what was inside the song. It’s like peeling an orange, you know…it’s in there.

GM: That’s kind of like what you did with the "Sweet Rhode Island Red”

JW: Yeah, we did like a Sex Pistol’s version of that, but that’s how it came out. It was just like I had this guitar in my head and I thought if we just floored it all the way through it would sound like my roots, you know, but the original’s red hot…Tina is Tina.

GM: Yeah, she did one of your tunes too!

JW: She certainly did!

GM: "Better Off Gone”, that’s one of my new favorite road songs. I was down in the valley coming home yesterday, about an hour’s drive and I had your CD in there. I was blowing it out…that song speaks to me in a way…like it’s one of those – I don’t know…one of those classic road songs, you got to have it really tweaked up when you’re cruising down the road, I really enjoy that tune!

JW: Well, there was actually a Lincoln Continental, there was a street and it’s all kind of true. It’s the first song we wrote, me and Kyle. We just like met in a room and started messing around with chords and the song just happened, that was the most unvarnished of our ambitions, it just happened that way.

GM: I like it, it’s a great tune. I was surprised with the remake of "Mr. Wonderful” on the album. I mean you’ve got so much material…why did you focus in on that one particular tune?

JW: Well, the Germans, we’ve been touring – we’ve been touring Europe a lot and the Germans have mastered "Mr. Wonderful”, they think it’s the greatest song. It’s the biggest song in Germany after Missing You. And I thought –

GM: Really?

JW: Yeah, and I thought – I thought I would re-cut a version, just for Europe bonus tracks because I was under a lot of pressure to overcut on the record to give the Europeans more tracks, they’re all like that…they’re all like horse thieves you know.

GM: Why do the Europeans get more tracks?

JW: Well, we – Yeah (laughing).

GM: How come we – hey, come on now (laughing)

JW: Hey – really, no, no, no. but (laughing).

GM: Hey, I could use 15 tracks on my CD too!

JW: I know, I know, it’s just one of those things. The album that we released in America was the original record in my head and then the album that came out in Europe had a couple of concessions towards the record company. The record company always wants something for nothing…you know! And so it was, "John, we need bonus tracks to get the fans excited”…they don't…they just want something for nothing. I thought since we were playing that live in the set and nobody had heard it for such a long time,

I thought it would be such an easy song for us to do live between takes. Every time we were between takes I just count it in and we just played it until we got a version that we liked.

GM: Yeah, it was interesting to me, you know out of all your material that you kind of focused in on that one.

JW: Well, I mean going to Europe over the last few years and touring there, I get the impression that they’re all watching like hawks, you know. You walk out on stage there and they’re really paying attention. They know what kind of guitar you’re playing, they know if you – when you go into a different song they’ve probably got the bootleg off it. They’re looking at lyrics, they’re just big huge fans and they buy magazines on music and read in detail what’s going on with albums and classic records. I just felt like I had to up my game. I came off stage after playing the Underworld in Camden Town about two years ago and thought that’s it. If I don’t play any of these songs again, that’s just the way it’s going to be.

I mean its okay being on stage singing "Isn’t It Time”, but at some point isn’t it time I was singing something else, you know – really? And I – I don’t want to be one of those guys…I don’t want to be in an arena rock band that comes out and plays some big ripping guitar solo and plays some song from 30 years ago and says goodnight and gets back on the bus.

GM: Yeah.

JW: There’s far too much more going on in life. I mean I’m starting to read like it’s going out of fashion, but I’m suddenly hungry for new ideas and I’m pretty defiant. I don’t particularly want to be anybody’s mule. I don’t want to be that kind of – I just don’t see myself as doing that.

GM: Yeah…I know, and that’s kind of why I think you’re happier as a solo artist, you know you don’t want to be bogged down, you know…or have that label as a "band member”.

JW: I don’t want to compromise at this point.

GM: You appreciate having more artistic control over your music than not.

JW: Oh, absolutely! The responsibility’s mine, absolutely, and this isn’t like I’ve sit at home and worked out what I’m going to do next. I have revulsion for that kind of sterile, Mickey Mouse classic rock. I mean…if you go onto the websites of some of these record companies, all the band’s sound the same. They’re playing songs in the same key and they’re all like 50 and change, and they’re all playing the same atonal or super melodic bullshit music. You know…and there’s some people that actually like it. It’s like being declawed, just signing up to sell product.

But all those people, when you meet them in person they’re kind of immature and they haven’t got a lot of depth. They’re basically f*****g idiots actually.

GM: They’re probably beholden to who’s putting up the money. I mean, you know –

JW: Yeah.

GM: It’s just business.

JW: And they’ll take directions, you know what size do you want that, sir? You know… it’s like if they had a spinal tap, you know…I could sell shoes…I can do that!

GM: So is that what happened with the Babys? I mean was that kind of the demise of the group?

JW: No, we just ran out of steam. On the first three albums I was writing just about everything.

GM: Yeah, that was quick though. It just seemed like boom, you’re on top of the world and you’ve got these massive hits out there and then all of a sudden 1980 comes along and…gone!

JW: Yeah, but the record company wasn’t putting the records in the stores. I mean it’s okay having yourself all over the radio. At one point we had "Every Time I Think of You” on AM radio and Head First simultaneously on FM. They were both like in the top five or number one or whatever it was, It was insane, but if you go into a record store in Cleveland looking for the Head First record you couldn’t find it.

GM: Well, that’s bizarre. I mean –

JW: Isn’t it though?

GM: When I was in high school, those were the staples in radio.

JW: You know everybody has to pay some sort of price to get to the next level, so I’m just not interested in any kind of – I mean, I wouldn’t go and put it back together. I’ve no interest in recycling that kind of stuff. We finished it on a high note and let it be that, you know? There’s more to life than the Babys and there’s more to life than Bad English. You know I’ve sold more records as a solo than either the Babys or Bad English. So it doesn’t really – I mean they were great things to be in because they were kind of like nobody expected that.

I think nobody expected the Babys to be what they were. I always had a lot of fun with that. I always thought Rolling Stone is going to get this like you won’t believe, and they didn’t, it was funny you know because we were kind of loved by the audience. We weren’t a critic’s band. There’s a lot of depth in the songs and a lot of references and sort of homage’s I thought to the blues and soul music, it was validated.

But then again, I think I believed it more than the other guys. It’s very possible that I was the guy that believed it more than anybody because we were doing my songs and I was singing them.

GM: You have to explain "Peace of Mind” to me.

JW: Well, what it’s based on, it’s based on Herman Hess’ Steppenwolf.

GM: It kind of sounds like there’s a little Aerosmith in there, a little Alice Cooper, some Queen and Beatles…it’s like a little rock opera!

JW: No, but it is based on Herman Hess’ Steppenwolf where the guy comes in off the street and finds a small theater, walks in and has an epiphany and a psychedelic kind of experience. He has a complete awakening.

GM: Did you write the lyrics on that one?

JW: Yeah, Me and Mark Spiro wrote that. I was determined to use – to get Baudelaire into it because I was reading a lot of Baudelaire. I thought well, got to get this guy into the song.

GM: Oh, the Queen – the Queen of England bit was kind of –

JW: Oh yeah and Johnny Cash. Napoleon and Johnny Cash were drinking in the wings. It’s a madhouse really. You know….man….. if I could push and come up with something that unusual every time I’d be doing my job.

GM: Well, my kids were listening to it in the car and my daughter’s going wow, this is cool, and then she just kind of pops off, and says "how old is he”? and I said, well, I think he’s about nine or ten years older than I am.

JW: Oooooooh (laughs)!

GM: A lot of the music I play for my kids is mostly the ‘70s and the ‘80s artists that I’ve grown up with that are still going and, you know making good music or trying to make good music and, you know that’s what I get, I try to keep them on the right track and steer them away from the crap that’s out there now.

JW: Yeah. Sure, I get it. I get it.

GM: Most of the new the stuff you hear today is –

JW: Oh, don’t get me started, I…it just… I despair sometimes, you know.

GM: Well, you know Charlie Morgan, he used to be the drummer for Elton John, he and I had a chat one time and he sent me this video clip of, or excuse me, this audio clip of Britney Spears’ vocal that was recorded at a live show and everything, all of the effects had disappeared, I mean everything was gone except her voice. And it was the most horrible, embarrassing vocal or recording I have ever heard and I’m saying to my kids… this is what the reality is here. You listen to this stuff that I’m playing to you, you listen to John Waite’s tune…this is real…this is real music.

JW: But you know what though… I’m not doing a dance routine in high heels!

GM: Well, I know…yeah, I know, and I don’t – and I don’t want to see that actually, so don’t… don’t come out with anything like that.

JW: I don’t want to see that either…so don’t make me go there…don’t make go there…No! (laughing) you know I mean like Lady Gaga comes out and she’s –

GM: Holy crap!

JW: Yeah, but I’ve seen her sing on TV live and she’s good at it...she can really sing, but you know, why don’t you just get up there and do Madonna, it’s like...oh God!…what are they thinking, you know?

GM: Did you enjoy doing the MTV stuff? The music videos back in the day, was that fun for you?

JW: Yeah…yeah!

GM: Wasn’t a pain in the ass?

JW: No…no, The Babys got a record deal by making a video. We were the first band ever in the world to actually do that and make it happen. Other people have taken the credit for it, but it was us and I always had an affinity for film. I always love it, you know. I’m a big fan of movies so it’s a natural extension to filming.

GM: Well some of the people don’t want to have anything to do with it, they just want to do the music and it’s like "Oh God, I’ve got to go do this”.

JW: Well, yeah… but I mean it’s a visual world, you know. When I first came to America I’d meet all these middle-aged musicians. They came to rehearsals for the Babys and they were either working next door or they’d be in the studio across the way when we were making a recording. They were all kind of bitter and kind of angry and they always start making a criticism, or they wouldn’t do things, or they’d drawn a line in the sand and I’m determined never to wind up like that.

GM: Well, why was that? Was it because of people telling them how they had to do things?

JW: No, they’re just burnt out and angry that they haven’t had a lot more success than they had. But they decided they weren’t going to go any further or go into new areas or develop, and it was the weirdest thing. I’d meet quite a few of those people in LA. It was very, very strange, yeah.

GM: So what’s with Nashville? I mean everybody seems to be heading to Nashville. I mean what’s with Nashville? LA used to be the place to be.

JW: I don’t know. Well, there’s CMT down there and GAC and Dolly Parton lives in Nashville. You know Nashville when you go there is quiet. There’s isn’t really a main street off of Broadway where the tourists go. The Ryman Auditorium’s down there, but there’s like a row of bars and sort of down the hill tourist shops. But there is no center in Nashville, it’s a very suburban town. The saving grace in Nashville it’s got the universities you know, so you’ve got a lot of young intelligent people there.

GM: Yeah, but what’s the big draw for the artists, the music artists?

JW: The money…It’s just money. It’s centralized. There’s no music business in LA. And there’s no –

GM: Really?

JW: No, Not really! There’s nothing going on here other than gigs. All the big companies aren’t here really. There’s only a couple of big companies left. The internet has changed everything completely. You don't have to be anywhere. People are giving country music a go…what I consider country, or what I love about bluegrass, it’s the same with everything, you know…everything’s changing and it’s not doing as well as I would have hoped.

GM: Hey…on "Midnight Rendezvous”….

JW: Yeah, I did say that! I did say that at the end. Yeah.

GM: You knew what I was going to ask you (laughing)?

JW: I can read you like a book!

GM: No!

JW: Well, yeah…..I didn’t even know I’d sung that line until I heard the record.

GM: But I heard it on the radio!

JW: I know, but I didn’t do it on purpose!

GM: But how did that get that past the censors?

JW: I don’t know, I honestly don't know. I can’t even remember singing it. I must have been so caught up in the song that I put it in there and it escaped the censor, and…you know…it surprised me just as much. People said have you heard that song? I go like yeah… I wrote it! and then it was kind of…have you heard at the end? and I go well…I sang it! Then I go and listen to it and….oh, Jesus Christ, you know. But I didn’t do it on purpose, you know…I didn’t! I must have been caught up in the moment, you know, doing my thing.

GM: Well, I can remember listening to that on the radio and hearing it on the radio and I was going oh…well, that’s interesting, because normally that stuff gets bleeped out or you know they cut if off before that time.

JW: Yeah, amazing! Yeah, a quick save, but a lot of times they don’t because nobody really knows about it unless they’re paying attention.

GM: You’re not actually out on the road right now, does that start soon?

JW: We leave a week from Friday. We’re going to Canada and then we’re doing a whole Texas run, then we go down to Louisiana. Then we come back for a week and then we go out again and we’re looking at doing an overseas tour in October or September, we’re playing all the gigs we get. I mean half of them…no, no, not half…maybe 20 percent are unplugged, but we basically go out as a full band no matter what. I mean if we’re going to, you know play unplugged, we just do it

GM: Japan…You’ve got a big following in Japan, right?

JW: Well, yeah, we’re trying to get there as well at the end of this year. We’re going… but I can’t say where we’re going, but it would be a natural extension to go to Japan. So I’m hoping that’s going to be something that happens, we do want to go there again.

GM: It’s different…it’s interesting these different markets and some of the people that I talk to like the Orleans. I had a discussion with them and they’ve got a huge following in Japan. I’m supposed to be talking to Don Wilson of the Ventures and they’re huge in Japan…they’re huge! You know the surf songs! Apparently they’re cutting like four brand new tracks just for the Japanese market. And I’m going well, that’s interesting.

JW: I can see that happening, yeah.

GM: That’s a real interesting thing because you don’t really think about the different dynamics in these markets, or you know, you’ll have one song that is blasting away on the U.S. charts but then it fails elsewhere, or just the opposite.

JW: Well, you know, that’s also down to the internet. So I think it’s a much more level playing field, and if you have some obscure talent or you have something that isn’t so mainstream, there is somebody out there that wants to hear it. So I mean it’s a bit of a lifesaver really.

GM: So you’re going to be up in my neck of the woods in September. I think it’s just going to be an acoustic gig for you.

JW: I’m not sure, so it’s kind of like it’ll be what it is, so we’ll probably bring the drummer, he’ll be with us, a big percussion and lead guitar and all that kind of stuff anyway.

GM: Yeah. It’s a pretty small venue. And I think you just did an acoustic show there last time. I didn’t catch it, but I’m going to catch it this time. Hopefully in September when I see you I can have a chance to say hello.

JW: Great! Come by and say hello, yeah…bring the kids!

GM: Well, we’re probably not going to bring the kids, but you know I would like to meet you and I’ve got some friends of mine that would love to say hello too.

JW: Absolutely, Tim Hogan is the tour manager. Just ask for Tim and he’ll bring you back. We’ll have a glass of wine!

GM: Hey listen, I’ll let you go. I love the album and I most certainly appreciate your time and I know you don’t have to do these things, so I really do appreciate it!

JW: Oh, you’re welcome! thanks for the interest…I appreciate it!