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30th April 2018

New EP

Q:The release information that comes with your new EP states ‘Nick Lowe is back and has re-discovered his rockin' side.’ Did it ever really go away?


NL: No I don’t think so. The group I sometimes play with in the US, Los Straightjackets, are a four-piece guitar group that can play anything but they are a really good Rock ‘n’ Roll band. I had the opportunity to record with them so it was silly to make them do something that they are not too familiar with and we only had a couple of days to do it. It wasn’t really set or thought out (laughs) but I had a couple of songs around so we just got in and did them. The Tokyo Bay song turned out very well.


Q:  How much of the arrangements was theirs and yours?


NL: That’s a very good question…I suppose it’s a combination but really, if a song is straight forward enough, it sort of arranges itself. I just played them the song and they are really great musicians. You have to be really good to sort of play that dumb (laughs). That sounds rude but it’s not.


Q: Don’t worry; I know what you mean.


NL: Yes so things occur to them. I can’t even remember talking about Tokyo Bay too them. I showed them the song and away we went. I did it a little bit with my old band but I can’t quite remember how I used to do it with them.


Q: Are you talking about the Cowboy Outfit?


NL: No I had another band that I’ve been to Japan with* but unfortunately two of them died so that’s rather taken care of that. The Cowboy Outboy Outfit was much earlier; I used to change bands every week (laughs).


Q: As well as being an excellent band, they’ve done a rather amusing pastiche of the Jesus Of Cool album cover…


NL: Yes they are very good people; I’m very lucky to have run into them. Some places want me with a band and if they are available – because they are successful in their own rite – I can jump in and we can put together a pretty good show which we are going to be doing later on. I also do things like I’m going to be doing tonight and I also I have this other thing which I do from time-to-time with Paul Carrack who used to be in The Cowboy Outfit and Andy Fairweather-Low. We do an acoustic trio and that’s pretty good fun.


Q: You put a lot of pathos into your version Heartbreaker, Travellin’ Light has moved from a happy, finger snapping Pop song to a driving rocker; how did you come up with those arrangements? You always seem to come up with something new in a song.


NL: If you can make it work on an acoustic - and this is really what it comes to especially at the age I am now – if you can stand up in front of an audience and make it happen on an acoustic, then it’s easy to do, to add one or two other pieces. When I was younger, I would always be thinking about the record and I would arrange it with a view to the record which makes it a lot more difficult. If you start with the basic song, then the arrangement and fancy stuff will just sort of glue itself on. With Travellin’ Light, I’ve always liked that song. For my generation, it’s a bit of a corny Cliff Richard song but it’s a great little tune. It’s homegrown as well and I like that early British Rock ‘n’ Roll. Most of it was terrible but there a few good things that Cliff did. Move It of course which many people site as the first British Rock ‘n’ Roll record (that and Shakin’ All Over by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates), Apron Strings as well is really great but Travellin’ Light I always thought was pretty good. The way we’ve done it, I think it sounds a bit like a Glam Rock thing from the 1970’s (laughs).


Q: Well as we’re talking old Rock ‘n’ Roll records, I’m a big Billy Fury fan and I love what you did with Halfway To Paradise…


NL: Oh yeah, a great song.


Q: You also did  what many British people consider a rather iconic song, Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. That was brave of you to take that on but you got it


NL: That’s very kind of you to say so. As you say, it’s a fabulous record. We just stripped out every other chord I think and then it turns into something else because there are quite a lot of chords in the original and then it seems a little simpler.


Q: You were a teenager in the sixties; did you see any of those package tours?


NL: Yes I did. Not The Beatles or The Stones…the first one I saw was The Who with Spencer Davis (1966) and Les Fleur De Lys who I thought were great.


Q: I’ve never heard of them.


NL: No they really didn’t really do anything.


Bass playing, Stiff Records and Production

Q: You do come up with some wonderful bass lines – Lucky Dog for example where you wander all over the neck. . How do you come up with those?


NL: I don’t really know; you just do what’s appropriate. I don’t play bass very much anymore. I only seem to play bass with Ry Cooder these days and I think he likes me because I’m not much good at doing it any more. (laughs) You know, I don’t get in his way and I think that’s probably the secret of it. If it’s not too difficult to do, then it’s probably right. Everyone used to say ‘How can you sing and play bass at the same time?’ well if the bass part is right, then you can do it pretty easily but if you have to think about it, either the tune is wrong or the bass line is wrong but if you can do them at the same time, it’s right but I can’t really tell you how I do it.


Q: Your early production credits of Graham Parker and The Rumour, The Damned and your own So It Goes don’t sound like a guy taking the helm for a first time. Where did you learn how to produce?


NL: When I first met Dave Edmunds – before we got our group together – I went out of my way to try and become his friend because he is a very difficult guy to be friends with. He’s a real loner, quite grumpy but I didn’t take no for an answer. He used to make these great records on his own and it was amazing how he used to do it. He would be playing guitar and would drop-in on the tape machine with his elbow to start the recording and things like that. He had all these systems for doing stuff on his own but eventually he let me come into the studio and watch him and then he’d get me to go out to scratch a microphone to see if it was on and then he let me start dropping him in, banging a tambourine, doing a backing vocal and then one day I wrote a song which I showed him and he said ‘That’s good. Let’s record it.’ That was a big breakthrough but all the time I used to watch him because he was amazing. He was very rough with the desk and not overawed by recording at all. You know, most people, if they want a little more treble on something they’ll turn the knob a little bit but he would whack it right up and then back again and all really loud as well. So he had this devil-may-care attitude to recording and he also said ‘You can make it do anything. Whatever you want to hear, just try and imagine what it is, what it sounds like and the mash it up and you’ll get close and you get something better!’. Those kind of things, I learnt a lot from him but when I became a house producer at Stiff Records, although I had spent all this time with Dave I had never produced anything at all but I was young, cocky and in those days you could do so much with just fronting it out. If you said you were a record producer, then you were. (laughs)


Q: You have a knack of really capturing a sound, particularly vintage sounds, even an atmosphere as in the case of Quality Street; are you very technically savvy with all the digital stuff or do you use vintage equipment for those sounds?


NL: Yes I suppose so. I like a glowing valve whenever it’s available but it’s getting harder and harder to find studios with that stuff in them that work because most of the studios with analogue stuff don’t really work very well now. They fart, burp and breakdown and all the rest of it and also, a lot of the digital equipment now, you really can’t tell the difference but the source, the guitars and things are nearly all vintage. You can get a sound out of anything and you can use it but I suppose in a way it’s the style I record in which is vintage. I tend to do everything live in a studio and that immediately makes it sound vintage and to a lot of people, as soon as they hear something that sounds like that, they just don’t like it and it makes them really nervous. Some people love it and think it’s like a drink of cool water and others think ‘Oh no…it sounds like it’s going to fall to bits.’


Q: Great!


NL: (laughs) Yeah well, that’s what I prefer too.


Q: Stiff had an incredible array of talent right from the off. Aside from the ones we’ve already mentioned there was Mickey Jupp, Wreckless Eric, Lene Lovich, Ian Dury, The Damned, Elvis of course and Madness…many others.  Where did this sudden burst of talent come from in the UK?


NL: Stiff managed to find all this stuff. A lot of those Stiff artists didn’t really fit in anywhere, they were always there but looked a bit weird or in a lot of cases were strange people and at that time, Pop was quite sanitized and going through one of its safe periods but they all had talent. Somebody once explained it saying we were like a seagull standing on top of the rubbish tip of the music business and it was like finding a goldmine.


Q: One thing has always intrigued me: on Lene Lovich’s debut album Stateless, she covers your song Tonight. The production credit on that and the album is The Stateless; was that you?


NL: No that wasn’t me. I don’t know who that was. It must have been some sort of in-joke.


Q: The 1997 re-release of Squeeze’s East Side Story had a bonus track of Looking For A Love which was produced by you. There was talk of you producing one side of that album; were any other tracks actually recorded and are sitting in the A&M vault somewhere?


NL: Ermm…no. There was something….but no. Just the one song.


Q: How about Nick Lowe’s vault? Anything we haven’t heard?

NL: No there isn’t really anything much of interest I don’t think. There’s a lot of real old rubbish and there’s a reason why you don’t put it out. (smiles) There’s quite a lot of old nonsense there I suppose but quite a lot of it has come out.


Q: How about an autobiography then?


NL: Actually there is a biography and it’s just been finished. It’s quite a piece of work. Will Birch has done it and he has a publisher who wrote a book about Pub Rock.


Your quick-fire round of questions.


Q: Are you a Brentford FC supporter?


NL: Yes.


Q: Have you ever met a Bay City Roller and if so did they mention your song?


NL: No. (smiles)


Q: Have you ever met a Beatle?


NL: Yes. All of them apart except for John.


Q: What where you talking to Andy Williams about in that photo from the NME?


NL: I can’t remember but I don’t think he wanted to talk to me. (laughs) I think I just gabbled at him. I probably told him that he didn’t know it but he lent us some money or somebody who was involved with him lent us some money and I think I just thanked him. I don’t think he know what I was talking about though. (smiles)


Q: Mr Lowe, thank you very much. A delight to talk to you.


NL: Not at all, thank you.



Nick Lowe(Vocals, Guitar)
Geraint Watkins(Keyboards)
Jonathan Scott(Guitar)
Matthew Radford(Bass)
Robert Trehern(Drums)

ニック・ロウ インタビュー



New EP



NL:いや、そういうわけじゃないんだ。アメリカでは4人編成の”ロス・ストレイトジャケッツ”というバンドで時々プレイしていたんだ。とてもいいロックンロール・バンドだったよ。彼らとのレコーディングの機会もあったんだけど、敢えてやりたいとも思っていないことをやらせるのも気が引けてね。結局数日彼らと過ごしただけだった。ただの思いつきだけだったんだ(笑)。でもそのために僕は数曲作って、それを仕上げたんだ。「The Tokyo Bay 」という曲はとてもいい感じに仕上がったよ。











Q:素晴らしいバンドであるばかりか、「Jesus Of Cool 」のアルバム・ジャケットの楽しいコラージュデザインも手掛けましたよね。



Q:あなたのバージョンの「Heartbreaker」には哀愁が漂っていますし、「Travellin’ Light」は楽しげで軽快なリズムのポップスからドライブ感溢れるロック・ナンバーに変わっています。どうしてそのようなアレンジにしたのですか?あなたの歌にはいつも新しい要素を感じるのですが。

NL:アコースティックで取り組んでいると、僕の実年齢に沿った仕上がりになるんだ。オーディエンスの前でも、アコースティックだととてもやりやすい。時には一つ、二つ新しい要素を加えたりしてね。もっと若い頃にはレコードをいかに作るかばかりを考えていた。もっと手の込んだものにしようとしてアレンジしたものさ。シンプルな曲から始める場合は、アレンジや装飾的な仕掛けは曲の仕上がりに役立つんだ。「Travellin’ Light」の場合は、この曲はずっと僕の気に入りだった。僕の世代の人間には、ちょっとありきたりなクリフ・リチャードのナンバーのようでもあるんだけど、いい曲には違いない。自国産の初期のブリティッシュ・ロックみたいで好きなんだ。酷い曲もたくさんあるけど、クリフのにはいい曲がいくつかあるんだ。「Move It」は、誰もが認める最初のブリティッシュ・ロックだよ(これとジョニー・キッド&ザ・パイレーツの「Shakin’ All Over」)。「Apron Strings」もいい曲なんだ。でも「Travellin’ Light」は抜きん出てると思っていたんだ。僕らのバージョンはちょっと1970年代のグラムロック風かもね(笑)。


Q:古い時代のロックの話をしましょうか。私はビリー・フュリーの大ファンで、あなたがカバーした「Halfway To Paradise」も大好きなんです。



Q:あなたはまたイギリス人の多くが筆頭に挙げるウィザードの「I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day」も取り上げていますよね。あれをやるには勇気が要ったと思いますが、やりましたね。



Q: あなたがティーンエイジャーだった1960年代には、何かパッケージ・ツアーを観ましたか?



Q: 私は聴いたことがないですね。





Q:あなたがプレイするベースラインは一級品です。例えば「Lucky Dog」なんて、まとわりついてくるような感じです。どうしてあんな独特のベースラインを考え出せるのですか?



Q:グラハム・パーカー&ザ・ルーモア、ザ・ダムドやあなた自身の「So It Goes」など、初期のプロデュース作を聴くと、最初に聴いた時にはあなたのカラーというのが分からないんです。どこでプロデュースを学んだのですか?



Q:あなたは、サウンドを思いのままに捉える術をご存知のように思います。特に古き良き時代のサウンドです。『Quality Street』に捉えられたあのムードもまさに、という感じです。すべてデジタルの機材を駆使してそれを実現できる知識をお持ちなのですか?それともあのサウンドにはやはりヴィンテージの機材を用いているのでしょうか?









Q:あることが頭から離れないんです。リーナ・ラヴィッチがデビュー作『Stateless』であなたの「Tonight」をカバーしていました。製作のクレジットには「The Stateless」と記されていたのですが、これはあなたのことですか?



Q:スクイーズの『East Side Story 』が1997年にリイシューされた際に、あなたがプロデュースした「Looking For A Love」がボーナストラックで収録されたんです。あのアルバムの片面はあなたがプロデュースされたと言われていますが、他にもレコーディングされた曲はあったのでしょうか?A&Mの地下倉庫で眠っているような曲が。

























ニック・ロウ / Nick Lowe(Vocals, Guitar)
ゲラント・ワトキンズ / Geraint Watkins(Keyboards)
ジョナサン・スコット / Jonathan Scott(Guitar)
マシュー・ラドフォード / Matthew Radford(Bass)
ロバート・トレハーン / Robert Trehern(Drums)

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