Q – A month ago I attended a Benjamin Biolay concert in Madrid with a three-piece band onstage and I started imagining how your music would sound like with that layout.
After all these years touring either solo or with Neil, have you considered returning to a “fuller” sound live?
Your fall 2006 shows with Neil & the computer were quite interesting to listen to. Maybe if you just included a third musician who’d take care of the programming & keys it would make it possible for you to perform the more ambient or uptempo tunes of late (rolodex incident or woman in a bar).
Or have you given up collaborative touring for good?
A – The tour with Neil was originally planned to be a trio, and I think that there is a huge difference between two and three players – two is a duo, three is a small ensemble. And a small ensemble is a major change for someone who is primarily a folksinger, so it was frustrating to plan one thing – a departure and then to do another thing. But necessity is often the mother of invention and many of Neil’s parts from that tour were wonderful and could be used as a basis for future incarnations, as you put it..
My real problem these days, other than trying to make a living when I tour, is that I really don’t like the sound of a few musicians making a lot of music, I’m not a fan of chords with too many notes and I’m not interested in virtuosity in my arrangements. I’m much more interested in the sound of more people playing less, individually, with emphasis on the juxtapositions and interactions between their parts. This is the opposite of the modern economical live model where a few talented multitaskers are able to cover for several studio musicians… see my quandry?
I should also add that the basic rock and roll combo, which we used in the Commotions, holds no allure at all for me these days. I enjoyed my time working in that format, but those days are over. Which is not to say that slight variations on the it cannot be exciting to me – I recently saw the Knitters in concert and they were fantastic… so what will I do? I don’t know, right now.