Q – Hi lloyd, when you started out or even more recently have you ever been asked to appear as a support act for any particular band or singer? I’m sure I read a morrissey interview once where he said the police asked the smiths to support them on tour back in the day. I know morrissey supported bowie in the mid 90’s. Would you ever consider it appearing as a support act or is there anyone you would like to tour with?
A – We never opened for anyone, really. We did a few ‘special guest’ spots – For Bourgie Bourgie in Edinburgh very early on, and for Simple Minds when they did a run of stadium shows. My first solo tour of N. America was a co-headline with Micheal Penn, but his manager often insisted on MP going on last, which wasn’t a smart move… and then every night he had to tell Michael that nobody had left during his set…
There is also the ego factor to consider. It’s hard to go on stage before someone when you feel in your heart that it should be the other way around. I got a feeling, a couple of times in 1991, when I’d asked Robert and Grant (RIP) of the Go Betweens to open for me, that they felt that way. And frankly, one should feel that way. Why make records to be just another Cd in the store?
A few years ago, looking at options in Germany, my agent came up with a plan which had me opening for Heather Nova. They were very kind to me, and let me travel on their tour bus. That’s when I realised I never want to return to the days of travelling on tour buses. Waking up in a parking lot behind a venue is not my idea of fun. Last year the band Stars invited me to play 4 West Coast shows opening for them. My agent encouraged me to do it. It was very nice of them, and I was treated very well, but I’m not sure that my one man acoustic show worked so well on a stage which was set up for a live band, with an audience who’s average age was maybe 21… still, I live and learn. I’d never heard Stars before – they are great.
These days, whenever I play locally in Western Massachusetts, I prefer to open for my friends, or take a support slot at my local bar. In fact I’m playing on December 20th just around the corner here at P.A.C.E. (Easthampton Performing Arts Center) opening for my pals The Lonesome Brothers. I’ll play around 45 minutes.
I used to think the idea of opening was redundant, and I still think the wrong match up is a waste of time (which is one of many reasons I don’t have a support very often). But the right pairing could be good. I hear Wilco are out opening for Neil Young, that could work. I like touring with Dave Derby.
Artists I would open for if they asked me (and I’m sure I’m forgetting some) –
Dylan, Cohen, Kistofferson, of course
If I had a band, this list would be longer and would include Death Cab, etc.
And I just remembered – The Negatives tried to get the support slot to Kraftwerk in NYC, but there was no slot, we went en masse as fans.