Q – I was wondering whether your song writing process is influenced at all by the musicians and instruments you are likely to have when recording/performing?
For example, the songs on your first solo album and one side of its successor seem written for a “rock” band. I assume you knew at the time that funds would be available for gathering together such a band. The songs on the other half of ‘DGWOMB’, however, have orchestral accompaniment which, again, I assume you had a fair idea was achievable when you worte them.
Now that you are free of the constraints that having a record company can bring – you have been quoted as saying that “writing songs to make records” made you stop writing songs for a while – is your writing influenced by what you know is feasible to acquire in terms of accompanying musicians and instruments?
A – Certainly there have been times when I’ve written for a particular group, the Commotions, the Negatives and the NYC group in the early 90’s come to mind. But there is a chicken and egg argument to be made also – did I form those bands to play the types of songs I was writing, or wanted to write?
There have certainly been times when I felt that I could record anything I wanted to, the orchestra being the grandest indulgence. But that came about because of Blair’s writing, more than mine. I do wish, in retrospect, that I had more involvement with the budgets of some of those albums. We did spend much more than we should have done, especially between 1987 and 1993, but I was not signing the cheques…
These days I wish I could channel the creative process into a more efficient system, but I can’t – I write what I write, and some ideas are begging for someone other than a 47 year old folksinger to sing them. I am toying with putting another ‘band’ together in the not too distant future for this reason.
Taking your thought one step further, is it arguable that my best work was done when I knew how I would be presenting it? I think that my best records are the first ones in particular periods. Rattlesnakes, X album and as a folksinger – Music IAFL.