Well we've had 10 Q's before back in early 2003 but his new solo
album, 'Welcome To Hollywood' is just so damn good and last time he
was a member of Styx. So here we go again :)
Big thanks to Batttttty for sendding the Q's.
|1. What are you currently up
Writing songs, thinking up another way to make a
living...Oh, and they tell me big shot country singer Jo
Dee Messina has recorded a song of mine as the title
track to her new album.
I am slowly working on some more videos for Welcome To
Hollywood as well. There's a chance I might release
the album as a DVD in the States.
|2. Take us through some of your personal highlights of
the new album `Welcome To Hollywood' please
Well, first let me point out the cool remix of the
title song. On that "hidden" track (which can be
found only as CD-ROM data) a number of fans and
friends actually helped.
Initially remixed and augmented by "The Hit Maker", then my son Beau added
some more track to it, and I next added sound-bytes
from people who'd contributed recordings of themselves
reciting the album's title. I think that's kind of
exciting, it makes it like a community project.
Let's see, of course I like a lot on the album. Off
the top of my head, I love the background vocals on
THE MUSE (Antonique Smith, Barbara Hahn, Everett
Bradley & I).
Kiss Your Ass Goodbye is one of my favorite songs I've ever written, ANOTHER is one of my
all-time best best ballads and Production-wise, I feel like SUPER BOY is probably the most elaborate thing
I've ever been involved with.
I also dig the bonus DVD.
|3. How did you hook-up with Atenzia and have you been
pleased with the fans reaction to the new album?
My old friend through music, Magnus Soderkvist
contacted me about making a new album. He's with
Atenzia. It's that simple.
I'm very pleased by the reaction of fans. I know I've
once again lost a certain amount of people who liked
my last album, "Palookaville", but that's the way it
always seems to go. That album was very
home-grown singer/songwriterish. Maybe more adult,
less `commercial' sounding I guess.
Because repeating the same approach seems redundant
and pointless (not to mention boring) to me, each time
I make a new solo disc I try going somewhere new.
Now, that works for Bruce Springsteen and a lot of
other artists, but it just ain't me. I've got AADD;
Artist Attention Deficit Disorder.
When "Heroes & Zeros" came out it disappointed all 100
people who really liked "Talking In Code", and it sold
a helluva lot more. Then by recording "Edge Of The
Century" (Styx- but I wrote half the album), I pretty
much alienated most "Heroes & Zeros" fans.
"Slaves Of New Brunswick" (of which I wrote and Produced all but
a couple of tracks) wasn't the kinda thing Styx fans
would like (heavey on the QUIRK & light on the POMP).
"Palookaville" gained a new following - but once again
these are the type of fans who might not go for the
modern-pop slick thing I went for on "Welcome To
Hollywood". I swear, I almost always hear "The best
thing you ever did was (fill in an album title)"
and it's ALWAYS a different one.
In the end these discs aren't all that much different,
but I invariably seem to lose some people and gain new
ones each time out. It's cool, I accept that. By now
I understand and EXPECT it. If I'm challenging so be
it. I am usually so accomodating in every other area
of my life, I see no reason to compromise my craft.
Having said all that, there have been enough people
who seem to genuinely like this new album, that I feel
good about it. I'm proud of Welcome To Hollywood.
|4. How come you left Styx and would you like to work
with them again in the future at all?
It wasn't healthy for me to give up so much control of
my life. I have a wife and kids. I have a life at
As far as working with them again, I never say never,
but they are doing just fine without me. Ricky is an
excellent musician, and I appreciate their "Walrus"
cover. But I personally need the road like I need a
hole in the head.
|5. What were the highlight(s) of `Cyclorama' and the
I enjoyed the collaboration of writing "One With
Everything". THAT is the one true 5 way collaboration
on that album - and I think it came out great.
Lawrence's keyboard riffs, Todd's arranging, Tommy's
lyrics, my chorus, JY's bass lines mixed together with
Lawrence's playing, Todd's performance, Tommy's
melodies, my retarding the end idea, and JY's
attention to production detail - there was a nice
cooperative mission that worked on that one. That's
perhaps the closest I've been to a Yes-like
As for the tour, I got my ya-yas out running through
huge arenas while performing my "Kiss Your Ass
Goodbye". How fitting, now that I think of it!
|6. When you compose a song where do you get your ideas
from and do you miss writing/recording in a band environment?
It's impossible to explain where inspiration comes
from. Some days I just wake up reaching for the
piano, other times it's the desire to write a song as
cool as something someone else has done. It can be
something as small as one chord change - the
relationship between two chords on an acoustic guitar.
I'm often in search of meaningful or interesting
lyrical angles, but the initial spark is almost always
musical. I'm usually more motivated by chords and
Do I miss working in a band environment? Maybe
sometimes. But there can be politics involved, and
when the priority is appeasing one diva it just seems
ridiculous to me. That happens a lot. I guess it's
human nature, or business.
I can't deny that collaboration between talented
people can be a fun and glorious thing.
|7. Anyone else you'd like to work with in the future
and would you consider joining a band again?
There are a ton of artists I admire, who I would be
thrilled to work with, I guess.
Sure, I like the idea of being in a band, but going
solo seems to be the most creatively effective. Too
many chefs can cancel each other out.
|8. What made you first interested in playing
I always loved music - it had an emotional connection
with me since before I could speak. Beyond that, I was
the youngest in my family so I tended to seek
attention. The idea of creating music came naturally
and the desire for approval led to my getting up on
stage in front of people. I'm still trying to grow
|9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Making lists of things I'm procrastinating doing.
|10. Message to your fans?
Always use your directional signals while driving and Happy 2005.
Interview © 2005 Jason Ritchie/
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