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Wille Dowling (ex-Wildhearts, The Grip, Honeycrack), writer of sublime power pop/punk pop - just damn fine tunes. His new band is Jackdaw 4 and their debut album is a must have!

1. What are you currently up to?

Touring and gigging as well as writing and recording new material. Finish music for a movie animation, 'SNOW WHITE – THE SEQUEL', written by Tony Hendra who played 'Ian' the manager in SPINAL TAP.

2. Jackdaw 4 have released a glorious pop rock album that brings to mind Jellyfish and the Beach Boys to name but two. How did the band come about and musically what sound were you aiming for with the album?

Gramophone logic is the album I've wanted to make for many years. It sounds the way it was intended to - a no compromise kind of a deal. The band were formed from a fairly small retinue of musicians who are A) likeable enough to travel on a tour bus with B) good enough to play this collection of songs live.

3. Could you take us through the tracks on the album and any stories behind the songs?

The album opens with "This Is Your Life" - a sordid tale about the place where old celebrities go to die. I think it's a fairly open secret that it was inspired watching Midge Ure's (who I toured with some years ago) appearance on 'This Is Your Life'.

“The Day I Wrote The Book” – it's all here, life, death, sex, fame & fortune. If it all becomes too much for you, all you've got to do is put the Beach Boys on.

“King For A Day” - Not many people know (or care to know this), But I'm related to Royalty you know.

“Everything I See” - Ah yes, I remember the thousands of man-hours lavished on this track. Writing , re-writing, recording, re-recording - a swimming pool of sweat and tears, worth it though, don't you think? (another drug song I'm afraid)

“Karaoke Ballet” - A journalist friend of mine shocked me recently by confiding earnestly that he thought Gramophone Logic was the best concept album since Sergeant Pepper. “What's the concept?” I asked. “they're all songs about celebrity culture”, he replied. He's almost right , and I can understand why he thought this, (“Karaoke Ballet” is all about the cult of celebrity) but hand on heart, we never set out to make a concept album.

“Stupid” - A good up-tempo rocker about the state of modern day Media and the way it affects us all. This really works well live.

“Deep And Meaningless” - It could change your life, it could take you nowhere, it could make you think if there's space in your head. (Along the same lines as 'Stupid')

“Strange Attraction” - See “Karaoke Ballet”.

“Maybe You Know” - Sorry , no explanation for this song. Maybe some of your readers could explain it to me?

“Happy? ('Dumka)” - Here they all are, all my favourite things gathered together in one convenient package for your listening pleasure ! The equivalent of 'These Are a Few of My Favourite Things' for the slacker generation.

4. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

There have been so many over the years, it's difficult to say. I remember enjoying playing The Phoenix festival some years ago, and supporting Alanis Morrissette was a lot of fun.

5. You are touring soon with former Wildhearts band mate Ginger. What do you remember most from your time in the Wildhearts?

Mostly I remember continually having to ask myself why I was doing it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all pain and disaster, and Ginger and I got along just fine, as we always have, but there were so many internal frictions within the band, that on a day to day basis it was mostly dull and irritating. Plus I hate playing just keyboards. Fine in the studio but live, it's not particularly inspiring.

6. Are there any plans for yourself and Ginger to work together again in the near future? (In an ideal world it would be a reformed Jellyfish featuring yourself & Ginger!)

Same sad answer We talked about it a lot on the acoustic tour that we recently did together. I think as time goes by it becomes more likely.

7. Do you ever get frustrated that your music doesn't get the wider exposure it deserves? Has the Internet helped you get wider exposure seeing as mainstream radio seems to top 40 play listed and set in its ways?

It used to years ago. These days I think I'm rather more accepting of it. Besides, I've wasted so much time contemplating the various injustices that go on in the world and that I am powerless to do anything about. And in the grand scheme of things, whether one of my poxy songs gets played on the radio or not is hardly at the top of the pile of the things that must be rectified.

8. Read any good books lately?

Just re-read the Kenneth Williams diaries. Poor, sad, lonely little man. The more I have worked in music and now television and film, the more I see that most so called 'artists' are not the visionaries and deities we sometimes assume they are. They are fumbling awkward teenagers, trapped in a perpetual adolescence, screaming for attention and love. And the louder they scream, the more we applaud.

9. Message for your fans...

Please stop writing 'wanker' on my front door, I just had it painted you bastards. Instead, why not seek out & enjoy good music. Enjoy Jackdaw 4 - we make good music.

Interview © 2006 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

All rights reserved.

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