Steven Wilson, George Bush, Jethro Tull discussed on The Rhino Podcast


Sitting on the park bench, you know, it's another one same deal. Yeah. Yes, you got to you got to a riff on idea musical line in your head and pump some words as establishing a. Stylish leading stage setting relief for a portrait of a person. It's establishing not, not telling a story, but creating a, a person in a landscape, a very visual work based, in fact on a photograph rather than a painting. But nonetheless, it's it starts off with that, that putting you in the picture. Putting the, the lead character of the song in the picture says rather, like a stage set of theater play and you can empty park bench in, in walk some homeless person who plugs himself down on the seats that that's you know, it could be waiting for Gatto or it could be the song. Lem thinking on the bench. Out. Paying. I've heard you say that after you finish school in Blackpool you started playing guitar because that was the available role as well as the singer. But again, this is you not me saying this, you realized you would never be Clapton reject back. So you took up the flute and traded in your strat, which was owned by lemme for quote student flute. Now, I want to say that it's well known that Clapton your back can't play the flute like you can't. So I suppose it was a good decision that is served you. Well, well, exactly. I think it was along with not doing would start one of my. Was to. Was was to acknowledge the undeniable superiority of very clipped and not just of Eric Clapton. But, you know, I down in London, you know, we heard names of people like Jeff Beck, and Jimmy page and Ritchie Blackmore, who with the, the whiz kid guitar players and doing sessions playing another people's pope records. So I knew there were bunch of them. It wasn't just Eric Clinton. But there were a bunch of great upcoming guitar players and, you know, they they'd been doing it for a few years. And they were way ahead of me in terms of technical expertise. And, you know, I felt that being another small fish in a big pool. Wasn't the best way of starting a career in music? I thought better vi- come up with some point of difference. That makes me stand out from the crowd. And so, for no good reason, just a whimsical moment. I thought that flute looks kind of shiny and interesting hanging on the wall of the music store, and how much would. It. I have to pay for that. He said, well, I'll take your Fender strat nineteen sixties Fender strat, which today, probably worth about thirty grand. May maybe if you knew that it had been, you know, in Anderson's guitar before that it belonged to lemme of motor than maybe that would maybe that would round it up to maybe thirty one thirty to fifty something like that. You know, if he took it into a well-known shop in Las Vegas, for example, a they would probably offer me twenty five, and I would end up taking twenty but whatever it was whatever happen. Finance didn't look like a great deal to come out with a fifty dollar flute and and hundred dollar. Sure unit nine three microphone, which I coveted as a as a singer. I thought this was a professional looking and sounding microphone, and, and indeed, to this day, I still use the modern equivalent of a show unit Dyne three, which is the, the big witness shore, model fifty seven dynamite phone, which is the used on drum kits and all kinds of musical instruments, where you want to punchy dynamic sound, but not necessarily a full frequency response, which for certain instruments, you don't want, you don't want it to be too hi-fi. Otherwise, you're having to off high end and low end punch out a bit more of the up amid which. Of course, the inherently the fifty seven does for you. Without you doing anything. Just sounds that way. Makes it an ideal instrument, Mike or not a bad vocal, Mike eighth that aside, you know, I might have felt like I came out being shortchanged. But the those two new possessions. First of all, the, the microphone I put to immediate use the flute. I couldn't get a no towns of it for a few months. I, I gave up I put it back left. It sitting somewhere on a on a table. Never took it out of its case again until sometime mid December. I think sixty seven I think I'd owned it for about five months, six months by that. And I managed to get a note suddenly a no k mart. No, wow. Brilliant. I got it made a noise. And then I, you know, few minutes later, I had a second note, and then a third, and then I had five notes, and I could play the blues so next week I was, I was or media optic Christmas. Anyway, we were we were Jethro Tull became throw toll, and we were playing at the marquee club. And I was the guy standing on one leg playing the flute, which, of course, was appoint a point of difference in marketing terms that set throws toll aside from all the other aspiring bands at the marquee club. Like Fleetwood MAC and Savoy Brown chicken shack, and John males. Blues breakers, and a whole bunch of folks, none of them had flute player in so people tend to remember little old, Jeff throw. Well, you also had easy load, didn't you? Well, it's some, you know, some things just, you know, when you look back on the coincidences in life. George Bush, your ex president wrote a book after he was out of office code decision points. And it was basically a book in which he examined from a, an autobiographical points of view. The various little moments in his life where he had to make decisions that, that would really be changing his life or indeed, the course of history. I thought that was very era diets and well thought through proposition, for writing a book, it was, it was all these little crossroads that he faced, you know, from early days to having to accept that he was a dangerous alcohol ache and quit the booze to the point where he entered politics and that then follow in the footsteps of his father, and then, of course, what, what I always felt about the man was that he was rather ridiculed and poked, fun at s- some. Times with good reason. But, you know, he had a good self deprecating point of view, his life when he dogged a very well aimed traina thrown at him in a press conference somewhere. You know, that was a moment that displayed, you know, someone of physical agility, and someone who could take take the ultimate insult of having a, a shoot thrown at you in an Islamic country. He could accept that with good, grace and had been humor. He did a few other things like his moment of apparent indecision when he was informed of the nine eleven bombing of the first aircraft crash into the building. And you can see this going through his mind, people, vilified him for not being decisive and an immediately reacting in, in some positive or whatever way. But he did the right thing. You know, he he kind of under-reacted waited. For more information molded over in his head to the point where his, and it became a pair. This really well serious thing and you had to excuse himself in begin the terrible process of, of dealing with the the immediate aftermath, and then taking America to war. I think the these little moments on a grand scale like those that face George Bush, you know, that they occur in everybody's life, you know, we can all look back and see these little moments where we could have done this, or we could have done that. But we actually chose to do that, and that defined preps the next the rest of our lives or the next year or two or the next decade or two. So the role is little moments the, the kind of what if moments that if maybe they hadn't occurred your life would have turned out to be radically different, which is again of useful thought when it came to the premise of writing thick as a brick two, which is the underlying premise of that album was about it was all the what they've moments of you've done something different with your life. Steven Wilson is somebody that, you know, speaking of choosing what if moments you chosen Steven Wilson or Steven Wilson has worked on a lot of Jethro Tull records, including heavy horses Aqualung song from the would benefit stand up minstrel in the gallery, too old to rock and roll list goes on. But recently, he remixed the fiftieth anniversary of your debut. This was what his remix is bring to the recordings that you felt need detention. What your take on those? Well, the reason that I suggested Steven Wilson to, to the record company when they first started the series of, of, of remix as was that, essentially, he was someone that had a lot of reverence for the original work. He didn't set out to radically change things. He, he said out to clarify and to put some energy, some punch, but above all. Clarity into the recordings remember back then things were recorded on multi track tape. And so there was a lot of hasten humming, general noise, even when there was no musical signal and it wasn't very easy. Even using noise gates or of the means of trying to create silence between musical notes or areas of music. It wasn't that easy to do to make clear recording. And so, in the digital age, of course you, can you can do that relatively easily to make things much more transparent. So you hear you hear the sound of instruments less effected by general background noise, or perhaps, not being so obviously affected by each other since you working in a studio with open mic. Sometimes you can tidy things up in a in a considerable way in the digital domain. So Steven Wilson knows how to do that. And how to give things that clarity and punch. But it is a off. Remember, you're working with master tapes that could be forty. Fifty years old and, you know, they will have degraded somewhat in the in the time oxide will have started to shed from the tapes, and which is basically you tend to be losing high frequency. So the trade off is, yes, she go back to the original analog tapes, you bake them in the oven, very gently to stabilize re-glue the, the oxide to the backing so that it can be played once more very carefully and transferred to twenty four track. Ninety-six K digital masters that can then be worked on to, to, to work. You know, to do the remixing from and then those tapes of put back in their boxes and probably continued to fall apart, since they were transferred. But, you know, you can do it most of the time with a fair amount of success, but it is a trade off. You will have lost a little bit of quality, just with the passing of years, but you can kind. Kind of put that back in, in the digital transfer, you can start to push things and give them a little bit more punch, and edge dynamics that maybe weren't there on the tape. It is a balancing act. Stevens pretty good at doing the balancing, but when you listen to the actual mixie's that he does the positions of instruments tend to be the same as the original mixes that. I did all those years ago, the balance of instruments tends to be pretty much the same, you know, relative volume of everything to everything else. But where we're really shines comes alive is in the context of clarity and dynamics of punch of energy, and that's the, the great benefit of doing those remixes..

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