Billy Falcon is a name you may know, then again a name you may not but I can guarantee you’ve heard one of his songs in some way shape or form. A veteran of the music business for over thirty years Billy has become one of the greatest songwriters around and has not only written for others such as Cher, Stevie Nicks and Bon Jovi but is an accomplished artist himself. From his early works back in the 70’s and 80’s to his ‘comeback’ album for want of a better word in 1991 thanks to some help from Jon Bon Jovi ‘Pretty Blue World’ which gave us the hit single ‘Power Windows.’
Releasing no less than twelve albums over his career Billy has just given us his new album ‘When’ an amazing, heartfelt album that is for want of a better word, honest. It is an album extremely special to Billy and we were able to give him a call to discuss this amazing album as well as listen to some stories that just make you shake your head and realise that good things can happen to great people in times of hardship. The story of how Billy got involved with Jon Bon Jovi in itself is one you wouldn’t believe if you didn’t hear it from his mouth. Just see how long it goes for here…
It was a pleasure to talk to Billy about his career and his project he has in Nashville and I can’t wait to see what’s next
Mr Falcon, over to you.
You were a rocker back in the 70’s and 80’s and now take on more of the singer / songwriter type artist, can you take us through the musical evolution of Billy Falcon…
Sure… Yeah you know I think I’ve always been a singer songwriter, it would always get lost in the production of things because it’s always been lyric driven what I do and I would think it’s interesting because I think I found what I’m doing. I started out writing eight minute songs but then you couldn’t do that kind of thing, I just got my handle on the production this time, the last couple of records anyway where I didn’t allow the music or band to overwhelm. You kind of get guitars in your head and you get excited and it stops being the communication of a thought to something that sounds the end of a set, it’s called squeezing the last drop out of something which is fine and it tends to happen live also. Moving to Nashville had probably a little something to do with it, you just learn, this town is like a big school for songwriters, we have obviously the best and the worst in the world in this town as the concentration is so big so you know you’re hearing somebody and you learn from it all if you keep your ears open.
How did you end up in Nashville?
It had nothing much to do with what was going on musically here, visiting here a couple of years after losing my wife and was struggling to figure out a way to raise my daughter who was three or four at the time, and have a life doing my job, write songs, make records and New York where I was it’s at in a perfect world New York is a tough place to live you know, as great as New York is and as much fun as it was to be there and a great place to come from, it was tough living there especially, I was trying to figure out a way to deal with it and take care of my kid. When I visited here I just kinda fell in love with the place and what a community it was around music. The songwriting community and just the artistic community in general and it’s a very easy place to live and I thought, well if I could figure out a way to work here I could certainly raise my kid here, the best of both worlds kind of stuff. That was pretty much it. Nashville is a great town.
I want to say Congratulations on ‘When’ it is an amazing album, obviously a very emotional release too. Take us through the process of creating this album, seems it was many years in the making?
Yeah the record didn’t take too long to make, the process of writing it was probably a couple of years and some of the songs, like the song When for instance took I think twenty years for me to write although I sat and wrote it in an afternoon pretty quickly. It was a song that had been begging me to write it for the last twenty years you know, and the process of the record was I just kept starting and stopping, coming up with a few different ways of starting this record. I had the songs, I had so many songs and I was just kind of shy, I learned how to and now I’m pretty good with the Pro-Tools stuff and you can sit at home and make a record by yourself and it’s a wonderful thing and a very dangerous things. My daughter Rose Falcon who is also an artist, a great wonderful singer songwriter and also smarter than her Dad, she would hear my early demos of some of these songs and she’d say ‘Dad these songs are too good you should get the best players you can, don’t make it by yourself’, because I was starting to make it myself in the house, playing all the guitars, playing bass, trying to program drums which I’m not very good at. If the song was great I didn’t care I wasn’t that excited in the process of making a record if I can just put out something that feels like the demos cause you don’t lose the song, as bad as sometimes the quality of those things are, its that first look at something, its rare that you can duplicate or enhance or improve upon that initial feeling when you sing a song you’ve just written and throw a little lousy demo down.
Well she was there to tell me this was a bad idea, so I did go and find a Co Producer, and it was in the house but I did go and get a bunch of great players to help and the idea that it was in the house and that I could sit here until four in the morning and record my vocals and with the exception of cutting the tracks which is the first two days and the mix I did all the engineering on the record. So I would sit here and record myself with no one in the house, nobody, not even the co producer as I know these days when I do a vocal and to me that’s the easiest thing to lose is the vocal. You go from communicating to performing and when other people are around you usually start performing as that’s what we do, so being that there was nobody here but me, I would be sitting in my room, literally sitting, like the anti rock star, I wasn’t standing up behind a microphone, I was sitting at a desk where my rig is, hitting the button and communicating there and it worked, this is one record where I don’t look at it and go ‘God I wish I would’ve done that differently’ cause that usually happens, or I wish I didn’t do that. I think that’s really the difference, I think I hit a point with these songs where I really left no stone unturned, I really pined and pained over these lyrics and every chord change and everything I did there so I’m particularly happy about this record and spending a lot more energy actually trying to get it to people so they can at least hear it.
There are a couple of songs, in particular ‘When you were mine’ and ‘When’ that brought me very close to tears, how hard is it for you to not do the same when you perform these songs?
Depending what I allow, sometimes if I’m doing it, like if I’m singing ‘When’ and I see my daughter which I usually do, its not hard, its kind of beautiful to me because some people cry when they hear it but for me it’s a celebration of the life we’ve lived over the last twenty years and I didn’t think about it when it was happening I was just reporting, every word of that song is true, literally every word is true, and it felt like I was writing the news and making it rhyme somehow. So it’s not hard to perform at all, I stay in the moment and I become part of it when I sing it. If it’s right. We’re not always playing it out in front for Bon Jovi, sometimes we’re playing it out in a little bar somewhere with people lifting beers and you hear some guy laughing in the other room, you disconnect a little bit but most times it isn’t hard at all. Because it is true it’s a little different I think.
Authentic is a word that’s been used to describe your music, if you had to describe what you do how would you do that?
I don’t know, its music and it’s this thing that happens. I think when it comes to art, I mean to me the greatest music, the number one qualification for great music is honesty and believability or in any art at all. I’m sure any good painter could copy what Monet looks like but it won’t have his soul therefore it will not be believable, its not honest, not even the fact that its stolen. I could sit down and write, sometimes you listen to music and you go ‘wow that’s so simple’ and these people are selling millions of records, I think about The Ramones growing up and seeing them and thinking ‘Wow, they cant even play like they cant play and their songs are completely ridiculous but there was something great about it and the reason anybody can imitate, anybody that can play guitar can imitate it and write those songs but no one’s going to believe it therefore they wont be great songs, maybe the same chords and maybe the same level of mimic of lyric but it’s the soul and whoever is behind it needs to believe it, whether its true or not, they’re behind it thinking yeah I mean this. That to me is what sets them apart and its not how complicated it is or how brilliant the singer is, its to me what gets to you is the honesty. It’s like if I can believe a singer he could be singing about Martians, if he believes it, I’ll believe it you know. I think that’s the most important thing for me is making people believe it. Right from the guitar playing to the piano playing to the drums, I’d rather hear a guy play two notes and believe it than play one of these shredders who’s just a technician you know, one thing makes me feel something, the other just makes me go, wow, he’s good. I’d rather feel.
I will easily proclaim you in my opinion to be up there with the Springsteen’s and Dylan’s and Petty’s as one of the best songwriters I have ever heard, what is it that you do to create the perfect song?
Well, I think the thing I have over those guys, Springsteen, Petty and Dylan, that’s nice company, thank you for that, what I have over those guys is that I’m pretty close to the ground, I still walk around on the ground, I’m not a tycoon, I don’t have a hundred people calling me every morning asking me what to do with my assets. These guys are running multi national corporations, good for them, they’re gotten so successful, but they don’t walk on the ground anymore and there’s no way around this but they’re version of getting to the people is watching them on TV or seeing the people from the stage. I’m still taking care of my daughter and she’s twenty five years old you know, I’m on the ground. I just think God gives you gifts and if you shut up long enough to listen as opposed to letting your ego get in the way or whatever it is driving you to write these songs, like on this record I kind of did more listening than I did , and I got in a place where I could be inspired. I think all great artists are inspired and if they aren’t inspired then it’s just manufactured, its fun you know, maybe, but I don’t think it stands the test of time and the guys you just mentioned were inspired. When they’re great they’re inspired songwriters but I don’t think everybody’s always great you know.
You’re also involved if not the ring leader of the ‘Sowing Circle’ can you give us some more information about this?
Oh yeah Sowing Circle it’s my ongoing adventure and experiment and its turned into and hopefully its still turning into, its this thing I started with my daughter about five years ago and we started with just friends and people that just happened to be around and other musicians and its grown into this proving ground for these young artists, I work with a bunch of young artists they’re my friends first and they kind of gravitate towards what we do and they come and watch some of the original Sowing Circle so I’d invite them and get to know these people and they’d come and do a song and its started out about six people and now when everybody shows up and musicians it’s probably like thirteen people. It’s almost like a co operative, everybody supports everybody so I’ve got, there’s a fella named Caleb Owens who I write with and what I do is write with these guys and then the rest of the Sowing Circle becomes their band, every Wednesday night. So Caleb Owens is a brilliant singer songwriter and twenty years ago would already be a huge rock star, given the state of the industry he’s just out there trying to help and develop what he’s doing or hone what he’s doing just put it in the right vehicle and so we can maybe take him to record labels cause I think he’s a complete rock star he just has it all. There’s another fella named Trinity James and it’s the same thing, there’s a Norwegian guy named Peter Nova who’s a cross between Tom Waits, Randy Newman and just brilliant. People here go wow that’s great and just keep walking because everybody’s scared to do anything these days.
My daughter thank God is kind of there, she’s got a record made and she’s signing with a major label here so Rosey’s in good shape, but some of these guys are gonna have to do it independently and what I hope that the Sowing Circle becomes, I’ll help them write their songs if they need help writing their songs and develop what they do as most of them have no money so I can basically make the record in my house and I get people to bring in favours so I get drummers and bass players and pay for studio time. I made a record for a guy named Brad Nelson, a wonderful guy from Memphis and lives here now, another complete package, I think the record cost him $1,500, it’s a twelve song record, real strings, but just paying musicians a tip you know. So the Sowing Circle I hope at some point someone will come along and say ‘wow what a great group of artists here’ it’s a big thing, its so big its hard to move around, so when Bon Jovi called me and said I want you to open some shows I said ‘Do you care how many people I bring?’ He says ‘No’ so I bring the Sowing Circle, he said ‘Bring em all’ he knows them as he jumps up on stage with us, so basically when Jon called me, I didn’t have a band per se to play my music, the Sowing Circle would play because I play three songs a night because there’s so many people playing, and then I’m kinda like a key change of human beings I just run the night by how it feels, I call up the guys in the club we do a couple of songs, they support every body else whether its playing the tambourine or doing background vocals or just standing there singing along. So I basically had a choice, when Jon called me to do these shows because there wasn’t a lot of money and I thought I’d rather bring my friends than go find three of four guys that are just studio guys and go rehearse maybe twice and go hit the stage in front of 17,000 people, so I did exactly that, we do it for gas money you know so when I play with Bon Jovi I have twelve people in my band, horn players and string players, its such an amazing thing, we’re doing Memphis next week and maybe going over to Norway and doing the Oslo stadium we’re doing with them. Yeah we’re doing that June 15th and then we do an after party and then the next three nights we do shows, so we do the Bon Jovi show and then hopefully go across the street to another joint and be the official Bon Jovi after party and we invite people over and we do the whole Sowing Circle set, as I was saying my daughter’s involved in that and its just such a blast, we bring rubber buckets and we hand them out to the audience as drums and who ever wants to jam, we have people banging on buckets for percussion players, its really fun. Everything involved with the Sowing Circle is pretty cool. It’s a trip, it’s inspiring.
Back in 1991 your album ‘Pretty Blue World’ was put out through the Jambco label which was Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora’s how did this association with Bon Jovi begin?
Yeah well it’s miracle upon miracle upon miracle and if you don’t believe in that it’s just an insane co incidence. I call it the miracle signing. It takes a long time but I will be as brief as I can… feel free to cut me off as it’s a little complicated.
It’s all good…
My wife had passed away and I was living in New York just writing these songs, the songs that would eventually find themselves to that record ‘Pretty Blue World’ and I was writing these songs and as I would wrote them, I would put them on this cassette tape as that was the format at the time, so I would record on a reel to reel and when I felt I had a good version I would put it on this one cassette that I had that I was somehow building this record on that I didn’t think anyone would ever hear to be honest, I didn’t think anybody would ever hear the record but I’d write a song, I’d record it and if I thought it was good enough I’d put it on this little mock record I was building and I already had it titled ‘Pretty Blue World’ and as I’m writing these songs, one day I was writing a song called ‘Die Twice’ I believe I was recording it and my phone rings and its an old friend who used to play guitar with me in a band and he tells me he had run into someone on the street in New Jersey and old friend of his and they began to talk. My friend happened to be washing the windows of some drug store or delicatessen at the time and somebody comes up to go in the store he sees him and it’s a buddy of his, like a high school buddy and they get to talking about friends and my friend is kind of embarrassed not that it’s a terrible thing but he’s a musician, so he says ‘I work with Billy Falcon, I’m in Billy Falcon’s band’ and this guy goes ‘I work for Bon Jovi as pretty much his right hand man, he’s like my best friend and I live in his house and blah blah blah’ so I guess they part company and the guy that works for Jon goes back to his house and mentions that he ran into someone that knows me and at the point Jon proceeds to go into the closet and I think find four or five of my EP’s from the late 70’s early 80’s and starts playing my records in the house and he says to this guy ‘Call your friend, find out where Billy Falcon is, see what he’s doing’ and because my wife getting sick and passing away I had disappeared for about five years from the business just taking care of Rosey and just taking care of my wife while she was sick so everything kind of went away from me and for all intensive purposes l was not around, I disappeared so this guy calls my buddy who he met earlier and he said Jon wants to know where Billy Falcon is can you get in touch with him and see if he has any music, if he’s still doing music, Jon wants to hear it.
So I get this call saying Jon Bon Jovi is a huge fan of mine and that he wants to hear music and at this point I’m going ‘really’ at this point Jon is nothing but a Rock Star now, he’s a huge Rock Star, this is before Blaze of Glory, the Young Guns record but he had already done the other records those other huge ones and at the height of it. I’m going ‘yeah sure’ I didn’t believe it at all and it wasn’t the kind of music I play what Jon was doing, it was cool and I knew he was a huge Rock Star and it was nice and hilarious and I don’t believe it but OK, yeah sure. The person tells me he wants to know if he has music he can hear and if he can he’s going to see Whitesnake at the Arena tomorrow and Jon wants you to come and see you there as he may be there, otherwise you can bring the music and give it to his assistant, this guy. So I said OK I’ll go and see Whitesnake, so the next night I wind up at the Whitesnake show and Jon isn’t there but the guy is there and my friend is there and I give him one these cassettes labelled ‘Pretty Blue World’ pretty much probably eight or nine of the songs from ‘Pretty Blue World’ are on this cassette. That was the end of that. Again, I went to the place I was living in Long Island, my wife and best friend had passed away, my daughters Mom and it was a very terrible sad creepy kid of existence, I was like I was in a movie I never really wanted to be in. I spent my days writing songs and waiting to go and get my daughter from school to take care of here but it was really a dark dark time, so when I heard that Bon Jovi was a big fan I didn’t believe it but I needed to grab onto something, I used that as my family was worried about me and what was going to happen to me at that point, how was I going to continue to have this devastating thing happen in my life, and so I was so happy to have something good to say to my parents and to my brothers and sisters ‘Bon Jovi’s a big fan’ and blah blah blah.
In my mind I’m going This is Bull shit, nothing, I never heard another word and about a year later I came down to Nashville as my buddy’s down here and they knew me and they knew my wife and they loved my wife and they invited me to come down and thought that Nashville would be a good thing for me and knowing my situation. So I agreed to have my parents watch my daughter for the summer and I came to Nashville, such a loveable town and proceeded to try and get a deal down here, a publishing deal, anything, and Nashville is a funny town, no one ever says no in Nashville so from the first publisher I saw, everyone was all going ‘yes yes yes’ but they don’t do anything, and they want you to move down here and I couldn’t move down here without a deal and my songs weren’t country songs and they’re saying ‘we’ll be cutting these kind of songs in ten years’ well I ain’t got ten years, but while I was down here, this was year after giving this cassette, I had to go home in late August in a week or two to put Rosey back in school and I remember having a meeting one last meeting, a publishing meeting and walking back in the house I was staying in, and I’m sorry, the night before that I got another call from someone else who was in the same band with the guy that was washing the windows, I get a call from a guy names Gene Boccia who played bass for me for years and he calls me and he finds me in Nashville and he says ‘Billy, I ran into Jon Bon Jovi at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park New Jersey and he came up to me and asked me if I knew you as he’d seen me play at a few of your shows and he asked me if I’d heard any of your new songs and then he sang me the chorus to your new song Power Windows’ so Jon at the bar didn’t know this guy but sings to him just the chorus and asks if he’d heard this song and Gene says ‘yeah I did hear this song’ he said ‘Do me a favour, get in touch with Billy and have him call me’ so he did, this guy is now calling me in Nashville and telling me Bon Jovi wants to talk to me which is a year after giving the demo, so that night I called Jon, he answered the phone and was as if I was talking to one of my friends from High School, and his words, we talked for a minute were something like ‘Hey man, I’m running out to the movies but I’m your biggest fan you have some of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard, send me more music please’ I said ‘OK.’
So I woke up the next morning and recorded some more things I’d written and sent them and a week later I walk back in that house having a few more days before I have to drive back home and put my daughter in school in New York and I walk in the house where I was staying and the people I was living with had a seventeen year old son, him and his girlfriend were sitting at this answering machine phone listening to three or four messages from Jon and his manager Doc McGhee saying ‘Billy Falcon this is Jon Bon Jovi calling, please call me’ and it was very funny, they were like ‘That’s Jon Bon Jovi’ when I walked in that house, so at that point I called Jon, I think they were concerned I was going to make a deal down here for my publishing and I hadn’t done anything and I get Jon on the phone and he says ‘Billy, what the fuck are you doing in Nashville?’ and I proceed to tell him that nobody up in New York really cared for a guy with a bag of songs and a guitar, everybody in New York was programming drum machines for dance songs and Nashville understood songwriting and lyrics mattered here you know, and he said ‘Cool, well Billy what do you want to do?’ I said, I want to make a record and if I can do that. He said ‘Why don’t you come back, I’ll send you a plane ticket, on me, we’ll talk about it.’ I said I was driving home in two days so don’t send me a plane ticket, he said ‘well call me when you get back.’ That’s basically how it started. We had dinner, I played him a few more songs, he and Doc McGhee were there with his wife at his house, played him some more songs and when I finished they handed me a record contract which is hilarious as that doesn’t happen. There was some negotiation but they just handed me a record contract so three months later I was in A&M studios in LA with Jon and Danny Kortchmar and Benmont Tench and Kenny Aronoff a wad talent, I couldn’t even tell you who else was involved with that, it was pretty amazing, I was pretty overwhelmed by the experience. Eight months after that I’m on Johnny Carson singing songs that I wrote, when life was really bad, so that’s how that started and we’ve just become, through the process, you know a lot of times you get to know someone better through the process me and Jon became really good friends, a brother. We’ve been through a lot and we’ve done a lot of great work together but there are times when I talk to him once a week and there are times I don’t talk to him for three months. But yeah it’s just been a wonderful thing, I go there, he comes here to write the songs, we’ve written songs all over the world, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a nice relationship. It’s hard to explain but those things aren’t accidents.
Over the years you’ve been a co writer for a number of Bon Jovi songs, how did it become a case of an artist on their label to a key songwriter on some of their most amazing songs, how does that make you feel?
I don’t know, proud I guess, its good work, it’s an interesting process as I don’t have anything much to do other than the writing of the song, you know when I leave there, a week later I wont even remember the song until the record comes out because I stop playing it, until recently I recorded a couple and it was great fun. Yeah the coolest thing I guess is the first record I was on was a record called ‘Crush’ which was a big record and going and taking my daughter to the Arena here in Nashville and turning around and seeing 20 – 30,000 people singing the songs that we wrote in my kitchen, but seeing my daughter going ‘Yeah, my Dad’ that sort of thing is pretty neat, its been fun you know.
Your version of ‘When we were Beautiful’ on ‘When’ is nothing short of amazing and don’t tell Jon but I prefer your version, what encouraged you to release your version of the song?
He does too, he would love to do that kind of thing, he said to me ‘That’s exactly what I want to do’ that’s how we wrote it, it was a little harder than that, it was maybe a little more up tempo than the way I sang it but that was really how he wrote it. He’s gotta think about getting it on the radio so he’s gotta do the big blown out production which was really nice I thought but I know he’d prefer to do it real intimate, which it lends well there.
What do the other guys think?
I have no idea, Richie is a good buddy of mine and Tico I play golf with him once and a while but I don’t really know to be honest with you.
Because you’ve now done an EP of the Bon Jovi songs you’ve written is that right?
Yeah at some point I think I will really record a whole record of the co writes for fun and just do a really different take on everything, but there is this Bon Jovi fan group on facebook, one group in particular I think ‘Friends of Bon Jovi’ or something like that its called, they are wild, such fans they’re amazing and they friended me and they were promoting my record to their members and I told my guy, all that stuff you see on facebook that’s not me I couldn’t do all that, I have a guy in New York named Marty and he’s just a fan, he’s become a brother and he listens to what I do and it kind of pisses him off that more people haven’t heard it because he’s such a music fan, he lives for music, its like his personal cause to get people to hear what I do, I mean thank god for him. I mean I read my facebook messages and I respond on there but I’m not posting music, I don’t even know how to post music, Marty does all that. But these girls, I said Marty these girls are sweet, and if they want I’ll do a live stream for them in their time zone because they’re in South America or somewhere. So if they wanted to add to their membership I would do a live stream for them and maybe what I’ll do is a bunch of the Bon Jovi songs because they’re all Bon Jovi freaks. Then I went one better, let me put down a quick recording of four or five songs and we’ll give them the recordings and I invited some of my Sowing Circle buddies over and we used cardboard boxes as drums and were banging on things and in three or four hours cut four or five songs. Its fun, I mean it’s sloppy as shit but it sounds pretty cool.
How do you feel when a song like ‘Power Windows’ some 20 years on still has that perfect meaning of what life should be all about and people should take on board for themselves? Tell us about that song.
Yeah I might have someone re record that, it might even be my daughter at some point, thank you, that was very inspired, that was a song that I was driving down the street and down the highway on the way to pick up my daughter and it was after her Mom had passed away and it was a really hard time and it was probably a year and a half since her Mom had passed away. I was still thinking and I didn’t know how to continue and carry on and it was a really dark time, it was a beautiful hot sunny day in New York and I had gone out as a single man the night before with a buddy of mine and we sat and drank and I’m not a big drinker and I got drunk and I’m hungover and I’m in my car and thinking what a miserable thing it was being out in a bar single and thinking, God, how do you do this? I don’t want to be there after being married for twelve years and I remember sitting in my car on Grand Central Parkway outside of Shea stadium and a Mets game was about to happen. So traffic had dead stopped and I saw that song play out in two cars while sitting in traffic. One car was overheating and hearing a little voice in my head saying to watch what was going on, had a car in front of me and almost being annoyed that something was telling me to watch some guy in a fancy car who looked like he had the world on a string, and keep watching him. As I kept watching my life just seemed to keep getting worse as I discovered this guy is in his beautiful car, he looks perfect and then he gets a phone call, it was 15 years ago and he had a phone and I was thinking, man this guy’s got a phone, my life just got worse and then on that phone he was screaming at someone so much so that he looked like he was going to have a heart attack.
Then the voice said ‘look over there’ and I see another car, its as far from the car in front as me can be, it’s the exact opposite, that car looks like it’s a couple of miles away from the junkyard, but the guy in it was the happiest man in the world and again, the voice in my head said keep watching and as I pulled up I saw the woman that was sitting right next to him and together they looked like they were the picture of complete joy and I went home and wrote that song in about twenty minutes and that song saved my life. That is the song that Jon wound up hearing, it’s the song that attracted so many good things into my life so again I just had to listen, I just had to shut up and listen. Beware of that moment and that’s what a songwriter has to be to be a songwriter. It’s the present, be aware of what’s going on around you as opposed to worrying about the future or regretting the past, stay in the present.
A number of artists such as Cher, Stevie Nicks & Manfred Mann have performed your songs over the years, how does this make you feel as songwriter?
I really don’t remember that stuff, its neat when it happens but it’s like OK next, it’s never been my thing to just get other people to sing the songs, again it’s that whole staying in the present thing. I don’t get caught up in what’s happened, I’m not a big picture taker, a memory collector, it’s a lot for me to know when my Daughter’s birthday is that’s the important date for me, I don’t know the exact date my wife passed away, I don’t know the exact date of anything, I don’t care. I don’t mark days, I’m not a collector, I don’t even own all my own records, you know when you mention these cuts I couldn’t tell you if I have any of them, the Stevie Nicks record, I don’t have it, I had it, and its not that I don’t think it’s important, it is important, its flattering, its beautiful when someone does your songs but to me I do not live in the past. I run like I’m 25 years old, I run with a bunch of punk kids who are real cool kids in between the age of 25 and 30 and I run with them not behind them.
Rose your daughter as you’ve mentioned is an artist herself, what words of wisdom have you passed on to her?
Oh God she passes them on to me, you know, one of the great joys of my life has just been raising her and teaching her, like when I introduce the song ‘When’ I’ll talk about me and my daughter raising one another over the last twenty years because its kind of like I feel like we did. She’s learned everything, most of it through watching and just being around it, with the song writing, she knows to be honest and most clear thing I’ve passed onto Rose is what I believe and I’m not a religious person but I am a true believer, I believe in God I believe in Jesus Christ and I’m not going to preach to anybody and tell them what you should and shouldn’t do as I don’t even do that to myself. I think if there’s anything I’ve passed onto Rosey or the most important thing is the value of believing that there is a God and he’s bigger and to tackle anything that may come at you, because again, I’m all she’s got, she ain’t got a Mom, she’s got me, she’s got friends but she’s got me. When she was a baby, I’ve spent the last twenty years or so trying to make up for what she’s lost and you can never do that. You can’t ever get back, if someone loses a Mom or a Dad, you cant make that up to them but I believe God takes these terrible things that happens to people and if they allow it, if they don’t get bitter, if they don’t crawl into a hole, if they don’t give up that God is able to take what ever is taken from you and make beauty in your life and I think I’ve instilled that in her and she’s seen it over and over again in my life.
There was a couple of times when life came at me hard but the rest of my life has been a breeze, just dealing with what normal people deal with but the couple of times that life got really cruel and it was like oh my God what’s going to happen next, how can anything good come of this and again to me he’s somehow taken that terrible, terrible ugliness in life and turned it in to treasure in my life and in terms of the song writing, before Rose’s Mom passed away I was just another guy with a guitar whining about not being a Rock Star and not having some girlfriend but I wouldn’t still be doing it, I wouldn’t have what I have to say, I wouldn’t paint with the colours I paint with hadn’t God dropped this thing on me, when my wife left it was something that gave me insight into what’s really happening to people and kind of made the words that come to me richer at least I think they’re richer and the colours are deeper and I guess it’s because they’re believable that’s why they’re richer and when I sing the songs or when I write a song they seem to reach people and touch people, not millions of people but hundreds of people, maybe thousands, but they move people in a way that I don’t think all music does. I’m not saying what I do is great but you know what I mean and I think that’s what my daughter is doing already and I think she’s got this gift and she’s listening to it you know.
Now as a songwriter, if there’s one song from musical history that you could’ve written what would it be and why?
Oh, quickly, probably Hallelujah, I mean everybody would say the same thing, I think that might be it, there’s something so special about it too. It’s an inspiring beautiful piece of music.
Lastly, over your career you’ve released over a dozen albums, 10 of which I need to now go back and buy ha ha but what’s next for you?
Well this record here the ‘When’ record is really important to me, certain things I’ll close down after this record its like I got it done this time, I wont be telling the story of Rose’s Mom, it’s the end and the beginning of something to me and I’ll be making another record, I’ll start thinking about it probably the end of the Summer and look to start recording sometime next Winter and just take these I’m on a mission I’ve got these guys I’m working with, they’re my pals and again, given the state of the music business, I just keep believing that things are the way that they are for a reason and there’s going to be release somewhere, there’s going to be something, individual things that happen to allow people that are brilliantly talented the opportunity to be in this business and to do what they do and earn a living and I’m trying to help these people do this and I’m not trying to do it because I’m Mother Theresa, I’m doing it because I love them and it feels really good. It’s like there’s a couple of things I know how to do, I know how to write a song, I know how to arrange a song and when a sing is right, when a performance is right. Its easy for me to look at someone else than it is myself but with the time I’ve spent doing this, I’m at a place right now where I’m really good at what I do, I’m really good at sitting and listening to somebody’s song and going OK here’s what I think and I’m right now, I believe I’m right now.
Twenty years ago I didn’t have a clue, I did some smart things, I wrote some good songs but ten years ago I still didn’t have a clue, I wrote some good songs but now I feel like I have an instinct that you cant make happen, it just comes to you I guess after working on something for so long. I’m Tiger Woods now when it comes to songs I really know how to do this thing. I wanna use what I have, to me it’s a gift and I want to keep giving it away and the reason is, I don’t do it for money, money comes and I’m not Mother Theresa, I do it because it’s an amazing way to get high, I give it away and when you get to do what you do that’s how I get off the ground, that’s what the song ‘Flying’ is about. That’s how I get off the ground and break the shackles when I walk around playing music and writing music and singing songs, you know, doing something and suddenly its bigger than every body in the room it’s pretty cool. That’s when you know you’ve connected to something greater than yourself. I’m just going to try and connect even better you know.