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With: Nick Barrett.
Date: September 2008.
Nick congratulations to your 30 anniversary!
You and your mates will cellebrate it with a 30 day tour (in 34 days!) in whole Europe!
[nb] Yeah, 30 years in 30 days, hey we could have used that as our promotional slogan! Yes, it's the biggest tour I think we have ever done ,it so much easier to put tours together nowadays with email and the internet, it used to be a nightmare trying to explain by fax and phone to promoters in Spain that we have 1 person who cannot eat dairy food, now we have Babel-fish it can be more or less translated, mind you, you've got to be careful it doesn't translate as we have one person who wants to work on a dairy farm
Is everything ready for the big anniversary tour?
[nb] yes , but it's still hellish busy, I have to organise all things like the PA and tour bus and get all crew ready make sure they all have valid passports , it's a real big job, I have been working like 17 hours a day for about 3 months now, I'm knackered,I can't wait to get out on tour ....I can have a rest then! Also because we are bringing out a new album at the same time , there is all that to work on too, the manufacturers screwed up the booklet spec again and again and again , in the end the guy got sacked, WELL DESERVED I may add! And at one point it looked like we might not have it ready for Mega Daze, our launch party last weekend [it was ammmaaaaaaaaaazing by the way......4 hours of Pendragon music in concert !!!!] But the book and package for the new album look AWESOME, but we had endless problems with everything really, the CD book, the tour crew, the dvd...only thing that was reasonably straight forward was the album!
How do you manage to keep you and the band fresh and sprankling?
[nb] That's easy! Just get a few disasters happening! Many people don't realise this but we learn so much from difficult situations, and we get fire in our belly for things when the chips are down, as long as they aren't too far down, but even then after a few years you develop a strength that can overcome a lot, I have felt really determined to get our band back on top, where we belong! We have been through up and downs over the years , but I think we have reinvented ourselves and come back with the vigour of 16 years olds...apart from Clive ,hee hee. I still have a great passion for doing this , and working hard to prove people wrong , and make great music, I really think with our new album, people will be shocked , but also inspired, so much prog music now is soooooooo uninspired and dull, and just regurgitates old Genesis songs .
Is performing live on a stage a way of living?
[nb] Ha ha, you're joking ! OK maybe if we played the Boerderij in Holland for 50 nights a years, but when you do a 30 date tour , you make a loss of money on some of the smaller less well known gigs, but these are places we need to build up a following in, so we want to do a big tour to get to as many people as possible to hear the band.
Many bands don't really "tour" now , as such, apart from Marillion and Fish, they only do a few gigs maybe 6-7 at the most, maybe they can make a bit of money like this , but it isn't really tourng as such and I doubt if they will build much of a following.
With "Believe", your previous album, you started to explore new roads, wenn i heard the sampler of
"Pure" it seems that you are happy with that sound and you moving in that direction again?
[nb] Er.....well it's a new direction again, I don't want to keep making the same album, I want to move forward ,I think you can write in a certain way for maybe 3 - 4 albums then you need to move on, otherwise it is no longer creatively satisfying, it becomes boring to just do the same old formulas over and over. I like the vibe of a lot of grungey nu metal type prog, and this is coming out now in our music. BUT we will always have our melodies, that is really important to me that the music has melody, integrity and feeling.
So it looks you you threw away the old clothes...
[nb] Well, we still have some of the "old" clothes, I still like Camel, Genesis and Pink Floyd, but I don't want to keep sounding like them, they are influences, not templates! I think some of the new album is quite Camely in places, but there is a lot of new stuff too.
You only will sell the album during the gigs and on your website why is that? I guess that it will be in the shops later on too?
[nb] Well, we thought if we don't do this thing of sending out thousands of promo copies that dealers/distributors/magazines/fanzines want you to do, then it might delay it getting up onto the internet, and if we sell it just through the web site and on tour, we are cutting out all the middle men....maybe we will make enough money then to live , even if we sell less, as it turns out, many dealers have wanted to buy the new album at more or less the same price as we sell on our website , [minus the VAT!] and they are paying up front, so this is really good news for us, and we are getting some really good sales
What is you biggest archievment in those last 30 years?
[nb] Musically? keeping the band going and doing something I love doing. Most people may think it's easy to be a musician, but it is as hard as hell, what a lot of people don't realsie is that the music part is like 1% of what it's all about, the other 99% is about being a businessman, a diplomat, a crusader, a frikkin magician! Sometimes , I tell you , I have to dig very very very deep indeed to find the energy to keep going at this, but it's just like ANYTHING in any walk of life , many ups and downs, and you need to conquer those challenges with the best courage you can muster in your heart....or you are not fucking living!! I do this when I surf or do motocross...it always MUST be the best I can humanly do, otherwise it's worth nothing ha ha!
And your biggest learning point?
[nb] Women are different....
You cannot bludgeon them with logic and science...........it's such a hard thing to understand , empathy, intuition, compassion, or that you may not always be right understand this and you'll go far!
What was your news this week?
[nb] That the fucking idiot that screwed up our artwork on the new album got fired from the Cd plant!
what were your feelings about it?
[nb] Vindicated! BUT, I am being crass....really I hoped he would learn that you need to be diligent in your work and you need to listen to what people are saying , otherwise it can cost you dearly...it cost him his job!!
Is there anything you want to add?
[nb] Come to the gigs and buy the new album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You WILL love this new album...if you don't, then you don't like music! We're hoping to change the set list every night, we have rehearsed up 4 hours of music so there is quite a bit to choose from....
Nick thanks for answering those questions, see you on the first day of the tour. It will be great!
Nick From the lovely South of...
Past & Present DVD at Prognose.
Not of this World at Prog-Nose.
Picture by Jean Luc Cruwels Verviers 011008.
Nick Barrett and me (with the rpwl shirt on the right ;-)
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