InterView With Graham SclaterPOSTED BY: ediamond POSTED ON: 06/30/07 13:04:16
What was it that first influenced you to music?
"It was the early 60's Rock and Roll - Chuck Berry etc but then the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I also remember hearing Del Shannon's Runaway and Chris Montez - Let’s dance. I think that was what took me towards playing the organ."Did you have a favorite Artist when you started?
"Yes, the Beatles. Their sound was so raw and had a very different sound the any record before them. I think it was because they had played so much together in Hamburg, they became a very tight unit live and recording."
Who are some of the greats you have met and played with over the years?
“I jammed in Sweden with Jimi Hendrix in 1967 and he was the best guitarist I have ever played with or seen. Strangely, he was reluctant to sing and it was only later that I heard that he didn't rate himself as a singer and hated it. I toured Europe for six weeks with Fats Domino in 1979; the biggest gig was in Munich to 10,000 people. I also worked with James Taylor at Apple, the Beatles shop and offices in the centre of London, a very crazy time. Elton John in Germany and many others. I also worked as a session musician around the studios in London playing on many records but at the time I had no interest into who it was, just to get my part right, first time if possible."
Any one of them standout for you more so than the others? Was it a positive or negative Influence?
"Jimi Hendrix was the highlight and listening to the Sergeant Pepper album all the way through in Sweden before it was officially released. There were no low points regarding music and musicians but sometimes I became disillusioned with the business and the
way we were treated as musicians."
Of all the changes over the years that have occurred with music, do you have a favorite period? 60's, 70's, 80's, etc?
"It has to be the 60's because at that time everything was new and changed so fast, fashion, music, films, radio and even television."
Who is your favorite Artist of all time?
"It's a toss up between Jimi Hendrix or the Beatles but I do like certain one off songs by other artists but I don't have a favorite band or singer.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
"Ticket to Ride" is and was inspired by the 60's and my exploits in Hamburg, Germany during that time. I have wanted to write a novel for some time and at first it was destined to become a television series but when that fell through I started on the book. And of course now it's finished I have got used to writing and am working on several projects at the same time, screenplays, television films and another two books."
What brought you to writing it?
"Well I think I said it above but the few books I have read about the 60'sd were not based on personal experiences, purely third hand and of course they missed so many of the facts and the feel of what it was really like back then and what the Beatles went through a few years earlier."
Have you ever thought of getting out of music?
"Yes, of course but as I have a music publishing company and I produce records it is hard to change or get completely away. I would love to write full time and unusually whenever I write a script I include a CD of possible music for the project. I don't know of anyone else that does that. So you see the link is always there and the songs we publish sometimes give me ideas for certain scenes. Things I would not have thought of if I didn't have music. "
Where you ever discouraged to the point of just quitting, but yet you didn't', what kept you in?
"In March 2004 I was diagnosed with renal cancer and stopped everything but as I got better I had time to think about the book and completed it. I sent it to numerous publishers, I even read chapters and sent the CD's to publishers without success. As a result I became so frustrated and in March 2006 I made a decision to stop writing but two weeks later I received an e-mail from Flame Books offering me the contract to publish Ticket to Ride."
If you were able to do it all over again what would you change or not change?
"Not much, I think I would have taken more photographs and made lots of notes. Apart from that I would not change anything. I feel incredibly lucky to have lived through the 60's and still be here."
What music do you like now?
"I like so much, Coldplay, Muse & Joss Stone who come from my home town and once again individual songs by many and varied artists. I play different music depending on what I'm writing; if it's moody I may play Andrea Bocelli or classical music. When I was getting close to completing Ticket to Ride I played a lot of the early Beatles songs."
What approach would you suggest to new Artist? Any advice?
"Today is very different. It is easy to record music onto a PC using sequencers and even beats and backing tracks so in all honesty you don't need to be so creative. If you play in a band I feel that live gigs are the key to perfecting your own sound before going into a studio. Too many bands have never played live, they record their music and the sound emanates from the studio engineer and studio so many bands never create something original on their own."
What is the most significant change you see today in the industry from when you started?
“I think the previous question answers it. Anyone can make music on their own with a PC and get it on to web download sites. It's great, but I think there is no quality control and most sites are cluttered and it is difficult for the good music to be found and heard."
How do our readers buy your novel?
"It's available from my publisher Flame Books - http://www.flamebooks.com/. They will post to anywhere in the world."
Do you have a last word?
"Yes. If anyone interested in music wants to read what it was really like in the 60's then they should read my book. It will certainly give a greater insight into those times. MAKE THE JOURNEY."
Interviewer: Eddie M. Diamond