Andy Partridge's Toronto Visit

27 February 1999 - Tower Records at Queen & Yonge Streets
Recorded & Transcribed by David Oh

The Preamble:

On Saturday, 27 February 1999, XTC's Andy Partridge made a public appearance at Tower Records in downtown Toronto for an in-store interview and autograph session to promote XTC's latest album, Apple Venus Vol. 1. His appearance was arranged by TVT Records in association with the Toronto radio station Edge 102 and was hosted by Edge DJ Alan Cross. By the 2 o'clock starting time, some 400-plus fans were in attendance, filling the whole bottom floor of the Tower store. A tiny stage was set up with a small sofa and a chair, with a coffee table in front. A large bottle of Evian water and a glass were centred on the table.

Andy arrived at the appointed time to warm applause. He was very casually dressed, resplendent in tans and browns; a well-worn tan-coloured suede baseball cap, medium-brown leather jacket, casual, button-down shirt beneath a knitted vest/waist-coat, slacks with small-checks and brown shoes with crèpe souls. Although a bottle of water was provided, Andy nonetheless carried another water bottle, which was stuffed into his jacket's left pocket. After asking where he should sit, he chose to sit on the sofa, which he quickly dubbed "the chair for fat-asses". Andy also expressed that, prior to leaving his hotel, he had been "shitting" himself about making his appearance. However, for one who had supposedly been shitting himself, Andy was tremendously entertaining, warm, funny, charming, informal, animated, accommodating, gracious, approachable, etc, etc.

The following transcription is from a cassette I recorded at the event. It is, for the most part, 98% accurately transcribed as recorded. Unfortunately, I lost the first several minutes of the interview as I had left the pause button engaged on the tape recorder. At times, too, there were moments where parts of the dialog were difficult to hear, as there were a lot of background noises. Some of the voices of the people who asked questions were not being picked up clearly and some of Andy's answers were obscured by other noises. I have taken the liberty to edit out many of the ums, ahs, you knows, and repetitive dialog that was peppered throughout to help ease the flow and to save me some typing time. As best as I can recollect, the first couple of questions asked by Alan Cross were "Why 7 years?", "Why Apple Venus?" and "What was the problem with Chris Difford?" The square bracket surrounding the first part of Andy's answer to the Chris Difford question indicates approximately what he said and the text not surrounded in square brackets is where the tape actually started recording. I apologize profusely for the incompetence on my part! If anyone has the first part of the tape, or knows what the questions that were asked are (and the accompanying answers), please email me with the details.

Who's who in the interview:

AC: is Edge 102 DJ Alan Cross, AP: is, obviously, Andy Partridge, Joe: is Joe Jarrett, CW: is Christopher Wood, Doh: is David Oh, DG: is Daniel Girard, U1:/U2: is unknown questioner number 1, 2, etc.

- David Oh -

The Interview [joined in progress]:

AC: [What happened with Chris Difford?]

AP: [When it came time to do the record, Chris offered us the use of his studio, saying that he would do us a good deal on the rate. We asked him how much] and so he said £250/day, which is fantastic! You know, the rate for most studios is, like, £800 to £1000/day. So that was great, and I thought, "Yeah, we gotta do the album in here!" [pauses] We came 'round to start, the rate had suddenly jumped up a lot, money-wise, and believe it or not, the mixing desk was in bits all over the floor. Like, in thousands of pieces, they were maintaining it, or doing. . . somebody had lost their ring, I don't know, [laughter] so they'd pulled the mixing desk to pieces. We sat there for four days, waiting, just. . . [whistles and taps hands on the table], while they welded and soldered and bolted, and still it wasn't ready! And we said, "Look, sorry Chris, this is not working out. We're going home". So we pack up everything and went home. He rang up, he was very embarrassed, [imitates Chris] "Oh, you're my favourite band. . . this is terrible this has happened. . . why don't you. . . we'll fix the desk. . . why don't you come down and have the remaining time (which was 10 days) for free?" I thought, "Hmmm, all right!" So we climbed back on the bus, got back down there, set everything up started to record. . . a lot of technical problems! Then, on the ninth day there, he came in and said, "I want paying!" [pauses] and we thought, "Oh, oh! This is gonna be expensive studio time, when he said it was free studio time!" [pauses] and so we agreed to leave, because it was kind of just a little abusive to offer free time and then charging us for it. And so, we agreed to pay the engineer 'cause he'd worked, so we paid him and then we went. The day we were supposed to have our tapes collected, Chris Difford came in and stole them, and he still has them now! So. . . we actually started the album again. So if you see Chris, don't be too hard on him, [laughter] obviously a miscommunication and that lovely jacket he's wearing is probably made out of our tapes! [laughter]

AC: Now, you guys obviously have some albums coming out this year. . . would you ever consider something like a musical or scoring a movie, or something along those lines?

AP: Not scoring a movie, because I'm not particularly interested in incidental music, to have people talk over it. I mean, I actually saw Jerry Macguire for the first time last night. . . I got a night off, it was fantastic! [laughter] Me first night off in, like, 8 or 9 days! It was great! I just flopped in the hotel and watched Jerry Macguire because I knew there was a piece of music meself and Harold Budd did in it, but I'd never seen the film. So I was, like, "Where is it? Where is it?" and it comes up, I say [excitedly], "That's me!" [laughter] You do!! You'd do it too! [laughter] I said, "That's me!", and then they just proceeded to talk all over it and I thought, [pauses] [in a disappointed tone] "NO! Don't talk!" [laughter] "Stop talking! That's me!" So, I'm not interested in incidental music. I like songs; everything to me is songs, so if someone says to me, "Would you do a song for my film?", yeah, I can get into that, but incidental music, umm, they'll talk over it.

AC: Okay, how 'bout a musical or an opera?

AP: A musical I would love to do. Opera, I detest, but therefore, I would love to kill, in some way the. . . the. . . the. . . genre. Oh, I hate that word! And I used it, too! [laughter] Genre, I said genre! Sorry! Sorry, oh great God of tastefulness! [laughter] Ah, I hate opera, so, I would like to, somehow, beat it into something. Unlike, kind of incredibly melodramatic [imitates opera singer] "Ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo!" [laughter] I hated all that! I'm sure I could write something better than that shit! [laughter] It's like a challenge; I would really like the challenge.

AC: All right, speaking of challenges, you have a daughter and a son, are they old enough to realize what Daddy has done for a living?

AP: Yeah, now it's sinking in, if fact, my daughter is as embarrassed as hell because her teacher at school is, like, ultra-fan [laughter]. You think you're rabid, you should see this teacher, right? I mean, he pesters her every day, "What's Daddy doing?, When's the album coming out?" [laughter] "I-I-I've been jogging to Nonsuch, and the track that goes 'da-da-da-da'", you know? And she's going like [hides face in hands] [laughter]. So, he's Mr. Ultra, even more obsessive, he's Mr. Ultra-obsessed, so I really feel for her, you know? What she tells kids at school, they don't believe her, so. . .

AC: What kind of music are you listening to yourself, personally?

AP: I don't listen to as much as I'd like to. . . it sort of shows [laughter], but seriously. . . I like TV documentaries, I read a lot of books, occasionally draw and paint. I don't listen to much in the way of music, because, my music organ gets suitably swollen enough doing this [laughter]. So, I think the last record I bought was, about 6 months ago, and it was 20s dance band music, real syncopated stuff [imitates 20s crooner and taps beat on table] [laughter]. I loved it! I loved it to death, I-I can't tell you why, it's because I, maybe it's because I don't know how they do that stuff. I don't know how they make that [imitates crooner again] syncopated combo sound [laughter], therefore, it's magic to me.

AC: You seem to have mastered the orchestra not so bad. . .

AP: Yeah! "Gimme that violin! ROAR! [gestures playing], gimme that cello! ROAR! [gestures playing again], that's it! YEAH! [more noises] Run your hands up and down and blow it - RAH! [laughter] [pauses] . . .I've really mastered the organ! [laughter]

AC: It sounds fine to me. . .

AP: [more noises] [laughter] I think you mean arranging. . .

AC: Your arranging. . .

AP: Arranging, well, I arranged beautifully with this, but it was like, sit at the keyboard and go, "What are the violins going to do?" and you're doing like [imitates sound] nee-nee-nee, "No, that's not right!" nee-nee-nee, "Ah, that's good, hold these notes!" [laughter] I then get somebody to tell me what the notes are, so that. . . I-I-I-I'm rather naïve when it comes to the [affects upper-class accent] academia of music. . . I don't know what all the chords are called. I, it's only recently that I've learned what names the notes are on the keyboard.

AC: Ready to take some questions from some people?

AP: Yeah, sure. . .

AC: Okay. [to the audience] You can use the wireless mic, if you could just come around to the, I guess this would be on my left, just step up if you have a question, we can get through this. . . [Andy makes weird noises] [laughter]

Joe: I have two questions. The thing is, is there a particular way that the peacock feather is supposed to be on the disc. . .

AP: Ah, okay. . . this is wrong! [holds up disc], this is wrong. . .

Joe: . . . see, on the cassette, it's the other way around. . .

AP: Yeah, the peacock feather is supposed to go. . . up like that [quill up] because I feel that looks the most vulvic [laughter] and, it also. . . hey great respect!. . . and also, it has a little apple in the centre, so it's supposed to go that way up. That was what appealed to me. . . not that particular peacock. . .

Joe: . . . because the release has it the other way around. . .

AP: Well, it should go. . . that way. . . I mean, if we were Alice Cooper, we would have panties around it [laughter]. Did anybody ever have that record? [School's Out]

Aud: Yeah! Yeah! Oh, yeah!

AP: You didn't try eating them, did you? [laughter] Edible panties. . . "I can't even eat my wife's cooking, why would I want to eat her panties?" [great laughter] So, that's one question, go on, what's the other one?

Joe: Second question: we've heard rumours about "Fuzzy Warbles". . .

AP: "Fuzzy Warbles"?!?

Joe: I'd like to know a little bit more about that. . .

AP: Yes! "Fuzzy Warbles" is, well. . . so many people have our demos, we figured we'd . . . let them out. . . amongst you, like, let them out like rats [laughter], or something, just set them all free. I-I-I don't know how many discs it's going to be, anything from 6 to a dozen or more, I can't say, but basically anything that we can find that we think would be of interest, we'll put them out. They won't, they'll, hopefully, be like a budget price, 'cause I don't like the idea of people paying through the nose for stuff that's recorded on a cassette in the kitchen, that gives you [bangs on the table] like this, or on a 4-track cassette machine. . .

Joe: Is there a time frame?

AP: As soon as we can, basically. A.S.A.P.!

AC: Any other questions, just, make your way through the crowd, just step over here to the mic, in fact if you want to. . .

AP: If there's anyone here who can see an impediment. . . [laughter]

CW: Hi. . .

AP: How are you?

CW: I'm just curious, you mentioned earlier your daughter. . .

AP: She's suffering, by the way. . . [laughter]

CW: . . . In a lot of your songs, you write about personal experiences in regards to your family, such as "Holly Up On Poppy", how do the members of family react when you write songs about them?

AP: Well, "Poppy" is, oh sorry, "Hold Me" is, "Poppy" is her rocking horse [store alarm sounds]. . . it seems I've set off the Poppy alarm! [laughter] [Andy shouts] NO POPPIES! NO POPPIES! [laughter] Ah, Poppy is her rocking horse and she's now 13. If she got up on Poppy now, I'd be a little suspicious! [laughter] It's okay when you're 4, you know what I mean? But if she climbed up there now, [shouting] "GET OFF!" [laughter] Harry knows that "Pink Thing" is largely, or 50%, about him [laughter], so I suppose they live with it, I mean, my father has never commented on "Hold Me My Daddy", but he's an immensely super-good person, so, he doesn't comment on anything, to be honest, so that. . .

CW: You know, like, I know that for me, it's just your expressions of. . .

AP: Uh, no, I-I-I-I just, they say, "Write about what you know", and I write about what I know or whatever I'd like to comment on or what life is like. . .

CW: Along the same lines as the inspirations, do you tend to come up with the lyrics first?

AP: No! They all happen at once in the best of songs; a chord can set off a description in your head, "This chord sounds like. . . snow. Snow - snow - snow!" So suddenly snow, you have a lot of words connected with snow and before you know it, you're thinking of lyrics and you're, the song is falling out before you can stop it, or a phrase will come, like "Knights In Shining Karma", which is a dreadful pun, I know [laughter], but I wanted to write a song to [long pause] guard myself. I was feeling like shit and I wanted to write a song that really made me feel. . . positive and protected, and that came from that phrase. Actually, dicking around, also, with the [Beatles] song "Blackbird" [laughs], I found a lot of chords I never knew before. "How did he do 'Blackbird'?" I didn't do it like that, "Hey, what's this?" and suddenly it's "Knights In Shining Karma". So, dicking around with other people's songs, you can find things you never knew yourself. All the best creativity - in fact, the only creativity - comes from mistakes. If nobody made mistakes, there'd be no creativity. If everyone went along on a straight line and nobody fell off, and "Hey, there's something else!", if everyone went down a straight line and made no mistakes, there'd be no creativity. So, I love mistakes - my whole career is one giant mistake! [laughter]

CW: Well, I, personally, wanted to thank you for the expressions in your music. . .

AP: [feigns modesty] [laughter]

Doh: You think you were shitting yourself before you came here [laughter], I'm shitting myself now! [laughter] I have about 20 years worth of questions, but I won't ask them all. The ones I would like to know are; have you ever considered having Brian Eno produce a future album?

AP: We did with Go 2. . .

Doh: Yeah, I know that, but. . .

AP: He was turning up at early gigs. We knew he was there, the light show was bouncing off of his head [laughter]. "Is that Brian in the fifth row?" "Yeah, that's Brian!" [laughter] He kept turning up at early gigs and he'd said in interviews that, at the time, we were the only band that he ever felt like joining, other than being in Roxy Music, which, I guess, is a compliment. So we did ask the "Brain One" [an anagram for Brian Eno] to produce us, but he said, "Look, you don't need a producer". So the conversation was over in about 20 minutes. He said that, "You fellows just don't need a producer. Why don't you do it yourself?" Which we kind of do. . . but then have, like, a figure-head producer to just make sure that, someone to listen to your performances and say, "It's in tune", "It's out of tune", or whatever. Tricky to have your performing head on and your [pauses] critical head. 'Course it makes a mess of your collar if you keep ripping one off and putting on another [laughter].

Doh: But that was then, this is now. Like, you know, he's quite good at conjuring sounds. . .

AP: No, I think the way Brian Eno works is, is the other end of the spectrum to how I work. I like to get everything [long pause] built before we go into the studio. It's a bit like making a clock - what we do is like clock-making; all the parts have to work, so when they move, they move other parts, which makes levers work, which [pauses]. . . He doesn't work like that, you know, he gets people to jam, then he says, "Oh, that was nice, that little bit you did there. Why don't you take that and make that the verse", or, "That bit where the drummer played wrong, that was kind of interesting. Why don't you do that as the intro". We don't work like that. We try and get it all so all the parts [work] with other parts, so they all, fit and there's no room for. . . I mean, when you build a cot, you don't necessarily say, "We'll improvise a bit and see how that goes with that. There's a load of messy stuff in the back, we don't know how that's gonna go yet, we'll just fine-tune it later". You know, the cot's not gonna work, the cot's not gonna decline, it's not gonna do what it's supposed to do. So I think it's really important for everything to mesh.

Doh: Okay, I was gonna ask about "Fuzzy Warbles", but that's been done. . .

AP: We did that one, yeah. . .

Doh: So, I hope the alarms don't go off because I have a "Dear God" question. I know you. . .

AP: [in a loud, ominous voice] A "Dear God" question! The ceiling's gonna fall right on top of us! [laughter]

Doh: Well, hopefully it's a different question. Do you feel anger, amusement, ah. . . [fumbles with his notes] - where's my place? - perplexed or indifferent about the misinterpretation of it?

AP: I think people didn't misinterpret it. They misinterpreted it as much as I mis-wrote it. I-I-I failed at it all. It's a wonderful subject and yet, I didn't do it! I mean, how can you do it? It's just so big! Human belief is so vast and so powerful and the whole, you know, I failed!

Doh: How can you, I-I can't see how you can say you failed. . .

AP: I-I-I. . . in my mind, I failed, and so people getting it wrong, fine, they can get it wrong. They can, how they perceive it as right, they can get angry about it, that's their preference. If they get angry about it, I really feel sorry for them, because they obviously haven't worked that whole thing out in their head, or, they're not open-minded enough to allow people to NOT believe in God, as they should so choose, so. . .

Doh: But there's a lot of truism in it, especially the line, "the people that you made in your image/see them fighting on the street/'cause they can't make opinions meet about God", like. . .

AP: Sure, I mean, I think religion is possibly the cause of the most deaths, short of maybe road accidents and smoking [laughter]. You can put religion right up there as well. . . that's what most wars are about, or most discussions, what most territorial, kind of, "We want your country because you don't believe in the same God as us", type of stuff. You know, it seems to be the reason, so. . . This is a huge subject, I mean, I could talk about religion - I-I haven't even scraped the tip of the iceberg yet - I could talk about religion until the saints come home [laughter], so we won't even get into that, but I think I failed at "Dear God" and it's okay for everyone to take it how the want to.

Doh: Okay, last question: Do you still have a crush on Hayley Mills?

AP: Ha-Ha! [laughter] Oh, ha-ha! Oh, boy, did I ever have a crush on Hayley Mills! [laughter] God, I must have been eleven, ten or eleven, so you'll have to forgive me. . . I thought she was very voluptuous! What I couldn't figure out was, she was in all those American films and she had [imitates Hayley] this lovely British accent! [laughter] "Oh, mummy, what are we going to do on the plantation?" [laughter] Oh, yeah! I had a real crush on Hayley Mills. . .

Doh: I was just being a little facetious. . .

AP: Yeah, I caused my parents a little more laundry [laughter] because of Hayley Mills!

Doh: Thank you, Andy. . .

U1: My question has to do with the time signatures of some of your songs, like "English Roundabout" and "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul". You said that you just recently started to figure out the theoretical parts of music and now. . .

AP: No, not the theory, I just figured the notes out of the keys [laughter]. I have yet to form them into chords! [laughter]

U1: Oh, I see, so you know all about the chords of the guitar?

AP: No, I don't know the names of most of the chords. I don't think that's necessary.

U1: All right, now, with the time signatures of your songs, is it the same thing? Like. . .

AP: They're always for a feeling, like, say, "English Roundabout" is 5, because it has a dizzy feeling and we wanted this dizzy traffic zooming around roundabouts. I don't know if you have. . . Do you have roundabouts here? They don't have roundabouts in America, do you have roundabouts? It's like a way of getting across a junction. You have a junction here [demonstrates], but we put a big round thing in the middle of it and you just kind of join in and go 'round until you leave off. This is known as a roundabout. So we wanted a dizzying sensation, so we chose 5 'cause 5 feels dizzy. We chose 7 for "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" because it has that kind of [pauses], not comedy-jazz, but has a sort of Brubeck. . . corny thing about it. And also, it's not resting, it doesn't rest on the eighth beat, so it keeps you tense and buoyant. So that was chosen for, because of a kind of Brubeck-corn type reason. [in a salesman's voice] "Brubeck Corn! It's great in the morning!" [laughter]

U1: Actually, I have one more quick question for you; which was your favourite drummer to work with?

AP: That's a very naughty question! [laughter] That's like saying, "Who's your favourite girlfriend?" or something. . . [mockingly] "They're all very special people!" [laughter] Ah, they all drum so differently, it's impossible to say. It's like saying, "What was your favourite dinner?", or something. It. . . I'm sure they all hit the spot, or whatever, at any given time, you know. Terry [Chambers] was very primitive and very. . .kind of gutsy. He just. . . you put something in front of him and he hit it! And he didn't kind of do it because he was a great drummer; he did it because he had a lot of physical energy. And if you gave him a couple of week's break while you wrote an album, he'd actually forget how to drum! [laughter] He'd get into rehearsals. . . I'm not joking! He'd get into rehearsals and we'd say, "Well, we have 20 new songs here, Terry, for the album", and he'd say, [gruffly] "Right! You can all ____ off! Gimme 10 minutes, I gotta get to know me kit!" And he'd just sit there and go [thumps floor with his right foot, smacks table with his left hand - slowly] THUMP - SMACK - THUMP - SMACK [laughter], [right hand fakes playing the Hi-hats and makes noise with mouth] THUMP - "TCH" - SMACK - "TCH" - THUMP - "TCH" - SMACK - "TCH" [pauses] [imitates a tom-tom hit] "WHACK!" THUMP - "TCH" - SMACK - "TCH" -. . . [laughter] and he'd do this for a while until you'd come into the room and there he was - he'd be fantastic! But he is not one of life's musicians, he used to forget how to play. If you're not. . . if you're naïve, you. . . it's not in there, you forget how to do it, you know. He'd go away and be a labourer on a building site for 2 or 3 weeks and then come back and have to remind himself how to play the drums. So he was good for that. Pete Phipps was good because he was very versatile and he worked for a glitter band, kind of [imitates Gary Glitter's "Rock 'n' Roll" beat] thing. He also had a very light touch and he could do a lot of. . . very delicate work, which was great. Pat Mastelotto. . . [grunts & thumps very hard], big, powerhouse, you know, bang on the beat. That was good for what we wanted at the time. Prairie Prince has a really nice. . . he's like a wound string; he'll keep time & suddenly he'll do this thing, where he'd [imitates Prairie] "Wha-da-en-da-deet-en-dah, yeah!", and you'd think [incredulously], "How did he pull THAT off?!?" [laughter] Kind of daring, was Prairie! Dave Mattacks, because he's distressingly tasteful. "Why put a drum roll in where one beat will suffice?" Where some drummers will go [imitates tom-tom roll] dum-diddle-dee, dum-diddle-dee, dum-diddle-dee, dum-diddle-dee-dum! And Dave Mattacks will go [arm poised - very long pause], "Thump!" [laughter], and it will be so well placed, you'd go [fakes orgasm], "Ohhhhhhh!" [laughter] You know? It's like, better than a shit! [laughter] He just does this "Thump!' on the drums and it's, "Oooooo!" So, you know, it's different strokes!

U1: Okay, thanks very much!

U2: [deep breath] [laughter] I'm sorry, I feel like Moses coming to the mountain, or something. . . [laughter]

AP: Ah, I was going to say, you've put on a little weight there, Moses. . . [laughter]

U2: What's your favourite joke of all time?

AP: My favourite joke of all time? Oh, it's probably the crocodile in the bar joke [a baby makes a noise] [to the baby], Yeah, you know the one! [laughter] She's laughing already, she knows the ending [laughter] Do I have to do it?

U2: I'd appreciate it!

All: YEAH!

[NOTE: this is exactly as he told it! It is transcribed "as is". . .]

AP: Okay, a man goes into a bar with a crocodile and of course, everyone moves aback, you know, and he puts the crocodile on the bar, like, his little pet thing. The barman's cleaning the glasses [picks up glass in front of him, pretends to clean the glass], you know, and says, "Sir, I don't know if you can bring that thing in here!" He says, "Ah, go on, leave him. He's great, he's my pet and he does tricks!" "He does tricks?" He goes, "Yeah, he does this great trick!" "What sort of tricks does he do?" He says, "Well, look, watch this!" So he [opens] the crocodile's mouth, unzips, takes out his penis [acts this out] and lays it on the top of the crocodile. Then he says to the barman, "Would you hand me a bottle?" The barman passes a bottle, the fellow takes it and he hits right on the centre of the crocodile's head. It goes - BASH! The crocodile doesn't move. The man strokes the crocodile gently, puts his dick away and down goes the crocodile's jaws. He says, "There!" A roar from the pub [laughter], he hears from the back, "FIX! FIX!" He says, "No, it happens every time! Does anyone else want to try it?" He feels a little tug on his sleeve, he turns around and there's this little old lady, who says, "If I try it, you won't hit me so hard on the head?!?" [laughter & clapping] It's one of the only ones I can remember!

U3: What I wanted to ask you was how you felt about your own production work, like with Martin Newell, Steven Duffy, like, do you feel it is a chore, is it joyful?

AP: "Always a pleasure, never a chore!" [laughter] . . .I do like doing it, but I feel I'm a little heavy-handed, which I'm sorry about, but I get a bit dictatorial because it just. . . if somebody hands me their thing I think, "whoa!" I need to know, I must, know how this needs to go. And I can be a little heavy-handed with people and I don't think I'm a good producer, 'cause I tend to steamroller over them. So, THEY have to be, I suppose, equally as forcefully minded as I am to what they can achieve. I try and tune in to what they want, but sometimes people are a little wishy-washy in the studio and they don't really know what they want until you deliver something and they say, [disappointedly] "I didn't want that!". . . "But you never said what you DID want?" So, I mean, most of the production I have done I've enjoyed and I think they've been successful, as artistic things, but I, I'll produce anyone if I like what they send me. If they send me demos and if I like what they have on their demo, okay, I'll say, "Sure, we'll give it a go. . ." but. . . It's more about diplomacy and ego juggling than music, more often than not. Especially when you're with a band, like. . . producing Blur; you record Damon Albarn playing the piano, or something, and when Graham what's-his-name would come in the next day and say, "What did you record yesterday?" I'd say, "Well, we did Damon's piano" and he'd say, "I don't want any poncy piano on my records, rub it off!" [laughter] "We're gonna put electric guitar on today and it's gonna be really loud and fuzzy!" So, you'd do that and then the next day, Damon would come in and say, "Whadja do yesterday?" "Oh, we did really loud, fuzzy guitars". "I don't want any of that shit on my disc, rub it off!" [laughter] So, you're having to kind of do this kind of job with everyone's personality up in the air, PLUS make a record, so, it's not an enviable job often.

U3: Do you feel you get to exercise a particular creative muscle that you can't exercise within you own. . .

AP: No. No. Sometimes you get to try things out [that] you haven't tried anywhere, "Hmmm, that would be interesting. Let's try and see what would happen if we put that one into that and try that effect, or whatever, and see what that will do, or, have somebody do that instead of THIS, and "Hey, that's not bad!" You know, "Let's store that one away in the brain box for the future". So, yeah, it's a bit like life, really; if you don't cross the road correctly one day and get run over, you're not gonna cross it that way the next day, you're gonna learn.

U3: Do you feel it as better using outside influences on your own records?

AP: To be brutally honest, it's more of an ego/diplomacy type thing again, where, [pauses] because Dave and Colin were complete contemporaries. I mean, Colin lived, like, two streets away from me for most of his life, went to the same school, we're a year apart in age and he just wouldn't accept me producing him. He wouldn't! He wouldn't have me say, "Colin, could we just try one more take? This time with a little more vigour. You're kind of out of tune on the first verse. So, if you could. . ." He would never accept that, he'd say, "Stuff it up your ass!" [laughter] So. . . Cynically, if you want to get things done, you have to say [conspiratorially] "Mr. Producer, you wanna suggest to Colin that if he sounded a little more in tune [laughter], that we'd get a great take there?" and he'd say, "Yeah, I think you're right. . . ah, Colin, you think you can tune yourself up on the brisk part, then come in and go. . . okay?" [laughter] So, it's just you just switch your little language decoder to "P" for producer to get it to achieve what it is you need to do. It's not cynical, it's really intolerable! [laughter] I was looking around and they [the audience] were like [makes a face] "Ooooo!" Yes, it really is cynical, but whatever gets you through it. . .

U3: Thank you for being here, as well!

AP: Well, gee. . . [laughter] Any more? A couple more?

U4: What was the first record you bought?

AP: What was the first record I bought? I can't seriously remember. . . it was either - and I did it with pocket money or with vouchers, which was, more or less, "Happy Birthday! Here's a record voucher!" - it was either "Baby Come Back" by the Eagles [?], which I don't know if anyone knows that, it was really. . . basic. . . kind of. . . yeah, just basically, kind of [sings song] "Da-da-dada-da-da", [plays beat out on the table] [sings and plays] "Da-da-dada-da-da", for, like 3 minutes and that's all it does. And I thought that was SO intense, I thought, "I gotta have that!" It was either that or "Jumping Jack Flash", 'cause I loved the video. You know the one with the strobe lights? . . .sort of the "epileptic fit" one? [laughter] Brian Jones. . . Brian Jones was. . .

U4: What was the last. . .

AP: Sorry, what was the last what?

U4: What was the most recent record [you bought]?

AP: The most recent record was 20s dance band music. . . no strobe video and no Brian Jones in it [laughter]

U5: Hi, Edmonton [Alberta], by the way, has roundabouts, that's where I last saw you play live, opening for The Police at the Civic Centre [?]. . .

AP: Back in 18. . . 18. . .

U5: . . . in '81, '82. . .

AP: Yeah, 1880! [laughter]

U5: . . . but that was a great show! It definitely got me on your fan bandwagon for a long time, but I wanted to ask you, as far as your kids, what are they listening to and what concerts would you. . .

AP: Oh! [laughter]

U5: . . . draw the line as far as taking them to? Have you taken them to a show yet? And which one would you NOT take them to?

AP: Ah, well, Holly has [emphatically] "a boyfriend" and I am considering buying [emphatically] "a shotgun"! [laughter] and he's a little too old for her. He's 16 and she's 13 and at the moment, it's kind of a . . . phone/fax sort of relationship. He wants to take her to see. . . who is it he wants to take her to see? Oh, somebody like Ocean Colour Scene, or something, but I'm only saying, "Only if an adult, sort of. . ." I just think she's a bit young for all that. . . I mean, the stuff I got up to while I went to gigs - I'm not going to repeat it here - but I don't want my 13 year old doing that JUST yet [laughter]. So, who do they like? Harry loves anything that I'll put on. I mean, Harry really loves Louis Jordan, you know, he goes around the house singing, [sings] "Five guys named Moe" [laughter] Even at breakfast, he goes, [sings] "Little Moe! Oo-lee-ah-da-dada! Big Moe! Oo-lee-ah-da-dada!" [laughter] So, he loves anything, kind of, anything with a bit of a vibe to it. Holly likes. . . well, she's going through the teenaged-looking-for-your-voice-thing, so she likes anything that her friends like? It's like, teenagers are so desperate to be accepted AND separate - what a mess! [laughter] - accepted and separate, how do you do that? So, she's looking for people who she thinks are gonna speak to her voice.

U5: Have you taken her to a show?

AP: No! Oh, No! [laughter] I - actually don't like. . . pop/rock shows. They bore the pants off of me! I never did! I used to go to 'em and think, [disappointedly] "Is that the best they can do?", or, "Isn't that out of tune?", or, "The record's much better!", or, [disgustedly] "That is the crappiest light show!" [laughter] I was so fussy as a kid, and occasionally you'd go to a gig. . . I mean, when I was a lot younger, I went to see the first Ramones tour of England and I got very-very-very drunk, took off my shirt, went down the front and had to be carried home! [laughter] It was, I mean, that is. . . if you're gonna do a gig, you might as well do it like that, so. . . But I didn't used to like gigs, I was just too damned fussy and a lot of bands, I could see, were not into it. You could see them playing away and it's sort of [looks bored and fakes playing]. . . they were faking it! And they were like [yawns] "We got up on stage after too many tablets. . ." [yawns again] and you'd think, "No, this ain't real!" It's not as real as, say, theatre, where it's obviously fake, if you know what I mean. . . they'd be. . . "Hey, it's great to be. . ." "You're wonderful. . ." "This is a song about. . ." "I mean it sincerely. . ." and it's a script! You follow the bands around and the bands do the same thing at the same point every night and you know, that whole audience is thinking, "Oh, they're communicating with me!" [emphatically] NO, THEY'RE NOT! [laughter] It's all fakery, "Grow up!" I think theatre is more honest 'cause it's more honestly fake. I mean, Rock 'n' Roll is kind of. . . cynically fake.

U5: [inaudibly] Do you like to play live?

AP: I'm sorry?

U5: Do you like to play live?

AP: I used to, I used to love playing live, but that was when I was young and. . . Voice from audience: FAKING IT! [laughter]

AP: I was young and snotty and I wanted to. . . okay, let's put it this way; you're a young kid and somebody says, "Do you wanna go 'round the world?" "Yeah!" "Do you wanna drink. . . loads of beer?" "Yeah!" "Do you wanna, you know, have access to everyone's daughters?" "YEAH!" [laughter] "Do you wanna stand on stage and wiggle your bacon and have everyone go, "Woooo!?". . . Of course you're gonna do that! YEAH! 'Cause, most young Rock 'n' Roll bands are gangs; they don't have knives, they have guitars! They're gangs, it's gang mentality and they tour the world and do this stuff and they're all a gang and then you grow away from the gang. Everyone does that. And if you're still in a gang at 50 - naming no names! [laughter] - If you're still in a gang when you're 50, you're either mentally retarded [laughter] or you're just doing it for the money, so. . . or fun! [laughter] But I loved playing when I started out, I mean, we did 5 years, non-stop, playing. . . we played everywhere! And we did everything you're supposed to do when you do that, so, and it was good fun, but then you start hankering out for a normal life. You start finding yourself on stage, drifting off, thinking, "Oh God, I'd love to have a house to live in, instead of a hotel", or, "I'd love a kid", or, "I wish I had found a chair. [laughter] I live in one room by the station, which is rented, and I don't have any chairs!" So, you find yourself getting 2 or 3 songs into the set and not knowing how you got there and fantasizing about chairs. So, you know it's like God's way of saying [in a funny voice], "You don't wants to be a Rock 'n' Roll star if you's fantasizing 'bout chairs!" [laughter] So, yes initially, but no later. . .

AC: I think we have time for one last question. Anybody?

AP: Is the ultimate question out there? Sex with animals? [laughter] What are we talking about? [laughter]

DG: Have you met any of the band members of the Crash Test Dummies?

AP: Ah, yes! Brad Roberts phoned me up and came 'round my house one day, which was very interesting. I made him suffer my appalling tea and he played the latest Crash Test Dummies record, which was. . . what was it at the time? It was. . . the "Worm" one, that one. . .

AC: "A Worm's Life"

AP: . . . that one and that was it. So. . . and then occasionally I'd bump into him. . . I bumped into him at a David Yazbek gig in New York. David Yazbek is great!

Voice from audience: YEAH!

AP: Yazbek, he's brilliant! He's really fantas. . . [clapping from audience] Thank you! So, occasionally, I have met the odd Crash Test Dummy. . .

DG: He's actually right here!

AP: Pardon?

DG: He's here today!

AP: Ah, right, where is he?

DG: Somewhere out in the crowd. . .

AP: Is there a Dummy out there? [laughter] I didn't mean it like that! [laughter] No? Are they hiding?

Aud: He's here somewhere! Yes!

AC: This is the last question, go ahead. . .

U6: Last question, okay. Andy, it's good to see you back, good to see intelligence back in music. . .

AP: Where? He's behind me? [looks around] [laughter]

U6: Just, actually, one question. . . actually, two questions. . . really short. Can you sum up the stupidity of the record industry that you've had? And the second thing is, you said that you actually wanted to do music for film again. What about your experience with "Times Square", like, how they bastardized and brutalized your song. . .

AP: Possibly the worst film ever made! [laughter]

U6: Yeah, yeah!

AP: . . . short of something like Iranian musicals or something. . . [laughter]

U6: It's just that they played the song for about. . .

AP: That's a long question, which bit do you want first?

U6: You pick!

AP: Um, stupidity in music?

U6: Yeah! Yeah!

AP: The stupidity of the music industry was OUR stupidity! It was our naïveté. Like I said, when you're a young kid and someone's saying, "You wanna do all this. . ." blah, blah, you know, "Do you want a new guitar?" "Do you want to go 'round the world? Do you want free beer? Do you want. . ." Of course you're gonna say, "YEAH!" They say, "Well, just sign all this up. . ." "Oh yeah, okay!" "You have taken legal advice?" I couldn't even SPELL! [laughter] "Legal advice what?!?", you know? "No, I've read it." "Did you understand it?" "No, just let me sign it!" We were all kids and we wanted to get out and make music, so we signed our lives away. Virgin Records own everything I ever recorded in perpetuity, forever! I think there's a clause in the contract that says my material comes back to me 70 years after my death! [laughter] Seriously! That was. . . that's how it's structured. I. . . we were just naïve and we wanted access to making record and so, they wanted the best deal they could get, which. . . [emphasizes] they certainly did! [laughter] and we got a tiny, little sliver. And plus, we had a very, very corrupt manager, who set up the whole deal, where he got all the advances, he got all the gig money. He got all and everything! And we were content with, "Hey, this is Amsterdam!" "Hey this is Toronto!" "Hey, this is Rome!" "Hey. . ."

U6: Do you think it's changing?

AP: Probably. . . but probably not! 'Cause you know, most young musicians are still naïve and they don't have access to a high-powered lawyer. And no one's going to encourage them to go to a high-powered lawyer? They're gonna rush them into signing something. . . So, I'm sure that the same mistake is going to go on eternally. It's just the nature of the world; older, cynical, greedy. . . Somebody will make the most of dopey young artists who, "Duh, yeah!" [laughter] which is what I was! What was the other question?

U6: Times Square, the Times Square thing. . .

AP: Times Square was an appalling film, and if I had seen the film before, I may not have written the song. . .

U6: Oh, so you wrote it for. . .

AP: No, I just wrote it. They said, "It's the story of two girls who break free. . ." blah, blah, ". . .from their parents. . ." So, I wrote the song based on that and then I [fakes crying] I sold it to 'em! [laughter]

U6: Where did you see the film?

AP: Ah, in Times Square! [laughter] In a. . . it was a very surreal evening; I sat. . . I was one of the first in the cinema for the premiere. I sat with my feet over the chair in front, with a popcorn, thinking, "Nobody else has arrived!" I didn't know that it was kind of cool to be late. . . So, it was me and Colin sat there with the popcorn stuff and somebody came along and said, "Would you move your feet?" I thought, "Oh, you grumpy old sod!" and then Andy Warhol sits down! [laughter] "Oh, oh!". . . "I know that hair! [laughter] This is serious now!" And then all these famous people start sitting down and I thought, "Oh shit! I'm not in Swindon Odeon!" [laughter]

U7: With the song "Peter Pumpkinhead" and the albums Oranges and Lemons and now Apple Venus. . .

AP: It's a fruit thing. . .

U7: Well, I'm wondering. . . the obvious question is, do you have any plans for vegetable records, or something?

AP: We're the vegetables! [laughter]

U7: What was the last book you read?

AP: Ah, I'll tell you the one I'm reading now. It's so, you'll wish you hadn't asked [laughter]

U7: I didn't, it's from my friend, Don [laughter]

AP: Okay, you'll wish HE hadn't asked! [laughter] Very dry, it's a book about the way that the Spanish controlled the Netherlands in the 1500s! [laughter]

U7: Thank you!

AC: Okay, now. . . we should start the signing part. . .

[tape ends]

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[Thanks to David Oh]