Friday, 22 October 2010

Q & A with Paul Heaton

Paul Heaton is supporting Madness at
Earls Court
on 17th December. His new album ACID COUNTRY is available from iTunes for more info:

The sleeves of early singles by The Housemartins were designed by David Storey & John "Teflon" Sims who'd previously done all the classic 2-Tone stuff. Did you choose them or was it the record companies idea and do you have a favourite record sleeve from those days?
Andy Macdonald Head of Go! Discs had worked at Stiff and 2-Tone during that period and brought those ideas with him. Probably Flag Day because the bloke on the cover, who was from a Travellers family in hull, tried suing us. We just gave him a load of money.”
 Is Flag Day back in your set for this tour? I was quite moved when I saw a You Tube clip of you doing it. How does it feel when you sing that song now?
“Not at the moment. It feels bitterly ironic but not as much as say 'Get up off our knees' would.”
Around the time the Housemartins split, George Harrison had a hit with, When We Was Fab. One of you quipped to the NME that they'd one day release a track called When We Was Quite Good. Could you imagine collaborating with the other 3 on new material or writing about your time with them, are they still on your Christmas card list?
“I don't go back to ex girlfriends but I still have all their mobiles for text sex!”
If Mrs Thatcher was given a state funeral would it be justifiable to have a free concert that celebrated the fact she was dead? Costello, Morrissey and Wylie all wrote songs that wished her dead - would you consider taking part in an event that allowed people to express how they felt about her and her beliefs? Will you be glad when she is dead?
“It’s just pathetic nostalgia. I believe in over throwing [by ballot or bullet or riot] the current government. I can't speak for Wylie but I believe both Costello and Morrissey have moved abroad and left these shores for better tax privileges. This leaves them with no right of protest.”
The Beautiful South had many big hits but I felt some of your singles deserved to do a lot better than they did. Were you ever shocked that say, I'll Sail This Ship Alone only got to number 31 even though you performed it on Wogan and the singles either side of it were bigger hits?
“It was never a shock but I think in general you'll find the songs with just my voice on didn't do as well.”
Do you personally own any work by the Scottish painter Peter Howson? How did you come to have him on the cover of the Quench album and did you like his paintings of Madonna and/or The Queen?
“Don't own the works of any painters. Sean our bassist was in charge of all sleeve artwork. His experience with Mr Howson's people was described as similar to working with the mafia. Petty, pathetic and money grabbing to say the least.”
When you tour with Madness will you be playing jollier knees-up numbers? Are you worried that half way through a moving ballad someone will shout out "Baggy Trousers!" or do you think Madness fans will tend to be Paul Heaton fans too?
“I don't really have those songs in my set anymore. I just intend to show them what I do now.”
There's a new band in town called The South featuring Dave Hemingway. Are you happy about this state of affairs?
“Take away my songs and my name and you're left with an empty husk.  I think the 'featuring Dave Hemingway' says it all don't you?”
If you were to do a duet with Sting what song do you think you'd pick?
“I think you know that wouldn't happen but say I took a U-turn, I think 'I Just Called To Say I Love You' would suit.”
To what extent are you a bad man?
“I'm not.”
What is your idea of beauty in nature?
“Climbing the Snake Pass to Sheffield and 'going home' to where I once lived as a child from where I live now as an adult.”
Can you explain the difference between envy and jealousy (using examples from your own life)?
“I suffer from neither”
What are your favourite jazz singers or musicians?
“I like a lot of Jazz singers and players. It depends what you call jazz really. Chet Baker and Oscar Brown Jnr for cool. Jimmy Rushing and Louis Prima for passion. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross for technique. Instrument wise - Drummer - Shelley Manne, Bassist - Eldee Young, Guitarist -Charlie Christian, Clarinet -Gene Sedric, Trombonist JJ Johnson,  saxophonist -Ben Webster and trumpet - Clark Terry.”
Of all the concerts you've done over the last year which has been the most enjoyable so far?
Belfast - Auntie Annie's.”
Do you believe that about 9 times out of 10, "To know all is to forgive all"?
“I wouldn't put a figure on it.” 

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