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Paul ROBERTS - Interview August 28th 2009

(c) Copyright Paul Roberts

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  1. So today we are in London.
  2. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews
    We are in the North West of London, Hampstead to be precise, a beautiful part of the world !

    AM : At the New End Theatre.


    AM : And you are singing in a show called

    "The Great American Songbook".

    AM : Can you develop ?

    Yes. "The Great American Songbook" is a nostalgic trip if you would like to, if it is nostalgic to you, through the music created from the 20's to the 60's written by such composers called Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Jimmy Van Heusen, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, George Gershwin. It's a story about the fact that the songs were actually, what propelled the stars to stardom, ie the singers to stardom, as opposed to the other way round. A lot of people think that the singers made the songs famous, it was in fact the songs that made the singers famous, and beautiful songs they are too, and I represent the few people in the show and sing a lot of songs with a fantastic live four piece band and two amazing singers.

  3. Are you ready to jump in my "Back to the past" car ?
  4. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews
    I am Back to the past car to ready jump in (smiling)

    AM : So please have a seat.

    OK, thank you.

    AM : I know that you like cars.

    I love cars.

    AM : In spite of your bad experience, you had a car accident in December 2005.

    Yes. This was after my last concert with the Stranglers.

    AM : What is your favourite car ?

    An Aston Martin, any Aston Martin at all, and if I have to make do to another car I'll have a Maserati. There is no other car I want, I've never wanted another car since 'Thunderball'.

    AM : You know you can win it...

    I am working class, I never win anything, I never get more money than I need, I never get (laughing) and I have a fantastic life, it's a joke...

  5. When you were a teenager what were your favourite bands or singers ?
  6. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews
    Wow, Teenager, right, let me just fly back through the years. My favourite bands, without a doubt, my favourite bands were, I mean, developing, I liked a lot jazz when I was a child, so I was listening to a lot of people like John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, I was also listening to a lot of rock, Montrose, Ted Nugent, these were bands that live were quite exciting, except Ted Nugent, a little bit boring because he was always trying to get feed back from the guitar. Oh my Lord, Robin Trower, my all time favourite Jimmy Hendrix, these are the things I listened to, but I used to hunt on a lot of independent bands, this is what we call today, bands that not many people heard of, so I would spend a lot of time in record shops really, but I always had a love for Alice Cooper and David Bowie, Frank Zappa, you know.

    AM : Who do you think influence you the most ?

    In what respect, as a singer , as a performer, as a writer ? All ?

    AM : Oh Yeah.

    Oh Lordy. As a writer of lyrics probably Iggy Pop , because I think, as a lyricist Iggy has been one of the greatest lyricist in rock music. As a performer probably somewhere between Bowie and Brian Ferry , Roxy Music were my other greater love and influence, Lou Reed probably as a crooner, as long as someone likes Sinatra, people like Billie Holiday , big influence on my life, even though it came to now to be performing her songs in a commercial environment I grew up with this. A lot of stuff really, too much to kind of list, you know.

  7. In your soul are you more a punk rocker or a pop rocker ?
  8. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews
    I'm probably more of a jazz rocker (smiling). I mean, for me 90% of punk music was rubbish and 10% was very excellent, and the better period music came after that, you know, the new romantic, there was a new wave, because you created artists like Elvis Costello , I mean The Blockheads were going before but they developed into such of a fantastic band. I wasn't a great follower of that kind of music to be honest, I found a lot of it uneasy, I think there was a big commercial environment which happens a lot.

  9. You were the lead singer of the Stranglers from 1990 to 2006, so for 16 years.
  10. (c) Copyright Alex Wesche

    AM : I think it is always difficult to replace a singer in a band. What is it to succeed Hugh Cornwell?

    What is it to succeed Hugh ? I guess, I was asked to do it, I wanted to do it and I did it. I did it with a 100% enthusiasm input, as much as I could really, and I gave it my heart and soul. In the words of their manager I sweated blood for them (looking at the camera).

  11. What is your best memory with the band ?
  12. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews

    There are quite a few really. The Albert Hall was a great night, simply because my father was dying of cancer and it was probably the last time he saw me perform, when he was well, and the concept of his son singing on a stage of the Albert Hall was mind blowing to him, so that's my best time on stage but I can't go through my life without enjoying myself, so I had a lot of good times which I went out, discovered things, met people. It was great to travel the world, so I guess, you know, pretty much the whole experience really, going to the Falklands was really cool and seeing things I always wanted to see and hanging out of an aeroplane which I shouldn't really say because I might get someone in trouble.

  13. Now you have your own band called Soulsec.
  14. (c) Copyright Alex Wesche

    AM : What does the name Soulsec come from ? Does it mean your second soul ?

    No, it means. It was a bit of a joke really, because part of the fact that we don't do that many gigs. We name changed three times, just to keep it fresh, but the Soulsec is a question really, it was a question because of something was going on in my life and it was questioning false emotion, so it kind of should have a question mark after it but I've got fed up with question marks after the name.

  15. You have a website.
  16. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews


    AM : And a myspace.


    AM : And you are also on Facebook.

    I am indeed completely logged in to cyberspace. I'm not really into Facebook, I don't like the idea of communication through these means of non-speaking meetings. I used them because I have friends around the world I contact, but I much rather talk to somebody.

    AM : What do you think of Internet ?

    I think Internet is fantastic. I guess it's rather one of those things that you use to your advantage, you musn't become a slave, you know, to the master, so I use it as an encyclopedia really and it's a fascinating thing because it's just brilliant. But I don't like the idea that people came to have friends in cyberspace, they can't actually see in real life and when it comes to them meeting together, in a place, they never turn up, and they don't really exist because they are collecting like butterflies you know. I think it's ridiculous. A friend of mine works for the Guardian and we were writing an article about communication because I have felt for years that even texting is a lack of communication because it's almost like saying, oh I'm checking in with you, but I don't really want to see you, you know, it's a very bad excuse. (miming picking up a phone). What's wrong with picking up the phone. People talk to me through Facebook and I can't understand why these specific people don't call me. I'm not all that trendy and I don't really care for things like that.

  17. How do you manage to write a song ?
  18. (c) Copyright Paula French
    There are very many different ways, really.

    AM : What themes do you like to develop ?

    Always love, madness, sex and drugs. I think they encompass a lot of things and then you can mix them all up, so you could get more (laughing), and my life, and people's lives.

  19. You have a brand new album to promote called...
  20. (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews
    'States of Play' it's a kind of compilation really, it's not brand new, but it has got some new songs that I put on a small record I did last, was it last year ? Christmas, I can't remember ! Yeah, I think, I did an album called '5,4 NOW'. I like to have a concept, I like to have things like my get out album 'End Games' which was about the end of many different things, so we made the art work to be fitting, '5,4 NOW' is a play on 'Thunderbirds' 5,4,3,2,1 and I didn't have enough time to write and record what I wanted to do, so I do it myself and it's just become like really hard work, you know. So this is a compilation and we should have it out on Christmas but I think it was stuck in a distributor's factory because they went broke.

  21. I think you liked your last tour in the USA.
  22. (c) Copyright Paula French
    Yes, my last tour in the USA in May was very good, it was just very odd. We played with just an acoustic guitar, one guitar and one voice, but we were getting a lot of compliments and we sometimes had to perform after two rock bands, but people still danced and enjoyed it, it was weird and a lot of hispanic people were just really into the stuff, so it was really nice and I kind of went out there with a view, thinking I would have to play Stranglers music, but I didn't have to do that, so that was great.

  23. Being a lead singer, so a front man, is like being an actor.
  24. (c) Copyright Robert Kenney

    Is it why you are a multi-talented man. I mean you are a singer, but you are also a theatre and a television actor ?

    Yes, that's right. It was a complete accident. I was contacted by a theatrical agent in London, because when I left the band I was working out different things, what I was gonna do, where I was gonna go and how I wanted to get myself away from the past, you know. And it is not an easy thing to do, so I just received a mail from a theatrical agent in London who asked me if I'd be interested in joining his books and I pretty much worked and auditioned solidly for three years. including Edinburgh I took a Richard O'Brien play to Edinburgh. Unfortunately the Director, who ended up being taken away from the project, I think she approached it in the wrong way, she wanted to do a show using the concept of a rock star, but I would have preferred to do it slightly differently. Anyway, it was a great experience. I spent a month in Edinburgh and living with two young dancers which was always good fun and we just had a really good time, it was a great experience, we went to see a lot of other shows, just a really lovely time you know, really lovely.

    AM : What was your favourite role ?

    Ovid, which I played. Ovid was a Roman poet who was banished from Rome because he slept with the Emperor's daughter. This is called 'The Art of love', Ars Amatoria, I believe, if I've got that expression right, and Tony Hume wrote this piece and it is based around a game of chess, in Ancient Rome, and I did it with my friend Adele Anderson (c) Copyright Rock-Interviews from a "Fascinating Aida" a female, sort of, a very quirky, a very good band of women, who looked at life, who were very funny, make fun of things you know, I can't put it into words at the moment, but we were a couple and basically I was in charge, but Corinna my mistress, she has always the upper hand and it was fascinating, because we had to learn the moves from the chessboard. So the play started with the chessboard with us playing and so with everything we did there were some chess moves. We had to do it right because we didn't want people to critique what's wrong, but we got very good reviews from it and the writers were really happy, very complementary about my performance and the guy who wrote it was a lexicographer, which means he studies words and the structures of sentences, so it was a really good process for me, in that respect and I had to address the audience, there were speeches to the audience and then there was dialogue and it was great, really exciting.

  25. You have a family.
  26. (c) Copyright Robert Kenney
    Yes, I have a young boy.

    AM : A son.

    Yes, he lives in New Zealand with a beautiful Japanese girl, and he is learning to speak Japanese so he can teach it, he is 29, he is lovely and I have a beautiful girlfriend who stayed with me through a lot of bad times and a lot of good times.

    AM : I'm sure you have good friends.

    I have fantastic friends.

    AM : A band

    A band, yes.

    AM : What are your wishes for the future ?

    I just like to carry on as I am. This is amazing for me, this show, we have had, except for The Stage who decided they would be like bitches about the show, for some very petty excuses, reasons, we have had full, very very good reviews in the Times, in What's On Stage, in London theatre guide, and we had a fantastic review in Time out London, which gave us the top critic choice, and well it's a beautiful thing.

    AM : So that's it Paul

    Oh thank you very much.

    AM : Thank you very much for your time.

    You're welcome.

(c) Copyright Paul Roberts

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