Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Expat Blair Jollands has been based in London (and Spain) for so long that he is perhaps barely known in his home country these days.
But over the years he has produced a number of fine albums and drawn praise from Boy George (whose label he was originally on), David Bowie, the Guardian and numerous reviewers (Classic Rock magazine said he had “the sweeping drama of Nick Cave, elegant melodies of Scott Walker and the soulful swagger of Rufus Wainwright).
Elsewhere has always been impressed by his work and his new album 7 Blood is the equal of anything in his broad catalogue.
He intends to come back to New Zealand to play in the near future but meantime on the back of 7 Blood let's flick him the a Famous Elsewhere Songwriter Questionnaire to see what he makes of it . . .
The first song which made you think, 'Now that's a well crafted piece of work' was . . .
I Love Rock.n’roll – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. I was 14 at some girls place playing her 45 over and over and her dad shouted out he’d smash it over my head if I played it one more time. I thought that was cool.
Complete this sentence: The first song I wrote was . . .
The Jewel Is In The Lotus
The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?
Bob Dylan. Its like being alive in the time of Shakespeare. Pinch yourself.
As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson?
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .
Wonderlust – Bjork – great artist, innovator of our time.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Glen Campbell – a good song should take you to another time and world.. this song is heart breaking.. its tragedy.. ‘and the phone keeps on ringing off the wall’ is one of my fav lines ever (after the mule and horse line, keep reading)
I Say A Little Prayer – Burt Bacharach (Aretha Franklin) – succeeds the goose bump test everytime.
Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?
None of the above. Rhythm first. It inspires the rest for me.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
Songwriters on Songwriting. It’s a great look at (some of) the masters and how they go about crafting their magic.
If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .
Amy Winehouse. I love a duet and she would be my number 1 choice. Alas she was a special gift given to us so briefly.
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Last CD – Adele, 21
Last Download – The Microdance, Our Love Noire
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .
I’ll Remember You.. by me
One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .
My mule is sick, my horse is lame (Bob Dylan, Ain't Talkin’)
And the way he delivers it is stone cold. Ain't Talkin’ is the bleak outlook from a weary witness, scanning the landscape, verse upon verse of metaphorical menace.
Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?
60/40. It depends on the song but it averages out at this. There can be a lot of silence, staring into space, waiting to enter the zone, the moment, the word to pounce.
Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?
Yes, Eyes of Blue. My grandmother had just died and it came to me in a few minutes. When you are moved and there is emotion, truth, songs come easier.
And finally, finish this couplet in any way you like: “Standing at the airport with an empty suitcase at my feet . . .” (You are NOT allowed to rhyme that with “meet” however)
I felt as naked as a ghost without a sheet