Mark Rockpit, March 25, 2018 / therockpit.net
After a false start a couple of years back now John Waite is finally headed down-under for the very first time. He’s one of the artists I’ve always wanted to see but have rarely been in the right continent at the right time. He’s one of those musicians that so many people have their own memories of whether it’s fronting ‘The Babys’ in the late seventies, his solo work in the eighties to date, or his time with the super-group ‘Bad English’ in the late eighties. You might even have heard his latest take on his career ‘Wooden Heart Acoustic Anthology Vol. 2’ (which is out now). We caught up to talk about the process of stripping the songs right back to the bone, where it all began and whether there will be a follow up to the wonderful ‘Rough and Tumble’.
Mark: Hi, John, how are you?
John: I’m well thanks.
Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to The Rockpit. The last time we spoke was way back in 2013, the time you almost came to Australia!
John: Yeah, that was a big U-turn that shocked me!
Mark: It’s all really happening now though; you’ve been on TV over here, so it’s definitely going ahead this time!
John: Yeah, we’re leaving on Saturday night, we’re getting there a few days early, we need some time to get over the jet lag before we kick off, and so we’re trying to do it in a civilised way. I can’t quite believe we are leaving, but we are so it’s good news.
Mark: You just have to contend with LAX now then?!!
John: Yes, I’m telling you, it’s the worst airport in the world!! Even the new version of LAX is beyond belief! I didn’t think they could mess that up, but they managed it!!
Mark: When I was there last time, I found it remarkable they’d done all the upgrades and it was still as bad as ever!!
John: The international section is quite good, it’s big, but it’s still, being dropped off and picked up is a nightmare, and I hate going to the airport!
Mark: Ok, now to the important stuff! One of my musical heroes, Steve Marriott, once said a good song is a good song, but if you can strip it all back and touch someone with just vocals and an acoustic guitar, that’s the real test. Do you subscribe to that?
John: Well, my first love musically, was the acoustic guitar, and I was young enough to think that was the end of the world, and then when everybody plugged in, it was fantastic and sexy, but when the eighties came around it was like 2,000 foot pedals came out and drummers had drum kits the size of a Cadillac, and it just became something else. But, I do believe that, I think if a song sounds great unplugged, then you’ve got a winner, and that’s basically where “Wooden Heart” the tour is leading me, we’re kicking off playing full rock, but then we stop and do an acoustic section, and it’s an interesting night. Steve would say things acoustically were like pearls, he knew what he was talking about!