|Eric Stewart Interview|
...Did you realize how many fans out there have been waiting patiently,
and not so patiently, to hear from you the past few years?
Hi, Eric here from the 'Dark Side of What Matters'.....
I've been taking some time out from recording lately because of other activities.... but I wouldn't say I was a recluse!! I admit that I generally avoid certain public functions and tabloid newspaper 'in depth' or 'lifestyle' articles. However, I am pleased to tell you that I am here and I do exist in flesh and blood and many people know this and get in touch with me! The '3rd string mini celebrity' scene is just not my bag and I do value privacy for my family and myself......Sometimes there are serious reasons why I am not in the public eye. There are sometimes problems, things beyond our control, which we have to sort out in privacy.
been taking your time with this album - are you simply doing it for your
own satisfaction? When do you think it will be finished?
These days I am happy to work on my music just when the inspiration strikes me. After nearly forty years in the business I don't feel the pressure as I used to with previous deadlines, planning tours and all the press. Maybe it is better to work under pressure sometimes but I am more comfortable with the way things are nowadays.
working in your own studio at home? How does the equipment you are using
now compare with Strawberry in the old days?
It isn't necessary to have a huge set up such as in the Strawberry Studios I built in the 60s and 70s. However, I will probably use the London studio of Dave Gilmour, an old friend from Pink Floyd, to do my final mixing.
still in touch with Lol / Graham / Justin / Macca, etc.? Do you think
you will make any music with them in the future?
I've seen Rick Fenn recently. I sit in with his band, The Theramones, at some private charity functions and it's great fun! I really like Rick. He is a fine musician and I've always enjoyed working with him. We usually play songs like Johnny Be Good, Roll Over Beethoven, Slow down, Oh Boy, easy things that we can have fun soloing through. We always have to play I'm Not In Love at the end and at one of the last shows, for the Children's Leukaemia Fund, some guy said he'd donate an extra £500 if I would sing it again. I did of course!
I haven't seen Justin for a while because he seems to spend so much time touring in the States with The Moody Blues. I'm in touch with Paul [McCartney] but I don't see Graham Gouldman at all.......
think that you will do live shows again? (this is a begging question!)
What shows do you remember well?
I do remember quite a few gigs which just felt right on the night; the one at the Carré Theatre in Amsterdam stands out and the one in Tokyo in 1978.The audience there were so astounded by I'm Not In Love that when we had finished they sat in silence for a minute (it felt like an hour on stage) and then they applauded for 6 minutes. Those sort of nights stay with me. That concert which was shown on UK Arena recently was filmed during our second tour and I remember that it was shown on UK TV at the time.
those guitars! Do you still have the old favourites?
are you listening to at the moment?
I’d like to ask you about a couple of people with whom you have worked.
First of all, how did you meet Alan Parsons?
you see any similarity between you and Eric Wolfson?
you ever choose which AP songs you sing?
are your favourite APP songs?
often do you see Alan?
you see yourself working with Alan on a more permanent basis?
to Agnetha Faltskog. How did she come to ask you to work with her and
did you enjoy producing that album?
She was very professional and had a nice, easy going manner, as I recall; plus there was a good vibe in the studio with the musicians I had asked to help out. I know I feel more comfortable when I am in full control of a production. The fact that she decided to ‘retire’ just as we finished the album didn’t go down too well with me but I believe she was having a bad time with her ex who was leaving Sweden at that time.
In retrospect, I think the album has some great songs on it but some of the sounds are now dated. I asked quite a few of my friends in the Biz to contribute songs and play on them and I wanted Jeff Lynne’s One Way Love to go out as the first single but Aggy didn’t go for it. Shame, it was a sure fire hit.
it the only time you were involved in designing a cover?
now about Mirror Mirror. There is something I still don’t understand,
even after having read Liam’s book. Why did you continue with this project
when it became clear that you and Graham couldn’t really work together?
Was there a contractual obligation?
When we were asked by Avex to make what became Mirror Mirror I refused at first, partly because I hadn’t worked with GG for a long time and partly because I thought it was bordering on necrophilia to resurrect the 10cc name yet again. Harvey Lisberg then asked me if I minded GG putting out an album as 10cc on his own. Of course, I hit the roof! This didn’t go down well. Harvey then persuaded me to at least give it a try. So I asked GG to let me have a copy of the songs he intended putting forward to use on the album, simply because we hadn’t written together since well before the Meanwhile album…..I really needed to get an idea of where he thought a new 10cc album should be heading for musically, and to see if we had any common ground to work on.
I was sent a copy of GG’s proposed tracks and listened to them carefully……I was unhappy by what I heard. I called GG to voice my reservations. Naturally he disagreed with me and said they were ‘our babies’ and that we should stick with them no matter what the other person thinks. Oops, I thought, we have our old impasse situation again.
Apart from the AG/GG song Ready To Go Home, which I did like, and GG’s updated version of my song Take This Woman (that I had recorded some five years previously but never released) there was nothing there that I could consider working on. I did like the lyrics, chords and melody of Ready To Go Home and was asked to sing the lead vocal on it. I felt the treatment was too slow, heavy and doom laden so I suggested we re-do it as a big ‘Anthem’ number in the style of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry… GG didn’t agree and at that point it became clear to us that there was no possibility of us working together on any of the tracks. We were indeed on different planets musically….
Can you believe that GG and I couldn’t even agree on a title for the album or the running order of the tracks, that’s what the situation had come to. Unfortunately, this had been a recurring problem since the split in 1976 – with 2 people we often reached an impasse. As a four man band we had to go with the majority but there can never be a majority with two people!
Still, the fans must make up their own minds about Mirror Mirror being 10cc, 5cc, 2.5cc or whatever. I wrote my songs, played on them, sang, engineered and mixed them as I always did. Adrian Lee added some ‘polish’ to some of the tracks eventually. But, for me, the album is a mish mash of styles – highlights and very low points. I don’t listen to the album. C’est la vie!
The promotion of the album was also very awkward because of this impasse situation. I wanted to go with something ‘up’ and 10cc like as a single…. but Avex went with the heavy version of Ready To Go Home and the rest is history!
We also had this pathetic promotions guy at Avex who had his head up his backside and made the job harder for us! He is now writing children’s books and is no longer in the music business – surprise surprise!!
A group, for me, is a lot like a Formula One team – you need a good product, a good crew around you and a driver who can win for you. We ended up steering the bloody thing in opposite directions and when we gave the wheel to someone else, such as Gary Katz, we crashed out of the race!
that, back to the present day! Have you heard the Olive version of I’m
Not In Love?
(for now!!), how is the album coming along?
Published May 2000, drawing by Diane Bentley
Further reading: the Official Eric Stewart Website
© 1999-2002 The Official 10cc Pages