Robyn Hitchcock Realtime Interview

Robyn Hitchcock Realtime Interview


This is a radio interview with Robyn and CBC Stereo of Canada's Realtime show. It is available in RealAudio format from www.cbcstereo.com/Realtime

RT) This is Realtime on CBC Stereo welcoming all of Canada - Hello, Canada - and of course all the world via Real Audio on the Internet. So here's what you need to know, because there's just lots going on here.

RT) Robyn Hitchcock is in the building. He's done his sound check. He's got his key and he's ready to premiere new songs from his album that won't even be out until August...After that he will be doing an IRC chat session on our Internet chat channel. People are hanging out there already. There's even a Robyn Hitchcock man from Germany. He's been on there for a couple hours....Robyn will be here in a few minutes....

RT) In just a couple of minutes the man that's been called the Monty Python the Syd Barrett and the Douglas Adams of Alternative Pop will be here_I can only be talking about the one and only Robyn Hitchock. I bet he hates the fact that I said Syd Barrett...so many Syd Barrett references in articles about him. So, I'm sorry, Robyn. Anyway, Robyn came all the way from England to make this one stop in Canada and premiere songs from his soon-to-be-released album....Robyn will be on in a few minutes. But first, this - one of my favorite Robyn Hitchcock songs - Madonna of the Wasps.

RT) From Queen Elvis that's Robyn Hitchcock and Madonna of the Wasps. And Robyn is here now. Welcome, Robyn.

RH) Hi, Leora.

RT) I'm fine thanks. You've only been in Canada for what a number of hours now.

RH) On, this occasion, yeah.

RT) Well tell everybody how you got here. It's been quite a series of flights, hasn't it?

RH) It wasn't too bad. The original version was gonna be awful. I think we just came via Toronto. So I must have been in New York this morning.

RT) If it's a Saturday, it must be Vancouver.

RH) Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. It's funny. It almost seems like Sunday, but it's not.

RT) And when did you leave home then?

RH) You mean this time?

RT) This time?

RH) This time I finally packed up and went Wednesday.

RT) And that's the Isle of Wight? Your house there?

RH) No that was a few years ago. I left that.

RT) So where do you live now?

RH) I live in West London.

RT) Oh you do live in West London. Okay.

RH) Yeah. Yeah. I used to live there in 1971 and now I'm back.

RT) You're back.

RH) Not in the same house...but pretty similar. Have you been there?

RT) I have been yes. It's been a number of years. But I had thought you still lived on the Isle of Wight and I was going to ask you about the doomed festival from 1970. Do you remember that one?

RH) Yeah. I mean, it wasn't that doomed. It took place.

RT) It lost money.

RH) Oh, well. That doesn't count.

RT) That doesn't mean anything, does it?

RH) That didn't mean anything to the audience. I think the artists probably got their money and the audience lived. They came and went. The interesting thing was that there were half a million young hairy people, and a few years later none of them were left. You just thought that a few of them would have taken root there. I think the locals were really scared that would happen, but it didn't.

RT) Yeah.

RH) And I went back. I was one of the few people who did, `cause I'm kind of a very backward looking person. So, I remembered it, and I sort of wandered round the same path, I queued at the same toilet. I mean, you didn't have to queue, `cause there was nobody there except that one time at the festival in 1970. There were hundreds of people queuing, and they were all gone.

RT) A long time ago.

RH) There was some graffiti.

RT) A little something. You know what? We have got a stack of e-mail for you. We have got people on the phone. But first, before we get to them, let's hear some music. Do you need a sip of water first. I saw you reaching for your drink.

RH) Ah_I'll just have a bit of this water.

RT) Yeah. Have a swig of that fine Canadian spring water. And what would you like to play first?

RH) This is called DeChirico Street and it's on my new record which I finally finished, but it doesn't sound anything like this on the record.

RT) Okay.

[Plays DeChirico Street]

RT) {whisper: Here, I'll get it} Thank you. That's Robyn Hitchcock DeChirico Street from the new album. Now I've been told two things. It's called either, or is it both, Mossy Liquor or is it Moss Elixir?

RH) Let's get this straight once and for all.

RT) Yes. Let's.

RH) And I say that not `cause I heard there's been any problems, but because there might be. Moss Elixir is the title of the cd and cassette and that's the official release that they're pressing up you know thousands of or whatever.

RT) Right now probably as we speak.

RH) As we speak. The motors are whirring and the thing's being produced. But the vinyl is called Mossy Liquor and that consists of six of the same songs as Moss Elixir, but different recordings, different takes, and six songs that didn't make it onto the cd. So basically you'd have to be quite hard core enthusiasts to want to get Mossy Liquor; it's not as good as Moss Elixir -

RT) Well there you've heard it from Robyn himself.

RH) - but, it's not bad.

RT) Oh, it's not bad. Okay. [Station Phone #'s] Robyn can you just throw on those headphones? We've got somebody on the line who wants to talk to you. We have Alex in Victoria. Hi, Alex.

Caller) Hi

RT) Hi, here's Robyn.

RH) Hi, Alex,

Caller) Hi. How many uncorrected personality traits would you say you have?

RH) Uncorrected. I don't know. That's a good question. How many do you think you've got?

Caller) A bunch actually. I like your music, so that's one right there.

RT)

RH) Do you think of yourself as a very dysfunctional person, then?

Caller) I don't know. It seems like it's tempting to want to think of yourself as a dysfunctional person so you can get away with a lot more stuff, you know? Yeah, and it also means you can sort of cultivate yourself as an interesting thing. You know I knew a guy who used to assault himself with a knitting needle sometimes. And he was very ordinary in every respect, except he just had this peculiar genital mutilation thing with a knitting needle. And it meant that he was suddenly on the map.

RT) How is he today, Robyn?

RH) He became a milkman.

RT) Oh.

RH) Are you gonna watch out? If god had meant us to look inward, maybe she or he would have given us completely swivelling eyeballs. I think it's pretty easy to spend far too much time thinking about yourself.

RT) Thank you, Alex. And godspeed to you. [Station Phone #] E-mail question. This one comes from Andrew in London, Ontario, who says, `Robyn, I have a two pronged question for you. What do you think of A&M's compilation album coming out this summer? Were you consulted? Yeah, they stuck it together. I mean, they told me they were doing it. And they've got the rights and recordings, so they can do anything they want to really. I don't know if they can speed them up and put hip hop beats underneath them.

RT) No dance mixes, no?

RH) I don't know if they can mutilate them, but maybe should have.

RT) So you didn't have a hand in selecting the tracks?

RH) I didn't but a friend of mine did. I thought it was quite interesting. I've listened to it. What's interesting is the way that as the records get more produced, my voice gradually just sinks into the general mush of sort of musicianship. And I think that of the A&M things I prefer the early ones to the later ones.

RT) Here's the second prong of the question. Do you consider it to be a way for A&M to cash in on your recent signing with Warner like the REM album put out by IRS after they signed with another label? This is heavy record company talk here.

RH) I think cash in is a bit of an overstatement. They obviously timed it to coincide. But it's not like huge amounts of revenue are going to be generated. I don't really think it deeply matters. The only thing about the A&M record is that it's terribly long. I mean, I don't know that anyone would get through all of it.

RT) Well, you could take a coffee break in there somewhere, right?

RH) Yeah. Yeah, you can. I mean, unless it's on cd I suppose. Then you're right, you can stop it.

RT) You're going to have to hit pause.

RH) I think the most interesting thing this issue raises is that in the old days, you had to flip the record or flip the cassette, didn't you? So there was a natural break. You'd have six songs and whatever it was, twenty minutes of music.

RT) And you knew the a-side from the b-side.

RH) Yeah, but all of all of an album didn't mean a and b or better and worse, but they had their own identities as you say. And in putting records together, up until the time of cd, you were very aware of that. Now you can obviously insert insert a coffee break, I think Paul Weller actually did that on one of his_

RT) Oh did he? I missed that.

RH) _but, otherwise you're programming something straight through and it's forty-five minutes of stuff. I don't know. It's quite a lot to listen to, I think, a whole cd of anybody.

RT) It's a lot to take in.

RH) Yeah.

RT) I have another e-mail question. This one comes from Hamesh in Sydney, Australia. I saw you twice when you played in Sydney in 1993 with Cruel Sea and by yourself. At the second show you said you'd bring the band back out to Australia in the near future. Any chance?

RH) No, because the near future is gone, and I haven't got the band anymore.

RT) And one of them is in the computer business or something, isn't he? Isn't Morris doing something with computers?

RH) Sometime he does. I don't know. I mean he's basically very much in the family business.

RT) What's going on with the Egyptians, then?

RH) It stopped two or three years ago for a variety of reasons. But I just think basically there's something sad about a bunch of men hanging around together after the age of forty. I think you've either got to be absolutely desperate or making a real packet-load of money.

RT) So that's Mic Jagger's excuse then?

RH) Yeah. Yeah. And the other side would be people who play the sucker clubs or bum around Spain in a transit playing their old punk hits, you know? Otherwise, I think it's pretty undignified. We're in touch with each other and things. But that thing of being sort of a six legged race, I think had it's day by the end of 1993. Hence, this album.

RT) Well, let's hear some more songs. Will you play some more?

RH) Yeah. Yeah. Let's see what happens. [Plays Man with a Woman's Shadow]

RT) Thank you, Robyn. You didn't tell me what that one was called. RH) That's called Man with a_

RT) Man with a Woman's Shadow

RH) _Woman's Shadow

RT) I was gonna guess that. Nothing cryptic there.

RH) The first one was called DeChirico Street.

RT) That one we got.

RH) Did I introduce that?

RT) Yeah. Yeah, you did. You're doing very well. You're behaving very well. So, the one we just heard, also on Moss Elixir?

RH) That's on Moss Elixir. But it's also on a 7" vinyl record on Kay Records that I put out last year.

RT) With Calvin? Right?

RH) With Calvin, yeah.

RT) Out of Olympia, Washington.

RH) Calvin recorded it just down the road.

RT) Just a stones throw from here, yeah.

RH) And I loved that version so much that I pinched it to the LP. No, not the LP. What's it called? The cd.

RT) The cd, not Mossy Liquor the LP.

RH) No it's on Moss Elixir, that same take.

RT) The cd.

RH) I think I'm going to do something else for Calvin, actually. I'm now a Warner's artist, but I'm allowed to sort of miff out on odd little things like that.

RT) People are concerned about you. I have an e-mail here from Corey who goes to Duke University who says, "Ask Robyn how many records are in his Warner Bros. Deal?"

RH) Why's he wanna know that?

RT) Isn't that bizarre? I don't know. People are obviously interested?

RH) I think it's probably because I've spent a long time without a major record deal, and people assumed that I was a die hard independent backwards person who was kind of raging around in the shadows and was defiantly anti-corporate. It wasn't that. It's just that the kind of stuff I did didn't really appeal to large record companies until the mid `80's. And I think a lot of people were upset when I signed to A&M, because I moved out of the groovy sort of indi-ghetto. But, anyway, I sort of think the A&M stuff is all right. Basically the way it works with a record contract is that if you keep selling, they can probably hang onto you indefinitely, and if you don't they'll get rid of you as fast as sour milk.

RT) It doesn't matter if you sign for ten albums.

RH) No. They're all renewable. You can even sign for two albums, and they can dump you after one, if they want to. They can do anything, and so can you if you've got enough money. Which is why eventually the world will be run by one person who's even richer than all of the other rich people put together.

RT) Oh, don't even think about that. Sign of the Apocalypse.

RH) Well, yeah, except for this person is gonna go mad, because no matter how rich they are, they won't be able to extend their life. And towards the end they'll be hawking their brain around to all these young male and female babes and saying, can I put my brain in your body, `cause I wanna live another sixty years.

RT) These are people who have been cryogenically preserved, I take it.

RH) No, I think these are people who are just very rich and reaching the age of about sixty. Sort of about two Michael Jacksons in terms of money and age. So whatever it is, sixty-six. I'm getting along. I'm getting that way myself. And they'll find that they can't buy an extra life, and that's when they'll become insane. And that's when the become dangerous, `cause they shake their cage and they start throwing explosives about. The world is run by demons as it is, you know?

RT) The apocalypse is near.

RH) The apocalypse is happening already. Like Ballard? said, World War III has been going on for the last thirty years or something. But, I don't know much, I'm just a country boy.

RT) He's just making this stuff up as he goes, but it sounds good, doesn't it? If you want to talk to Robyn [Station Phone #'s]. I have e-mail that comes from David in Vancouver, who I know. And I know that he's a very big Robyn Hitchcock fan, and he says `I understand much of the Hitchock lineage all the way back to the first lung fish that ventured onto the shore has been involved in the arts. Are you a relation of the American surrealist poet and novelist George Hitchcock, because he seems similarly obsessed with flora and fauna?

RH) No. Furthermore I haven't heard of him.

RT) Neither have I. Well, who are you related to then?

RH) Gosh, probably the same people as you. I don't know.

RT) But who's the Hitchcock lineage_.

RH) I thing what he's trying to say, reading between the prongs, is that there is a poet called George Hitchcock. So, David if you'd like to e-mail us with a couple of titles of his work..

RT) That would be a good thing.

RH) _back at the station we can all go out and buy a copy on Monday.

RT) But as for your other artistic relatives, do they exist?

RH) Well, the main one doesn't, `cause he's dead. Which is my father.

RT) And he was a writer, right?

RH) He was a writer and a painter. His early paintings were brilliant, and he started to try and go professional, and he started copying other people and they weren't much good after that. Similarly the books he wrote, the ones he got published, were all kind of sex comedies or spy stories. His best work remains unpublished, like the one about Stonehenge being made invisible, and all about the woman giving birth to a rubber tire, and people living in the abandoned aircraft, and sex organs being transplanted into the armpits by a new god, and all that stuff.

RT) And what was his name?

RH) Raymond. Raymond Hitchcock. He was suffice it to say, my biggest influence. People have immediately traced me upstream to Syd Barrett , which is fair enough, or Bob Dylan, because they were my musical role models, if you like. But my way of thinking and the reason I was attracted to creatures like Dylan and Barrett comes from my father who is no more, but he's got a lot of books unpublished. Somehow all of his best stuff didn't come out. But, I'm actually by way of putting out a book of short stories. I've just been talking to a publisher in New York. And this will probably take about two years, `cause I only write about fifteen pages a year. But it will one day happen, and I'm hoping I can flog some of my dad's stuff off on somebody.

RT) I'm sure people would love to see it.

RH) That's the truth. And I really think Raymond's stuff was great. He really had an imagination.

RT) And he passed it on to you, I dare say.

RH) Not exactly the same one.

RT) But a reasonable facsimile, I think.

RH) Yes, he faxed me his head, dear Pappa.

RT) Well in his honor, in his memory, let's hear some more music.

RH) This is one he never heard. This is called the Devil's Radio.

[Plays Devil's Radio]

RT) Thank you. That's Robyn Hitchcock live in the Realtime Studio [Station #'s]. The Devil's Radio, I take it, is on that new album?

RH) Yeah. Yeah.

RT) What's the release date on the new album?

RH) Moss Elixir, the cd, the main thing, is coming out on August the 23rd, I think, and Mossy Liquor is coming out two weeks earlier on vinyl.

RT) And what about the A&M compilation, the Robyn's Greatest Hits?

RH) The A&M compilation I think is coming out every single day in August. Sort of massive saturation releasing, probably. My knew publishing is called August 23rd Music. And by shear conincidence.

RT) Is it anybody's birthday that you know of?

RH) No. It's a significant date in my life. It was just one of the stations in the relationship that my partner and I have. It's one of our anniversaries.

RT) Ahhh_Anniversaries of something.

RH) Yeah. Well, we thought we'd have as many as possible. And it gives you an excuse to kind of bloat or whatever it is.

RT) And gloat.

RH) Exactly. To gloat and bloat and float.

RT) Hey, we've got another call from you. It's Uron in Vancouver. Hi. Here's Robyn.

Caller) Hi, there, Robyn.

RH) Hello, what's you're name?

Caller) Uron.

RH) Hello, Uron.

Caller) I was wondering if you hadn't had some insight from the other side of the ocean on how you make it as an independent?

RH) Make it as an independent?

Caller) Yeah, in Vancouver, Canada.

RH) What you mean how to become a successful independent artist?

Caller) Yeah, assuming you have the talent, of course.

RH) Well, you mean, you'd like to carry on but you don't want to sign to a major label?

Caller) Exactly.

RH) Well, I think the majors are always quite happy when you don't want to sign to them. So, don't lose any sleep over that. I have no idea, actually. I think you just have to carry on doing what you're doing and assuming you're any good, eventually people will notice. And then you can always say, "Don' t Look! Don't Look. I don't want you to notice," but you have feet between your covered hands anyway.

Caller) Yeah.

RH) So what do you play?

Caller) Guitar.

RH) Right, so have you got a band?

Caller) Yes. On and off. we pull things together and put it out and see where it goes.

RH) Where does it go, usually?

RT) Laughs.

Caller) Concert halls.

RT) Concert halls?

RH) Really, so you don't have to play the Town Pump. You can do bigger gigs than that?

RT) There's nothing wrong with the Town Pump.

Caller) We skipped a few steps.

RH) Wow. I wish I could do that. The only place I ever played in Vancouver was the Town Pump, except once I played_

RT) You played at the rougue theater once.

RH) Was that the place that was like the public library?

RT) Yeah, but you also played at the Rogue Theater, the movie theater.

RH) No, no. That was great! That was part of the festival.

RT) That's right. You did that to.

RH) When it's actually a solo show under my own name_.

RT) Man with a guitar show

RH) Yeah, I played in some upstairs shop_

RT) Oh, the Tom Lee Music Hall.

RH) That's right.

RT) Yes_

RH) I remember the whole audience, it was like being in Japan, everybody had been siphoned out of the room five minutes after the show. There was no trace of the fact that a gig had happened.

RT) Very hygienic. Well, hey, Uron, thanks for calling.

Caller) Yeah, thanks.

RH) Good luck.

RT) Now we have Bob in Brachville, Ontario, Robyn.

RH) Hi, Bob_.

Caller) Hello.

RH) Bob, you're wheezing through the dust.

Caller) Oh, excuse me.

RH) It's all right. No, no. Everybody is. All phone callers sound beautifully analogued.

Caller) Listen, I've got a question about a liner note on your cd Eye.

RH) Yeah, yeah.

Caller) Um in the liner after the dedications, it says Kung Fu Fighting was originally released in 1974.

RH) That's right, yeah.

Caller) Now, you don't cover Kung Fu Fighting on this cd at all, and from what I can tell you don't allude to it on any of the songs.

RH) No, that's right. That's true. But if you noticed, I did do it later.

Caller) Right. Yeah. And actually, when I got this, I bought it second hand. And I said "Oh, Kung Fu Fighting" and I thought it was a hidden track or something like that.

RH) Huh. Oh, did you ever hear the version I did put out?

Caller) Yes.

RH) Well, just look on it as kind of looking backwards. I mentioned it first and then I recorded it out later.

RT) We should all be that fortunate. Thanks Bob, thanks for the call.

Caller) Bye.

RT) [Phone #] Robyn, everyone wants to know if you're touring for this record. If so will you be doing it alone, with the band, what are your plans?

RH) No. It won't be with the band. It's just easier to maneuver without the band, and also I tend to lose my voice if I play with the band. I have to holler so much.

RT) Sure.

RH) After twenty years of being deafened by monitors, I think I'm entitled to just hear what I do. Actually, the first tour, hopefully will be with Billy Bragg. Bill and I will be_cause he has a new album which is brilliant by the way_coming out about the same time as mine, maybe September the Fourth, or something.

RT) Maybe August 24th?

RH) No I don't think it's coming out then, `cause it's not quite finished. So I reckon it won't be out September, but the plan is to do a sort of North American, quite a short, joint tour. And Bill will go on second, `cause he's got a bigger live crowd than I have. It would just be Bill and I, I think. And we probably play in Toronto and Vancouver, `cause that's what always happens when you do a north North American thing

RT) Right.

RH) So, we would hopefully be; I reckon we'd be around here sometime in November. Late foliage time, you know. When the maple sets it's leaves a-twangin'.

RT) You know all about the flora and the fauna_.Here I have a question all the way from the people who go to the North Carolina State University School of Design. Chris, who wants to know if you like cats, because Chris's cats Dwayne and Miller seem to like your music and have been tested and appear to be gifted.

RH) I wonder with what.

RT) Who knows.

RH) Yeah. Actually, on the whole I don't like cats, but I'm very fond of the cat we have. I think I've probably come to cats quite late in life. I never thought of myself as liking them. I think now, I'm beginning to understand them a lot more.

RT) What's your cat's name?

RH) She's called Figgy. In fact, she's all over the new album. There's a big photo of Figgy on the inner sleeve. And the vinyl album has got a huge, a foot square basically, photo of Figgy. And it's in there because it's a good picture, rather than `cause we felt the need to promote Figgy any more than she's already promoted.

RT) Hey, better a cat's picture. You don't like getting your picture taken anyway, as we found out earlier tonight.

RH) Yeah. I think this is part of gradual maneuver to replace my visual image with that of Figgy, or Figaro, as that sometimes goes.

RT) Well, then you could release records well after your dead just with Figgy's picture on the album cover.

RH) Well, that's probably what's gonna happen..huh.ha.ha.

RT) Now I have an e-mail here from Sarena, somewhere on the net. I'm not exactly sure where. `Robyn, could you sing Carolyne Says - you did a great version back with the Soft Boys - I would love to hear it again, or any Beetles covers or the Unpleasant Stain?

RH) Geez, what have you been listening to? The Unpleasant Stain was a really sort of lousy piece of misogynous crap that I wrote when I was a recovering sort of public school boy.

RT) Recovering misogynist, by any chance?

RH) Well, it took me a lot longer to recover from that. But I was, I don't know. I was probably still a virgin, I was about thirty. It was awful. Some of that stuff is lying around. Hard core ghouls think it's good, but it's not. It took me a very long time to straighten out. I was a very_I just had things wrong when I was younger.

RT) Who can we blame for that? I like blaming people.

RH) I blame myself, because I was allowed to be that way. Or blame everybody for not putting me in the army and giving me a haircut_

RT) Yeah

RH) _knock some sense into me, you know. I had some peculiar indulgences when I was younger, and I really don't like that stuff. Actually, Carolyne Says, I could sing a bit of it, but I don't want to do very much, because time is short.

RT) Sure.

RH) I really like the new Lou Reed album actually. "When I was a young man, no bigger than this_a chocolate egg cream was not be missed_man did something or other_." Have you seen Blue in the Face?

RT) No.

RH) He's hysterical. He's really good. Lou Reed fans, go and see it. It's great. It really is. I also saw him live on television in London. He didn't say anything to the audience, but he was really funny. I think Lou is on a bit of a roll at the moment. When he's, up he's up and when he's down, he's unbearable. He's a great conductor; very expressive.

RT) Well, we're gonna get to some more music, but here what about another question? This is a good one, because you were talking about your dysfunctional childhood. Bill and Anna who e-mail us from lord knows where want to know if Mucky the Pig and Mr. Moose are allusions to your childhood or illusions from your adulthood?

RH) Ha ha ha_oh wow. You guys are too bright for my own good. Oh, well I saw another one, someone asking about if the pig was called Mucky. Mucky the pig was a plastic pig that my daughter had when she was about three, a plastic squeaky pig.

RT) Daughter Maisy.

RH) That's my daughter. I have no other.

RT) How old is daughter Maisy now?

RH) Ha ha. Daughter Maisy is almost as old as me. She's twenty. She's going to France with her boyfriend next week, who's French.

RT) And you look worried.

RH) I'm not worried about that. He's great, actually, he's really good. She may_I hope she's gonna learn some French over there. She hasn't learned the languages properly, anyway, she'll have to have there. Anyway, when Maisy was not twenty but three, she had this little pig called Mucky which squeaked. So, natch, wanting to make incisive biting contemporary observations on the way British society was going in the early stages of Thatcherism, I wrote "Mucky the Pig is out on a limb." And what was the other one? Mr. Moose?

RT) Mr. Moose.

RH) Mr. Moose was in Faulty Towers I think. It's the one where the Moose's head falls off on the_

RT) Oh, that one!

RH) And the waiter smacks him and goes `naughty.' Isn't he called Mr. Moose?

RT) I think so.

RH) I was just had Jacob Lurch, Mr. Moose, and Ghandi. Jacob Lurch is featured in a forthcoming book, story of mine. Jacob Lurch is from the future; Mr. Moose is in the past. Sometimes you get confused and they just run the other way.

RT) I know and your into time travel and all that stuff. So it's science beyond me.

RH) [Laughs] and to me [or run into me?], actually.

RT) Believe me, it's science beyond me. Well, let's have another song. Your choice.

RH) How much longer have we got?

RT) You know, as long as you want. But what do you think control room? We've got about ten minutes.

[Plays Carolie Says]

RH) That's Caroline Says.

RT) So you did take a request. Thank you very much that sounded sort of beautiful.

RH) That's from Lou Reed's album, Berlin, 1973.

RT) Yeah.

RH) I'm gonna do one more before we vanish.

RT) I know. We're going to go the song you brought us on DAT, but we've just got two more callers for you, can we do that?

RH) Okay, then I've got to retune the guitar a bit. Yeah, hello callers.

RT) We have Jim in Toronto, first. Hi, Jim.

Caller) Hello.

RH) Hi, Jim.

Caller) How you doing, Robyn?

RH) Okay. How are you?

Caller) It's a pleasure to vocally meet you?

RH) I know. Let's hope our cords intertwine beautifully in soulspace.

Caller) I just want to tell you that you and Kevin Ahern? have been a huge influence on me throughout my life.

RH) Wow, what do you look like?

RT)

Caller) Nothing like you two. I look. I don't know it's hard to say, I guess.

RH) Really, `cause my manager used to manage Kevin.

RT) He used to manage Kevin Ahern? Peter in the other room over there?

RH) Peter in the other room. Yeah.

Caller) Really. My god. One question. If you were to go home right now and press play on your tape player or cd player, or which record would most likely be in your stereo system right now?

RT) And you don't own a turntable do you?

RH) No, I don't. No.

RT) So what would it be, Robyn?

RH) It depends what my girlfriend's been listening to I suppose.

Caller) .

RH) Let me see. I don't know. It's a good question. You mean what would I like to hear? Or what would I_

Caller) have last heard.

RH) _have last heard that was on there? Geeze, I don't know_. It might have been Chibone(?) Martyr(?).

RT) Oh, yeah!

RH) Or it might have been_actually, everything's been a girl. I really like the production on the new one. I mean I've even been listening to Alanis(?) Morrissette(?)

RT) Oh, thank you very much. Wonderful Canadian.

RH) Yeah. She's interesting. She's good on the harmonica.

RT) Okay, what about his Robyn. Blur or Oasis, which one are you?

RH) Oasis, I'm afraid.

RT) Awww_

RH) I'm a southerner, but I think Oasis_there's something a bit sneery about Blur. I mean, Oasis sneers, but in a kind of much more forthright way.

RT) I'm surprised, I took you for a Blur guy.

RH) They're probably more like me than the Oasis lads are, but there's something about Oasis' music which rings truer to me, and I feel like Blur's more contrived, and I think there's something_ Actually that's another we've got at home, Watch the Story(?), and it's a very_my girlfriend and I both like that one.

RT) Well, Jim, thank you very much. We have Mike on Long Island, New York. Where in Long Island, Mike?

Caller) Ah, a town called Sagel(?)

RT) Okay. So, here's Robyn.

RH) Hi, Mike.

Caller) Hi, Robyn. I'd like to ask you a question. My favorite album is Eye and I think my favorite song is Linctus House.

RH) Oh, yeah.

Caller) A few years ago, I used to like the beginning because I was in a relationship, I was in a marriage, and everything was working out well and I related to that part. Now things aren't going so well, and I'm relating more to the last part.

RH) .

Caller) My question is, Which way do you think the relationships between men and women in general end up? And which way are things gonna go between us? It's just such a struggle..

RHYou mean between you and your partner? Between men and women in general. There's just so much going on, and will it work out or will it not work out, you know? In the end?

Caller For everybody?

RH) Oh, you mean will the human race work out or just men and women?

Caller) Just men and women.

RH) I think the human race is doomed. We could be the eyes of god, but we're not looking. Our culture is based around isolation. It's based around people being driven into their own needs and wants and not being able to empathisize with other people. And I speak as someone who is basically terribly self centered. But, I think if you can crawl out of your hole enough to look into someone else's then maybe that's part of the answer. I think it can work out between men and women, yes. Definitely. I think there is hope, actually. And I hope that whatever happens to you ends well.

RT) Hopefully there should be songs on the new album that will help Mike out, huh? What do you think?

RH) This new album is terribly untortured. It's probably the most_it hasn't got a big grin plastered all over it, but it's much less_ I've had quite a drain in five years from '88 to '93 and I'm very much_ I feel more, whatever the word is, settled down than I have in ages. I hope it doesn't mean the record's too boring.

RT) I'm sure it won't be. Mike, thank you for calling.

Caller) Thank you.

RT) Okay, bye. Good luck.

RT) So we're gonna play that song you brought in on the DAT, and then you can retune your guitar. So tell us about the song you brought in on the DAT tape.

RH) Oh, Okay. This one I'm gonna play.

RT) Well, I am not me, we're gonna to.

RH) It's a cassette, isn't it?

RT) Is it on cassette or on a DAT?

RH) It shouldn't be on a DAT.

RT) Is it? No?

RH) It was on a cassette when I brought it in.

RT) Okay. It was on a cassette. We probably moved it onto a DAT.

RH) Oh, it's already changing form. I am not me. This features Deni Bonet on violin, who probably would be touring with me, when I go out. She's a very good violinist basically. In fact, she sounds like a guitar. There are also quite a lot of electric guitars all played by me. This is an attempt to play rock music without using base and drums, `cause generally whenever people play rock music, they figure well we've got to have a rhythm section. So, I thought I'd just try that kind of guitar with no bass and drums, thus insuring I don't get any airplay.

RT) Oh, well you're gonna get some right now.

RH) Well that's good, `cause that means I'll get the PRS for it.

RT) In spite of yourself.

RH) I know. Isn't that incredible?

RT) Well, let's hear it now, and then we'll come back. You'll tune up your guitar while we're listening to this.

RH) I will, yeah. This is good loud, actually, so if you've got headphones, turn it up.

RT) Turn it up.

RH) Yeah, this is nice.

[Plays I am not Me]

RT) That's Robyn Hitchcock and I am not me from the Moss Elixir album. That's gonna be your big billboard hit, isn't it? That one we just heard?

RH) Oh, I'm almost certain. It's the only reason I wrote it.

RT) So while we were listening to that, you were tuning your guitar to some bizarre tuning that you made up, right?

RH) Yeah. This is a sort of tuning based around C. I've been playing the guitar for nearly thirty years, and just to keep myself interested, I've finally ventured into the land of other tunings. And perhaps I've discovered this one. So this song's called heliotrope and it's on the new record. It's about a woman with a cat's head sunbathing on the tomb of an old gunfighter. He hasn't decayed, `cause he's so uptight that his molecules haven't been able to relax enough to rot. So although he's dead, he's just kind of down there like a frozen stiff mummy_

RT) In suspended animation.

RH) _Not even that. He just cannot let go enough to rot even. He's such an uptight, probably British, gun fighter. And in some peculiar way his body is receiving telepathic thoughts from the sunbathing cat headed woman. And by the tomb is a London bus stop. And this and other things are mentioned in the sleeve notes of the record. I wrote them specifically to connect with the record this time, rather than just shoving a story on them. If you happen to read them, you'll see. Anyway this is called heliotrope. Let's see what happens.

[Plays Heliotrope]

RT) Thank you. Robyn Hitchcock live on the Realtime Studio. You were getting some good bagpipe sounds from your guitar there. That was amazing!

RH) Oh. Thanks.

RT) I just wanted to thank you so much for dropping by tonight. That was, like, the big international premiere of songs from the new album.

RH) This was it mate. That was the great promotional launch.

RT) Well, it was wonderful.

RH) Now I'll go have a cup of tea.

RT) Give the big plug-a-roo. The album is out August 23rd.

RH) I think it is yeah. Yeah.

RT) And everyone should buy two copies, right?

RH) I don't know. I think_. No. Everyone should wonder why the vinyl tracks aren't on the cd and why the cd hasn't got the vinyl tracks and why did we leave that one off. All I would say is if you can't get hold of_..just find someone who's got a turntable and then tape it. Don't worry about if it's available somewhere else.

RT) Or whether you get the extra dollar or something.

RH) No. I would just get one person, buy one. Just get three people in Canada to buy my record. A person in Vancouver. Dave gets the vinyl and the bloke in Toronto Jim gets the cd and then they can tape the tracks they want and mail them to each other.

RT) There, the boss just gave you permission. Thank you so much, Robyn.

RH) I hope that's okay with Warner.

RT) Yeah, we've got the record company guy in the other room. Chris is going NO! So we'll let you have your little tea break, and we've got lots and lots of people here on the internet who want to talk to you, and I know you don't even like computers.

RH) No.

RT) Look at all these people. There's all these people here.

RH) What do they look like?

RT) We can't tell what they look like; that's the beauty of the internet.

RH) They could be really ugly.

RT) They could be really beautiful, too.

RH) Ahhh..well, I suppose you could look at it that way.

RT) I usually wouldn't, but I was just trying to be contrary.

RH) That's true. You have to try to balance that kind of instantly negative response. You're right. They could not even have human form. They might be fiends.

RT) All the better for you, then.

RH) You mean I should get on the internet to just jabber to fiends.

RT) That's right. You've got it.

RH) Fiends jabber all the time anyway in between pronging things. Well, okay. Let's go then.

RT) Okay, I'll let you have your little cup of tea, and I just want to thank you again.

RH) Oh, any time.

RT) And now we have another song from your new album. This is "All Right, Yeah."


I've been passed on a track listing for the new album  -

"Moss Elixir" (WEA 9362 46302-2):

1. sinister but happy
    devil's radio
    heliotrope
    alright yeah
    a happy bird is a filthy bird
    speed of things

2  beautiful queen
    man with a woman's shadow
    i am not me
    de chiraco st
    you and oblivion
    this is how it feels

No other details, sorry.


And also:
Robyn back at the 12-Bar in London:
August 6, 13, 20; September 3, 10. All Tuesdays.
0171 209 2248.
UKP7.50

ROBYN HITCHCOCK
Moss Elixir
Mossy Elixir: Outtakes and Prototypes

personnel: R.H. guitars, harmonica, keyboards, bass, vocals
Deni Bonet violins, viola, percussion
Ntshuks Bonga saxaphone
Morris Windsor vocals, tambourine
Tim Keegan guitar, vocals
Patch Hannan drums, tambourine
James Fletcher  saxaphones
Moris Tepper acoustic guitar, slide guitar
Pete Dowdall  double bass

producers R.H. with Grant Showbiz, Calvin Johnson, Pat Collier
featured tracks "Alright, Yeah" "The Devil's Radio" "Beautiful Queen"
format college/alternative/AAA

-ROBYN HITCHCOCK makes his Warner Bros. debut with not one but two new
releases.  Why not sit down and have a frosty beverage while we
explain this one to you?  It's a little complicated...

-Hitchcock, as you may well know, is among the greatest songwriters of
both the age and the edge, known for his flights of BARRETTesque
whimsy and LENNONesque lyricism; his extensive back catalog as both a
solo artist and a prime mover of the (late) Soft Boys, his status as a
college-radio deity for nigh a decade; and his life-altering live
performances.

-SO: two releases, then.  The main album proper is MOSS ELIXIR, which
comes out on CD and cassette on August 13.  It's got 12 new songs that
find HITCHCOCK in a largely acoustic-based, often solo mode.  And it's
pretty damned good (if we do say so ourselves).

-Then there's MOSSY ELIXIR, which will be released only on vinyl on
July 23.  As the subtitle suggests, it's something of a companion
piece to MOSS ELIXIR.  It features six songs not available on MOSS
ELIXIR, along with alternate versions of several MOSS ELIXIR tracks.
It includes an inner sleeve with photos and complete lyrics.

-MOSSY ELIXIR is strictly limited to 2,500 copies.  Act now and get
'em while they last; we don't want to hear your tragic hard-luck story
about how you waited until they were all gone and then had to pay an
exorbitant collector-scum price to some cynical dealer who brutally
exploited your love of R.H. for his own crass purposes.

-As anyone who has ever sat up until the middle of the night humming
along with "I Want To Be An Angelpoise Lamp", "My Wife And My Dead
Wife" "Give Me A Spanner, Ralph" or several dozen others will tell
you, Robyn Hitchcock is a genius.  Expect heavy college radio play,
lots of press and quite a bit of touring to support the albums.

CD $15.98  lp/cass $10.98

MOSS ELIXIR sisnister but she was happy/the devil's
radio/heliotrope/alright,
yeah/filthy bird/the speed of things/beautiful queen/man with a
woman's
shadow/i am not me/de chirico street/you and oblivion/this is how it
feels

MOSSY LIQUOR: OUTTAKES AND PROTOTYPES alright, yeah (in
swedish)/beautiful
queen/shuffling over the flagstones/cool bug rumble/wide open
star/each of
her silver wands/de chirico street/as lemons chop/sinister but she was
happy/trilobite/the devil's radio/helitrope



Last updated: 06/10/96

sfoskett@slf.gweep.net