We chatted to Australian music legend, Brian Cadd ahead of his show at Charlestown Bowling Club on the 13th of November. During the interview we asked Brian about the future of the album as we know it, music to ‘bonk’ to, and his favourite room to play.
What’s your outlook on the record industry today? In a digital world full of single releases, do you think THE ALBUM is dead?
Essentially the album remains as an entity at least in the minds of the many music fans still around who grew up with them. Thus there will be, for a while at least, continuing purchases of music in complete album length. However, the very act of downloading offers us the choice of only buying those tracks we really like. So more and more artists and companies are putting smaller amounts of tracks up online (E.P.s particularly) so that focus will be on the two or three most commercial tracks, rather than having to buy all the ‘filler’ tracks as well.
The deeper question might really be: do new artists understand the reason or concept behind an album…as the Industry goes forward. It was usually a musical gathering of all the songs and ideas that an artist or group had available to give an audience at a PARTICULAR time in their development. So a dozen or so tracks showing the depth and breadth of their current creativity was what you got when you bought the album. Additionally there were often ‘concept’ albums themselves, which were a body of work that had a continuity and common theme…often in story form.
An artist or group usually has several different directions to its creativity. So if the limit of purchasable music available to a potential new band is only one or two tracks, it is difficult for them to project the true nature of the act, certainly in terms of live performance.
At this point in time it is definitely disappearing…but we said that vinyl was disappearing as well. And it has returned. Our business is cyclical so…who knows if it is dead forever.
When you wrote Don’t You Know It’s Magic, did you pen it for yourself or was it always the plan for someone else to record it?
It was written for the Yamaha song contest. No artist in mind. I picked Johnny farnham to sing it in the worldwide contest in Japan after I won the contest here in Australia.
Your songs have been recorded by some of the worlds most admired and celebrated musicians. Do you have a favourite?
Ironically, out of all of them, my most favourite was a recording of my song LET GO by my all-time favourite singer DOBY GRAY (Drift Way). Unfortunately it was released as a follow-up single to Drift Away on the very DAY the record company folded!!!
You’ve spent time lecturing on songwriting. What do you think is the most miss understood aspect of writing a great song?
Probably the importance of retaining the interest of the listener. The “hook” or repetitive part that is usually the chorus…or at least IN the chorus, is the first part that the listeners learn. Research has shown that a listener usually learns that part after about 5 listens. So bogging down songs with long verses and taking ages to get to a chorus can damage the possibility of the listener even sticking around long enough to GET to the chorus. Also writers often say in 10 words what they could say in 5 if they really thought about it. Brevity is the key!
The last time you were in Newcastle you were playing with your mate Glenn. What do you and your fans get out of a solo show that they don’t get when you play with Glenn?
When two performers work together they tailor the show to fit the greatest number of COMMON aspects of their individual performances and repertoire. So, there are songs and performance tricks that are excluded because they aren’t suitable to BOTH artists. So, for instance when I come back to Newcastle this time, I will have songs and stories in the show that wouldn’t have suited Glenn and I doing them as a duo. There is a lot more freedom too…to take show in a new direction if you or the audience want to head that way…without having to worry about the other artist’s wishes.
You’ve played your fair share of gigs around our country. Do you have a favourite room?
Many. My two personal favourites though, (like a lot of Aussie artists) are The Crown in Melbourne and Twin Towns on the Gold Coast.
Do you cover any other songwriters songs during your show? If so why did you choose those particular numbers?
I always do a couple of Rolling Stone songs…because I loved them from the beginning and their material is so much fun to do live
If you were able to sit under the table and listen to any two people speak, who would it be and why?
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. It would be hard to imagine them saying stuff that wouldn’t intrigue or interest me.
What’s your favourite drink to tuck into after a gig?
I usually have a scotch before…and a nice white wine after.
Last year Triple J ran a poll on the best “bonking songs”. If you could pick one song from your catalog that is perfect to “bonk” to, what would it be?
I don’t really listen to music at such times. Musicians are not good at that…because they tend to divide their concentration between the amorous action and what the band’s playing. Sometimes not doing either well 🙂
Brian plays the Charlestown Bowling Club on November 13. Tickets are available at the club.