Lloyd Cole hit the music scene running back in 1984. He started out as the lead singer of The Commotions and has been revisiting those early years in recently released retrospective albums. He has a smooth style and a laid back manner that attracts loyal fans across the globe. He is performing at the Columbia City Theater in Seattle this evening. It is going to be a great show as he performs his 1983-96 songbook. Grab some tickets at the door. He took a couple minutes out of his busy schedule to speak with Equality365. Enjoy our interview.
Earle Dutton: What is it like performing acoustically and being the absolute center of attention?
Lloyd Cole: I have been doing for about the last fifteen years. I have grown sort of comfortable with it. You have to have your wits about you and think on your feet. I don’t think people would really love it if I got out there and didn’t make a show of it all. There is a fair amount of talking and adlibbing. There is also some comic relief since I always fuck up at least one song per night.
ED: What do you contribute to your longevity as an artist?
LC: Hmm, it would probably be financial necessity (laughter). I was lucky enough that my hobby became my job. I can let my artistic leanings take me this way or that but I still have to make the mortgage payments. I don’t know what I would do if I quit being a musician. I just hope that I can continue doing this for another five or ten years. By then, the kids will be out of college and things will be quite different. Luckily I haven’t run out of energy yet.
ED: Do you look at music differently now than when you were younger and making that first album?
LC: I think so. I think there is a period in most people’s lives, their formative years, where the memories and attachments they make are the things they tend to hold onto emotionally for the rest of their lives. I think that period is about fifteen to twenty-five. You might think it is strange for a sixty year old guy to be so fond of “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen but I was fifteen when I heard it. It just stayed with me. I don’t think it is possible to hear music at the age I am now and have the response to it that I had when I was fifteen. Every now and again I am going to hear something and think it is amazing. I am not going to lock myself in my room and listen to it for a week though. I am quite different now. I don’t think back then that I could understand why anyone would want silence. Now, I like silence quite often.
ED: If you could give your younger self a message, what would it be?
LC: Well probably, deadlines are good. Deadlines are useful. Too many choices and too much equipment is not a good thing.
ED: You have worked with some amazing people. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
LC: The only people that I have never collaborated with but would still really like to are The Pet Shop Boys. I suppose it is not quite too late. I think that Neil Tennant is the only songwriter peer of mine whose work I have always liked. There are other people whose work I liked at a certain time but I think Neil’s work has always been great. Obviously, there are other people. I mean, Prince has recently passed. It would have been fun to be in a band that Prince decided to write song for.
ED: Do you have any quirky things you do before going on stage?
LC: I don’t think this is terribly quirky but I like silence before I go on stage. I rarely get it. I think it is not massively different from being a sports person. One needs to gather one’s self and prepare. You have to be able to go out there and react to whatever happens. It is never quite the same any given night. It might be different if you are playing huge arenas and you have a band and have a very controlled environment all around you. My shows are in small theaters and every night is different. I need to be able to respond. When I was younger I guess I would drink to ease my nerves but these days that is very rare. I think I have found that I do actually do a better job if I am sober.
ED: Who were your musical influences growing up?
LC: I think it is important to know that musical influences can be positive or negative. I was a music fan since I was eleven years old. I was a music nerd. I loved David Bowie. I love T.Rex. I loved the whole glam rock movement. I was eleven or twelve when that started. I was very fortunate to be sixteen years old in 1977 when punk rock happened. I think that is how I learned to be a pop singer. I just started as a fan. There was also music that I really didn’t like. When you are making records you just have to think this bit here is starting to sound a lot like those guys that we hate. You sort of negative impact the music you make as well. I don’t think there is a single metal band that I have really liked. I have really tried recently. I thought maybe my taste was formed by a closed mind but no I still don’t like any of them.
ED: How do you stay creative?
LC: I don’t at all. I go through long periods of not being creative. I am usually burned out for a while when I finish an album. My job includes a lot of boring stuff that really fills in the time when I am not feeling creative.
Don’t miss Lloyd Cole perform his 1983-96 songbook. It will be a great show. Grab some tickets at the door.