Memories from the House of the Rising Sun.

Memories from the House of the Rising Sun.

Eric Burdon from The Animals Talks to Philip Gardiner

‘The house of the Rising Sun’, ‘We gotta get out of this place’ and ‘Don’t let me be misunderstood’ are just three of the mega-hits from the British 60’s band, The Animals. Under the name ‘Eric Burden and the Animals’, they moved to California, and have gone down in history as one of the greatest pop-rock bands ever. Here, Eric Burden unleashes his animal instincts with Phil Gardiner.

My first question is, what would you most like to be remembered for? Is it the music or the meaning?

I feel that the music IS the meaning.

We know most politicians were born in the fiery pit of hell as the spawn of Satan, but what’s your opinion of the politics of the world today?

In New York City recently, I saw the congregation of a black church departing after Sunday morning service. Next to the doorway, inside a glass case, was the prayer of the week. It read: “Show respect to your enemies, after all, you helped create them.”

That’s my feeling toward today’s democratic process and the so-called regimes we feel don’t fit “our ideals,” but you can’t force democracy on anyone.  People must come to it.

Can you tell us all about your past, present and future?

The past is past, nothing you can do about it. Lord knows I have made my share of trouble, but I’m grateful to all of the people who remember the better things. The present has me involved in continuing basically the same endeavours.  Only I can now use my experience from the past to do it better than previous works.  As for the future, we’re all going to have to be stronger than before as the challenges are greater than ever, but everyone should try to live in the ‘now’.

Tell us a little about your kind of music please!

The music I love must be from the centre of the soul. I listen and feel anything that has reached my heart. I decided, years ago (age 15 or so) that the human voice was the first instrument ever, and words and stories needed to be conveyed.  I believed and still do, that I am an instrument.

Have you ever heard of a band called The Animals? Any good?

We started out young and strong.  We had a collective belief in music: music from another land, the music that was stronger outside the land that gave birth to it.  America tried its best to crush the sounds of black music and rock and roll, and so we reached into the collective trash and we found the Blues, which gave birth to Rock n’ Roll. Yeah, we were good, until money got in between us.

If you were an alien visiting planet earth, what would you do? Would you turn around and go back? Or stay and try and help? Or maybe conquer?

I have an open mind. Out here in the Mojave desert I’ve seen some unexplained things in the night sky, but after all these years, I now believe that people have been deluded by a great cover up put into action by the military, since 1947, as a means to cover up their need to spend trillions of dollars on experimental aircraft and keep the fear level up in the world. This is all based on the fact that people see and believe what they want to see and believe.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

“Ooohoooh! Stayin alive, stayin’ alive!”

A thought… It’s 201  Jazz music’s dawn was around 1911, which morphed into blues.  R&B, which became rock and roll.  It’s still alive today, so one could say that this form of music has lasted almost a century. I’m proud to have been a part of that cultural expression.  Rock On!

What has been mankind’s greatest achievement?

The printed word comes close, but I am still waiting and watching.  I hope I won’t be disappointed.

If you had the chance to speak to every human being on earth, what would your message be?

Save the oceans!  It’s our last chance! We should be ashamed of ourselves.  Reduce plastic use, and wherever possible, “revolt” against atomic energy use.

If your life depended on it, which Soap Opera would you do a cameo in?

I would love to be with Joan Collins in a Mexican daytime soap opera, killing all of her lovers with an ice pick.

If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to see or hear it, does it make a sound?

About as much as a teardrop. You don’t need to hear it, when you can feel it.

Have you ever felt pressured by the fact that what you sing about affects society? Have you ever wondered whether you were doing the right thing?

Chaos is the foundation to life itself.

What advice would you give to musicians today? And what’s your opinion of the highly engineered and marketed music we see in the charts today?

Stay in the garage until the whole street knows who you are, then find a good manager.  Don’t trust anyone, but when you do need to, pray you used your own gut feelings.   If things go wrong, you only have yourself to blame.

Why do you think music and words seems to work so much better than just words as a means to get a message across?

Charles Dickens didn’t play Harmonica.  I believe that words by themselves can be just as effective.

What kind of movies do you watch and why?

American and French gangster films circa 1947-1958 (Jean Pierre Melville).

My favourite directors are Stanley Kuberick, John Ford, the Cohen Brothers, David Lean, Guy Richie, Sergio Leone and many more.

What are your opinions about the power of the internet?

I think we’ve yet to find out.

Do you think man is created in the image of God (or Goddess) or the other way around?

God created woman, then the silence was broken forever. I tend to lean toward the belief that God is a woman and that she is black.

A recent scientific report stated that religion will eventually die out completely. What’s your opinion on that? A good thing or a bad thing?

So that means that Science will be the new religion? As long as there is a human element, there will be religion. Science has also recommended that atomic power s the cleanest, most efficient form of power for the people on our planet, so who can we trust?

Is “free will” the whole of the law? Can man ever be truly free?

A good, healthy night of sexual activity will “free” you up for a few hours, but death does a better job. Amen!

Do you back Nuclear Power?  If not, why not.

I’d like to back Nuclear Power all the way back into the ground. But the genie is out of the bottle. We all know it’s too late. There’s been so much big money in ‘clean-ups’ and security. If we want to stop it we can, but man would even put a reactor in the rear of a Volks Wagon.

Do you believe in Ghosts? UFO’s i.e. aliens visiting planet earth? God?

I live in the land of astronomical events. A large meteor strike could wipe us all out, that’s for sure. None of us can confidently say he or she will still be living the next day. Now it’s known that there are fingerprints embedded into asteroids that the space program has found and may be the key to human space exploration.  But no little green men in UFOs are going to find us.  We have to find them, their traces, and clone what we find. Then we could have our choice of colour when it comes to little space creatures.

Have you ever experienced altered states of consciousness? How, why and was it beneficial? And would you recommend it to all politicians, business and religious leaders?

During a session in 1964, I consumed mescaline and was embraced by Karli, the Indian goddess of death and destruction. It was a frightening experience. I survived to be stronger and lived to tell the tale. Could you imagine Carl Rove doing the same thing?

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I am crazy! It’s the best defence mechanism in this crazy world.

What would you still like to achieve?

Peace of mind. And more regular sleeping habits as I get older. This is becoming more difficult as time races by.

Would you ever record a duet with Justin Bieber?

Sure! I’ve got a cool song for the dude, the title is ‘27 Forever’

Do you believe in manmade global warming? Or is it natural?

I knew it was coming, so I moved to the desert where the summer temperatures can get up to 120 and nights in the winters are freezing cold. But the air is clean and the night skies are beautiful so it’s an even trade.

And lastly please feel free to say anything at all you want to the world of readers and tell us all about what you’re up to these days, plug an album, website or car-boot sale.

I’ve been hitting the studio getting my new album ready for release. It’ll have all new tracks and a short video to accompany a song about the late, great, Bo Diddley. The album has been taking up most of my time, writing lyrics, recording, designing album art, etc., but as usual, I’m reading constantly and I’m thinking about material for a new book.

We’re also leaving again soon for a few shows here in the U.S. We’ve got some shows in Canada and Europe later in the year. Check out the dates on my website www.Ericburdon.com . The tour info is updated frequently so I’m looking forward to seeing all of the fans out on the road.

Philip Gardiner interviews the legend of pop, Boy George.

Philip Gardiner interviews the legend of pop, Boy George.

The man needs no introduction, but here’s one anyway. A massive international star. There, nuff said. Now read on.

My first question is, and I know you’ll hate this question, what would you most like to be remembered for?

I really hate that question but probably for being an amazing lover? I dunno, my musical legacy is very important. I still have work to do to cement that! I’m on it like a far bonnet!

We know most politicians were born in the fiery pit of hell as the spawn of Satan, but what’s your opinion of the politics of the world today?

You cannot lead successfully without compassion. I believe in leaders but most have zero compassion. I think greed and commerce have always been more important than fairness & compassion. I joke that ‘democracy sells you your life back at a premium rate’. I don’t think you can just blame the politicians we all have to look at our role in things. Culpability is the new black!

Can you tell us all about your past, present and future?

My past has been colourful and complicated but fun at times. My future is as uncertain as yours but my presence is very present. I am here and I love my life.

If you were an alien visiting planet earth, what would you do? Would you turn around and go back? Or stay and try and help? Or maybe conquer?

I would hope to have a wealth of wisdom to impart but I might have my own questions to answer!

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

Keeping my sense of humour and my friends! All the rest is just drama and while it’s important in its own way it does not define me!

What has been mankind’s greatest achievement?

The safety pin? Bread, eyeliner!

If you had the chance to speak to every human being on earth, what would your message be?

Be the light!

If your life depended on it, which Soap Opera would you do a cameo in?

Coronation St or Emmerdale. Is the league of gentleman a soap?

If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to see or hear it, does it make a sound?

It would sound like Armageddon to a slug!

Have you ever wondered whether you were doing the right thing?

To be honest I have only started considering this as an older and hopefully wiser man. Yes, now I think constantly about what I do. I consider myself to be much more Conscious these days!

What’s your opinion of the highly engineered and marketed music we see in the charts today?

There is always great and inspiring music being made. Of course it’s all objective and just because something sells bucket lads that doesn’t make it sacred in my opinion. I love honesty and sometimes really trashy pop songs have a certain honesty that other bombastic and revered things don’t. I like what I like and that’s the end of it!

Why do you think music and words seems to work so much better than just words as a means to get a message across?

A song about something is always better than vacuous drivel. Even instrumental music can be seriously lyrical. Words are everything!

What kind of movies do you watch and why?

I love Pedro Almodovar who is a quirky Latin genius. Again, honestly, profundity and style are things that set great movies apart. I thought ‘The Artist’ was a visual Masterpiece but wondered why they didn’t do more dancing. The dancing at the end was stunning and worth the ticket.

What are your opinions about the power of the internet?

It’s a cesspit but it can be a great way to promote and share ideas! I love and hate it in equal measure!

Do you think man is created in the image of God (or Goddess) or the other way around?

I see God mostly in nature. Those places and things that take your breath away. The creatures that inhabit the ocean are mind blowing and put Gaga to shame when it comes to style and freakishness. God is in the trees.

A recent scientific report stated that religion will eventually die out completely. What’s your opinion on that? A good thing or a bad thing?

Religion or faith can provide us with boundaries and that’s a good thing. The intention of faith is to unite but sadly many human beings miss the opportunity to use faith as a warm blanket. As I said earlier ‘be the light!

Is “free will” the whole of the law? Can man ever be truly free?

Once you understand that you have choices, especially emotionally then you can approach life from a better perspective. They say if you want to know how to live watch a flower grow. Also, look at people who live with disabilities and you Will learn humility. Be grateful for what you have and know that you are lucky if life provides you with luxuries. You are not special if you are rich and successful. You are lucky.

Do you back Nuclear Power? If not, why not.

After Japan it’s hard to support it. We need to invest in less harmful energy ideas.

Do you believe in Ghosts? UFO’s (i.e. aliens visiting planet earth)? God?

I believe in my friend Amanda Ghost!

Have you ever experienced altered states of consciousness? How, why and was it beneficial? And would you recommend it to all politicians, business and religious leaders?

Only on drugs and I would not recommend it to anyone. I no longer believe chopping off your ear leads to enlightenment!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

There are so many things. I try to keep those moments to a minimum.

What would you still like to achieve?

Complete & utter personal happiness!

Would you ever record a duet with Justin Bieber?

I don’t think we could agree on a song!

Do you believe in manmade global warming? Or is it natural?

We are certainly not helping. I think man has and is continuing to damage the earth.

And lastly please feel free to say anything at all you want to the world of readers and tell us all about what you’re upto these days, plug an album, website or carboot sale.

Support our label VG records and pick up ‘Kalino Mome’ Marc Vedo & Boy George ft ‘ Desi Slava’on

Interview with Nik Kershaw

The Sun Hasn’t Gone Down on Nik Kershaw

Philip Gardiner interviews English singer-songwriter and 1980’s heartthrob Nik Kershaw.

The 1980’s teen-idol is wearing well.  Collaborations with Elton John and Bonnie Tyler amongst others, and varying degrees of critical & commercial success with the release of every new album push this creative songwriter periodically back into the limelight.  He never really went anywhere of course, and it’s easy to forget how much of Nik’s music is woven into the fabric our lives.  Whether it’s the iconic Live Aid performance of mega-hit ‘The Riddle’, or the entire summer where it was impossible to walk from one street to another without hearing ‘I am the one & only’ blaring from a car radio, this is one artist that has truly stood the test of time.

My first question is, what would you most like to be remembered for? Is it the music or the meaning?

Not sure I give a toss. When you’re dead, you’re dead.

We know most politicians were born in the fiery pit of hell as the spawn of Satan, but what’s your opinion of the politics of the world today?

I’m sure David Cameron actually believes the sanctimonious, self righteous shite that comes out of his gob when he talks about bombing Libya but, at the end of the day, it’s all about the money. He knows it and we know it. Mind you, somebody has to be in charge. Being a politician is a thankless job and I have no idea why anybody would want to do it. I admire their courage, confidence and work ethic. That doesn’t mean they’re not all smug, self-aggrandizing, patronising scumbags.

Before I embark on a career in the music industry, is it true that pop stars like yourself get laid at least twice daily? Or is this a myth? And if not, what’s the point?

Not twice and not daily, but you do get to hang out with Roland Rat.
What’s your favourite Monty Python film and why?

“Life of Brian”, without a doubt. Not least because it pissed so many people off. It gets quoted more than Spinal Tap in this house. “Wolf nipple chips, get ‘em while they’re ‘ot”.

If you were an alien visiting planet earth, what would you do? Would turn around and go back? Or stay and try and help? Or maybe conquer?

I’d turn around and go back, were it not for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to afford to fill up my spaceship with diesel. I might have to get a Saturday job with my comrades in Games Workshop.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

I think my crème brulee takes a bit of beating.

What has been mankind’s greatest achievement?

I’m torn between landing on the moon, sequencing DNA and ‘Cheeky song (touch my bum)’ by the Cheeky Girls.

If you had the chance to speak to every human being on earth, what would your message be?

New album,  www.nikkershaw.net

If your life depended on it, which Soap Opera would you do a cameo in?

Eastenders. I am, by nature, a miserable git. I’d fit right in.

If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to see or hear it, does it make a sound?

We weren’t around when the big bang happened but I’m pretty sure that would’ve been quite loud. Anyway, if a squirrel or woodlouse heard it, it made a sound.

Have you ever felt pressured by the fact that what you sing about affects society? Have you ever wondered whether you were doing the right thing?

Christ, I’m not Bono. I just write and sing about stuff that interests me. If anyone’s dumb enough to think I’m some kind of oracle, that’s their problem. My songs are an NCP car park, anyone parking in it do so at their own risk.

What on earth was The Riddle all about?

Nothing on Earth. It was a guide lyric that never got changed. Bollocks from start to finish.

What advice would you give to musicians today? And what’s your opinion of the highly engineered and marketed music we see in the charts today?

Do it ‘cos you love it and play to anyone who’ll listen. I’m hoping that people will tire of the whole X Factor thing.  Far too much attention being lavished on far too few people. Everything goes in cycles. The revolution is coming. Today Mubarak, tomorrow – Cowell.

Why do you think music and words seems to work so much better than just words as a means to get a message across?

“The music is the missile and the words are the payload”, I think somebody who knows stuff said that once. If they didn’t, they should’ve done. It’s bloody genius.

What kind of movies do you watch and why?

I love a good, intelligent Sci-Fi. Also clever, “out there” movies like “Being John Malkovich and “Memento”. Nothing annoys me more than a glossy, star studded, high-budget pile of crap.

What are your opinions about the power of the internet?

I don’t think there’s much point in having an opinion. It’s here and we have to deal with it. The music business spent years trying to stem the waters with sandbags before it figured out it was better off bunging on a pair of Speedos and going for a splash (I do love a good metaphor – songwriter, you know).

Do you think man is created in the image of God or the other way around?

I’m pretty sure we created God but, if we didn’t and Ed Milliband was created in his image, we’re all screwed.

A recent scientific report stated that religion will eventually die out completely. What’s your opinion on that? A good thing or a bad thing?

As an atheist, that’s fine with me. Too many people are still dying in the name of some God or other. Paradoxically, I find myself envious of those with an unshakeable belief system. My mum lived the last five years of her life totally convinced that one day she would be reunited with my dad in Heaven. It sustained her through each day and I wasn’t about to argue otherwise. Must be great to have that kind of faith in something. And think on this, without religion there would be no Sistine Chapel, no Mozart Requiem…..And no Aled Jones!

Is “free will” the whole of the law? Can man ever be truly free?

I’m free between 18:00 and 07:00. The rest of the time I’m £17.50 per hour.

As a pop star, it’s a given that you’re obviously deeply involved in the occult, child sacrifice, Satanism and taking the virginity of young ladies. Why is this?

There’s nothing on the telly.

Have you ever heard of Howard Jones?

Very funny. Howard is a worthy adversary and a true friend.

You are one of the giants from a period full of giants. Who, from that revolutionary period, do you admire and why, apart from Human League, which goes without saying!

I love Scritti Polliti. Green’s voice is something special, Dave Gamson’s arrangements were groundbreaking back in the 80s and the songs continue to be strong. Tears for Fears made some great records. There’s always Talk Talk and, if we’re talking of giants, fish is 6’7”.

Do you back Nuclear Power? If not, why not.

I did until a few weeks ago. Not wise to build a reactor on a fault line. Still think it’s better than burning an ever dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

Do you believe in Ghosts? UFO’s (i.e. aliens visiting planet earth)? God?

I’ve seen a ghost, seen a UFO (it was unidentified, it was flying and it was an object), have yet to see a God of any description. I’m not holding my breath. I believe in Our Lord Richard Dawkins (Ironic or what?)

Have you ever experienced altered states of consciousness? How, why and was it beneficial? And would you recommend it to all politicians, business and religious leaders?

I’m partial to a cheeky merlot but, fortunately, drugs either put me to sleep or kept me awake so I never really got a taste for them. I’d love to see prime minister’s questions on crack, most business leaders are off their face most of the time and religious leaders are permanently in an altered state.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I worked in an Unemployment Benefit Office for three years.

What would you still like to achieve?

I’d still like to score the winning goal in the FA cup final and win the Monaco Grand Prix but I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that these two achievements will ultimately elude me. I’d settle for writing the perfect song. Haven’t even come close yet.

Would you ever record a duet with Justin Bieber?

Although I can’t conceive of the series of events that would have to conspire to make such a liaison likely or possible, I cannot say for certain that it would never happen any more than I could say that I would never have Pope Benedict’s baby.

Do you believe in manmade global warming? Or is it natural?

I’d love to believe that the whole global warming thing was a big corporate conspiracy but most of the science tells us otherwise. I take solace in the fact that this planet will do fine without us; and that, in Universal terms, we’re completely insignificant.

And lastly. Please feel free to say anything at all you want to the world of readers and tell us all about what you’re up to these days, plug an album, website or carboot sale.

Already have.

Thanks Nik, a truly entertaining interview, can I have my pen back?