HIT CHANNEL INTERVIEW: April 2014. We had the great honour to talk with a legendary musician: Peter Hammill. Peter is a founding member of progressive rock pioneers, Van der Graaf Generator (VdGG) and also has a very interesting solo career. His latest release is the amazing “Other World”, a collaborative album with guitarist Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart, Jeff Buckley). Read below the interesting things he told us:
Were you surprised when Gary Lucas approached you with an offer to do something together?
Pleased and encouraged rather than surprised I’d say.
How spontaneous is the material of “Other World”? Did you spend a lot of time with Gary Lucas discussing the musical direction of the album?
Very spontaneous. I guess we spent time preparing ourselves for it and preparing material on our own. For the recording we dived straight in without much discussion at all!
Are there plans for a new album with Gary Lucas?
Not at present.
How close to release is your new solo album? Can you give us a few hints about its musical and lyrical content?
I’m now almost at mixing stage. Once that’s done it’ll still be two or three months till release. So, later in the year. No clues yet ;-)!!
Do you think the current collapse of the major recording labels is a kind of justice for their corporate greed all these years?
Yes and no, it doesn’t help musicians and music if they collapse in fact!
Is there an explanation for the huge success that Van der Graaf Generator had in Italy during the ‘70s?
Right time, right place.
Do you have happy memories from the Royal Albert Hall show you played in support of Jimi Hendrix in February 1969?
The memories are pretty dim, it was a long time ago. A great privilege though old course…
Why the concert you played in Leverkusen, Germany on 5 November 2005 for Rockpalast TV show has not been released yet on DVD?
Not within our control I’m afraid…
Why did you decide to cover George Martin’s “Theme One” on “Pawn Hearts” album (1971)?
We used to play it as an encore sometimes so it seemed natural…
Was Pink Floyd’s album “Ummagumma” (1969) a direct or indirect influence for “Pawn Hearts” album?
Are you frustrated when some fans complain about your ever-changing song arrangements in concerts?
No, but I can understand some people want to hear things exactly as they once were. That doesn’t keep me/us interested though!
What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
If at all, classical. Mahler songs lately actually.
Do you believe that the analog sound is more “warm” than the digital one?
Yes, analogue sound is warm, as in pleasantly distorted. But you can record good stuff digitally too!
Do you remember the outdoor show you played with Porcupine Tree and Blackfield in Greece in 2005?
Lycabettus? Yes, good show!
Would you like to collaborate again with Robert Fripp (King Crimson)?
Maybe some day but no immediate plans. I think we each have our own things to do!
A huge “THANK YOU” to Mr Peter Hammill for his answers and to Billy James for his valuable help.
Official Peter Hammill website: http://www.sofasound.com
Official Gary Lucas website: http://www.garylucas.com
Peter Hammill/Gary Lucas official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/peterhammillofficial
Order “Other World” album here: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopnews.asp?newsid=523