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Non-Prog Interviews

Snowy White

Interviewed by Bruce Stringer
Interview with Snowy White from 2013
MSJ:

As the shows proposed for the After Paradise DVD release took place over a weekend it might be assumed that you repeated the sets and kept the best takes, yet during the behind the scenes footage “That Certain Thing” is heard which is not on the final concert DVD. How many other tracks didn’t make the final edit and were there any particular reasons for these cuts?

We only filmed the first show, the dreaded “all eggs in one basket” position. I didn't include “That Certain Thing” because it wasn't a very good performance, especially from me, and so, as we did not have an alternative take, I decided not to include what I considered an inferior version, best to leave it out altogether. (Well spotted, by the way!) This was the only song that didn't make the cut.
MSJ:
 Were there any songs you would have liked to have played but didn’t?
About a hundred...
MSJ: It was nice to hear “Bird Of Paradise” played with all of the orchestral keyboard parts live (thanks to Max Middleton and John “Rabbit” Bundrick). Did you find that, having so many guests, the extra instrumentation gave you more scope to expand on the arrangements?
It's only possible to do a decent version of “Bird of Paradise” when there are two keyboard players. I've tried different ways before, but it's never been very satisfying. I was happy to have this opportunity to give the song a really good shot. It's been many years since I performed that one with my band... It's always enjoyable to be able to play around with arrangements and to have great musicians to work with.
MSJ:
 Was it a conscious effort to focus on the blues material for the first half and the classic solo material for the second half of the show and how different was the set order between the live performance order and the DVD running order?
Yes, I decided it would be good to do the more “simple” material early on, and then pick up the tempo with some old favourites. The set on the DVD is the same as the live sequence of songs. I don't like to mess around with things too much, just release an honest performance of the band on that particular night, with all its ups and downs. Some bands take the live recording into a studio and redo or clean up everything, but in my opinion it's a waste of time, just makes it sounds like a studio recording with a bad sound!
MSJ: Could you describe what you like most about playing more intimate shows, like we see on After Paradise, compared to the huge stadium gigs put on by Roger Waters?
I really enjoy playing the big venues with Roger, but of course when I'm playing the small clubs with my own band. I'm doing my own choice of material, so it's a completely different atmosphere for me. I enjoy the fact that, although there might only be 500 people, most of them have come because they want to hear my own music. It's a nice buzz, and certainly I feel more pressure to put on a good performance because, as I don't do many live shows of my own, people sometimes come a long way to catch a performance and I do my very best to make it an enjoyable evening.
MSJ: What are your immediate future plans, with regards recording and touring?
I am currently putting together a few shows of my own in Holland, with a simple four-piece (two guitars, bass and drums) blues line-up. The band is called Snowy White's Bluesdrivers, and the gigs are called “Just for Fun” - which just about sums it up really. After that, actually by popular demand, I'm doing a couple of shows in Germany with most of the guys who played on the DVD. We'll do basically the DVD show but include a few things I would have liked to have done but couldn't as they were already on live albums or the previous DVD. All the details are on snowywhite.com. I really would love to do some shows in the USA, people often ask me about it so I'm looking at if it'll be possible at some point. As for recording, I'm working on some new ideas but I have not had time to shape it up and spit it out yet. I guess I'll record some material between now and the start of the European Wall tour in July, and finish it in the Autumn. I have no deadlines, so I'll just take my time and see where the muse takes me.
MSJ:
 You recently released MP3 downloadable albums of older demos and alternate takes from the 1980s solo albums. What inspired this, how easy was it to get access to the original tapes and will you consider CD releases of this material?
People often ask me if I have any older material that has not seen the light of day yet, and, whilst I actually like discovering and listening to the older material, (it brings back lots of - mostly good - memories), I'm not a big fan of scraping around amongst old tapes looking for things that are actually decent enough to release, because there's always a reason why they weren't released, generally because they weren't thought to be good enough. But so many people were interested that I thought I'd make some of the older things available.  I have access to most of my work so it was easy for me to trawl through and see what was what, and of course it's also easy to make them downloadable items. I'm not sure if there's any more worthwhile material there now, but I'm keeping an open mind, things keep turning up.
MSJ: What are you listening to at the moment?
I don't normally listen to much music “at home.” I have plenty going on in my head all the time! But my neighbours have lent me some of their CD collection, so right I'm in my house in France having fun listening to everything from Dina Washington to John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra to Muddy Waters, Dean Martin to Peggy Lee, Chet Baker to Oscar Peterson, while I'm decorating the rooms. Good fun actually, just put on a compilation CD and I never know what's coming next!
MSJ: What was the last CD (album, MP3, etc) you bought?
I was wandering around some Canadian city (can't remember which one) last year and I found a fantastic little old-fashioned record store and spent ages in it, and finally bought a Mahler’s adagios collection, thought it might be nice to have it in my car for when I'm in the mood for that sort of thing. But I hardly ever buy CDs these days, because, when I do listen to something, it's mostly the music that I used to listen to when I was younger, all the blues guys.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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