What informs your music and songwriting?
Anything from the decline of the textile industry to “baby, don’t go”. I don’t have a strict remit, but I do have one rule – always write to a title. Titles and slogans fascinate me and I find them to be like a coat hook to hang the song off. If you write to a title then you can’t go too far wrong.
How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I think I have a lot more sympathy for the song as an arranger. I used to throw the kitchen sink at a song – you know, 16 guitar parts at once, over-complicated drumming, etc. These days, less is decidedly more.
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m writing the answers to these questions in a hopefully cohesive and entertaining fashion. Seriously though, I’m gearing up for the three Lonely Robot live shows and that’s a bit more demanding that I previously realised.
What’s on your rider?
Whatever TM Nellie buys really. I don’t have any demands or special requirements. I’m working up to my “no brown M&Ms” moment.
Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
When I was at school, I had a boy crush on one of the assistant teachers there. She was 18 and I was about nine. I really wanted to impress her. I convinced her to come and listen to me clatter about on the piano during practice time. All the other kids clocked me doing this and queued up to jeer at me outside the practice room. I sort of gave up chatting up the laydeeeez after that.
What song do you wish you’d written?
Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. It’s one of the more timeless things to come out of the 1980s.
What’s your worst lyric?
I was 14 when I wrote it but “A clear day dawned and the clouds were high” was particularly shocking as part of a heavy metal narrative. If a clear day had indeed dawned, there wouldn’t have been any clouds in the sky, dummy! Lol.