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Interview: David Ford

2008-07-29 16:56
Well, David says, he isn't really a hard-drinking, 2000s-beat poet. This guy who goes drinking and says all these clever yet touching things about the women in his songs isn't him at all. David himself claims to be "A very clean-living, easy-going kind of person." And adds: "I don't know where all that stuff comes from. I'm not really as unstable or strange as the people I write about."

And he doesn't want to be called a singer-songwriter, either. So, what (sigh) is THAT all about? "Well to me, 'singer-songwriter' sort of implies the job you do. Writing songs and singing them. Which is fine. But there's also almost an assumption of the kind of music you play. And it's become tarred with an ugly brush of generally whining, oversensitive guys with guitars complaining about how sad they are about girls. It's just boring, really, that kind of music." David sees himself as more rock 'n roll than heart-on-sleeve. Ja well, no fine - there go my dreams. But moving on... to record companies.

That's another thing he doesn't think is going to work out. Although he does concede that things might change. " ...maybe as I get older, and maybe if one day I have less of a passion for traveling and living like a hobo than I do at the moment, maybe there will be some sick part of my psyche that's going to want to get involved in the label side of things, but certainly at the moment it's an ugly world."

So he's NOT a singer-songwriter. He's NOT a record company whore. And, he claims, he's rock 'n roll. Does that mean he's going to fess up some juicy and debauched legendary tales to me? Come on dude, gig me a fish. Give me a hotel room. Give me an naughty twin. But when I ask him about the true romance of touring? Well he says, "There's something to it. It's very different to what people imagine it is. I mean certainly my experience. I've known musicians to have tours, and they've got up to all kinds of mischief. You know, even on a tight budget, you can get into all kinds of trouble. If you want to. For me? I've always been horribly responsible. For me the point of going on tour is to play the shows, and that's always been the most important thing..."

For David Ford, touring's an inspiring, rewarding thing to do. A responsibility, God dammit! Well rock on down to the book club, boy. In desperation, I turn to my extensive stock of yes/no questions, cheap flirts and bad jokes for inspiration. And this is how it went.

Hear about Bob Dylan, long walks on the beach. Vinyl, and his iPod essentials.
Listen to the rest of the interview and hear a few songs in our podcast.
Don't have audio access? Read the quickie Q&A:

Jean Barker for Channel24: If you, Bob Dylan and Ani Difranco walked into a bar together, who would buy the drinks, and why?

David Ford: Bob cause he's got more money. I think that's probably the way the political correctness goes. I think Bob's sold a bunch more records than us. So I'd hope he'd have the good sense and uh, sportsmanship to be the first to put his hand in his pocket.

I'm now going to ask you a series of yes or no questions, to which you can answer yes, no, or neither yes nor no. Is that OK with you?

Cool. Do you enjoy any of the following? Long walks on the beach?

Non-alcoholic beer

Women's magazines

Advice columns?
Mmmmmmm... occasionally.


Quiet candlelit dinners

Is there anything I'm likely to have discovered in this interview that I couldn't guess from listening to your songs?"
Ummm... no... well... I like to think that interviews can be fairly pointless things, given that if you write songs properly then everything should be out there, and there shouldn't be anything of interest to anybody that doesn't exist in your music. And I'd says there's probably a whole lot of things that you could have gathered from my music that are entirely non-existent in my actual personality, because like I say, I don't write from the perspective that I'm the actual person in the songs... Sorry, that's a very long winded way of saying yes and no.

If you had to pick three rock songs that should be on anyone's iPod, which spring to mind right now?
Rock songs! Well if we're strictly speaking about rock, then, ah, I think, in the rock genre, you have to have "Bat Out of Hell" by Meatloaf because it's very enjoyable, in a camp sort of way. Um. I mean personally, my iPod has "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake, which is another camp rock classic. And I guess probably the old "Ace of Spades." The old Motorhead classic.

- Jean Barker

Who is this guy? Well he sounds a bit like what Rod Stewart might if he had better taste, and wrote songs that meant something. In any case, when you're interviewing David Ford, whose opening tracks on his new album is called "Go to Hell", you can't help asking him: "Are you an autobiographical storyteller?", and "Why don't you want to be called a 'singer-songwriter'?"

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