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URBAN EXPERIMENTAL WORK 1985/86

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John Taylor interviews Jonathan Elias about the Resume CD....
2.23.99

JT: So, you listened to the CD and...
JE: It was a lot of fun for me, it brought back a lot of memories... Walking down Fifth Avenue...
JT: That's what it brings up for me... is feelings of... How long ago was it? Have you listened to any of it (since we did it)?
JE: 'Tell Me All You Know' (sings) I still quite like that one... 'Dance For Freedom' I love...I just heard it the other day
JE: On the movie cues you knew what you wanted...
JT: But I was so intimidated...
JE: How could you be? Pat (Rebillot- Pianist) is such a sweet man... He was John's (Barry) man...
JT: Yeah, actually Pat... Absolutely... I was thinking more about Ron (Carter-Bassist) and Grady (Tate- Drummer) It would have been irreverent to have tried to produce them, Could you please play that a little more... I remember you had a lot better handle on it than I did
JE: I was used to working with Ron Carter... also because I went to the same school as he did for a while. They had played with Coltrane!
JT: Everything sounds so good... A lot of the work that I hear, over and over again, like some of the Duran stuff, I lose touch with how it was made, but this stuff, it is like taking it out of a sealed envelope... Now I am driving around LA listening to it, and being taken back to the time and the place... Where you were living... The girl you were living with..
JE: And you!(laughs)
JT: I can remember one hurricane blowing around my apartment... you know..
JE: Uptown...
JT: I think that the music is very emotional... I think we were both in pretty emotional states at the time... and I think it comes across... I'm not sure whether that's just because I know... Or whether it really is there...
JE: I think you and I are always pretty emotional (laughs) We're always in an emotional state... Good or bad... You know that's how we all are... certainly anyone who writes music...

JT: I was on tour with Michael Des Barres... and he was asked to do a thing for this movie 'Nine and a Half Weeks'... I had heard something about this movie and wanted to get involved with it... so they sent him out a clip of the movie while we were on tour, and I thought, this is hot stuff! When I saw it I thought oh!... I really wanted to do something for this movie, and I guess, we got to the end of the tour and we had met before... We didn't actually meet during the making of 'A View to a Kill' did we?
JE: I'm sure we did
JT: No we didn't
JE: We had met before then but we didn't cross paths when you worked on that song...
JE: I'm not sure... Were you working at the Power Station one night when I came up to... You came in with the album cover...
JT: You were wearing an oatmeal colored jacket!
JE: Wow...
JT: I know that in 'Dance For Freedom' we used those orchestra stabs that are actually on the Bond song... 'Tell Me All You Know' the bass was going through similar moves... We had just done that song together... and er, we knew we had something... I remember we set out on a trip, we came over to LA one time, I was thinking about it this morning... It was kinda like a version of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'!
JE: (Laughs) I remember Andy (Taylor) picking us up... at the airport one time, that was kind of... That might have been the second trip...
JT: Oh my God... And one to England as well... I remember you had to come out there for some... you were recording an orchestra in London... We set up all these meetings because... you know... people were very keen to meet us...
JE: 'Highlander', remember 'Highlander'?
JT: But by the time the meetings came around... I don't know... I mean we did kind of party... but it was more like a party in a vacuum really
JE: We never went out... we really liked to just sit there and... play... I was doing 'Requiem for the Americas' at the same time... that took five years
JT: I remember you playing me I think, the first movement and you saying (laughs) I don't know if I am going to use this for an AT&T commercial... Is it for this or... shall I keep it for that?
JE: Yeah... I still do that all the time
JT: I'm sure Beethoven would be writing the odd commercial if he were around...
JE: Well I don't know... Film scores...
JT: Oh come on! You know...
JE: Well they did of the day write little dance pieces, or little pieces for the Empress, for four and five year old kids to sit and learn how to play their D scale... They made up little... They had to get paid for their work too...
JT: Let's talk about 'Big Thing'
JE: The coffee shop on the corner of... I had never really had Capuccino that zipped me the way that did! The place on the corner of Boulevard Davout
JT: Salade de Chevre Chaud! I remember it was hard for you because you had this very demanding business and you had to go back and forth
JE: I went from doing that album to doing a Yes album... And I look at both experiences... The Duran experience versus the Yes experience... Yes put me off producing...
JT: At the last minute the A&R guy suggested that we use the hip mixers of the moment... (on 'Drug')
JE: He was probably fired four months later!
JT: Well yeah (He wasn't)... And I think that impeded the flow of the album.
JE: I do remember that... There was a great version of it that we had done, and I knew it was being changed, it was being taken off
JT: Mm... There's a Japanese version of the album out now that has as a bonus track the original, but I just wish that they had scheduled it into the album running order.
JE: For you guys it was an interesting time... You were reinventing yourselves... Well 'Notorious' really...
JT: But on that album Warren came in... we didn't really notice... I remember that's how I felt... I didn't want to acknowledge any change taking place... (On 'Big Thing') nobody really knew what it was we should be doing
JE: That was interesting for me... Everyone had such natural... ideas... Nick had a natural concept, and you had a natural concept... But you always second guessed yourself... You were famous for that!
JT: The band was?
JE: No no... You... You personally. Nick had very set ideas about things, I mean he would try anything... But you really, you would have a great idea, and then the next day you would come in and rewrite that idea... I mean I saw that a lot on our own stuff, when it was just you and me... I remember trying to convince you about something that you had come up with two days earlier and you were totally second guessing...
JT: Huh...
JE: Often it was over the Linn drum machine...
JT: That was the first album that we used sequencers on. Everyone got funky fingers. I would come in from lunch and Nick would have programmed some Prince thing, and I'd say "What the fuck is this?" That definitely became a problem over that album and the subsequent one, 'Liberty'... But let's move along! Patty, take some pictures while we are talking, you know, natural...

JE: You see, I think you were exploding creatively at that time... I think I was too... I was learning things I had never really known about. Don't forget for me my whole background was... you know... I went to school as a classical conductor... So I knew about things like how to conduct... and orchestration laws... I knew so little, the stuff I knew was so fragile about pop production, I wasn't a rocker, obviously... and your strength was so rooted in that world. And so the combination of us was very interesting. It was interesting musically, and friendship wise, and you see it all came out in the... many... and you know, both of us were somewhat unhappy in that period... Personally too, you know the challenges, so a lot of it did come out in the music. In that period we went to see ballet... You got into playing keyboard, you became obsessed with playing keyboard... You were up there playing the piano in the apartment for hours... you came out of it playing better than Nick at the time...
JT: I could hear so many influences... I still think (Resume) is a very unique sound. I never really knew Prince's music at that time, but everyone was talking about 'When Doves Cry' and what an important record it was because it had no bass on it... and then that became a trademark for him... And a lot of what drives these songs rhythmically is this really hard tonal kick drum...
JE: Oh sure, you weren't playing the bass much, the music wasn't really bass driven...
JT: For the fun of it really, give us a typical week here at Elias associates... like a client list...
JE: Oh what? Out here? A typical week would be Budweiser, Lexus,Taco Bell... It's really like playing in a sandbox...
JT: You surround yourself with great people. When I first came to Six West Twentieth I felt so at home, everyone had great ears, this stuff is recorded really well, better than some of my recent stuff...
JE: Well you know, in another room we might have Michael Bolton recording a coke commercial!
JT: Tell us about 'The Prayer Cycle'
JE: The project is called 'Prayer Cycle' It's a choral piece that was recorded with the English Chamber Orchestra.
JT: It was inspired by the holocaust...
JE: It was inspired by the holocaust, but also by the dropping of the atomic bomb... It's really inspired by the power of man's inhumanities. My own fatalistic impressions came when I started writing the lyrics. The lyrics are in several languages...
JT: and it's coming out in April on Sony Classics
JE: As the Pope is... You know the Pope has an album coming out?
JT: The Pope's Greatest Hits?


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John Taylor/Jonathan Elias: Resume
Order yours now!
Hear a sample from "Resume": "Tell Me All You Know"