Passions & Peeves
Source: RTE Guide
Date: 31 March 2001
The three Rs are my passions in a nutshell, Maxi. Reading, writing and recording. I'm not really into analysis. I agree with the painter Francis Bacon who said if you can paint, why talk about it?
I am a lot like that with songs. In other words, if you can spend all the time available to write the lyrics, which could be a week, or ten days, or however long it takes. That's the work. That's the thought process. After that it's out of your hands, and your analysis of it has gone down into the writing. People than listen and get their meaning from my lyrics and their understanding from them, and I think that's fine because that's not my job. It's their interpretation.
When I'm writing I love it with a passion. So much so, that when I get into a lyric, I end up writing about eight or nine lyrics when, as you know, a song requires only about three verses on average. I'm so enjoying my passion that I write so many verses I never use, and that's not beginning to tell you of the extra middle eights!
I enjoy the struggle of starting with nothing and then enjoying it so much when the inspiration flows. I enjoy it when the ideas come and I feel it's a dangerous thing to stop them. I need to let it flow out. I feel that, even if I never use the extra verses, I have enjoyed the creative flow and that's always a good thing. I do that with every song.
The difference between writing and recording as passions is that you can alter the writing at any time, but once you record that's it! I've always been aware since I started making records, that if ever I make a record I didn't like, I had to live with it for the rest of my life. It's arguable that you'll always feel that way, no matter how good the record. When you are mixing it, you are listening to it a thousand times. When you write a song to your satisfaction, and record it with the extra layers and things, and finally are satisfied, that's a nice feeling. I'm not talking about perfection necessarily, but one that brings a smile to my face!
The releasing is my next passion. It's the hardest, because I'm not signed to a major company, and I own everything. That means I finance the recordings, and lease it to various companies, and that is difficult. That is always the hardest because it takes the longest. I have to go to Germany, France and all the different territories. Enter the world of fax, phone and meetings and that takes a lot of time. I find that frustrating, because albeit I get the releases I want, they are never in the time scale I want. The album that's just coming out in Ireland, for example, is already out in Japan. It starts here in Ireland, and then goes to the UK and then the rest of Europe. Whereas if I were with a major, it would be released all over the world at the same time.
Things I don't like? I don't like people who think they are better than you just because they have more. Everyone is equal in my book. I see a lot of people who look down on others and that irks me. I also don't see the relevance of people who are entertainers getting involved in politics.
Getting publicity because you've got a high profile is empty when you realise there are others who are getting no publicity, who are doing far more that you are. I don't like people who publicly give to charities. I think giving to charity is a wonderful thing, don't get me wrong, but there are so many people who do that, that nobody hears about, and those are the people I admire.
I don't have much time for people who do it and generate publicity by doing it. I think that giving to charity privately is the more commendable.
Tea bags are another pet peeve. I hate them. I'm a tea addict. Irish people are, aren't they? Have you ever opened a tea bag? It's powder. Scary. Real tea is Assam, that's heaven. Bewley's tea, that's heaven. It's got to be loose, though. Look at my shopping list here, for my brother Kevin to go out and buy when he gets a minute. Look, it says Assam tea. I have my tea cosy in my suitcase. I have an electric kettle in there too, and a tea pot. I'll show them to you. I carry them around the world. That's how passionate I am about tea. I love it! If the doctor told me to give up tea, I'd be in deep trouble.
Do you like tea, Maxi? Did you say Earl Gray? That's not tea.