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      I'm Graham, Fly Me

      Graham Gouldman
      Graham Gouldman is best known as a founding member of 10CC, but his career as a songwriter pre and post dates that band. In the 60s he wrote hits for such groups as The Hollies and The Yardbirds, and just last year he released his first solo album in 12 years, Love and Work.


      This month Gouldman will embark on a tour of smaller venues with bandmates from the current 10CC lineup, playing acoustic versions of a varied selection of his work over the years. We chat to him about the new concept.


      TELL US ABOUT THE HEART FULL OF SONGS TOUR.
      We’ve been doing something similar in that before the 10cc shows, we’ve been doing our own sort of support act if you like. We come and we do about half an hour, some songs from the 60s and some songs from my new solo album Love and Work, and it seems to work really, really well. Basically that’s a much shorter version of what the Heart Full of Songs is going to be.


      YOU HAVE A MASSIVE BACK CATALOGUE, SPANNING MANY DECADES. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CHOOSE THE SETLIST?

      I’ve chosen more songs than I’m going to use. We’ll rehearse them all and I’ll see how they sound, because something will need to be adapted from the original for the acoustic version. But the proof of the pudding will obviously be in the eating!


      ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING MORE INTIMATE VENUES?
      It should be really nice, and I think in some places I’m going to do a question and answer as well. Because I get so many people coming up to me after gig, and obviously people have lots of questions, so I thought I might be nice to do it within the concert setting. But I’m well aware some people there might not want to hear me talk, and just want to hear me sing. We’ll see how it goes.


      I SUPPOSE IN A WAY THIS COULD BE SEEN AS A RETROSPECTIVE OF YOUR CAREER. LOOKING BACK, IS THERE AN ERA THAT STANDS OUT FOR YOU AS YOUR FAVOURITE?

      The funny thing is - I mean you say it’s looking back but actually I’m going to be doing some songs from Love and Work, my new solo album. And in a way that era, which is quite recent as it only came out last August, is a very very happy era for me. Of course my era working with Andrew Gold in the 80s was very happy...I mean they all have their elements about them, but when I’m looking at the setlist, though it’s not in any order yet, I can see that there’s sort of 5 different era’s I’m working with. And I have to say I’m very lucky, and I’ve been happy throughout.


      HAVE YOU EVER HAD A TIME WHERE YOU’VE STEPPED AWAY FROM MUSIC, OR EVEN HAD WRITER’S BLOCK?
      Not really. I might have had quieter times but really, I can’t do anything else so I don’t do anything else. I don’t play golf and I’ve got no other real hobbies apart from cooking. I’ve never had any other interests whatsoever in my professional life other than music.


      YOU’VE HAD MANY NUMBER ONE HITS. IS THERE A FORMULA FOR A HIT?
      You’ve just got to do what you do and hope other people like it. And I’m glad to say they do on occasion, yes.


      YOU RECENTLY POSTED ON YOUR WEBSITE BLOG FROM THE MUSIC COMMENTATOR BOB LEFSETZ, AND IN HIS PIECE HE SUGGESTS THAT OLDER PEOPLE HAVE GIVEN UP ON MUSIC. DO YOU THINK THAT’S TRUE?

      I don’t think so. You can’t give up on music, it’s like giving up on food or breathing. Whether you like it or not it’s there.The older generation might not be buying music as much, because maybe they’re not as internet savvy or whatever. All I can tell you is this; when we do a 10CC show we get people of an age you would expect and older. I mean, sometimes you think “Blimey, should you be out?”. Then you look at them and they’ve got this smile on their faces and they’re singing along, and you think - bloody hell that’s amazing that you can do that. I think I forget how old I am, that’s the problem. I’m stuck being in my late 20s or something but obviously I’m not - these older people at the gigs having a great time and I think it’s fantastic that we’re a part of that.


      YOU’RE MUSIC HAS BEEN SAMPLED SEVERAL TIMES - FOR EXAMPLE BY HIP HOP ARTIST EL-P AND DJ UNKLE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

      That’s good, I don’t mind that. I guess that’s the joy of music - I mean my youngest son is 18 and he listens to the Beatles a lot, he knows everything about the Beatles. He loves music from the early 1960s and he’s listening to it because it’s good, that’s all that matters.


      YOU’VE COLLABORATED WITH MANY PEOPLE OVER THE YEARS. DO YOU PREFER WORKING WITH OTHERS?
      I rediscovered myself in a funny sort of way with the Love and Work album, because although there’s a lot of collaborations, there’s actually a lot of songs I started off on my own, just with me and a guitar. Which is sort of how I started in the 60s, so I quite enjoyed doing that. I suppose I got used to collaboration, it’s a more enjoyable experience. But though having said that when you do write something on your own and it really works there’s something very pure about that. And I’m very happy about that.


      ARE YOU HAPPIEST RECORDING OR PLAYING LIVE?
      There are 3 main things that I do and I’m happy doing all of them. One is writing, one is recording and one is playing live, and I enjoy them all. I find that what I’m doing at the time is the greatest thing I can do.


      YOU SEEM LIKE THE ANTITHESIS OF THE TORTURED MUSICIAN!
      I’m lucky enough to make a living out of it, and I never forget that. I don’t know who I should be grateful to, but I am grateful that I’ve been lucky enough to get up every day and look forward to my work. It’s true for anyone - if you enjoy your job then it’s not work is it?


      Graham Gouldman will bring his Heart Full of Songs show to the Bridley Theatre in Runcorn on April 25. See www.grahamgouldman. info

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