Jamie Cockburn had the chance to speak to Scottish lad Mike Scott of The Waterboys who will be down under next month for a national tour. Here’s what went down…
You will be touring Australia for the first time as a band next month – what has taken you so long to get down here!?
No reason. It just never happened somehow. But it’s not been for want of trying. Every year I asked my agents “well, are we going to Australia yet?” Finally they said yes.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most iconic venues, that must be a pretty special date in your diary?
They’re all special. And a gig is a gig. I take ’em as I find them. But yeah, I’m pleased to see Sydney Opera House on the schedule!
An Appointment with Mr Yeats is quite an interesting concept, how did it come about?
Nearly 30 years ago I noticed how many of Yeats’ poems sat on the page like song lyrics waiting for music. So many of them rhyme and are in regular rhythm, and so, over the years since, I’ve set about 3 dozen of them to melody. It was my dream to create a full concert of Yeats poems turned into songs and I realised that dream in 2010, when we presented An Appointment With Mr Yeats at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, which Yeats had founded a hundred years earlier. The album is a distillation of the show.
How does the energy from your early gigs from the 80’s and 90’s compare to your shows nowadays?
I’m 53 and my energy flows differently than when I was 25. It is less frantic,
less combustible, but more focused, more sustaining, more powerful. It’s like the difference between a fast-rushing mountain stream, frolicking through the rocks at the beginning of its journey, and a broad, wild river moving slowly but powerfully as it gets closer to the sea.
You obviously have a huge back catalogue, what songs mean the most to you?
Lots of favourites, too many to list.
With so much to choose from, how do you decide on a set list every night?
I choose a repertoire for each tour, depending on how I feel, the composition of the band, where we’re touring. I haven’t picked them for Australia and New Zealand yet.
As someone who has left a huge footprint on the world of music, are there any artists/musicians you think we should be looking out for in the future? Who are you paying attention to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a psychedelic Australian band called Tame Impala and last week I saw a show by a killer new Irish trad-meets-avant-garde band called The Gloaming. I also like a British singer/songwriter called Freddie Stevenson who co-wrote two songs on the Mr Yeats album. He’s a wonderful lyricist.
After your tour of Australia, what else do you have planned for 2013?
Working in North America where the Mr Yeats album will be released in March.
Any new material in the works?
Yes, I have enough songs and more for a new album, but no plans to record yet.
Maybe in a year.
BRISBANE THE TIVOLI
SATURDAY JANUARY 19
FRIDAY JANUARY 25
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
SATURDAY JANUARY 26
MELBOURNE HAMER HALL
WEDNESDAY JANUARY 30
ADELAIDE THE BARTON THEATRE
THURSDAY JANUARY 31
PERTH CONCERT HALL
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 2
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Also performing at Sydney Festival
State Theatre – Wednesday January 23 www.sydneyfestival.org.au
For complete tour and ticket information, visit: www.mikescottwaterboys.com or www.livenation.com.au