Well, ah,....Thank You. It's good to be back.Very good to see you. And you have a new album out, called "Stimulation", which is the, uh, third LP of your career, I suppose, in this country, anyway.
Right, Yeah.And, your big success story began in Dallas about 3 years ago.
Yeah, this station, as a matter of fact. It was the first station to play any of my music. And it was "Children Of the Sun." It was a direct result of the airplay here that interested other stations and got other stations going on it, and made the thing a hit.You have many, many fans here This city did get behind this album real big. As a matter of fact, in all the radio "tip sheets", all the comments are that Billy Thorpe broke out of Dallas, and the whole country copped to it, and it's now....working beautifully.
Yeah (laughs).So, we're going to go back today and cover some of the early LP's, and then look at "Stimulation," the brand new one, and then talk a bit.
GreatGood to see you.
God, I'm glad to be alive after last night.(Laughs)We're.....we're both hung over.(laughs)We watched the All-Star game and drank.... Long Island Iced Tea, 'till we got cross-eyed. Now we're sitting here, sweating out booze.(both laughing) Here's Billy Thorpe's first album, "Children of the Sun", from Q102
Right....And this one, from what I've heard, kinda leaves the "cosmic approach" behind, and is a bit more basic Rock and Roll.
It's more "street." It's very basic. It's actually much more closer to what I recorded in Australia. It's really a lot closer to what I, and naturally.... Well, "Children Of The Sun" and "21st Century Man" was something that happened in America. I had done some conceptual stuff - the 18 albums I made in Australia with a band called the Aztecs. We did a few live things, and made a couple of live albums, and parts of those shows were conceptual, but....this happened....by accident. "Children of the Sun" was one song out of 16 or 17 songs that we went in to cut for that album. It was to be just a conventional record.But it wasn't a pre-planned concept to go in and do a conceptual record.
No,no. It happened in the studio. We cut that as a rough for the album, and it worked so well, we started talking and got the idea to do an album with two different sides. Really, when coming into a new country, when you've recorded for ten years, and you cover a lot of different styles, and you come into America, where there's so much going on...it's very hard to find a direction, to know what to do, so you're not getting caught up in the treadmill, you know?At the time, when this first happened, we discussed last night, the "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters" thing was kind of happening at the time.
Very much. America was....Spaced?
Yeah, really. Literally. That was an influence on me, you know? It happened by accident. Very spontanious. I wrote an entire side in about a week, and we threw out half the material, and decided to go out & do it. Never dreaming that radio would pick up on that side. It was kind of.....we had a couple of things on the A-side of the album that we thought would be what radio would go for, and then when "Children of the Sun" happened here, and the phones it got, the response that it got, and then other stations started to pick up on it, based on the reactions you were getting here at this station, and..... this thing started. I mean, for "Children of the Sun" to start in ... Texas.....was unbelievable.Exactly. This area is basic, 3-chord, driving rock and roll. It really works here, but, on occasion, one of those tunes "hops out" like that one did, and people said, "What was that?", and they picked up the phone and called. That spreads to every market in the country.
Exactly. that's what it did. There are elements. This album, during the course of writing both Part I & Part II of "Children of the Sun", there's another part coming down the road that I'm going to record at some stage. I wrote a lot of other material, a lot of it is on this current album. And it's like, for me, ....I wanted to get back and make an album a little closer to the street, and get away from the conceptual stuff, because you start to....you can end up in a rut. And, also, I didn't want to get typecast as a "Space Cadet," you know?Exactly
A lot of the playing, and a lot of the music on this album is, like, reminiscent of the end of "Children of the Sun," for instance, the guitar work, and the style of playing, is consistant. It's just, this isn't conceptual. It's just....very basic, very open lyrics, and, as I said before, much closer to where I'm really coming from.After the first album worked so well, you had to go back in and do the second LP, which wasn't really a follow-up, a conscious Part II, I wouldn't think, on your part. Or was it? Kind of a conscious effort?
Well, yeah, it was. The story, obviously, started to grow. Because we were discussing video projects on the album, and a film, and television, things with it. And so it started to grow. It was something very spontanious, and every now and then I'd get another idea, and jot it down, so I had a lot of stuff in the can at home. I've got a small studio at home. We just decided to continue the project. As I said, I'm going to finish the project, but I'm going to leave it a little while. Because it's nice to stand back and think about what you've done. Not be caught up in it all the time.Exactly. And explore new territory and broaden your musical base. And your audience. Well, the tune that has appeared to have worked in Dallas, and in other parts of the country, was "In My Room," from "21st Century Man." Now let's play that. If you want to call and say "Hi" to Billy, go ahead. Pop a cold beer open, and....
Ring up, ......say hello.Here's album number 2. Billy Thorpe, at Q102.
(Laughs) None whatsoever.But that we discussed a moment ago. "In My Room," you told me was planned to be a 2-record set.
Yeah. The last album was going to be a double album. And the company decided against it. One album was going to be the continuation of "Children of the Sun," which is, "21st Century Man," and the other album of the set was to be called:"Meanwhile, Back in my Room." It was the story of a year in the life of a guy from the point of view of his room being his territory, his domain, you know? And, what was going on, his experiences, from that point of view. And, the company really insisted on that cut going on the record. Some of the stuff that's on this new album started with the last record.So you write, I would think, all the time. You're up at 4 in the morning, an idea pops in your head, and it may become a whole record in itself right there.
Yeah. Sometimes you just get "flashes." I find, as a writer, I stoppped trying to push myself to write things a while ago. Because you just get "flashes." You'll get a day when you can write the basis for a year. Like this new album, one complete side came in about a day and a half. Writing is a funny thing. There's times when it's magic.Well, you can't force it.
Like "In My Room." I wrote it at one sitting. Just wrote the lyricss straight out, you know? Other times you can be stuck on a lyric for weeks. I pace, I walk around a lot, and I have bits of paper all around the house, and I'll have one line on one room, and one line in another room. Finally, I've got a song. I enjoy writing. It's great.So, now, how old is the material here, moving on past the first two LP's into the new one, "Stimulation." Is there anything that ties these tunes together, or are they all individual ideas? Is there a theme that runs through "Stimulation?"
No, not really. As I said before, it's very basic. It's rock and roll. The first side is all rock and roll. The second side, .....I tried a slightly different approach. We open up the second side with a track called, "DOA," which is an acoustic...uh...it's got an African flavor to it. We used a couple of African drummers on it. I saw a program on Ethiopia. The track is called "Dead on Arrival," and it's very...."chant-y." Lot of voices singing the chorus, and there's a big percussion breakdown in the center of it. I played bass on this album. Played everything except drums, actually. I used a drum computer.Really? How does that work? Do you sit....?
It's a synthisized computer. You can actually play it. You pre-program in the feels that you want, and then you've got the freedom to change the sounds, or the tone, or whatever you want, on the individual sound. Like the snare, and the bass drum, and the cymbals. You can actually get patterns that drummers could never play.But you would never know, if you didn't know that it was a drum computer.
It's very hard to tell the difference. On a couple of tracks on the second side, we used the drum machine and a drummer together. And it's very effective.Let's hear it, and find out, by golly. "Just The Way I Like It." A brand new tune from Billy's brand new LP, which is being shipped to people all over the country today. From "Stimulation"-Billy Thorpe at Q102.
Start touring in NovemberAnd the first gig is here?
Well, I'd think we'd start here. This is, without a doubt, my favorite place to play. And I'm not saying that because I'm here. Texas is very much like Australia.Really?
And the audiences are very similar.You have 18 records in Australia. I wasn't aware of that.
Yeah,(laughs) I've been recording since I was a baby.Working for a long time...Two years old and you had a record album (laughs). So you'll be playing here sometime in November.
I'm going back to Australia. I haven't been back in 4 years. I'm actually going back as the headliner of a festival they're having in Sydney. A 3-day festival. I'm going to headline one day, and we're going to tour down there for three weeks, and then come straight back here and start playing.So you'll be touring for a long time. Probably into the next year.
Yeah. Yeah.On forever.
Forever. Never be seen again. (laughs).Here's more of "Stimulation." There are "No Rules On The Road," as we know very well from last night. Billy Thorpe, on Q102.
Thank you. It was a great party last night, watching the baseball, and drinking that.. "fire water" you introduced me to. (laughs)Long Island Iced Tea. If you ever want to get real loaded, friends, have about 4 or 5 of those, and you'll.............uh.......see God. We're going to pay some bills, and be right back.
Thank you. My pleasure. And.....always when I come here.....This place started it for me in the United States. And the belief and the radio, and the people here have been tremendous. It's always a joy to be in Texas.We're behind you all the way. Keep on doing it, and we'll see you back here in November.Here's "21st Century Man," now on Q102.
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