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Rufus live at the Sundance Festival

A Conversation with Rufus Wainwright (continued)

PM: So on the other hand, I mean, love songs like "Not Ready to Love," "Tiergarten," "Leaving for Paris Number 2," and "Nobody Is Off The Hook,” I mean, they're just awesome examples of a love song.

RW: Yeah. On this album, there's a lot of foundation on which I can build these towering monoliths.


PM: And I love that you stepped out front to produce this one. How was that different for you?

RW: Well, I mean, I've worked with some of the most incredible producers on earth--

PM: Definitely.

RW: --whether it's Van Dyke Parks, or Lenny Waronker, or Marius de Vries, or Pierre Marchand. And if you ask any of them, I've always been very hands-on with the process, and extremely vocal about my views--and in the end made a lot of decisions myself. But that being said, I really feel like I have this wealth of knowledge from those experiences in working with those great producers, and that it was sort of time to combine the forces that I incurred, and really, with my own views, and do it myself. I think what's fun is that maybe because I haven't had a tremendous amount of success on the charts or in the mainstream, I have been able to work with all these different people, and none of them have ever sort of defined me.

PM: Right.

RW: Like let's say Eminem and Dr. Dre, I mean, they're sort of forever linked.

PM: Right.

RW: I've worked with some great people, too, but because we never had like massive success I could always try someone new. And in the end I just learned a lot.

PM: And yet Marius De Vries is still ubiquitous on this record, programming and mixing, and a little additional production.

RW: Yes, that’s right.

PM: When he and Jason both show up for programming, does that always refer to drums of some kind, or other things?

RW: It's more a rhythmic arrangement. I mean, I know how to pound my feet as well as anybody else, but my expertise is more in the chord department and harmonies. And that's just to sort of sweeten it up a little bit here and there so they get that sparkle.

PM: So why, in the recording process, would they lean toward programming and not just pull in a drummer? What's that logistic about?

RW: Well, some of them have programming, some of them don't. But it's mostly with the fact that--I mean, for instance, with "Between My Legs," there's two amazing drummers on that track.

PM: Right, absolutely.

RW: There's Matt Johnson and a great English drummer, Ian Thomas. But when you have that much talent, I mean, there's bound to be just excess. And so they kind of can go in there and clean up bits and stuff. It's a real art.

PM: Oh, absolutely. I love programming, too. It's just kind of a logistical question.

RW: Yeah. I mean, yeah, it's a mystery to me as well what's going on in that department.


RW: That's why they get paid the big bucks.

PM: How many of the recording personnel are in your touring band?

RW: Well, a lot of them. Matt Johnson and Jeff Hill, the bass player. Also Gerry Leonard, the guitar player.

PM: Oh, Spooky Ghost is on tour with you?

RW: Yeah, he's going to come out with me, and also Jack Petruzelli, the other guitar player. So I have that core band. I had to let go of the girls--Joan Wasser because she now is gearing up for her own success, and doing really, really well in her career. So she's doing that. And of course, Martha is a force in her own right.

PM: Truly.

RW: So with this lineup I've decided--in the chorus stuff I've decided to go very masculine.

PM: Yeah, with sometimes three guitars, right?

RW: Yeah, three guitars. And then also I hired a young virile talented horn section with trumpet, French horn, and saxophone. So they're really young, they're sort of the latest generation in the Wainwright family.

PM: Interesting.      continue


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