home listen a- z back next

Paddy McAloon

A Conversation with Thomas Dolby (continued)

PM: How is Paddy doing these days?

TD: His health is very poor, and it's uncomfortable for him to work in the studio. And it's a great shame, because I think he's sort of in a mood to do some more recording. I'm going to be in England a lot over the next few years because my kids are going to school there. And we had hoped to do some more work together, and still may try. But that would require his health improving, or him sort of adjusting to this new way of life.

PM: When I talked to Andy Partridge [XTC] not that long ago, he was having trouble in the studio as well, trouble with his ears.

TD: I didn't know about that. That's very sad.

PM: Yeah, it was really driving him nuts.

TD: I haven't talked to Andy in a long time. And is it tinnitus?

PM: Yeah.

TD: So that's kind of a curse to have great ears, because if something goes wrong, it's just very, very aggravating, and throws everything off. And so I don't know what Andy's affliction is, but--

PM: It was some kind of a freshman studio accident. Something happened in the studio that went terribly wrong in his cans. [headphones]

TD: Oh, no, he got like a blast of--

PM: Exactly.

TD: Oh, dear.

PM: So he was trying to treat it, but it just really wasn't that promising. It seemed like there wasn't that much you could do. What about Paddy's eyes? One reads that he's got some kind of a condition. Is that what is called macular degeneration?

TD: I'm really not able to talk about the medical side of it at all.

I know that it was very bad. But it didn't prevent him from working. But in the last year or so he's had this issue with his ears. This made it very hard for him to be in the studio. So I don't know where that's all going.

PM: This songwriter buddy of mine who knows Paddy fairly well said that he would write, as you referred to a little while ago, whole albums on subjects like Michael Jackson--

TD: He had two particular albums that I know ended up on the cutting room shelf. One was about Michael Jackson, and other was... I'd have to call it a Christian album. But it was sort of an examination of religion that his record company vetoed because they felt like it would be perceived as a Christian album. And it had some fantastic stuff on it, which didn't--I mean, I'm not remotely religious, but it never occurred to me until I heard it from the record label that it would be viewed that way.

PM: Oh, well, that's interesting. And yeah, it's a shame that when he turns his light on the subject of religion that it's just perceived as Christian instead of something more general. But that's a record company for you.

TD: Well, yeah, and I'd like to think in this day and age that one can sort of declare one's independence, and you don't have to live on those terms anymore. For me, I don't really imagine that I'll ever be sitting in a meeting with some major label again discussing what I should or shouldn't be doing. I think of the old days as being a time when you had this whole obstacle course you had to navigate before you'd ever actually get your songs out in front of the public. And I think what's great about how things are now is that that's over, for a very interesting set of reasons.     continue


print (pdf)     listen to clips      puremusic home