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Rufus Wainwright / Franz Lizst

A Conversation with Rufus Wainwright (continued)

PM: Is that [producer] Marius DeVries laughing at the end of the track?

RW: Yes.

PM: Just because it was a ridiculously good take?

RW: Right. And it was just funny, it came together so quickly. I believe we had recorded the piano part on a keyboard, and then switched the sound to the Fender Rhodes, and it created this amazing thing. That may also have had to do with the fact that I use a lot of pedal, which causes it to reverberate. [In other words, in the studio the keyboard itself is just acting like a controller to play the part, and then a "sampler" allows you to choose between many ways that you might like that part to sound. It could as easily have been assigned to a harpsichord, a clavinet, or an organ.]

PM: We hope to review a pair of [guitarist] Gerry Leonard records in the same issue, how did you feel about his contributions to Want One?

RW: Incredible. I would occasionally point up certain chords or lines, but not much. And in general, anything he came up with was far better than anything I could have conceived. I don't know if he's under-appreciated, but I'm surprised that he's not more famous than he seems to be.

PM: Well, I think many great artists know how good he is, or people in certain New York City scenes may be very aware of his work, but... There aren't track by track credits in the liner notes, so I wondered if Gerry is on a lot of these songs.

RW: Definitely, he's on a lot of them.

PM: Is he the most prominent of the three guitarists?

RW: Yes. Charlie Sexton is also an anchor in a more traditional sense, but Gerry is the most prominent guitar sound on the recording.

PM: And it was good to see Jimmy Zhivago's name in the credits, another important NYC presence.

RW: He was actually the pioneer of this record. He was the first guy to come on, and he played some great piano on this record. That's him on "14th Street," for instance. It was great to have him involved.

PM: I'm familiar with the work of Gerry Leonard and Jimmy Zhivago through the association with an Irish singer in the city of whom we're particularly fond, Susan McKeown. [see our interview with Susan in the archives]

RW: I see.   continue

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