Richard Clapton The House of Orange Tour Interview
To celebrate his critically acclaimed new album, The House of Orange, legendary singer songwriter Richard Clapton is hitting the road again for his 2017 National Tour.
And what better way to do it, than to kick it off on the 10th Anniversary of Richard's return to the illustrious State Theatre Sydney on 9th of September 2017.
Richard Clapton continues his version of the never ending tour in 2017. For four decades Richard has been on the road with songs that go right to the heart of the Australian psyche performed by some of the best musicians around. His live shows bring the house down every time.
This year Richard has assembled a show that features his greatest hits which have been refreshed by his adventures in Nashville and he will be featuring songs from his highly acclaimed album 'The House of Orange".
Last year, Richard teamed up to make 'The House of Orange" with Mark Moffatt – an Australian producer (The Saints), who has been resident in Nashville Tennessee for over 30 years. The album includes some of Clapton's best songs hand-picked by Moffatt. All the tracks drew on the skills of gun players, including Dan Dugmore (Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Stevie Nicks and Linda Rondstadt), and bass player David Labruyere (John Mayer) along with the cream of Nashville's top musicians.
The album title refers to the house where Richard stayed in Nashville, which was once the residence of the Grateful Dead's Robert Hunter.
Working with Mark in the U.S. has put a country – soul twang into Richard's band that spills out into classics like 'Deep Water", 'The Best Years of Our Lives", 'Goodbye Tiger" and so many other songs that have made Richard a national treasure.
Richard's bestselling memoir, 'The Best Years of Our Lives" brought back so many great stories of high times and sheer beauty. Many of these crazy and emotional stories have worked their way back into Richard's live show and add an extra dimension to the live performances. You never know exactly what you'll experience at Richard's shows but you do know that every gig will be different. It's constantly evolving in front of your eyes and ears.
Although he is known for his incisive lyrics, Richard's spiritual home is in front of an amplifier on 10 with an electric guitar around his neck. Audiences leave Richard's shows sweaty, singing and a little bit blissed out. This is still true today.
The first spring dates in 2017 touring all over Australia include Richard's 10th Annual show at Sydney's State Theatre. Every year has been a sellout. It's a very special home town night. Each year has been a markedly different experience – in past years special surprise guests have joined Richard on stage. Jon Farris, Ian Moss, Diesel and Vika Bull. This year will carry on what has become an institution, attracting fans from all over the country who make this pilgrimage every year.
Welcome to the party that never ends!
Richard Clapton The House of Orange 2017 National Tour Dates
Saturday 2 September Twin Towns Gold Coast: twintowns.com.au
Saturday 9 September State Theatre Sydney: ticketmaster.com.au
Saturday 16 September The Forum Melbourne: ticketmaster.com.au
Friday 20 October The Gov Adelaide: thegov.com.au
Friday 17 November The Tivoli Queensland: ticketmaster.com.au
Interview with Richard Clapton
Question: Congratulations on The House of Orange – where did you find your inspiration for this album?
Richard Clapton: Thanks - I'm glad you like it. Mark Moffatt did preproduction on this for a long time, and his aim was to create an 'Americana" album, so the songs on the album were chosen to fit that genre. It is a mix of old and new songs, the main criteria being to produce the strongest possible Americana album.
Question: How were you motivated by Nashville when creating The House of Orange?
Richard Clapton: The songs originated in Australia so there are no geographic references to the U.S. in the songs. Mark wanted a point of difference. He was quite firm about wanting me to come up with a hybrid album which was not going to be a predictable country album. I agreed that there was little point in me just morphing into an archetypical American singer songwriter bag, because the scene in Nashville is already very overcrowded and does tend to get a little samey - there are too many artists already producing typical Nashville country songs.
Question: What comes first when you create a song, the music or the lyrics?
Richard Clapton: I first started as more a musical poet (a la Bob Dylan ) so wrote reams and reams of poetic lyrics which I set to quite simple music. Then as my musical interests expanded I became much more into the musician thing and over time it evolved into me writing music and lyrics simultaneously.
Question: Can you tell us what it was like working with Mark Moffatt?
Richard Clapton: Mark is originally from Queensland and we had worked together on my 'Dark Spaces" album years ago. However, Mark moved to Nashville over 30 years ago and worked his way up the totem pole there, and became a very active and recognised figure in the Nashville community. This was really opportune because he is well connected and the musicians he gathered for 'The House of Orange" are pretty much the top session players in Nashville, and therefore all world class. Dan Dugmore the guitarist is one of the most legendary players of all time; the bass player is from John Mayer, and the rest of the band also have very impressive credentials.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Richard Clapton: I'm sure you've heard other songwriters describing their songs as their 'children" which therefore makes it difficult to choose one song over another. I've recorded 240 songs and they all belong to a certain time and place so each album has a special place for me. I also think it takes my fans back to a time and place when life was simpler and they were happier, so each incarnation has it's own merits. However, if you insist - I'll go with 'Goodbye Tiger" because that and 'Best Years of Our Lives" seem to resonate most with my audience nowadays.
Question: If you could have anyone, in the world, attend your 2017 show, who would it be?
Richard Clapton: Geeze - that's a hard one. Over the 40 years I've been on the road, I've toured with Neil Young and Jackson Browne, had INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss and heaps of other great people play on my records and at gigs like the State Theatre, so it's difficult trying to name one individual.
Question: After all this time, do you prefer performing live or recording?
Richard Clapton: I really enjoyed the early days of home recording and totally immersed myself in that process for quite a long while, so back in those days I just loved sitting in the studio under my house. However now I find much of modern music is a bit uninspiring because artists now have a propensity for allowing the computer to create and rule their music. In the early days of home recording I learnt to use the technology to work for me - now unfortunately there are too many artists being governed by technology so we are missing a certain humanity in the music. With live music, I can get out on stage and have so much interaction with the audience which is a lot more inspiring than sitting in front of a laptop and churning out sampled music which seems to be what artists are doing these days.
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Richard Clapton: Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell.
Question: What do you enjoy most, when touring?
Richard Clapton: The challenge of trying to make each gig better than the last one. And we still have heaps of fun on the road. The guys that play with me are considerably younger, but I've taught them good old fashioned rock n roll values, like work hard and party hard, and lift the audience out of the 'no fun zone" for a couple of hours.
Question: Lastly, if you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Richard Clapton: Uh oh - another hard one! I've already done a lot of co-writing with Jon Farris, Diesel and Danny Spencer and that's been very satisfying. I have so many icons - too many to name here - and I'd love to collaborate with all of them, but that's a bit of a tall order.
Interview by Brooke Hunter