Too bad I don't speak German!
Without music Chris Rea has nothing
Frankfurt - Since end of the 70s does Chris Rea Musik, has sold more than 30 million sound carriers. His soft rock stamped the feeling of the 80s with, he never was a rock star and, nevertheless, so really happily with the marketing of his music. It was a heavy illness which released a musical rebirth: In 2002 he introduced in Montreux his blues album "Stony Road". A radical fresh start of the Slide guitarist nearly 57-year-old in the meantime who was also recognized by the press weighed to him English not always.
Today Rea is thankfully for his success during those years, « in those still properly many records were sold ». Since he enables to him to go with the concept of music books new ways in a music market which is carried no more by the album culture of the second half of the last century. After the music book "Blue Guitars" with eleven CDs from the year 2006 Rea now with "The Return of the Fabulous Hofner Blue Notes" publishes his second combination of a high-quality illustrated book with a musical draft with which he comes at the beginning of February on German stages. Here the text of an interview with Rea which was led at the middle of December in his studio near London.
The return of the splendid Hofner Blue Notes - this sounds very programmatic.
Rea: It is a kind of history: There is a volume, the Delmonts, young fellows which play Shadows-and Ventures-Instrumentals with old Hofner guitars. This is so in 1959, in 1960, and then they develop to a blues tape thus about 1965, in 1966. It is the history of the sound of this era. We bring out even on vinyl: Three records and three CDs belong to the book.
The volume is very costly, very representative - something what one can show.
Rea: And enjoy! It is the opposite of downloads from the Internet, the opposite from iPod. It has functioned very well with "Blue Guitars", it is no bad market: We have sold 165,000 music books for 35 euros. I hope to develop the draft to a kind of record company, to find other artists who want to do a music book. Since there is to a so much artistic freedom, there is no restriction on ten songs on a CD.
Is it a pure instrumental album?
Rea: Yes, the Delmonts record. No song on it is longer than three minutes, all lively and full fun. With other both we take the Shadows and imagine how with B.B.King as a Lead guitarist would have sounded. It is like the music for a James Bond film, only just with Slide guitar. And more than all other it is the music for which we live.
Nobody has done this for at least three decades.
Rea: It is a Riesenspaß, and the people want something like that. I have already begun three other books. We will extend the draft with DVDs. A book deals with street culture and calls "The Last Open Road". There give it different music styles to the most different streets, under it, by the way, also to Alpine routes. The other calls "On The Beach" and is dedicated to all different beach cultures. One can hear it and see: The beaches of the Indian ocean, Australia, and also those of the Baltic Sea. And art, is created to do joy. I am so grateful for the success of "Blue Guitars". Every record company said: « Less than 5,000- copies. » However, 165,000 are even more than this.... It has proved what I hear so. I go out among the people. I build with pleasure well, go thus I to property markets, I go to pubs. And I hear that the people still want music, but no more absolutely a CD which does not come mostly yet sometimes with a booklet. I have seen how it has gone for Elton John with
his last album: He was very contented with his work and worked hard to advertise to it. And it happened nothing. And the business people asked themselves: « What have we made wrong? » I have the best market research at home, two daughters (born in 1983 and 1989). For that does not stand a CD about a packing of sweets - because the industry has made them cheap.
It may be cheap what one often gets - however, one must pay a well-arranged price of it.
Rea: The beginning from the end was when one could do the rhythm of a Spice Girls songs as full of suspense as a Stevie Wonder track with the help of computers. Till then it has not interested the commercial pop people whether the bassist had a good feeling or not. They have done her disco records and to us (musician) has not touched further. When they got, however, by the computer the possibility to do records which sounded musically like from a really good volume, it was over.
But, nevertheless, you are very successful above all live furthermore. Also Paul McCartney has earned during the last years more with concerts than with CDs. His last album allowed to he then with Starbucks sell.
Rea: Hopelessly! It is just only one CD. When I two weeks ago on the airport was I have seen how they sold Paul McCartney CDs for junk prices. I thought: He should stop. Even Paul McCartney who was always so clever does not know that it is over. The CD play is over.
And you have found more than one niche and have done something what up to now nobody has ventured. A record company would require more than 35 euros for such a music book.
Rea: Yes. Do you know, why I can do this? Because I succeeded. I am happy about my success, I have reason to be thankfully for the old days. There is to me the possibility to contribute my part free of charge. I sketch the book, I do all music, and I earn nothing with it. But I love to do this.
To the forthcoming tour: What will you play?
Rea: We will start the Delmonts. Then there come the Hofner Blue Notes and then Chris Rea with some new versions of old songs. It becomes a small trip of 19.30 to 22.30 o'clock.
Do you collect Hofner guitars?
Rea: Now I have started this. My first guitar was a Hofner. This was everything what I could afford. And this is the principal reason, why of these guitars became thus iconic: Because they were bought from so many boys whom they bought with a dream of music. George Harrison has said to me once, the sound of the Beatles would have been completely different if they could have afforded at that time (fender) Stratocaster. The use from Gretsch-and Hofner guitars was a chance. And it is one of these miraculous artistic chances. The Hofner will signify always a lot.
With the resignation tour of the rock star Chris Rea you said, you would have to take more consideration on your health. Has there been an improvement?
Rea: I have better been put during the past two years with drugs. However, it is still bad. I have big problems because I must live without pancreas. Without music I have nothing. Thus I am careful and keep myself fit - I go five times the week to the fitness studio. I hate it! If there should one day be a new pancreas, I give a big party and burn my run shoes.
Have fun all !
Mr. Blues from Finland