Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Rich Young is a troubadour, a man with a million stories and one of the best singer songwriters in the country. In a long career he’s played with a huge variety of artists, including Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Dire Straits’ David Knopfler and classic violinist Nigel Kennedy amongst many others, along with being a member of ASAP with Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith and East Anglian legends the Buster James Band.
Add to that numerous solo tours the length and breadth of both the UK and across America and you get the picture of a man who literally lives and breathes music. You can freely dip in and out of his back catalogue and discover gems that take you on a travelogue as rich and colourful as anything that the late great chef Anthony Boudain experienced in his many global expeditions, all from the comfort of your living room.
With a new double album, ‘Nonsense of the Heart’ almost ready to be released we caught up with constantly moving Young to see how he’s been dealing with the enforced time off the road.
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
I’m alright actually, like many I get a bit weirded out sometimes by current circumstance! I miss playing live but not as much as I thought I would!
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
I’ve been writing and recording a double album of original songs, just completed mixing & mastering & doing all the artwork...very pleased with it! Also doing some remote sessions for various projects and producing another writer’s material...Walking a lot in Norfolk and catching up with old friends.
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
No, not something I’m comfortable with, plus I’m waiting for an operation for my carpal tunnel syndrome which is painful when playing sometimes…Most livestreams seem pretty ghastly to me, even when I’m familiar with the people doing them, too much inconsequential chat, too much fiddling around with the technology before the ‘performance’ and bad sound/lighting...for me some people have done themselves no favours with these…I’ve watched a few and thought, ‘I know you’re better than this!’…it’s like awful camera phone footage of gigs…just don’t bother!!
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
No, always played ideas into my phone, or just sat in the studio with a guitar or piano, paper and sharpies!
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
Yes, but I’ve also hooked up with some lovely friends that I may have neglected in the past
What plans have you had to change this year?
Two American tours and a load of UK gigs all cancelled, plus a couple of trips to far flung parts of the UK for social/musical purposes!
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas recently – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs as has just been announced by Live Nation?
Bad ideas in both cases…particularly drive in gigs…just televise them on subscription...I don’t want to sit in my car and watch a screen or stage from far away...especially at LiveNations prices!
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
Not as many live gigs...It may have helped online sales or TV concerts...
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
Just keep gigging and recording and writing although I’m going to be more selective about the gigs I play, quite frankly I don’t enjoy being ignored or shouted at to play music I don’t like...
How can people support you during this time?
Just keep listening, and spread a bit of love and compassion around, money helps too!!..
Feature Photo taken by Steve Dulieu