Robbie Dupree interview, June 2008
By Georg Forchhammer.
Georg Forchhammer has talked with Robbie Dupree about his latest album and the general impression about it etc.
Congratulations on your new album, ”Time and Tide”! My first impression of the album is that it is very powerful – almost with a kind of energy as if it were performed live – a real band effort!
You are correct. It was recorded live in the studio using my touring band. That had been my goal for many years, to return to the live tracking using the band that would define the songs in the studio and in concert.
Since 2005, when you released the duo album with David Sancious, you have been really busy touring – both alone and together with Bill LaBounty – releasing a live DVD, recording a new album, and between all that undergone heart surgery. How have you been able to find the time and energy for all that in so few years?
It has been a very creative period for me. I wasn’t actually that busy – just very focused on my goals.
It has actually been 13 years since your last album with a full band (“Smoke and Mirrors”). How is it to be back again?
Well I did do other recordings in the interim. All Night Long was a live studio recording but it was a retrospective. It feels great to be back in the studio again doing new original material. It gets more difficult to finance these records because major support from record companies has dried up. It is all independent financing now. Fans do realize how difficult it is to raise money for a recording project like Time and Tide. It’s not a record made on a laptop. Time and Tide was produced like a record from the 8o’s., analog tape and all real instruments.
Your new album has been critically praised. What are your plans for the nearest future?
I am grateful that fans and critics have responded so well to Time and Tide. I previewed the songs in concert in February. I plan to do more touring in the coming year.
Not only is “Time and Tide” a collection of great songs, but also a fantastic production, matching for instance the quality of Steely Dan’s album’s. The only other artist I know you have produced albums for, is Bill LaBounty (“The Right Direction”, 1991). As far as I’m concerned, you ought to be highly demanded as producer!
Thank you for the compliment. I am fortunate to have such great people in my band and on my recording team. They deserve most of the credit.
For a real Robbie Dupree fan like me, your new album has a lot of recognition from earlier albums, but also new things. For instance, just like your album “Smoke and Mirrors”, most of the songs are based on a great rhythm groove. Something new is all the great guitar solos.
I felt comfortable stretching out on the arrangements. The band plays great and I wanted the fans to hear all the best we have to offer. Larry Hoppen is an awesome guitar player. He did a fantastic job.
I’d like you to comment on some of the new things on “Time and Tide”: The song “Mystery world” is a strong political comment concerning the war in the Iraq and Afghanistan, the storm and flood in New Orleans and social matters. Usually, your song writing has been about your personal life and surroundings.
To some extent that is true but I have written commentary songs from time to time. Shadows on the Wall from Carried Away was that type of song. I don’t preach politics as a rule, but today every artist has a responsibility to make their feelings known.
In many ways, the 2 songs, “Lucky” and “Blue Monday” give a varied picture of you as a person. In “Lucky”, a retrospective song about your music life, you describe yourself as having been lucky trough all the years. Yet in the song “Blue Monday”, you describe life as being sometimes bluer than blue. However, you don’t strike me as a melancholic person.
Lucky is autobiographical but Blue Monday is simply a general observation. We all go through our share of Blue Mondays.
In the song “Knocking on the Gates of Eden”, you say that ‘everybody is looking for salvation’. As far as I remember, you have never had any religious aspects in your songs before. What inspired you to this song?
I don’t have any religious agenda. The song is meant to point out the feelings that we all have in common. Namely, trying to make sense out of life and this crazy world we live in. I chose to use a few examples of people from different walks of life and in a short verse for each, draw he similarity.
During the past few years, things have really developed with the internet. How does that work for you as far as promotion and contact to your fans?
It’s simple. If it were not for the internet, my career would have ended long ago. The internet has given me a great tool to promote my career and to connect with new fans and reconnect with fans from my early years in music.
You have been working on and off with Bill LaBounty for almost 30 years or maybe more. Last year, he and you gave some concerts in Paris. What brought you together this time?
Actually we did shows in Tokyo and Paris. We called it a reunion tour. It was a simple idea – we just wanted to do shows together again and to travel to some of our favorite places. I had plans for a new record and so did Bill. This was a good way to announce our intentions and say hello to the great fans we have.
Through all the years, your music has been highly demanded, especially in Japan. You have also played several times there. What are your touring plans in the future? Is there any chance of seeing you in Scandinavia?
Yes indeed, I have been fortunate to perform in Japan many times. My dream is to come to Scandinavia. I have never performed there. Now that Time and Tide is released on Zink Records in Sweden, I have hope that a tour may be possible. Perhaps a promoter will read this and get the ball rolling.