Californian singer-songwriter, Jeff Caudill arrives shortly in the UK for his latest solo tour. Hull based crime author Nick Quantrill ( http://www.hullcrimefiction.co.uk ) talks to him about the dates and his new record, ‘Always On’.
1) It’s been a while since you was last here in the UK. What’s been happening since the release of your solo debut album, “Here’s What You Should Do”?
I’ve been making plenty of music. I just haven’t had opportunities to tour. I’ve been releasing music on my own and keeping things pretty small. It’s rewarding and fun but it’s no way to build a career. After my second full length, ‘Try To Be Here’ and a weird little electro-pop project called Floormodel I started playing in rock band again – called Your Favorite Trainwreck. Last year we started recording a LP that is being mixed as I type. It’s been rewarding to be back with a proper band, and writing with other people. However, I also just wrapped up another solo record – revisiting Gameface’s 2000 album, ‘Always On’.
2) How much are you looking forward to this UK tour? What can audiences expect?
I’m really looking forward to these shows. I love playing the UK. It’s been so long I wonder if people still care about me. I’m gonna play it all! I figured it’s a good time to just reach back and play a little of everything that got me here. I’m sitting on a ton of material. It’s not all solid gold but I’ve done enough to be able to sift through it all and put together a good night of music.
3) In terms of new music, it seems to be all about ‘Always On’, your acoustic reimagining of your former band’s album. Given the volume of output from Gameface, what made you want to specifically revisit this record?
‘Always On’ is certainly not Gameface’s best record. At least I don’t think so. But it was a monumental one for me. I turned 30 that summer and wrote every word and just about every note in those 10 songs. It was a volatile time for the band and it very well could have, or should have been our last album. I felt like it would be an interesting project to go back and see how these songs have held up 10 years later.
4) How did you approach the project? The Gameface recording is a pretty loud punk record, where as the new version is populated with mandolins and all manner of instruments – was it a case of stripping them right back to just the acoustic guitar, as I assume they were written?
For most of the songs, it was about just picking up a guitar and strumming along, remembering chords and finding a new rhythm that felt good to me now. For others, it was tearing down and rebuilding everything. It was a really interesting project – changing a few keys and choosing some new instrumentation.
5) Did any of the songs surprise you doing the process? As a young punk rocker, I would imagine you were thinking differently back then in terms of structure and impact?
Yeah, definitely. I discovered some of these songs all over again. Some have a clearer meaning for me now than they did when they were first written. I had to laugh a little bit. I sounded like I really had things figured out 10 years ago.
6) Be honest…was it tempting to rewrite history? Maybe rework a lyric here, a melody there? Were you tempted to leave any of the songs off?
Luckily there are only 10 songs to begin with ; ] I admit I did do a little embellishing lyrically – I didn’t rewrite, I just added some more reference to a few tunes. Just for fun. But I know what you mean. And I took some liberties in the melody department. I had to. I couldn’t just record the same song twice.
7) Have any of the original players heard the new recordings yet? What have they made of it?
I sent a copy to my old friend and original Gameface guitarist, Todd Trout. He seemed to give me his blessing. I know it’s a sensitive thing. It’s sometimes hard to be objective when you’ve lived so close to something for so long. I hope these versions don’t tarnish the sentiment of the originals for anyone. I hope they expand it.
8) How’s the rest of 2011 shaping up for you and your music?
It’s always a waiting game for me. Next up is finding a home for the Your Favorite Trainwreck album and more writing and playing out with them.
For more information, see www.jeffcaudill.com
To purchase ‘Always On’, see www.unlessyoutryrecords.com
London July 18th @ The Windmill, Brixton http://windmillbrixton.co.uk/
Oxford July 19th @ The Gloucester Armshttp://www.thegloucesterarms.com
Sheffield July 20th @ The Greystones http://www.wagonwheelmedia.co.uk
Bolton July 22nd @ The Dog & Partridge http://www.liveatthedog.co.uk/
Cambridge July 28th @ The Portland Arms http://www.theportlandarms.co.uk