It’s hard. Playing is like riding a bike. We’ve got this long history in Scotland, where you only need to know how to do a handful of things. I can barely get the pedal down on a fiddle. Playing a guitar is like a different world. What’s the difference between a drum set and a guitar? I can pick out the guitar playing from the rest of the room. I don’t think I have any trouble playing the guitar, but I’m still working on it. The guitar’s the ultimate guitar, not only in performance ability, but in technique.
The most surprising thing to me when I joined the band is that I couldn’t read by ear; there’s no one there saying, “Yes, you listen.” It’s the opposite in the band. We would pick out a guitar part and ask the guitarist to play it over and over again. And he’d be absolutely stumped!
Would you do something like write music on a laptop, while the band was on the road?
With all the songs we wrote after the fact, we didn’t have time to experiment. I really wanted to do something similar to what we did with the songs written before we left our homes in Scotland. We’d take some guitar parts we’d written and use them in a song, and then do a few songs in which the singer would sing. Sometimes there would have been more than one song in which the singer could perform. A few of our songs came to us spontaneously. You can’t go and get a keyboardist to contribute to your music; you just have to go and play it and get a bunch of people to sing them together.
What do you think of the way bands are growing and changing?
I’m glad that all these people are doing what they want to do. I’m not a big fan of the “lifestyle” scene; it’s too fast-paced. I still appreciate music and rock and roll when I’m sitting at home, or sitting in a café; I’m not listening to radio while I’m driving, then writing a song. But it’s more exciting to be out playing and not worrying all the time about what I should be doing. I do enjoy bands that can do that. I don’t mind being in a band with people like them – it’s what we were born to do, and our ancestors have been doing it for thousands of years. It’s cool that we can enjoy being a rock and roll band,
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