In the “Fragile” booklet, you try and explain the 13-year lapse.
Well, people think you’ve wound up in a drunken stupor and walked off the edge of a cliff somewhere. Or that you’ve disappeared, or just run out of ideas. So you do feel obliged to explain to people why it’s taken such a ridiculously long time. And part of it is the doubt that goes through your head. Doubt like: A, can I do this anymore?; B, do I want to do this anymore?; and C, is there anybody out there who’s even remotely interested in anything I’ve got to do or say? And that really takes the wind out of your sails.
But you have your own home studio, where you gradually pieced “Fragile” together, right?
Yeah. I’ve always had my own facility. I knew the day would come when you would be of absolutely no interest to a record company anymore. I could see it coming a long time ago, that you had to be skilled in many, many different areas if you wanted to survive in this industry. So my studio is a musician’s potting shed. Traditionally, somebody my age would be down there twiddling about with flowers and planting things. But I twiddle about with computers and machines and make noise. I waddle down there every day and indulge myself.
The first song is “I Survived.” Survived what, exactly?
It’s the classic working-class-boy-aspires-to-become-a-musician-makes-loads-of-money-and-drinks-too-much-and-then-finds-out-he-cant-stop thing. Ten years ago now, I got myself in a bit of trouble with alcohol, and I just felt like my entire world was collapsing. That’s part of why “Fragile” took so long – I went through major periods of self-doubt, and it takes a long time to climb back out. So “I Survived” was one of the first things that I wrote without my old friend Jack Daniels sitting next to me, doing the co-writing. It sounds bloody miserable when I’m talking about it, but it’s quite a positive song!
IF YOU GO
The Retro Futura Tour
with Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Ultravox's Midge Ure, Katrina of Katrina & the Waves
Where: Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $45 to $89.50
Contact: (408) 741-2822, www.axs.com