AN INTERVIEW WITH STEVE WICKHAM, May 3rd 2001 by David Billson.
I recently had a 'cyber chat' with Steve
Wickham, so I took the opportunity to put a few questions to him.
Our chat is transcribed below.
<David Billson> So you're back in
Ireland at the moment?
<Steve Wickham> Yep, it's great.
<DB> Did you enjoy the North
<SW> Dave they were great! It took
a bit of getting used to. I had to remember not to run on and retrieve
my gear after the gig. I had a great stage technician. The shows were,
in the main, great, and the venues too, beautiful theatres like
the Paramount in Seattle and the Fillmore in San Francisco, sheeesh!.
The people, the fans, amazing. Boston, wow!.. the cities! Seattle,
New York, Vancouver.
<DB> What made you return to
<SW> Well! The pension plan is
exciting and the remuneration package is handsome. :)
<DB> What's it like to be working
with MS again?
<SW> It is great to be working
with Mike. He is an inspirational fellow and dedicated artist.
<DB> He calls you the 'Greatest
Rock Fiddle Player'! Is he right?
<SW> He is, yes. I'm not a great
one on rock fiddlers. I've seen a lot of musicians recently with electric
violins, but in my opinion, the greatest was Charlie O'Connor with
the Horslips. He was so stylish. He had an amazing fiddle with stars
and moons all over it. I have one of his fiddles, a plain black one.
I can't forget people like Scarlet Rivera (here comes the story of
the Hurricane) with Bob Dylan, and Toni Marcus with Van the Man.
Also, Stuff Smith, Papa John Creech, It would be churlish not to mention
Sharon in the Corrs!!. The chap with Nick Cave, a cool cat! Oh, and
Tymon Dogg with The Clash. I love that man.
<DB> So you've still got some
room for improvement then?
<DB> With MS returning back
to rock, and you returning for the foreseeable future, does that bother
you? Would you rather be playing the acoustic type shows?
<SW> No, it doesn't bother me.
You know rock is a blunt but powerful force. I love the acoustic gigs.
<DB> What is your favourite
track on 'Rock in a Weary Land'?
<SW> At the moment it's got to
be 'The Wind in the Wires.'
<DB> That is a magical song.
I remember hearing it first in Galway last year!!
<SW> Yes, it has an eerie spirit.
<DB> What was your best memory
of the US tour?
<SW> You know, there were so many.
Can I put in a few?
<SW> Say when Mike and I did a
radio show in New York, just the two of us, and the newsreader had
to come in and read the news to the people of NYC. We started playing
behind him with things like swoops as he mentioned the falling Mir
Space Station. He was such a cool guy. He never flinched. Another
would be JoJo and her new cowboy hat. On the way to Vancouver, the
bald eagles! (a friend in Seattle told me to look out for them) I
saw them as we were listening to American Indian Music. Then there
was the Hippie fans in LA and San Francisco sending good vibes to
the stage, also the Lads from the Chicago Police department... on
<DB> Was there a joker in the
band on the US tour?
<SW> Mike, the Joker King himself.
<DB> Was there anything he
did that stood out?
<SW> Well he was always finding
himself with an empty container after he finished a drink. He'd walk
up to you, or any poor unfortunate creature, and give them the empty
saying, 'Could you hold this for me?' then disappear. You'd
be there a good while, empty in hand, before you'd realise you were
a human dustbin! A tame one, but good.
<DB> Which songs do you enjoy
playing live the most?
<SW> 'Custer's Blues' and 'Saints
<DB> I'm looking forward to
hearing 'Custers Blues' more, and the other songs on the new album!
You've no doubt heard what MS has done with the tracks. What can we
<SW> Expect the unexpected. I have
heard some of Mike's work on the tracks. They sound great. There are
so many amazing players, people like Jim Keltner, John Pattatuce,
Vinnie Kilduff. Of Course Roddy Lorimer and Anto and meself are there,
so too are Kev Wilkinson and Big Trevor. I think you'll like it.
<DB> So which period of The Waterboys
does it represent? Is it songs from after 'This is the Sea' and before
'Fisherman's Blues', during 'FB' or after 'FB'? Or is it from all
<SW> Chronologically it was smack
bang in the middle of all the recording for 'Fisherman's Blues' between
1986 and 1987. Musically, it's kind of interwoven, with Big Songs
if you know what I mean. The fans will know a few of them. 'Custer's
Blues' for example.
<DB> How would you describe
<SW> 5'11", brown haired, blue-eyed
Scottish musical poet.
<DB> Who were your musical
<SW> My Mum and Dad, my violin
teacher, Nell Kane at the Royal College of Music, Bob, Lou Reed, Van
Morrison, Toni Marcus... Mozart.
<DB> You've played with U2,
and done a session with Dylan! Who would you love to play fiddle with,
dead or alive?
<SW> Neil Young!!
<DB> Any chance of you getting
to play with him at the Fleadh?
<SW> Great Chance :)
<DB> How do you relax away
<SW> Dave I like to surf (non-virtual),
cycle (I'd die without a bike), and Salmon fishing. I love fishing.
<DB> What was the last book
you read? What is your favourite book and movie?
<SW> Kenn Harper's 'Give Me My
Father's Body: The Life of Minik the New York Eskimo'- what a well
written and moving story. My fave book is probably something by Flann
O'Brien, "At Swim Two Birds" "The Dalkey Archive"' or "The Third Policeman"'.
The movie has got to be "Harold and Maud"' starring Ruth Gordon.
<DB> What would you say was
your biggest achievement?
<SW> You had to ask... getting
this far ...
<DB> What is your most prized
<SW> My new mandolin and I suppose
<pause> my car man, my car. No, hold on, my boat. Yes, my boat!
No, <pause> my computer! That's it, my blinking computer;
<DB> Do you enjoy reading the
<SW> Yes I do. It's great hearing
what the fans have to say and when it's good it's lovely. God help
us if we ever go electric :(
<DB> We seem to have a great
bunch of people making the forum a great place, must be good to put
faces to names.
<SW> That's the magic alright.
<DB> The only other question
I have, which has split the chats on Sunday is...... Marmite.... love
<SW> Marmite.......like...not love