Threshold interview (04/2013)
|Conducted by:||Ivor (in person)|
Recorded before the gig at Biebob, Vosselaar, Belgium, 17.03.2013.
With a bit of an effort I manage to arrive at Biebob more or less on time. Damian, all smiles and apologies, asks whether I'm fine waiting a bit while he grabs something to eat, and whether I'd like to have a beer or something. Baffled a bit by this hospitable greeting, I accept the beer. While Damian has his lunch (?) we sit and chat about the venue, travelling, my lost baggage, and so on.
Having finished, we go to the tour bus for an extended talk. I'm setting up my recorder, Damian is half-lying, half-sitting outstretched along the couch across from me, hands crossed. And while answering whether we're pressed for time, we drift into an interview itself with a somewhat unusual beginning.
DW: I'm not a big fan of doing interviews. I don't like doing interviews, in fact, particularly this kind of interviews, I normally avoid them. This is the only official interview I've done for this tour. So, this is the only one. I did do another interview literally because no one had the time to do it and they were going to, you know, not do the interview. (Laughs.)
I'll ask then the first question. Why did you agree to do the interview?
I think if somebody actually specifically asks for me then I tend to do the interview, you know. If somebody really genuinely just wants to talk to me personally then I don't like to decline. But if it's just a general Threshold interview, or any other band, I just tend not to do them because what tends to be printed isn't always exactly representative of what I've been saying, you know. It's not necessarily bad journalism, it's just the fact that when you're filmed - for example I haven't got too much of a problem with that - or even when you record it, but when it's journalists writing, often I've found it they've been inaccurate, sort of, on what's been said. I tend to avoid them, and leave it to the others.
Then I'll just calm you down. I'm usually transcribing the interviews the way the conversation flows.
I know your website as well. So, I'm familiar with that. That also adds to, you know, "I think OK. Yeah, we can do that."
Let's go with the basics first then. This is the last last gig of the tour. How has it been so far?
I've found it quite tough. It's quite weird. It reminds me of the early tours that we did back in the '90s. So, personally, I found it quite tough but I think a lot of it has been in my own head, in my own, personal position. Some of the venues and things that we met, there were venues that we weren't familiar with, we had cancellations and things, police pulling venues. (Laughs.)
Oh yeah, I read a message about that. Was it the Italian gig?
What happened there?
I don't know. I only know what's been kind of stated, that the police closed the venue the night before. We turn up and there's, like, no venue.
Was there a chance of rebooking it on a short notice?
We turned up at the venue the day we're setting up. Unfortunately there's nothing. I don't know the details of it, I get told what they want me to hear. So... (Laughs.) It's also just the fact that you need certain things to go on performing and sometimes they are not met. And that makes it difficult, you know. Especially if the venue is closed the night before. (Laughs.)
How does it affect the band or the touring company morale?
Morale in a tour bus, or a boat, you know, is like... You are a big group of people who are heading out on this venture and morale can be upset quite easily because most people are taken away from their securities in life and their surroundings that they are used to. To me it's become very much my standard, you know, of just touring and not having any base. But even so, I still find sometimes, every now and again you kind of want to be at comfort. You know, when I say comfort I mean your support from friends or whatever. And you tend to look to each other in the band for this support. And I think within the band for example our morale is very, very good. And we're very supportive of each other. But often with the tours and things and people you're working with, you can feel a bit jaded if things don't go smoothly. But this is the first tour that I've found I struggle since the '90s, you know. Yeah, since the '90s like this. But like I said, I don't think it's necessarily to do with anybody. Sometimes it's your own head.
So, it's seems more like a personal issue.
Yeah, personal. (Laughs.) Perhaps this is why I normally don't do interviews. (Laughs.) Because it's like I sit here like I'm chatting on a psychiatric couch. (Laughs and emphasises his out-stretched position on the couch across.)
(Laughing.) I don't know. Maybe it's good?
Yes, it is, and interviews can be like that too.
Who chose the bands that you are touring with, Cryptex and Enochian Theory?
I wasn't involved in the choosing. Presumably members of the band and probably the agent as well were involved. But they are a great bunch, lovely crowd, good bands.
Is there a kind of a vote when you go on tour, "Yes, I'm OK with this band coming on tour," or "No, I'm not OK." Because as you said, touring is hard work and you have to keep close together and you might have something bad from previous experience.
Yeah, sure. I mean, if there's a band that you felt that was going to clash or that were going to be personal issues with, then we might voice it. But on the whole, if the bands come join as suggested and are going to join in, then I tend to go with what the suggestions are.
In what way is the current tour with Threshold different than, say, the tour you did with Headspace in September (2012)?
That was only a very little tour. With a Headspace tour we had a very few dates that were available for us all to be together. So, it was quite restricted but there were some venues that we wanted to play. Just tried to play the venues that we were comfortable with, that we could go and play some live dates. Because with Headspace the difficulty is getting everyone together because everyone is so busy, Black Sabbath and all the other bands everyone's with... and Ozzy. Yeah, particularly Ozzy and Black Sabbath.
But if you compare it with something bigger? Rick Wakeman? How does it compare to that?
Touring-wise? Well, touring with Rick Wakeman was quite fun. We went to places like South America, and Asia as well, Indonesia and places. I mean, especially places like Indonesia, they are not just places that we are used to touring. So, it's quite interesting. The funny thing actually is how popular he was out in those places... 'Cause I remember when I turned up in Indonesia in Jakarta I just got kept being met at the hotel by people going "Oh, Damian! You cut your hair!" 'Cause I cut my hair off. "Ah, you cut your hair!" And I said "Yeah, you know..." And I thought that they must be part of the production team, or something, they are staying at the same hotel. I went down to the gym and they were all "Hey!" Lot's of people seemed to know me. And although you're westerner over there, you know, and obviously you'd probably stand out a bit more, these people all seemed to know. So, I though they were all part of the production team. But it wasn't until I got up to my hotel room and stuck on the telly and relaxed, (I realised) that we were on the telly all the time. They have so few bands that tend to go there, that obviously it's a big event if they have a western band there.
I remember watching a video about The Gathering playing in South America in some countries and they literally had a security circle around them going around town, otherwise fans would run them over or something.
Yeah, South America is great. The best place to go. I mean, Brazil and Argentina. Love 'em. They are just amazing places. There's nowhere in South America I can't say that isn't fantastic to go on tour. Because they are so enthusiastic and such beautiful people out there too. But it's a different world really from Europe.
You are a much in demand singer in the world of rock and metal. How do you manage with all that? You seem to be having a lot of different projects going on.
I'm trying to keep busy because I know it can only last for so long. And I think vocally... I feel very strong as a vocalist. So, I want to use my voice as much as possible. So I try, and keep as busy as I can and do as much as I can. And that's really why. I feel there's a window when your voice is in good shape to make most of it. And given the opportunities I'll do all I can to do as much work as I can.
How many projects do you have actively running?
I have one project running actively and that's Threshold. I can only ever think about one project at a time. And so in my head - that's it. But, come tomorrow, I'm off to Ireland to meet up with some musicians. And then I start working on Maiden uniteD. And then it becomes like... khh! (Here tries a grabbing motion with hands to signify an idea taking over his mind.) And that tends to be the way I work, just focusing on one thing a time.
Is that the main reason why you have been in and out of Threshold for so many times?
No-o-o... No-no. I mean, there are separate reasons for each time that I've been in and out of Threshold. I think when I was younger I had a different outlook on what I wanted to do and where I felt I should be putting my focus. And I think the one thing, as I've kind of grown older, is I just thought I'm just going to stick with what I'm doing, you know. When I started with Threshold I didn't realise what an impression it really made, and my part being in it. It's not until a decade later that you actually realise what people got from it and how they were behind it really. I think when I did the first album it was... Karl (Groom) is very relaxed about the way he is. He's just a relaxed man. And it was very kind of "Well, come do an album," you know, and I said "Yeah, I'll come do an album." That was my introduction to the band. And with, again, personal issues, families, you know, growing families, and life and things, I then ended up after the first album signing an exclusive deal with an American company that put silly money behind a project and they wanted exclusivety. And at that time they offered me a solo deal alongside a band. And it just seemed an ideal situation with the record company back in the day. And it was hard to say no to that on the grounds of having, you know, just having done an album with Threshold. So, that was the first one. If I could've kept the thing going I would have, but the record company, they were pretty insistent that I had to be exclusive and completely exclusive.
Do you regret that kind of a decision? Skipping with Threshold?
Umm... No, but it does make me sad. It's when I speak to people and they look back and they say "Ah, we had so much hope!" You know, for the band it was almost like hope for them. And I realise that by leaving them I quashed a lot of the hope that people had. And it's almost like you feel you're letting them down. That makes me very sad, yeah. I think the band is a very different band now than it was back in that day. I mean, I'm very happy with Threshold. I love the stuff we do and the work we do. I like how we get on. So, yeah, it's difficult to regret... I don't know.
But it just makes you sad that you were not part of that period?
No, it's not sad that I wasn't part of it. It was the fact that people had expectations and they thought we were going to go somewhere, and by us going somewhere we were going to take them with us, as supporters or whatever. That makes me sad. Because I feel like I let them down and I wasn't aware of it. I realise what we could have done as a band, where we could've ventured, you know, and the possibilities I hadn't seen when I was younger. Yeah, that makes me sad. It's not really regrets. Life, I think, you take each step, and as you take each step you're doing it with conviction and with the best knowledge and the best intentions that you have. You can't see the world in the full, big picture. But what you can see, you move on that, don't you? At the time, what I was doing seemed like the right thing to do.
Now a decade later...
Well, it's more than a decade later, isn't it? 15-20 years. (Laughs.)
(Laughing.) What I actually meant was when you were coming back to join the band you had kind of, I can't say big shoes to fill but at least one big shoe to fill.
Oh yeah! Absolutely. 'Cause in fact, the funny thing is somebody played me a bootleg of the album before the album came out, and I heard it, the Dead Reckoning album - that was the one that got me. I heard it and I just thought "Oh, man! I wish I was still working with these guys!" That's what I felt. Mac sounded fantastic, really fantastic. And it was great. And I can't sound like Mac. I mean, Mac's a different singer, was a different singer to me. But I just thought "Man, it sounds great!" And I loved what they were doing and what Mac was doing. So to me it really woke me up and I remember thinking at the time I wish I was still working with these guys.
I was doing a few odd little things with Richard (West) and every time I heard about things "Ah, kind of wish my bands would do that!" You know, the bands I was working with. So, you know, when I got this call from them and they said they were heading out for the weekend to go and do some metal camp and some festivals, and Mac was having a few problems, and said "Could you come, you know, and kind of fill in?" That's what I was doing, I was only filling in. I wasn't expecting to take over. I expected Mac to come back.
I don't think anyone actually expected that he'd leave for good.
No, no. 'Cause especially being a singer I know the pressures of being a singer. I mean, poor Mac, he had a lot of health issues and things.... Ah, man, this is terrible, it makes me very sad too. I had contact with Mac but I never actually met him. We only ever spoke via e-mail. And he was always very supportive to what I was doing and up to. He was a good man. And I was a huge fan of his. And I knew that I can't do what Mac did.
How do fans react to you singing Mac's parts?
You know, I don't really know. (Laughs.) I mean, when we do shows I can see the people in front of me and I'm sure there are a lot of people who would prefer Mac's approach to mine, you know. But I can only give them mine. And that's it. That's all I have to offer. I certainly haven't had any particular backlash to me. I find that people are being accepting of what I can do and that's it. I'm sure there's 50% of the people out there who'd sooner listen to Mac, and 50% who'd quite happily listen to me, you know.
And there's probably some percent of people that think...
That I am Mac! (Laughs.) Somebody did tell me how fantastic one of the albums was, and of course it was the album that Glynn (Morgan) did. (Laughs.) So, it's not just Mac. It's Glynn as well. They're all great singers, too. But I had a fantastic thing when someone came up and said how brilliant my work was and he said (whispering) "The best album, still my favourite" is this album that I didn't do at all, that my brother did. (Laughs.) My younger brother did this album. "That's the best album you ever did!" I couldn't tell him it wasn't mine, it was my brothers. (Laughs.)
(Laughing.) Why not?
Ohh... I just thought it'd get too complicated. You see, my brother Paul is a great singer.
Actually I have seen you play with your brother. You were performing in London before Stream Of Passion gig in 2006.
Oh, yeah! The Borderline. I remember, yeah. He came up and sang, that's right. Big fellow with a big voice.
Yeah, that was a great atmosphere. I remember that gig. Amazingly interesting to see, "Ah, come on stage, come sing with me!"
(Laughs.) He does, actually. He doesn't go on tour like I do but often I'll be somewhere... He doesn't like travelling, he doesn't like flying, doesn't like it. He's not really made for tours, you know. But often if I'm doing things I say "Come and join us!" And he'd often just turn up and sing. No rehearsals, nothing, just get up and do it.
Exactly, no rehearsals, relaxed atmosphere, just playing, jamming or something.
Yeah, absolutely. But he's just making music, that's it. Not putting a big theatre on. Just going there and just do it generally from the heart. I like that. That inspires me musically.
I figure people who are listening can feel it when it does come from the heart, or when it doesn't.
Oh yeah. When I'm on stage I can read the audience like they're part of me, you know. If it's a disruption, anything, I know if it's anything in the audience. I'm blind as a bat, I can't see a thing but I can still feel it, you know. And it's the same way with the audience. If you have any feelings, it's just read instantly. It's like you're just all one big sort of consciousness. (Laughs.)
How do you react to different situations when you see something happening in the audience? Or if the audience doesn't talk back to you?
Some audiences just don't want to talk back to you. Some people just want to soak it in. They don't want to. I think different nationalities have different approaches and different personalities as an audience, you know. But that's fine. You feel when they're happy.
But you can feel when it doesn't catch on?
Oh yes you can. Without doubt.
What do you do then?
I don't know. It's been a while since I've had that feeling...
It's a great sign, isn't it?
That's a good sign. But I mean, I've had some weird situations. 'Cause sometimes, although there's a good feeling, it's not what you're expecting. That happens a lot. Where you go out and you're expecting reactions and they don't react that way... I went up to Edinburgh for a show. It was just me on my own. Acoustic guitar. And they had all these amazing comedians out there, it was during a festival, you know. And I was asked to go and perform in-between these comedians. And they were amazing. I mean, real classic, you know, Stewart Lee, real names, you know.
Anyway, all these comedians were there and they were having trouble, being hackled, and the audience wasn't friendly. And they had these group of students, Scottish students - as Edinburgh, you know... (Obviously referring to the Edingburgh University.) Scottish students who were drunk, and offensive, Scots giving them the best. (Laughs.) Just bringing them down. And I looked into this audience, and I had arrived late at this show, hadn't set up properly. I just thought they looked like the most horrific audience ever to go in front of. I thought "Why am I here?"
They had a break, I put all my stuff up, my guitars in the corner, you know, just ready. There was a comedian who was going on first and then I was after this comedian. I thought "Oh, God, I'm going to take a quick breather," in the street, you know, to prepare myself for the gig that I felt incredibly uncomfortable about. This hostile Scottish audience. (Laughs.) When I looked up, the comedian who came on had shifted all my gear that I had just set up, shifted it all out of the way, all completely mucked up, bundled it all. I just thought "Ah, man! I can't believe it!"
I just knew it was going to take me a while to get my act together. I just though "What I'm going to do, I'm just going to walk on stage, really calmly, just deal with it really calmly as if there's no one there." So, I walked on stage. I picked up my lead and I started unravelling this lead. And this ripple of giggling kind of happened in the audience. I unravel the lead, take my guitar. By the time I plug my guitar in, the audience were in hysterics. I mean, they were just absolutely falling down in laughter. And I'd just plugged my guitar in! That was it. And then I went into my first song, which was a song about attempted suicide, very serious, heartfelt song, and they just roared with laughter! And they laughed at me. (Laughs.) There was one song where it got to one of the real heartfelt moments and I had to just stop. And the whole audience were just in hysterics.
I did my set and I went off just shocked at the amount of laughter and hysterics. (Laughs.) And at the end of the show I went out, those hecklers, these guys, they came on to me and said "You were the best act on tonight! You were fantastic! It must take so much guts to get out there and make people laugh!" And I said "I'm the musical interlude!" (Laughs.) I was being serious! The owner of the place came up to me, congratulated me, and said that was just amazing, the first musical act ever, ever to go down like this. He said "That lead routine was spectacular!" And I was like "I was plugging in my guitar!" (Laughs.)
Do you know, they liked me so much, they got me to play in a comedy club in London. It was only then that they realised I was actually serious. (Laughs.)
Was there a different reception?
It was the surprised reception, yes!
A surprised reception that you are not trying to be funny?
No! (Laughs.) But then does that matter, you know? You go up on stage and you sing your best heartfelt songs ever and they all laugh at you. I think that was wonderful. Great experience. Although I do like the thing that has a little bit of humour in what I do, especially solo-wise, it's not meant, it's not written as humour. But if people laugh, that's great. I love it. (Laughs.)
Got to take life laughing, otherwise it'd be pretty hard.
Maybe that's why it worked like that.
I think the thing is, you take each show as an individual thing. I don't have any expectations for shows. If things go wrong, I love it. Things go wrong, I love it! It gives you something, you know, it's things that people remember. Slightly different. And I kind of live on that. And I think that's really where I come to my own, really. It's when things go wrong. The Tommy Cooper kind of approach.
How many gigs have you played in your life?
Ah, I don't know... I mean.... I don't know...
Oh no! Far more than a thousand! I did Les Misérables a thousand times. (Laughs.) I don't know, it's a hard one, isn't it?
How much of your shows do you actually remember out of your career? I remember I was talking with Danny from Anathema and he told me he remembers like 90% of his gigs.
Well, I think it's not the fact that you remember them. It's when somebody plays, for example, your recording of a gig you remember every single thought that went through your mind once that gig was going on. And that's a bizarre one. So, you might give me something like 15 years ago, for example... I mean, there's been bootlegs that have come up and been released, you know. Classic one I think is Jeronimo Road, they released a gig that we did at The Orange Club in London. And when I heard it back I could remember everything that went through my mind, whilst listening to it. And that's the thing. You remember every second, you know, almost where you looked, what was going through your head. And that's quite weird.
Is it like that with every gig?
Yeah, I think it probably is if you would have recorded it you'd remember it. The funny thing about that particular show was I had no lyrics to any of the songs. They said they were releasing it. And I said "But I didn't write any lyrics for any of the songs." They were performed, you know, ad-libbing really, and sounds. But that was quite a strange one. I think with every gig it's the same kind of thing. There's obviously a connection in your brain, that's stored somewhere, that brings it all back. Like emotion, you know. Or like a scent, you know. Suddenly all these things come back.
Do you have any gigs that you kind of like to revisit either in your memory or in a recording?
No, not so I'd like to forget! (Laughs.) I don't know. I mean, it's certain shows that you kind of think "Gah!" Musicians, you know, when you put an album on you tend to hear what's wrong with the album. What you should have done, you know. You hear all the mistakes, everything. And there's many times you sort of... I only ever get angry at myself. You know, if something happens, if something goes wrong, it doesn't matter. What matters is how I deal with that situation. But very often I come off stage "Ah, wish I'd dealt with that slightly differently!" In that way.
But do you deal differently with the situation?
Then you try to, yeah. You try and learn.
Or is any situation unique?
Well, I'd say every gig's unique but situations reoccur. The one thing I always find which is really tricky - and I found it on this tour as well because I had a situation like it on one of the shows - when you get to the point when you can't actually perform the show, what do you do? You know, what do you do when you're standing there and you think "I can't actually deliver the show." I don't know... Do you explain it all to the audience? Do you distract the audience? Do you just walk off? (Laughs.) How do you deal with it? It's a really, really hard one. And we had one show on this tour that I had that, and it was just like... The reason was because of the set up, because we didn't have the set up that we needed. It's a real hard one. Because you want to please the audience. With those things you wonder what to do. Because you want the audience to have a great time, they've come to hear you do a certain show, and you want to deliver at your best. And when you can't deliver your best what do you do? How do you compensate for that?
I've always found it quite hard. The thing is, when we go on and prepare for shows with the agents and with your riders you know what you need. And you say "This is what we need." But it's quite surprising how often you can turn up at a venue - and it's not the venue's fault often, it can be other people's, you know (this is not pointing fingers at anybody, you know) - and for some reason, you can turn up, and the rider hasn't been met. Obviously the rider is there for a reason because you're delivering something and in order to do your work and to do your performance you need certain things. And when they are not met, sometimes, you know, you have to try and work around them and it's not always that easy. And if you find yourself on stage and you can't deliver I always feel a bit stupid. (Laughs.) Never know how to quite deal with it.
Have you cancelled any shows in those situations?
No, not technically, I haven't cancelled any shows, personally I haven't. But many, many, many, many years ago I've ventured on stage and just thought "This is impossible!" and they'd be very short shows. (Laughs.) Yeah, but not for many, many, many, many years, decade... (Laughs.)
Does it happen sometimes that you have to restart a song?
No, I tend not to do that. I mean, it has happened. Instantly I can think of one which was when we were doing a try-out at 013, Bat Cave in Holland, in Tilburg, and I remember we had a keyboard player who had been brought in to do a show from my own band DWB - which is like Damian Wilson Band, you know - and basically we wanted another chap to do it. And for one reason or another he couldn't do it and it was all very last minute and then we brought in this other chap, a guy from A Flock Of Seagulls, an old guy I've known for many years. And he was just very enthusiastic to do it. I'm only reluctant to say his name because I don't want to embarrass him. But he started this track and it was literally unrecognisable from what we were doing. (Laughs.) And this is on YouTube, you can find it on YouTube. It just cracked us all up. And when you do things like that, you know, we were just laughing so much we started again. But that's the only time I can ever think of starting again. But I'm sure there are probably other examples. But once you start it, you go on and finish it. Certainly I would be very disappointed with myself if I had a diva moment and turned to the band and go "Stop! STOP! Stop!" That won't happen! (Laughs.) At least I hope not. (Laughs.)
Sometimes it's pretty fun when bands happen to lose a beat or something, or go off sync.
That happens all the time!
"OK, let's start again." They go on like nothing happened. Sometimes people love it.
The point is, if you can be in a performance in a kind of a natural way it's great, it's the expectation. You're going to have errors on stage, you know, you're going to forget words, you're going to come off beats, you're going to be going into the chorus when you're meant to be doing the verse. It happens! It just happens. That's what playing live is about.
So, what do you do? Improvise?
Yes, you put your professionalism hat on and you deal with it. (Laughs.)
And how do you come off?
And hopefully you come off sort of with everyone recognising that you're human and that it's not a bad thing to make mistakes. It's not. I mean, the thing is, to me, like I say, things come alive when things go wrong. I love 'em. I love it when there's mistakes and... It's weird, even in... One of the weirdest shows, something as professional as Les Misérables, when I did Les Misérables, we had one time when Marius...
They had a big opening party. OK, I'll start from the beginning. Big opening party, in Ireland, in Dublin, for the show. Opening up in Dublin, The Point. Colm Wilkinson was going to be there as Valjean. Big thing. Real big deal in Ireland. And they had this huge array of oysters at the party. And the whole of the cast just jumped on to these. I mean, oysters. I don't know which ocean they raided for these oysters, there were so many oysters. I've never seen a mountain of oysters like it. And the whole cast just went... You know, I did too, I was having these oysters like mad.
Anyway, a day later everyone (is) violently ill, vomiting, coming off the show. The show was sort of jeopardised. Everyone started falling violently ill and one by one all the leads were off the show. And the understudies were also off the show. And they had this Marius character, you know, who is one of the main guys, and there was no one to play him but like the under-under-understudy. The guy who had got the opportunity to play this lead role once in his life, you know, and he was going to jump to it and he was going to perform as Marius, you know, because he'd never get the opportunity ever again. This was his moment.
So, he went on stage. And during the show he started vomiting and being sick, and they even put a bucket behind him during the death scene with Éponine. And he was being sick in the bucket whilst holding Éponine who dies in his arms. Anyway, she died in his arms, and he just got up - I mean, as himself - and just said "I can't go on. I can't go on." And just walked off stage. And with the guy gone we'd lost our lead character who's got his big song coming up. The whole cast just ad-libbed. It was amazing! Fantastic! Brilliant! I mean, everyone was ad-libbing rather, it was like "Hey, go find Marius!" (Laughs.) It was ad-libbed. This guy fell when Marius would normally fall and be picked up. Basically it was just complete ad-lib. And the show was fantastic for it.
And then we got to the big part where Marius was meant to sing and we were just going "What the hell is going to happen here?" No one had a clue. The director for the show was in the audience that night, fortunately. He got the orchestra to lower the key of Marius' song, put a wig on, put his stuff on, and the director went on as Marius to sing. But there must have been about 5 or 6 different Mariuses, people playing his part. But it was great. Brilliant!
And what a night. And that's a night I remember from Dublin. (Laughs.) That, and the one where someone in the audience started having a fight during "Bring Him Home" which you probably don't know anything about and I don't suppose any of your readers will know anything about Les Misérables. You know, it doesn't matter how professional things can be, doesn't matter how much money goes in behind something, there are always going to be mistakes. And they're the things I love, and they're the things I remember, and they're the things that make a real experience.
If we come back to this tour, any particularly bad blunders?
On this tour I can't think of anything that's particularly amusing, or mistakes. I just know there's some amazing audiences, lovely, lovely, lovely audiences. German audiences just being amazing. But that's not, you know, to knock on any of the others, like our little audiences in Austria, or Poland, you know. Polish audiences were amazing. I mean, that was a weird one in Poland 'cause we were meant to be on the large stage in Poland and they gave us a little stage. Well, if you want to have a big stage you'll have to pay to have the big stage. This is as I understand, I'm missing it, the facts of this may not be true but this is what I hear. So, they stick us on little stage. Ah, I love it but it's a little stage, down with people. So, you can see them. Man! It was great, fantastic, and the people were wonderful. I could touch the people and I could throw myself into the audience, with the people. Love it. It was really, really, really great.
Damian Wilson "Drink with me, friends!"
What's your smallest gig?
With this tour you mean?
No, at all.
Oh, God, what am I made of? (Laughs.)
No, I've done smaller than that. I mean, gosh. As an organised gig, small gigs where I've been, I remember many years ago doing a gig in London which was a spontaneous gig, somebody asked me to do it. I remember a guy from Holland happened to be in the audience and he was pretty much the only person in the audience. He's jumping up and down "This is Damian Wilson! This is Damian Wilson!! There's no one here!?" (Laughs.)
I was this special Christmas guest for a show somebody asked me to do. Unannounced again, as a guest, you know. The main act pulled out, the support pulled out, and so did the opening act. And so I was the only one there. The funny thing, I did three hours on stage, just me and the sound man, and then there was like a passing crowd coming through. And just at the end of the three hours of playing to sort of a couple who might have turned up, and then get a sound man up on stage and join you. In about three hours I went to pack all my stuff. And suddenly the whole club filled with a party. It was like a full club, you know. And I had to open up again and start playing, you know. The funniest thing, at the end of the show the guy who invited me as the special Christmas guest said "Oh, you owe me 50 quid for the PA (Public Address / Sound System)." (Laughs.) I was just like "OK, fine."
Yeah, take it...
No-no. He didn't get any money out of me. No! (Laughs.) But I just thought this was like most amusing thing ever. But that was a long time ago. Yes, long time ago.
You have quite a lot of interesting stories to tell.
It's being a musician. You see, that's what it is. We have unusual lives.
Yeah, that I can tell from your stories. OK, I'll try to wrap it up and just ask in the end what's in the future for Threshold and yourself? Well, you said you'll be doing Maiden uniteD.
I'm pretty full with lots of different things but I'm hoping that it's going to be lots of Threshold things. I heard that we can do a lot. I don't know quite what's planned at the moment with Threshold but we're going to deliver another album, and do more touring, hope there's some great music and have a good time.
And do you plan any solo work?
Oh yeah. And solo tours too. Solo work, solo tours, Headspace album, tours. Albums, tours. Basically I'm going to keep myself busy until I drop, I think. (Laughs.) Or until I crack. And when I say crack I mean my voice, not my mind. (Laughs.)
Damian, thank you! Let us hope you can continue for a long while yet, man.
Read about the show that followed the interview in Progventure Part 6.
Posted on 16.04.2013 by
I shoot people.
Sometimes, I also write about it.
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