Edgar Broughton interview: "Things and stuff we want to own has become the curse of our age"

24/01/2013 @ 13:29
Radio listeners should know him from the popular and much loved "Evening Over Rooftops". Those familiar with 70s rock in its most adventurous face will definitely own a copy of the self-titled album (“the meat album”). Those that are really into this kind of music will recognize the name of the leader of one of the most original bands with a series of interesting albums, with evident musical, lyrical and political opinion. Edgar Broughton's new visit to Greece, for two shows, gives us an opportunity to talk to him about some of his experiences.

How come 'just' Edgar Broughton without the 'Band' anymore?
The band broke up a couple of years ago. I am currently working with some guys from the old days towards a new band project.

You have always been working with your family. Your brother and recently your son. Is it more easy for you working like that?
It was always our way. It presents both advantages and disadvantages.

Edgar BroughtonHow did 'Robert' become 'Edgar' and why?
We were a blues band. Vic Unitt guitarist at the time, suggested I use my middle name so that we could be called The Edgar Broughton Blues Band.

Most people know your music through the 'meat album' which, brilliant as it may be, it is not as rough and edgy as some of your other releases. Where would you say that the E.B.B's music is best represented? How did David Bedford change your sound?
Difficult to say which album best represents the music of the E.B.B. I like parts of all of them. I am still very fond of much of "Superchip (The Final Silicon Solution)". David Bedford brought colour of many kinds in an orchestral context. The brooding strings on "Evening Over Rooftops" and the humour of the single "Up Yours" with a whole range of good things in between.

Edgar Broughton"Evening Over Rooftops" is one of your most popular songs. Its lyrics are purely poetic but, what is it actually about?
I gave up explaining what it is to me lyrically. It was like a stream of consciousness, written in one go without any changes made at all. It means many things to different people and what it means to you is perfectly valid.

You have become known for your 'howls' and have been placed in the same line with artists as Screaming Jay Hawkins, Cpt. Beefheart and Tom Waits. Do you see the similarities? Was there someone you picked the howls from? (i.e. Howling Wolf?)
Howling Wolf is the man. I found I could emulate a black blues voice, to some extent, and he was the one I seemed closest to followed by Beefheart and others. I have many voices all present in my solo show.

Edgar BroughtonYou had strong political views which you were never ashamed to express. How do you see these views now? Where they the whole bands or just yours? How relevant are they now and what is your opinion on the political situation in the world now?
I was brought up in a socialist house and I see myself a socialist with values born in that time of my early years. The world is lost. Things and stuff we want to own has become the curse of our age. If we were to take care of the children, the elderly, disabled and vulnerable then our lives would be richer and much of the pointlessness of many of our lives would be replaced by new hope and incentives. I lean to the left hoping to do what is right. I believe in fair play and equal opportunities for all.

Was working in Harvest really different than any other company? Was the profile of the "progressive" label really real?
It was a great label in a great time.

Edgar BroughtonThere is a story about helping an American soldier escape from Germany and avoid being sent to Vietnam. Can you please tell us what happened? Would you do the same today for a soldier being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan etc?
It is true. We met a young GI in a club after a concert. he broke down, in tears, and told us he was supposed to leaving Germany for the war in Vietnam on the following morning. He was terrified. We were going to Holland so we took him there in the back of our equipment truck. There he hooked up with a Scandinavian network that helped soldiers on the run and remained free. He married a Scandinavian woman and they had a daughter. He wrote to us to thank us and to tell us all about his new life. Yes I would do the same today if I could.

Any recollections from your previous gig in Greece?
Yes it was wonderful experience. We all loved it. The audience was among the best ever and were right there living it with us from the beginning to end.