Songlines Across New Zealand
  BARRY SAUNDERS(The Warratahs) INTERVIEW 27-10-2007
 
SANZ: what have you been up to since the release of Keep On ...
Barry: I’ve been oohh what have I been up to? I’ve done a tour with Julia Deans(Fur Patrol) and Samuel Flynn Scott(phoenix foundation) as the Cook Strait Social Club
SANZ: How Did that go?
Barry: It was good. That was very different for all of us there were three audiences The Phoenix Foundation Myself and Fur Patrols Audience. It was a good experience it got me in touch with a couple of other young songwriters
SANZ: How long had the warratahs been apart till the recording of Keep on ...
Barry: Well we’ve never really been apart we’re always doing something but our last album had been three or four years no wait we had a best of album in 2003, we had been playing all that time somewhere you know we had been in Australia and always somewhere
SANZ: Will we see another solo album from you in the near future
Barry: I’m doing a best of albumof the three albums with four new tracks on it
SANZ: When will that be out?
Barry: I think march next year roundabout
SANZ: Did it feel strange going solo after you had been in the waratahs
Barry: At first it didn’t feel strange ahh what did it feel hmm it felt it was just different it was liberating in some ways and scary in another way I missed the band quite a bit you know its kind of a distinctive sound so you haven't got that sought of sound so you’ve got to work a lot harder
SANZ: On Red Morning you have a rerecord of the waratahs song rescue me on it would this by any chance be one of your favourite Waratahs songs
Barry: Not really. I did it because we wanted to use some strings and that seemed the obvious song to put them on
SANZ: How did you come about to work with David long
Barry: My publisher introduced me to him and I had seen him in The Mutton Birds and I just loved his guitar work and we got on very well because we are from totally different sides of the fence
SANZ: Would you consider yourself a legend in the NZ Country music scene
Barry: I don’t know what a legend is mate (laughs) I think uh the word legend I think that when people start calling you a legend they want you to go away(Laughs)
SANZ: What was it like to win the top male vocalist award at the 1990 NZ music awards
Barry: It was good uh people say these things don’t mean anything i say that too but when it happens it’s great
SANZ: What was it like to work with Wayne Mason
Barry: It was good the early years with Wayne were really good we parted company after a while in the band. He is a really good piano player
SANZ: How did you come about to record the 2 interislander songs and have you ever played them live
Barry: We have never played them live. We came about to record them because we got paid for them
SANZ: what would you consider your signature song like Dave Dobbyn has Loyal
Barry: Maureen
SANZ: what do you prefer to do working and recording in a studio or performing live
Barry: Performing live
SANZ: whats the best thing about performing live
Barry: Being in direct contact with people
SANZ: What influenced you to record the covers album Long Shadows
Barry: I wanted to play with an upright player and a steel player and to do all these things like those Jimmy Rogers things I mean only a few of those things came off but ahh its something I should be doing now rather then back then, probably did that a bit early you know I should have just set up in a house somewhere but the influence were the songs really
SANZ: How did the duet with Greg Johnson come about
Barry: I was in the studio in Wellington
SANZ: What was it like to work with Greg
Barry: Greg’s a good man he’s very creative
SANZ: If you could do a duet with another NZer who would it be
Barry: Tame Iti (Laughs)
SANZ: What was it like to tour with Billy Joel and Johnny Cash
Barry: I don’t remember much about the Billy Joel tour but I certainly remember the Cash tour because I was alot more relaxed. It was good and very musical it was enlightening in its own way
SANZ: what has been the most memorable highlight of your musical career
Barry: The last gig (laughs)
SANZ: is there a moment you would like to forget and can you tell us about it
Barry: My god I’d have to think about that one some more there’s probably hundreds of them
SANZ: if you had a chance to go back in time and repeat your musical career over again would you do it
Barry: Yeah I would
SANZ: would you do anything differently if you did
Barry: Yeah I’d probably work a little harder on things, I’d work a bit harder at songwriting
SANZ: here is a strange question When you are in a music store do you tend to check to see if they have your cds
Barry: I should say no but the answer is yes (laughs)
SANZ: Do you ever check ebay or trade me to see if anyone is selling rare records of the warratahs or your solo work
Barry: (laughs) No I can’t even turn on a computer
SANZ out of all your albums which would be your favourite
Barry: My favourite one is probably Magnetic South
SANZ: do you have a least favourite
Barry: Not really no not really
SANZ: When you hear one of your songs on the radio do you sing along or switch stations
Barry: I certainly don’t sing along (laughs) I don’t switch stations I switch minds I go somewhere else
SANZ: I have noticed a couple of your videos have turned up on youtube what are your thoughts on youtube
Barry: Well it’s great in some ways it’s wonderful in other ways but there’s just no secrets anymore all the gaps are filled all the cracks in the pavement are full
SANZ: Mistakes will be made and people can see that
Barry: Yeah there’s nothing to find out anymore you know there’s nothing to search out anymore
SANZ: what are your thoughts on NZ idol
Barry: Well I always watch it I like it
SANZ: when I have asked other musicians about it they tend to have a different idea about it. It’s strange to hear different opinions about it like Neil Finn stated he didn’t like it
Barry: Well he wouldn’t. I don’t always like the choice of songs I just like to see people doing something I don’t like it as much as coronation street
SANZ: Do you feel NZ music is stronger now then when you first started out
Barry: Yeah definately I hope it keeps on getting stronger
SANZ: In your opinion what do you think makes NZ music stand out from the rest of the music around the world
Barry: A little bit of madness and space
SANZ: if you had to choose a NZ band/solo artist to represent NZ overseas who would it be
Barry: The Phoenix foundation
SANZ: what song
Barry: A day in the sun off the new album
SANZ: who would some of your favourite NZ bands/artists be to listen to
Barry: I like the phoenix foundation and ahh gee I’d have to think about that one. I don’t get to see many bands . I’m going to see a band in Christchurch called The Chance who were a massive influence on me when I was a youngster in Canterbury and I’m really looking forward to seeing them
SANZ: What was the last NZ album you bought
Barry: Oh my god what would that have been oh I can’t remember quite honestly isn’t that terrible
SANZ: What would you consider a classic NZ song
Barry: Oh Poi e without a doubt
SANZ: What are your plans for the rest of 07 aswell as 2008
Barry: I’m going to do this best of album and I’m going to sought of put a line under things just so that I can do an accoustic album or do nothing or watch tv or whatever and thats the plan
SANZ: That’s it thanks for the interview
Barry: you’re welcome

 

Barry Saunders and I during the interview (Picture taken by Sharlene Gibb)

 
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