Interview with Eddie Jobson
WHEN: OCTOBER 26, 1995
WHERE: AT THE ZINC STUDIO, NEW YORK
BY: JAY YU (ART ROCK MAGAZINE/SI-WAN RECORDS
First of all I have to apologize to Mr. Eddie Jobson for the cover of the Art
Rock Magazine. Originally Eddie Jobson was supposed to be on the cover of Art Rock
Magazine (Issue #11). I promised Carr/Sharpe Entertainment (Eddie Jobson's
Management) that Eddie Jobson would be on the cover. However, right after the
magazine came out I realized they put Klaatu on the cover because Si-Wan
Records (The parent company of the Art Rock Magazine) was about to release
Klaatu'sMagentalane CD at that time in South Korea. I was totally shocked by this
sudden change. I just had to apologize to Mr. Jobson.
I hope many U.K. fans enjoy this interview and look forward to seeing
U.K. live soon. Again I apologize to Mr. Jobson for the cover.
*Photo Of Eddie Jobson By Julian Jaime
*Photo Courtesy Eddie Jobson/Zinc INC.
Art Rock: 3 years ago I
sent a letter to Private Music because I wanted to know if you
had any plans for making new album or going on tour. They wrote me back and said
you had already left the company. It's been almost 10 years since your last solo album
Theme Of Secrets came out. Why have you not released new CD for 10 years?
Jobson: It's a funny thing, you know. It wasn't a deliberate choice. I think you have to
go back little bit further to... about 1980 when I started The Green Album. That took
a couple of years to put together on and off. And I realized it was really difficult to get
a healthy outlet for interesting music that I wanted to write and play. Musically the
outlets for that sort of seemed to be drying up particularly about 1980 when the whole
record industry changed tremendously and the style of bands, the style of music
dramatically changed. Everything we'd been doing in the '70s seemed very dated.
And radio stations all changed. Nobody wanted to play that kind of music. Meanwhile
the whole industry was getting taken over by some accountants and lawyers.
Even when The Green Album came out, I was already feeling very much that it was
not a very healthy business for me to be in, you know...in term of being able to do the
music that I wanted to do and have a good supportive outlet. I was actually very lucky
to get the deal with Capitol Records to even get The Green Album released, and
once it was released they didn't really know what to do because they had no way of
getting it on the radio particularly. We tried a few normal routes like doing "Turn It
Over"video for MTV. We tried all those kinds of things, you know. But it was really
awkward. It didn't really feel right. Around the end of 1983 or early 1984 I was
questioning my position in the record business. It was important for me to do
something challenging that I could continue to grow with. First thing actually I did
was... which was just seemed like a good thing for me to try to do...YES asked
me again. They asked me during The Green Album. I was invited to do the 90125
album, which at the time was being done under the name of CINEMA. But I wasn't
that interested for 2 reasons. One was...because I was still finishing The Green
Album, and two... I really didn't wanted to be in Chris' band. As I was finishing The
Green Album and promoting that, they were doing 90125 album. And of course that
turned out to be really exceptionally good record. When I wouldn't do it, they brought
Tony kaye, and he did it for a while. Then they had some disagreement. And Kaye left
the project midway through. They finished it without a keyboard player. And at the
end of project they asked me to do it again.
By now I said "Yes"because Jon Anderson was back singing again, and album was
really good. I was sort of looking for something suitable to do. YES had been asking
me to join many years. They asked me when Rick Wakeman first left in 1974. I was
still in Roxy, and I declined it. I know there were several mentions over the years
about my joining. And this time I finally decided to do it. I actually did join. I joined
YES about 2 months or less. (laughs) I was in the band during the final days of
making 90125, and we did "Owner Of A Lonely Heart"video, which I was in. Then
after the video we rehearsed to go on tours. I learned old materials, and they had
some political problems with the name. So they decided to bring Tony Kaye in, and
they wanted me to share the keyboard with Tony. But sharing the keyboard kind of
diluted my role in the band. I basically lost interest because of that. I wasn't doing that
just to be in YES or just to be a rock star again. So I decided not to do it. That's when I
went to Private Music because I was still looking for outlets. New Age at that time
seemed quite healthy. They didn't have commercial pressure compared to big labels.
Peter Baumann and some other people tried to get me on the label for some time.
And I ended up doing that. I did two records (Piano One and Theme Of Secrets).
Then I ended up moving to Caribbean Island Of Montserrat
in 1987. I went to make
another record for Private Music. It was going to be follow-up album. I took all my
synclavier system down and set up in a villa in the Islands. I went to George Martin's
Air Studio in Montserrat and flew down John Punter who was the engineer on Roxy
Music, Bryan Ferry and also on Danger Money album. He lived in Canada. And I
actually made a record. I was trying to expand out from what New Age was becoming
because New Age was starting to become...again rather limiting and become
stigmatized. But unfortunately the record company and I were going in different
directions. I was trying to make it deeper, more film-making and much darker. But
record company was trying to make their label...in my opinion more commercial.
When they started, Private Music was going to be something different from Windham
Hill. It wasn't going to be running water, but it was going to be something deeper
than that. That's why I was interested in doing it. I knew they were going to sign Jerry
Goodman as well and even Patrick O'hearn. It was a good line of people. I thought
everything was going to be a lot deeper. It was much darker album than Theme Of
Secrets. But they were basically giving me the same pressure as all the big major
labels. They wanted me to change the album. They thought it was too deep and too
Art Rock: So there was disagreement between you and the company.....
Jobson: Yeah, so I basically refused to change it. It would've been a good record.
I ended up buying the record myself. I just put it on the shelf. It never got released.
So that was it. That was 1987. And I ended up staying in Montserrat for 3
years. (laughs) So that took me through about first five years basically from the
Theme Of Secrets, you know. (laughs)
And I also started to do some other outlets, which allowed me to really grow, which
was very important to me all the time. It was unusual outlet. I didn't expect to do it.
I was approached by an American advertising agency to do some music after
Theme Of Secrets. It was kind of new sound for advertising particularly cinematic
type of commercial. They wanted me to do stuff extremely melodic, atmospheric and
beautiful. So I formed the company to do it. I got this big campaign for train company
called AMTRAK. All the long distance trains go through desert and mountains. This
gorgeous footage of scenery and animals and sunset, you know. That was my first big
campaign, and I did that down in Montserrat. They didn't even have trains. (laughs)
I won the CLIO, which is the advertising Oscar. I won the best original music that year.
I've done a little bit piece of very selected spots ever since then. In fact I've been quite
successful with it. I've been finalists in the CLIO every single year since 1987. The
main purpose of doing it was to be able to expand my compositional skills and my
technological knowledge about scoring to picture. I've always intended to do score
feature films, but I've just never had time to do it. When I do that, I want to do it with
Doing TV shows and commercials is just being really learning process for me to work
with a big orchestra like 60 or 70-piece and just to know how to score a scene and just
to know how to see a picture and immediately to get the right sense. It's been a
tremendous outlet. I've ended up doing African music, opera and many kinds of things.
Nobody really knows about this, but I like it that way. It's really quite challenging.
Art Rock: Let's talk about The Best Of The 01/W CD. When I listened to "Sketch F
Orchestra #4"on this CD, I thought this was a piece of classical music. Does this
mean your musical direction has changed as compared to The Green Album and
Theme Of Secrets?
Jobson: No! It's a funny thing. I've done many many things through my
career. When I was younger, I used to play many types of music. In many ways
people tend to associate you with one thing or maybe two things. I've always had the
capability of almost going anywhere. I used to write classical music when I was young.
I wrote string quartet when I was very young, starting at about 8 or 9.
Before I joined Curved Air I was in a band (Fat Grapple). They played a lot of electric
folk music like Fairport Convention. And I used to play Irish gigues, rock piano, and
trombone in a medieval ensemble. One point I played drums in a marching band
when I was a kid. The other thing was...my father used to run a folk music festival in
my hometown every year bringing groups from all over the world. I used to get to
study all these wonderful music. I was very immersed in classical music and
traditional folk music, and I used to love Russian groups, Czechoslovakian dance
groups, Hungarian and Yugoslavian groups and also Congo bands. I would listen to
all the African rhythms and I used to analyze it. I was always interested in all these
things. What happened was after Curved Air, Roxy Music, Zappa, and U.K. and
Jethro Tull... I sort of became a progressive rock player, and even though my
classical background assisted me tremendously for playing with Zappa and writing for
U.K. or whatever, it was still very much in the same area. I'd say... right up until The
Green Album and after The Green Album going into Theme Of Secrets and
going into the album didn't get released I started sort of going back to when I'd been
originally. I had a Russian piece of music on unreleased album, which was going to be
called Theme Of Knowledge. That was sort of coming back to this real love of
Eastern block music. And then commercials really expanded on that even further.
Then I was able to do music for African percussion players. I did some music for
African singers like Ladysmith Black Mambazo type of thing. That was tremendous
because I was able to expand again and go back to my original intents of all different
music from around the world.
Art Rock: According to this book (Jethro Tull's"A"tour program book) you started
private piano studies at 7 and violin at 8. How did you get started learning piano
Jobson: My father played a piano. He used to be a school headmaster when I was
young. And I have a brother and two sisters. I am the youngest. My father sent
everybody to piano classes when we were young.
Art Rock: Did you like playing a piano?
Jobson: Yeah, I liked playing a piano.
Art Rock: Did you have any pressure on it?
Jobson: No! Not at all. I thank my parents. My father just sent me off when I was 7
just like he had my sisters. I used to go with my sister. And when I was 8, a teacher
came around school. That violin teacher used to travel around all the different
schools. He asked the class in the school if anybody was interested in learning a violin.
Because I'd been playing the piano for a year and getting quite good and fast, I was
interested in playing the violin, too. So it was totally my choice. In fact I bought
my own first violin with my savings. I had some savings from people giving me money
for a baby. I never enjoyed learning violin very much, to tell you the truth. But I was
very good at it. So it didn't make any sense to quit because I was naturally good at it.
I was lucky that way.
Art Rock: Did your parents allow you to do rock music when you decided to do that?
Jobson: Well, no! (laughs) They didn't agree. But you have to understand the context.
You see...when I was 16, I was essentially qualified to go to Royal Academy Of
Music. I took a lot of exams privately on violin, piano and music theory. I had all the
qualification necessary to go to Royal Academy. So I actually applied for the Royal
Academy when I was 16 because I wanted to leave the school to go to the Royal
Academy. I was ready, and they wrote back, and said basically they never accepted
people in 16. It was too young, and you have to be 18, but on occasion they would
allow people in 17 subject to the special examination. Occasionally they make
exception, but 16... no exception! And so I had no further purpose of staying in
school because I knew what I wanted to be. I had the qualification to do it, so I had to
figure out how to kill a year until the Academy would accept me. I wrote back to them
and asked for a suggestion. And they suggested that I worked at a record shop for
a year, which was terrible. I wasn't really interested in that. I was doing much
more interesting thing already. I played for a ballet class then. I made a little money
from it. I played a little bit in my father's theater for plays when an actor was
supposed to be playing a piano on the stage. I'd play off the stage for him. It was
around the age of 15 or 16. And I started to get interested in synthesizer, which
was just coming out. It was very new in 1971, and there was an instrument called
VCS3, which was the first commercially available synthesizer in England, the one
used on The Dark Side Of The Moon. Brian Eno also used it. He still uses it.
Art Rock: And Keith Emerson...
Jobson: No, Keith Emerson didn't use it. He used a big moog. He was lucky enough
to get that big moog. VCS3 was sort of possible to get, and playing it was much more
interesting to me. So I ended up moving to Newcastle, which was the nearest big
city. And I teamed up with a bunch of the university graduates, who were all 23 or 24.
We all lived together like a commune, and we formed a group (Fat Grapple).
It was like a multi-media type of thing with poetry and slide projections, but it was
also like a rock band. We used to do some other people's music. We did Fairport
Convention and some rock &roll, but a lot of it was original. It had a poetry in it, and
sound effect tapes...it was like Pink Floyd, but more hippie than that. (laughs)
The members of this group had high level degrees from the university, and they were
all intelligent men. So my parents were sort of accepting that, but it was meant to be
only for a year until I went to the Academy. They reluctantly let me do that.
When I was 17, I joined Curved Air, Warner recording artist. And all of sudden my
parents realized I wasn't going to Royal Academy, but it was O.K. because Curved
Air was a very famous group.
Art Rock: How did you join Curved Air? You replaced Darryl Way...
Jobson: And Francis Monkman.
Art Rock: Did you just go to audition?
Jobson: No, not at all. Curved Air was one of those bands like Fairport Convention
that got me interested in rock music. Darryl was a classical violinist, and Francis
was a classical keyboard player. I'd say Fairport and Curved Air were definitely linked
between classical music and rock music. I studied first two Curved Air albums and
learned to play all of their pieces. I could play all of Darryl and Francis' parts. Also I
got played all of Keith Emerson's parts from first ELP record. I just used to listen to
other classical players particularly people who used synthesizers like Francis
Monkman. When I joined this first little group with the university graduates, we
managed to get hold of VCS3. I played Faiport and Curved Air tunes in my first group.
We use to play "Vivaldi"and other Curved Air pieces on the stage. It turned out that
my first group ended up being the opening act for Curved Air in Newcastle where we
lived. So they (road crews of Curved Air) heard me playing and told the Curved Air that
I played music of Curved Air... 16- year-old kid, you know. So they invited me to the
dressing room. Tour manager and the band came. Darryl Way put his violin
under my chair and said, "Play Vivaldi,"so with the whole band members standing
in front of my face I had to play "Vivaldi."They thought it was hilarious that I could
play everything Darryl played. I knew all his parts, and they thought it was even more
hilarious that there was solo in the middle part of "Vivaldi"that involved tape echo
delays, but I didn't know what the tape echo was. I was playing both parts, and that
was very difficult. I was playing echo parts as well as the original parts. (laughs)
They were all like laughing because they thought it was very funny. So that was it.
I ended up becoming known to them. And a few months later that, maybe 6 months
after that, I just got a call out of the blue. Darryl and Francis both were leaving the
group. They found a good guitarist, Kirby to replace Francis Monkman (he also played
a guitar), and they thought I would replace Francis on the keyboards and replace
Darryl on the violin. So that was it. I was 17 and next thing... I was in Curved Air.
Art Rock: After Curved Air there was Roxy Music waiting for you. You replaced
Brian Eno. Did you really enjoy playing with Bryan Ferry and the rest of the members?
Jobson: I did originally. During my first band Roxy came from Newcastle area, too.
Bryan's sister and my sister actually went to the same college. They shared a room in
the college. So my sister and Bryan's sister used to talk about my first group and
Bryan's new group. Roxy was starting to make a quite a bit of impact. They really
made a lot more impact than my first group did. What they were doing was extremely
new and innovative in many ways. The whole look of Roxy was very unusual. There
was a tremendous amount of excitement about the Roxy in England. The radio, press
and everybody loved them. What happened was... I can't remember which came first,
but I think I ended up meeting Bryan. We knew each other sort of through our sisters.
He came to hear me play with Curved Air, and he asked me if I would do his solo
album, which was These Foolish Things. So I did that record. I played keyboards
and synthesizer, and I also was the whole orchestra because Bryan couldn't really
afford the orchestra back then. So I wrote, arranged and played all of the parts for the
string orchestra. I did violin, viola, cello and everything multi-tracking. Then he asked
me to join Roxy right after that, but first I said, "No"because I was in Curved Air. I
wanted to have some loyalty to the band.
I'd been in the band for about only 10 months. It meant a lot to me to be in Curved
Air. We were touring in Italy and all over the place, you know. I was starting to write
more music, too. And in a very strange coincidence, the very next day in 24 hours
my saying "No"to Roxy I got a phone call saying that Kirby was leaving Curved Air.
I was really shocked because we were still suffering from the fact that Darryl and
Francis left the band. We were still trying to rebuild the band from this big split of
loosing two main members. So when Kirby got up and left, I wanted to leave because
it just changed the balance. I decided maybe this is the time to forget it, and we just
split up. That's how it happened. And the first album I did was Stranded, which
entered the British chart #1. It went gold in 1973.
Art Rock: After Roxy Music you joined Frank Zappa. What kind of musician was
Jobson: I think Frank was a unique musician, unique guitarist, unique composer,
unique humorist. Everything about him was unique! He was a true original person.
The way he spoke, the story he told, the words he used, his own sense of humor,
it was his own world. His production was totally distinctive Frank Zappa production.
Sounds he used, piano and vocal sound and all of album jackets. It was amazing
that way. It all seemed so strange to me. Everything was so alien to me because I was
brought up in North of England. Even London was strange place to me. (laughs)
America was mysterious place that I just knew nothing about, and Frank's world was
like a mysterious place within America. And I was shocked that the players who were
clearly so good could be so outrageous. I'd never been able to associate these two
things before because to me people who were really good tended to be very straight
and conservative and classical kind of people. Frank sort of broke down these
preconception for me because he and all these people were extremely outrageous.
And the album...I was first introduced to live album. That stuff was quite shocking, and
some materials were X-rated and so outrageous, which was so cleverly done with
such good players. So I was always fascinated in just what Frank Zappa was all about
and really wanted to learn. I learned about America through Frank Zappa's eyes, and
Frank was a big influence on me. He was the most dedicated musician I've ever
met... totally dedicated! Everyday he was a complete workaholic, 12 hours a day, 14
hours a day in his studio, in his basement composing and writing stuff and editing
tapes. He sort of relied on people like me and Terry Bozzio who could play his music
right. And some of his music was emotionally lacking. I think that was lot to do with
his own... he himself was emotionally lacking, you know. (laughs) I think that came
across his music. Some of his stuff was a little bit cold, but I nearly was capable of
doing that stuff.
Art Rock: Since I am not quite familiar with your work in Frank Zappa, I've always
wanted to ask you this. (Showing himZoot Allures CD) I don't see your name
anywhere on the credit of this album.
Jobson: I am not on the album!
Art Rock: But...isn't this you? (Eddie Jobson sits far right on the cover of Zoot
Jobson: Yes, that's me, but I didn't play on the album.
Art Rock: You are on the cover, but you didn't play on this album?
Jobson: I don't think so. Frank makes albums differently from other people. Most
people go in studio, record album and they put a picture of group on. Frank doesn't
work like that. Frank doesn't really go into studio to record an album. Frank's tape is
running constantly. He records everything, even rehearsal .
The first week I went to L.A. Frank was producing an album with Mark Farner, lead
singer of Grand Funk Railroad. I went to visit Frank in the studio, Record Plant, L.A.
And Frank said, "Oh, let's go do a vocal. I want to record some voices for this track."
So he took me and Mark Farner and himself in the studio. I'd never sung in a studio
before. And next thing you know, I'm in the studio doing a vocal with Mark
Farner of GFR and Frank Zappa, which was called "Let Me Take You To The Beach."
And that goes on tape somewhere...and some future point Frank would take that
tape and do something else to it, put somebody else on it, and cut it off and edit it.
God knows what he will do with it! And it will show up on an album! You may be in
the group when it comes out, or maybe you left the band 5 years before the album
comes out. That's how he makes records. I just joined the group here. This album
was made up of all different tapes, different thing from different period. I am not even
sure Patrick O'hearn is on it. I don't think he played on the record either. Terry was on
it because he'd been in the band for 3 or 4 years longer at that point. Frank had a lot
of tapes of Terry played. I was only with for a year, but I appeared on records
for the next five years. I believe I am not on this record although I did play a lot of
these different tracks but different time. "Black Napkins"was my audition track. I went
on tour with Zappa when I was still with Roxy Music. Frank flew me to Canada, and I
went around with him on tour in Canada after Roxy tour. I used to play in the
dressing room with Frank and Norma Bell, saxophone player. One night I was playing
in the dressing room little bit. I think it was Montreal...no, it was Hamilton, Ontario.
He just said, "I want you to come on the stage tonight."from the dressing room.
I was just like traveling around with him, but he wanted me to play on the stage.
I was completely unprepared and had no idea of what was going on the stage. It was
like 5 minutes before the concert started. So I had to go on the stage with the violin.
He played this "Black Napkins,"which he wrote on this tour, and that was my
audition in front of 10,000 people. He pointed me, and I had to do solo over
"Black Napkins."Then he did something else, and he sent the keyboard player off
the stage, put me on the keyboard, and he did some other songs. I forget what we
did....and again that was like part of my audition. He just pointed like solo, you know.
I was playing this guy's keyboard, and I didn't even know how it worked. I tried to read
the knobs and expressive devices because he had a synthesizer that I didn't even
know...old Roland synthesizer, and it had a Hammond organ on it. I was just trying
to read the synthesizer.
Art Rock: On the stage?
Jobson: On the stage! This is my live audition, and next night I think I played again
with him in Montreal. So even though I played on that track then, this particular
recording was from different recordings from live concerts with Terry, and Frank
overdubbed it in the studio. So I ended up I am not on it. That's just what happened.
Art Rock: That was a very interesting story. And In 1977 you formed U.K. with John
Wetton, Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth. I think U.K. was successful musically and
commercially, but there were only 3 albums. Why did U.K. disband despite the
Jobson: Well, it's a very difficult thing taking 4 musicians later even 3 musicians who
were all very accomplished. We all had many other options, and everybody had to
sort of compromise to some degree to accommodate everybody else, to make the
band work as a democratic band. Everybody ended up with a certain amount of
dissatisfaction. When you have lots of other options, it makes much harder to keep
the band together. People were predicting the demise of U.K. almost as soon as we
started. Everybody thought that we wouldn't last because none of so-called super
groups ever really lasted. That's really the reason. When we got together first, we got
good intention, and we did an album. I think everybody felt that we'd all compromise
something. And the reason I ended up really being main writer for U.K. was that I was
the guy sort of in the center. John was definitely on the right wing, and Allan was
totally on the left wing. And John always wanted it to be more commercial, more
accessible, more rock and more arena like. Allan, on the other hand, wanted it to be
more jazz, more obscure. And Bill...he'd gone exactly opposite direction of most
people. He started off the biggest band in the world, and getting more and more
obscure, more into jazz, less commercial thing, you know. Yes to King Crimson to
U.K. to Bruford. He was the one who brought Allan into the band, and wanted to do
more jazz thing with Allan. I was sort of in the middle trying to keep all of these
elements together, but nobody was totally happy. I was probably happiest than
anybody in the band because I was sort of in the middle. I liked John did, which was
more accessible, and I also liked the improvisation that Allan was brining. Bill always
wanted to be progressive and move into other areas. I was quite happy with that, but
John was unhappy with that, Bill and Allan were unhappy. So I had to kind of make a
choice which side I was going to go with. We just decided... Bill and Allan go and do
fusion thing, John and I will take the band in a direction that is sort of lot more
mainstream because we were suffering little bit from the fact that we were being
conceived as a fusion group. Our audiences were getting very limited by fusion fans.
But John and I really wanted to do more than that. We wanted to do more arena rock
and we made that choice. That's when I brought Terry Bozzio in. I knew him very well
in Zappa, and we did Danger Money.Danger Money was meant to be a deliberate
attempt to show we were not a jazz group. I wanted it to be a bit more solid and show
this is what U.K. now. Some people were disappointed in Danger Money compared
to the first album, but I know there were others who loved Danger Money more than
the first album. People who were into the first album were also into the fusion aspect.
Second band was little bit more conservative on purpose, and then what happened
was that the industry was starting to change as I started this whole
conversation about what happened in 1980 where progressive rock bands seemed
rather dated getting a lot of young bands, new bands like Police.
We were already feeling that in 1979. I was the one who wanted to end up
Terry was very conscious of the fact that he was into a lot of new wave bands, and I
think he was feeling that he didn't get to contribute enough to U.K. Meanwhile his
wife, Dale, already sort of formed Missing Persons. So Terry was kind of looking over
they were doing and thinking that was bit more modern. And John and I were having a
tug of war about the band. But all of these were backdrop of like 1980 blooming.
Generally progressive rock was waning, you know. I was still very young, I was only
24, you know. I didn't want to get stuck in a decade. I wanted to do something motive
and try to figure out what it was about progressive music that I did. About the end of
1979 we did a lot of tours, and we did live album in Japan, but we got the same
feeling again like we can do our own thing. I just decided to disband the group, and
I actually left England. I moved to America going to sort of semi-retirement.
I've been touring and doing records...I don't know maybe 20 albums or more than
that, probably 30 albums, and I played in 20 countries for 10 years. That's all I have
done. I didn't have youth from 15 or 16 to 25 pretty much. That was it. I just decided to
come off the road, leave England, disband U.K., leave my management, leave EG
Records, move to Connecticut. I got married that year. I just settled down and decided
to go to 1980s thinking of something new and fresh to try to do.
Art Rock: When you were in U.K., you appeared on Jasun Martz's The Pillory
album. How did you get involved with Jasun's project?
Jobson: Jasun was my roadie in Frank Zappa band. He was keyboard tech. That
album was done during Zappa. He wanted to make some kind of Avant-Garde record.
He just asked me some favor if I would play something on his record. So I helped him
out. I know that album still keeps coming out. People keep asking me what this album
Art Rock: Let's talk about some bootleg CDs. There are a bunch of U.K. bootleg CDs.
Have you ever listened to one of these?
Art Rock: Here's an instrumental called "Forever Until Sunday"on this (showing him
bootleg CD that I brought, which was called Road Test). Why was not this on any of
Jobson: "Forever Until Sunday"is on Bill Bruford's album (I realized I didn't reme
Bill'sOne Of A Kind album.)
Art Rock: But...didn't you write this?
Jobson: (Looking over the CD) Umm...It says here I did. I think there were two
versions of it. Well, well...that's a good question. Forever Until Sunday...I don't
remember if I wrote that or Bill wrote that or if we co-wrote that because I know
"Sahara Of Snow"was written by Bill and myself. Bill wrote one section, and I wrote
another section. That ended up on his record, too. So I don't remember if I wrote this.
There are two songs we worked on together. Once U.K. split up Bill asked me if I
could do songs on his album. So I said "yes,"and in fact I played on his record, but
I didn't get any credit because I asked not to put my credit.
Art Rock: Why?
Jobson: Because I didn't want to make confusing. When U.K. split up, Bruford (Bill's
own project) was Bill and Allan, and U.K. was John and me and Terry. And for me to
play on Bruford's album seemed little bit confusing. So I did play on it, but I got no
credit. (laughs) I think "Forever Until Sunday"is violin instrumental, right?
Art Rock: Yes.
Jobson: That's the track that I played on the album, and I think I might have played
on "Sahara Of Snow."
Art Rock: How do you feel about bootleg CDs?
Jobson: I don't know. Nobody's ever asked me that question before. I have a mixed
feeling about it. I am very particular about quality, about what and how something is
done. I don't like that I lose control on a bootleg record. When you're doing a rock
concert particularly if you are doing a big show, it's more than just playing. You're
also performing, you know. You're trying to get the audience excited. If I am leaping in
the air doing the violin solo and I drop the bow, (laughs) that's not going to record very
well. Nobody's going to know that's what you were doing. You don't know they
recording it. When you know that, you're aware of everything. You're making sure
you're playing properly. Sometimes you're not thinking about how great you're playing
and when that comes out on CD, it's a little disappointing. Also it feels like a bit of
intrusion, and it's a little rude, you know. (laughs) Some of these recorded from radio
because we used to do a lot of live broadcast on some radios on the first tour. There
are a lot more bootlegs of the first band than second band. I think this one (pointing
my another U.K. bootleg CD called Paradise Lost . Some songs from Danger
Money played by the first line up on this CD) is...Paradise is probably...I think that
was the name of the theater. Yeah, Paradise Theater, Boston! I think this was radio.....
Art Rock: Right, this is from BBC radio show.
Jobson: Oh, BBC!
Art Rock: After the break-up of U.K. you went on tour with Jethro Tull, then you
formed your own band Zinc. Now I'd like to ask you about Zinc and The Green
Album. All the musicians who played on this album were Zinc members?
Jobson: Not really. Zinc was going to be the band that would follow up from U.K.
This album was sort of a combination of a solo album and the beginning of a band
project. It was sort of just outlet, it was just a vehicle for people to come in and be
a part of the project without defining exactly who it is.
Art Rock: So it was not important who was a Zinc member and who was not.
Jobson: Yeah, sort of. It was just meant to be my band, whoever Zinc was. The
only consistent member would be Eddie Jobson.
Art Rock: You played violin, keyboards and also sang yourself...
Jobson: I couldn't find a singer I liked, you know. And the reason there were so many
guitarists on the album is that... Nick Moroch was the first guitarist. I worked with him
for a while, but Nick did lots of other sessions and played with a lot of different people.
And after working with him I thought I'd try different guitarist. So then I tried Cary
Sharaf because I really liked his powerful sound. He was the guitarist with Billy Squier
on the first Billy Squier album. Then I worked with Gary Green from Gentle Giant
because I thought he would bring more progressive influence. Then Michael Cuneo...
I kept trying different people throughout this process to see how they would fit.
Art Rock: How did you approach to make this perfect concept album?
Jobson: This album was a real learning experience for me. I was doing lots of things
first time here. I 'd never written whole album myself before. I'd never written lyrics
before in my life, never engineered and produced album totally on my own before.
I needed a framework to know how to start, so I came up with this very elusive
concept of the green that represents a certain thing and sort of like a short story.
I never wrote it out formally, but it was just in my head about what this story was, and
it gave me a framework of each song to be able to find what that song was about as it
related to the story. So that's how it came with a concept album.
And this was like a real solo thing even the lettering on the cover. I designed it and
drew it out myself with inks. I was totally involved with every aspect of it. As a result I
didn't succeed on every level, but I learned on every level.
(Both Michael Barsimanto (Drums) and Jerry Watts (Bass) who played on The Green
Album appeared on Keith Emerson's 1995 solo CD Changing States. Jerry Watts also
joined Graham Moses'Jazz band)
Art Rock: Theme Of Secrets came out from Private Music in 1986. When Peter
Baumann contacted you, did you have any idea of what he was going to do?
Jobson: Yeah I knew, but I wasn't that interested. As I said earlier I was still looking
for an appropriate outlet. There was supposed to be another album, you may know,
supposed to be Pink Album. The idea was ....I always wanted to do this instead of
having a name for the album. Each album represented by a color rather than a whole
title. I thought that was more interesting idea. Originally this whole album cover was
just green. The first cover was just green, and it didn't even have any title on it like
Beatles' White Album. It was a shinny green metallic cover. I had a green violin for
The Green Album and a pink violin for The Pink Album, but after the release of
The Green Album it was so hard to get a deal. Although The Green Album got very
good reviews, but commercially it was a difficult record to sell. So I decided I needed
to find an outlet just a bit more commercially buyable. So it took till about the end of
1984 before I started deciding that I'd go to Peter Baumann.
Art Rock: I was wondering why you didn't use electric violin on Theme Of Secrets.
Jobson: I viewed the whole Private Music experience, and it was a complete
departure for me. I wasn't a progressive musician anymore at that point. Private
Music was the beginning of my start to experiment with a different style, which led into
doing the TV commercials, TV shows and all these different kinds of music that I used
to do as a teenage kid. So I did Piano One, which was acoustic piano. I hadn't really
played acoustic piano long time. Then I did Theme Of Secrets. This was like first all
Art Rock: So all the sounds we hear on this album recorded by synclavier?
There was no keyboard?
Jobson: It's all synclavier and samples. It's all recorded into synclavier sequence.
That was kind of a novel thing, and the reason of doing that was again to learn.
I just got this synclavier. This was the first polyphonic synclavier in New York in 1985.
I wanted to get this record done quickly, you know. We did it in 3 weeks, the fastest
I've ever done.
Art Rock: When I came to the United States 4 years ago, I found this CD in the New
Age bin at the Tower Records. Do you think this was really New Age in terms of
Jobson: Well, it was at that time. Private Music was New Age label, but as I
mentioned before they were trying to do something deeper than Windham Hill.
Windham Hill music was like running water, ambient, and nature music.
New Age music at that time was sort of mood music, but intelligent mood music.
Private Music put a very strong emphasis back then on intelligence. It was meant to
be really smart people's mood music. To me it was a complete departure, nothing to
do with The Green Album at all. It was totally different thing. Peter Baumann was co-
producing it. He would just go over and put the synclavier in recording and make me
play without stopping. I had to just play it. He always wanted to keep that first tape all
the time. So it wasn't a tremendous amount of thought and detail. It was easy going
Art Rock: There's another tremendous thing on this album. I see a geometric
arrangement of a sphere, hexahedrons, corn, pyramids on the cover. These things
are related to music of Theme Of Secrets?
Jobson: Umm...not so much geometric. It wasn't so much that. It was really more the
other world. The shapes originally...we didn't have the clouds. I put the clouds in
because I liked these shapes and color of the whole thing. That was kind of nice.
I thought if I put the clouds in, it will give these things indeterminate size. They could
be buildings or great pyramids in Egypt... almost like a futuristic city. That's what the
clouds did sort of like a strange mystery. Actually we even did a computerized video,
which again never got released. All of these shapes were computerized, and camera
went in around inside the shapes, inside like a big building, big dome, like a grid work.
It was less to do with geometric, but more to do with creating unknown world that you
can sort of get transported into. That's really what that was about.
Art Rock: When was the last time you did a gig?
Jobson: Slipstream video was the last American gig, which was 1980. Then we went
to Europe (with Jethro Tull). I think that took me through to about February of 1981.
That was the last gig.
Art Rock: So there was no live show for The Green Album or Theme Of Secrets?
Jobson: No, I haven't been on the stage in 15 years.
Art Rock: Now let's talk about new U.K. Whose idea was it? What can you tell us
about new U.K.?
Jobson: It was my idea. Having done all of these television music, I felt that
environment changed again (As we know he did some music for American TV
shows, too. He even scored for Robert De Niro's mini-series). I felt that the record
industry was potentially much more receptive to something progressive again.
I just thought that the scene was changing, and I was also very aware of the fact that
I'd been away from that for some 12 years or so. I met my second wife, and I moved
to New York in 1990 back from the Island. I was kind of interested in getting back into
things I'd been away. So two and a half years ago I was in L.A., and John was living
there for a while. I thought about forming Zinc, and then I thought the idea coming out
with new group would be very difficult still, but just idea of U.K. coming back would
excite a lot of people. Just practical point of view you have to understand that you
have to make the business work for you. If the record company and agency and radio
stations are not interested, then it's really tough. You have to get the business
interested so that they allow you to have an outlet. So I thought if I do an album with
U.K., I would be allowed by the business and the public fans.
Art Rock: How is this recording experience different from the works you did in the
Jobson: It is actually very different because as you can see now I have my own
studio. It's very state-of-the-art. It's a virtual studio, all run from sequencer.
Sequncer controls everything in the whole room, and everything is recallable.
I can come back to it 6 months later, and everything will get set back up exactly
with the same.
The biggest difference is that the band is just me and John, and it's my studio.
So I spend a lot of time on my own. (laughs)
Art Rock: That's good for you!
Jobson: Yeah, (laughs) which is good because it's allowing me to conceptualize the
whole thing and start to put frameworks together and work on sounds and detail.
It's totally different, I've never done a record like this before because technology
wasn't around when I was making records before. Now I can work on every sound.
I have a new grand piano, and this could be recorded into sequencer, too.
I can do my Hammond part into sequencer also. So I've got like instant access to
a lot of stuff. Now I've got sound libraries, CD-Roms and all that sort of stuff. It's just
lot more facility, lot more high tech toys and softwares. And all of these records here
bought just for research (He had some CDs like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Mark Wood,
Yanni, and classical stuff on the shelf in his studio). I have to listen to even U.K. now
just for research, what we were doing 18 years ago, how does that apply to now.
I was 22 when I was in the first U.K., and now I'm 40. You learn a lot in 18 years.
I've been through a lot personally and grown a lot in many ways. Now I can bring all
of my experience of these different music. I can bring them without even thinking
about. In fact I should tell you one of the most interesting things I'm doing on this
album. I'll show you this stuff. (Showing me a CD) it's John's label called Mesa.
John was going through the catalog of Mesa Records, and he came across this
Bulgarian women's choir. He played this for me, and I thought it was really stunning
sound. So I suggested that let's use the choir. So a couple of weeks ago I sat down
and actually wrote a bunch of pieces for this particular choir. And last week I flew to
Bulgaria. I took seven cases of digital recording equipment to Sofia, and got this choir
and set them up in a hall. They sang my compositions, and I recorded it all on digital
tape. This choir is going to feature on the U.K album.
Art Rock: How is it working with John Wetton again?
Jobson: In many ways it's better than it was before because we've all gone such a
long and different routes over the last 15 years. We've all gained our own experiences
both personal and professional. When you're in a band, you're kind of struggling little
bit, but we don't have that feeling on this album because we have more developed
appreciation for what each does. I think he recognizes my writing abilities and my
knowledge of technology. I also recognize that he has to have a certain amount of
accessible material on the album, too. I can be indulgent, you know.
The music of the first U.K. album was all over the place, and vocals kind of tried to
sing over this very complex musical materials, and many cases the songs didn't really
work as songs. But on this album I think it's going to be a lot different when John sings.
Art Rock: When is this new album due?
Jobson: Well, we're expecting it probably in May (of 1996). I'm trying to get it finished
by January. It's tough because it's a lot to do. I'm doing a lot myself.
Art Rock: Who's going to play drums?
Art Rock: Bill Bruford? You mean Bill rejoins U.K.?
Jobson: No, he's not rejoining U.K. He's just playing on this album.
Art Rock: Then who's going to play drums on tour?
Jobson: I don't know. Maybe it will be Bill or not. U.K. is just John and me. Bill's going
to play drums, and Allan Holdsworth is going to play a guitar on this record.
To all intents and purposes this is the line up of the first U.K album.
But Bill and Allan are like special guests just as I was with Jethro Tull. I wasn't in
Jethro Tull, but I was just special guest. Maybe there will be some other people on
the album, too. But John and I are going to be at the center of what U.K. is and
determine the direction of what U.K. is going to be. And we'll only go on tour
if this demands. There has to be real demand for tour, if there's no demand
we won't tour. It's simple.
Art Rock: Here's my last question. What do you do in your off time?
Jobson: I don't have off time!
Art Rock: You don't?
Jobson: Believe it or not I have very little off time. Ask my wife. (laughs) I'm in studio
12 hours a day. I work a lot. I always keep learning and expanding. A lot of these
equipment... I've had for 3 or 4 months. I haven't had time to sit down and get to
know every detail yet. So I still have a lot to do. I 'm still working out certain things
with software and all sort of things. I want to use them on the album. And I haven't
had time to work with the electric violins again. It's been so long since I've really done
that. I 'm
working with midi-violin, getting it all hooked up with the synclavier, trying to
develop some of that stuff to see what I can take that technology. It will be hopefully
on the album. So it's all about getting to the next stage. Other than that, you know, in
terms of spare time it's not with my family. In the morning I spend time with my 2-year-
old son and my wife. And I still like to travel to the Caribbean Island quite a lot. I was
in Bulgaria and just got back on Sunday. And I'm a news junkie. I love to watch CNN.
That's about it. Most of the time I'm like...I'm working.
*Very special thanks to: Mr. Wil Sharpe (Carr/Sharpe Entertainment)
Rachel (Carr/Sharpe Entertainment)
Susie Doherty (Zinc INC.)
*Interview by Jay Yu (Art Rock Magazine/Si-Wan Records South Korea)