"Paul Carrack Unplugged" - Sheffield Crucible Theatre 17th October 1995. Interview by Peter Morton.

A rare Paul Carrack performance almost on the doorstep was something not to be missed, and miss it I almost did! As I only found out about it that same day. A chance read in the Radio Times said live on Radio 2 on Friday 20th Paul Carrack performs. So, hurriedly it was down to the Crucible for tickets, only to find that the show was being recorded as part of a Radio 2 arts programme that very night to be broadcast on the Friday.

So, armed with Walkman, camera, and a selection of questions; it was down to the venue, to both watch the show and arrange an interview backstage afterwards. Paul Carrack was just one of the guests on a show that concentrated on the arts in Sheffield. Michael Parkinson presided and first up was Paul, solo on piano singing a song he made famous with Ace back in 1974: How Long? To close the first half of the show we were treated to a piano and acoustic guitar version of The Living Years. After the break, we got an acoustic version of Over My Shoulder , which in fact ended up being two takes because the sound wasn't quite right the first time round. A rapturous applause was deservedly awarded.

The interview with Michael Parkinson followed in which he talked to Paul about football, his music career and his recent work with a couple of members of The Eagles. Finishing of with a solo vocal song he wrote for The Eagles; Love Will Keep Us Alive. His performances here showed just how versatile Paul is and Over My Shoulder, minus the band was truly superb. After the show, I caught up with Paul backstage for a brief chat…

Were you happy in the way which Beggar On A Beach Of Gold tuned out and was it solely Mike's idea to include a couple of cover songs on the album?

Yes, It was Mike's idea. He calls the shots really. I think it was a bit of an afterthought really. I'm not quite sure why we did it as we had about twenty original songs.

Do you think some of these will turn up on future singles; B sides etc…?

That is possible but I doubt that, with the way Mike works, they are unlikely to come out at a later date.

Were things different this time round in that when you went into the studio to record the album you were minus Adrian Lee…?

Well, actually Adrian did some stuff on the album but not as much as on previous albums. Mike actually did a lot of stuff on rhythm guitar, he did a lot of the sound like keyboard parts.

How did this work out when you were on the road, did you find things harder?

I think it works a treat, I mean I miss Adrian; he is a nice chap but as a smaller unit it is a bit more flexible. We were used to playing with computers and the like which was a bit restrictive, but now it’s a bit more like a band.

How did you find the tour during the summer?

It was fabulous really. We had a really good time.

Now next year there is this Mike & The Mechanics Greatest Hits album coming out, and a tour to promote it next spring, are there any plans at the moment to extend the tour over Europe and maybe America…?

Well the UK is as far as I know.. we may have another go at America because it didn't really go so well this time round. They are thinking of having another go in the New Year. The album did much better all round Europe which was the reverse of the last time but that's the way it goes.

Moving on to you new solo album; Blue Views, I believe it is out in December. Can you tell us anything about it, and what is this connection with The Eagles?

Well, a couple of years ago I was going over to Los Angeles to write songs with Don Henley and Timothy Schmidt and we were going to do a vocal project and what happened was that in fact The Eagles got back together again and that put the kybosh on that. One of the songs that we were doing as part of that thing was a song called Love Will Keep Us Alive which was on The Eagles album; When Hell Freezes Over, and it is also on my solo album. That is the one I performed tonight.

One question I have always wanted to ask you, is are any of the songs on your solo albums left overs from Mechanics projects or vice versa?

I don't think so, I can’t think of any off the top of my head although there was one song I can remember that didn’t make it on to Beggar… because it was a little bit too similar to Mea Culpa originally, so I rewrote the verse with very similar chords to Silent Running. So, because of that I re-wrote the verse and didn't want to use it on the album and in fact I have used it instead.