"Ace, Squeeze, Mechanics" - Paul Carrack in conversation. Transcribed from Channel 4 TV's Teletext service on January 13, 1996. Picture courtesy of Alan Perry/TWR.
Since his early career with Ace and Squeeze - and more recently with Mike &, The Mechanics, Paul Carrack has often been denied the recognition he deserves. As a song writer, his compositions have been covered by a myriad talents including Diana Ross and Rod Stewart. To reveal the person behind the talent, Grooves spoke to him about his past, and a current solo album, "Blue Views".
INT: Aces' song "How Long?" Is often misconstrued as being about a romantic affair, what is it really about?
PC: At one stage, Ace were going through a particularly rough patch and our bass player was offered a position in a more successful group. They were big pals of ours and he was sorely tempted to join them which rankled a little bit. But in the end he decided to stay with us.
INT: Do you find it easier to write songs now than in the days with Ace?
PC: When I first started out writing, and "How Long?" was one of my very first songs. I actually found it very easy. I bought a little Revox tape recorder and discovered how you could build up tracks. It wasn't until I had a big hit and people were saying... "We want another one just like that..." that I found it a bit more tricky.
INT: How did you end up replacing Jools Holland in Squeeze?
PC: A friend of their manager approached me after Jools had left, I think they had tried everybody else! I played all the keyboards on "East Side Story" and ended up touring with them for a year and singing on "Tempted", which became one of their bigger hits, embarrassingly enough.
INT: Are there any people you would still like to work with, given the chance?
PC: Lots of people! Bonnie Raitt and I often talk about doing something, maybe a duet, but at the moment I am keener to do things by myself.
INT: Changing the subject, you are a mad Sheffield Wednesday fan, aren't you?
PC: You're not a Charlton fan, are you...?
INT: Was "The Living Years" special to you?
PC: It only got to number two in England but it was number one all over the world including America. I am quite proud of it. It's a song which has meant a lot to a lot of people who can identify with it. It could have been a disaster because of the subject matter but I think my interpretation of it was believable.
INT: How would you describe your new solo album, "Blue Views"?
PC: It's an honest album. The songs on it I have written over the past few years and I was very keen to record them. It was recorded pretty much live. I only know how to write pop songs - a couple of verses, a chorus and a middle bit. It's not going to change the world, but I hope many people will enjoy it.
INT: Are you encouraged by all the Brit acts doing so well at the moment?
PC: I'm all for it. I just hope there is room for a couple of old 'uns too! I introduced myself to Pulp once at the Prince's Trust show but I think they thought I was one of the roadies! Jarvis Cocker seems to be a very opinionated young chap - I don't think we'll be recording together!
INT: What do you hope to achieve in 1996?
PC: I would like to make my little marks and carve myself a niche as a solo artist. I will continue to be involved in Mike &, The Mechanics and we will be touring in March and April, which I enjoy. I don't know what Mike's (Rutherford) long term plans are, and its his baby. I will just be going out there and playing to keep the food on the table.