Music Industry News Network [06-07-2010]
David Rhodes' Incendiary Guitars & Haunted Vocals Fuel 'Bittersweet' CD
Rock and Roll Infused with World Music Undertones, as Incendiary Guitars and Haunted Vocals Fuel David Rhodes’ Debut CD
A Solo Career 25 Years in the Making, as Long-Time Collaborator Steps Out as Frontman
On Tour This Summer, Opening for Cyndi Lauper
After decades working and performing alongside some of the industry’s most respected artists, guitarist/singer/composer David Rhodes steps into the spotlight on his upcoming solo CD ‘Bittersweet’ – a dramatic ten-song collection of rock songs with World music undertones, all fueled by his incendiary electric guitar and riveting vocals. Rhodes evokes the ethereal delivery of early Genesis and the fearless musicality of early David Bowie on his confident, gimmick-free debut – this album is the brainchild of a musician’s musician, ready for his own voice to be heard.
Rhodes has built a storied career of collaborations, most notably a 25- year working relationship with Peter Gabriel, during which he has co-written songs, produced/arranged, and performed in Gabriel’s band. Warm references to their musical partnership are evident on ‘Bittersweet’, particularly in the understated beauty of ‘Reality Slips’ and on ‘One Touch’. Rhodes has also produced and/or performed with other acclaimed artists including Paul McCartney, T-Bone Burnett, Roy Orbison, Tim Finn, The Pretenders, and many others. A full list of credits follows, below.
On ‘Bittersweet’, Rhodes delivers a vibrant mix of original songs, from the cloudy, wicked guitar groove of ‘Just 2 People’ to the unsettling, Bowie-infused ‘Monster Monster’…from the cinematic ‘Down By The River’ to the mournful title track – Rhodes has a flair for mixing the light and the dark, the peaceful and the tortured…the bitter and the sweet. Of the album’s duality, Rhodes comments: “One of the best things I ever saw was Francis Bacon being interviewed by Melvyn Bragg. They got very drunk and Bragg asked ‘So how would you describe yourself?’ Bacon, all pissed, just went: ‘I suppose I’m an optimistic nihilist’. We all have dark feelings and dark times but we also have great feelings and great times. There are murky depths and things aren’t always rosy. Hopefully there’s enough colour in the music to offset any miserable lyrics!” Other highlights include the clenched resolve of ‘All I Know’ and the album’s ominous, dense ‘If It Could Only Be That Easy’, on which Rhodes creates a vista of sound that sweeps the listener down an acrid path. On the soaring, anthemic ‘There’s a Fine Line’, Rhodes uses multiple time signatures to create a complex, buoyant treatise on the narrow edge between joy and despair. Rhodes recalls the evolution of the standout track: “The song started out life as a piece to go in a German movie directed by an English director. The film was a spy thriller, road trip, type of thing; exciting, but also humourous.
The thing I remember best, that the director described to me, was a scene where a couple, being chased, drove their car off a mountain and landed in a tree. I think he was looking for a song to be playing on their radio.
I started to write the song, using some chords that I’d been playing around with for a while (the guitar is detuned to DADGAD tuning). I was trying to make something that trucked along nicely and that also had an interesting melodic structure. Without realising it I’d made the verses run with three bars of three, followed by a bar of two...which actually gives it a cool swing.
The lyrics were partly based on the film, picturing a relationship that has tipped over the edge, and is falling apart through stress and strain.
It transpired that another composer landed the job for score and songs. Oh well...”
‘Bittersweet’ was recorded at Real World Studios in the UK, with Rhodes calling on trusted musician friends to flesh out his vision, among them drummer Ged Lynch, bassist Charlie Jones, keyboard player Dean Brodrick and a cameo from Peter Hammill on backing vocals.
Rhodes will tour the U.S. this summer, opening for Cyndi Lauper on a series of dates, and headlining shows of his own. In his dynamic live performances, which have earned raves following a recent European tour, Rhodes performs solo but creates layer-upon-layer of sound via his electric guitar and vocals. Using Native Instruments Guitar Rig 4 and a Gibson Les Paul Studio Robot to create loops of audio on-stage, Rhodes builds his songs as he goes along. Here’s an example of his one-man ‘big sound’, as he performs ‘One Touch’, live in Italy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeW0UTxevCk
DAVID RHODES On tour – Opening for Cyndi Lauper
Jun 25 Morristown, NJ Mayo Center for the Performing Arts
Jun 26 Boston, MA House of Blues
Jun 27 Englewood, NJ Bergen Performing Arts Center
Jun 29 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
Jun 30 Chicago, IL House Of Blues
Jul 01 Detroit, MI Motor City Casino
Jul 30 Glenside, PA Keswick Theatre
Jul 31 Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues
Aug 01 Orlando, FL House Of Blues
Aug 03 Miami, FL Adrienne Arsht Center
Aug 04 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd Hall
Aug 06 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
Aug 08 New Orleans, LA House Of Blues
Aug 10 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
Aug 11 Dallas, TX House of Blues
Aug 12 Houston, TX House Of Blues
Aug 15 Tucson, AZ Anselmo Valencia Ampitheatre
Aug 17 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
Aug 18 Napa, CA Uptown Theatre
Aug 21 Las Vegas, NV House Of Blues
Aug 22 San Diego, CA House Of Blues
Aug 27 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
Additional tour dates will be announced soon.
More About David Rhodes:
Though perhaps best known for his decades-long professional relationship with Peter Gabriel, guitarist/producer/arranger/composer/singer David Rhodes is also an acclaimed composer of film scores, television scores and music for cutting-edge computer games. With his musical Partner, Richard Evans, Rhodes has also created the soundtracks for documentaries on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. As a sideman/guitarist, Rhodes’ credits are extraordinary – Take a look at remarkable body of work, on this site set-up and maintained by fans: http://www.davidrhodes.org/journal.html
Abridged Bio: David Rhodes was born May 2, 1956 in London, England, the third of five children, to Philip and Elizabeth, a doctor and a homemaker, respectively. Among his early musical influences were his father, who played banjo ukulele, as well as the Telstars and the Beatles.
David started playing guitar in his early teens, while he was listening to a great deal of blues and jazz music, but put music aside to follow other passions - namely rugby and the fine arts. At the age of 21, he met up with David Ferguson after both attended an unsatisfying concert, and the pair decided to break new musical ground by forming a band, unhampered by the fact that neither of them had any particular musical expertise. They started as an experimental performance group, which evolved first into Manscheinen and later into Random Hold, where they were joined by bassist Bill MacCormick, vocalist/guitarist Simon Ainley and drummer Pete Phipps.
The Randoms achieved some early success, came to the attention of Peter Gabriel and were subsequently invited to open for Gabriel on his 1980 U.S. tour. Soon after the tour, David left Random Hold, and has continued to record and tour with Peter Gabriel ever since (a 25-year collaboration).
In addition to his work with PG, David has produced albums with T-Bone Burnett, Akira Inoue, Indio and Massimo DiCataldo. He composed the soundtrack for the Italian animated film "La Gabbianella E Il Gatto". David also collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Richard Evans on the Golden Globe nominated soundtrack "The Long Walk Home", music from the film "Rabbit Proof Fence". He has lent his distinctive guitar style to albums by a wide variety of artists, including Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading and The Pretenders (see discography for complete listing).
When not tending to his garden, David continues to work and tour with Peter Gabriel (when last seen, they were Still Growing Up), and participates in other varied and sundry musical projects.
A Final Anecdote: So how did you originally hook up with Peter Gabriel all those years ago? “I was in a band called Random Hold. We weren’t particularly good but we were angry and noisy. We definitely weren’t punk and we weren’t fashionable enough to be new wave. Peter was looking for a band to demo his third album and he came to see us as the Rock Garden in Covent Garden. The keyboard player in the band, David Ferguson who sadly died recently, came up to me backstage after the show – ‘Fantastic! Peter Gabriel’s here!’ I just said, ‘Old fart!’ because I was an angry young man in my early twenties. I think Peter was in his late twenties! We ended up doing the demos and then he asked me to play on the record. Then I joined him on tour.” A life – thus far – as faithful lieutenant has nonetheless provided David with a watertight CV and tales a-plenty from the frontline of the supporting musician. These include working on Talk Talk’s classic Life’s What You Make It, supplying guitar for Paul McCartney (“All of his crew were wearing ties. It was quite peculiar”), co-producing T-Bone Burnett’s record The Talking Animals and playing on Letterman alongside Robert Plant (“28 million people watching. You don’t want to die on that one!”). His best anecdote revolves around the time that he was working with Burnett and ended up on a Roy Orbison record. “I was flying to LA and went to the airport to check in. ‘Mr Rhodes, you do realise that this ticket is for tomorrow’s flight?’ Of course, I didn’t. ‘Let me see if I can get you on today’s flight.’ So I flew into LA and called T-Bone, explaining that I was already in town. ‘Oh, come over. I’m doing a Roy Orbison track and need some guitar on it. I asked Ry Cooder who’s working in the room next door but he says there are too many chords.’” The ultimate compliment? “I’m not sure it was true, though. T-Bone’s a good storyteller!” The room explodes into laughter.
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