Archive for January, 2007

New podcast online!

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

The last and final ‘bonus’ podcast of the Sole Inhabitant era is currently online! It was shot by Jon Luini of Chime Interactive at our release party at the Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco back in November. It features some rehearsal footage with my new brass section; a guest spot by a member of Smash Mouth; and interviews with some Dolby fans outside the venue. But beware–it’s 23 mins long and 123Mb in size, so be VERY patient while your browser downloads it. (It took about 43 minutes on my DSL wi-fi network!)

All you yuppie metrosexuals out there, it’s just about the right length to load onto your video iPod before a good workout on the elliptical treadmill.

Coldplay dream

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I had a hilarious dream last night. I was staying at a friend’s house in the country. A big truck pulled up towing some sort of agricultural machine with big blades. Out got Chris Martin from Coldplay. He had come to tell me he desperately needed me to join his band as keyboard player. I said he was a great keyboard player himself so why did he need me? He said: “you know the way Mick Jagger dances? I want to to do more of that.” (!) I said look, you guys tour like 8 months of the year, and I have a family. Plus I have my own career. “Oh,” he said, “think about it: you’d get a lot more recognition as Coldplay’s keyboard player than as Thomas Dolby solo!” This struck me as a little arrogant…. At that point I was reminded how upset it made me when they borrowed a melody from one of my all-time favourite bands, Kraftwerk. Credit or no credit, it didn’t seem fair to cash in on ‘Computer World’ when the authors are a cult electronic band and Coldplay’s the top rock band on the planet. So I told Chris I wasn’t interested. He was disappointed. As he left, his combine harvester thingy scraped the walls of my friend’s driveway. He leaned out of the window and said “Christ, I’m sorry. Tell your friend the label will pay for it!”

(Disclaimer: I’ve got nothing against Chris Martin and have no reason to believe he would ever be this way in real life! I’m just telling you my dream.)

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(pic: www.deviantart.com)

Back from Italy

Friday, January 19th, 2007

I just got home from a much-needed break in the Alps in Piemonte, Italy. It was incredibly beautiful there, but we were in a ski resort where there was no ski-ing to be had due to the fact this is one of the warmest winters on record and there is almost no snow.
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(Pic: Jay Walker. Thanks Jay!)

The good news was that we had to find other things to do, and it turned out to be a wonderful week. We went wine tasting, snow shoeing, hiking, and even mountaineering on the Via Ferrata at Tende—a string of metal cables and ladder rungs set into a cliff-face, leading to an abandoned monastery.

It’s good to be home with my batteries recharged, and I’m now ready to start writing and recording some new material!

(more Via Ferrata pics below, from my friends Arch and Shelly):

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One of the series of ‘monkey bridges’.

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I’m on the far left.

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This zip line is about 400 ft above a ravine!

Michael Brecker dies at 57

Monday, January 15th, 2007

I am saddened to read of the death yesterday of Michael Brecker, a wonderful tenor saxophonist and music industry leader, from MDS and then leukaemia.

I barely knew Michael but I have fond memories of working with him when he played on my 1988 album ‘Aliens Ate my Buick’ along with his brother, trumpeter Randy Brecker. They were regarded as one of the finest brass sections in the industry, and Michael was a delight to work with. He won 11 Grammies over the years and his discography is a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of contemporary jazz and rock music.

My company Lost Toy People Inc is making a donation in his name to The Marrow Foundation, a fund that Michael supported to help others with the same disease. Our thoughts go out to his widow Susan at this time.

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Michael Brecker, 1949-2007

I only WISH I'd actually said this!

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Thomas Dolby: “I would never endorse any advanced scientific laser beam shrinking ray I did not fully understand the operating principles of myself.”

(Thanks, redragdiva, for the wrongful attribution. May I quote myself, in future?)

Crackers outdoes himself!

Friday, January 5th, 2007

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What can I possibly say? The guy is BRILLIANT (C.D.Cracknell that is, aka Crackers aka Ghastly)

Crackers, as you may recall from my blog on April 30th ’06, is the new owner of my Casio AZ-1 wearable MIDI keyboard. I dug up this pic (by the famous rubethephotodude) for him of me playing the synth at the Lhasa Club, Hollywood in 1988. Crackers being the whiz that he is came up with the commie motif, I suggested some tweaks and wa-la. A fine piece of poster art!

Nice reviews from OCNYE… and UK 2007?

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

At both the big festival type events I did this year, O2 Wireless and OCNYE, I seem to have impressed and pleasantly surprised some lurking journalists, despite their overall negative takeaway from the event. Here are a couple of very flattering reviews from OCNYE three nights ago:

Orange County Register

Inland Valley Bulletin

This is significant to me because at these shows, the majority of the audience are non-committed going in (unlike my solo shows where it’s close to 100%, or the BT shows where it was roughly 50%). So there’s a lot more for me to gain, by sending people away as happily converted Dolby fans. Plus, given the evident perception of those journos prior to seeing me play, a lot of people are amazed that my stuff still sounds fresh and relevant today. So it’s gratifying to know I’m re-writing history, and wiping the slate clean. I really think this will benefit me when I eventually come out with new material.

With that in mind I put in a call to my European agent yesterday, and asked her to try to get me on the bill for a couple more European festivals this Summer. For starters she’s going to take a stab at T In The Park (Glasgow) and Oxegen (Dublin) in June. If those work out I hope to string a few other UK dates together, including possibly a return to the Scala in London which I enjoyed so much last summer.

The last time I attended a provincial rock festival as a punter it was Knebworth Park in about 1980. As for what these things are like nowadays I am at my agent’s mercy–I have a vague notion of hoardes of mud-diving inebriates pelting me with beer bottles, but that’s probably wrong. So if any of you Brits/Europeans have favorite summer festivals you think I’d go over well at, please let me know!

Behind the Orange Curtain

Monday, January 1st, 2007

The two hours I was left to work on new songs only translated to one new one that I played last night–and it wasn’t ‘Ferrari’. If I’m gonna play that one without the wonderful Lost Toy People, it’s going to have to be REALLY special.

My trombonist and horn section leader Adam Theis had metioned that they sometimes goof around with ska and reggae tracks. So last night, for the pure hell of it, I decided to play ‘A Message To You Rudy’, which is a ska classic that The Specials brought to notoriety. We segued into it right out of ‘May The Cube Be With You.’

And, smartass that I am, I couldn’t resist throwing in a line or two from somewhat similar-sounding ‘The Tide Is High’ during the fade–pretty cheeky since Blondie were probably eavesdropping, minutes before taking to the main stage for their NYE show.

The brass section were great. I’m going to try to use them for all/any party gigs I do in ’07.

I only played for 50 mins, a kind of stripped down, fun set without the darker songs or ballads. Good thing seeing as the cargo company managed to snap my electric keyboard stand in two!

But I have to admit I missed Lunesse, Johnny, and the whole BT gang. It was a splendid tour and I hope we’ll be able to play some more shows with them this coming year.