Session Start: Sunday, August 23, 1998
Welcome to todays
Featured Artist Conference
An afternoon with
@Music and TalkCity
WotanCCC: Steve "h" Hogarth, until now is perhaps better known as the lead singer with the successful UK rock band Marillion.
Born in Kendal, England he started his musical career as singer/songwriter/keyboard player with the experimental early eighties band, Europeans. He later formed "How We Live", and has made appearances on albums by artists as diverse as The The, Julian Cope, and American singer/songwriter Toni Childs.
Recently Steve too a break from recording and touring to pursue a solo project and Ice Cream Genius was born. Produced by Craig Leon (Ramones, Blondie, Jesus Jones, The Fall) Ice Cream Genius is an experimental foray into different music genres.
Steve, thank you for joining us today.
Steve Hogarth: Nice to be here.
WotanCCC: I'd like to start off with the first question please. What was the inspiration to begin work on "Ice Cream Genius" and how long did it take to get from start to finish?
Steve Hogarth: Well first of all, as you know, I'm the singer in a band called marillion and our work schedule is very formal and structured. Since I joined the band in 1989, I've never really had the time available to work outside the band....
And so a time slot was actually allocated for the first six months of 1996 for me to undergo some project or other. This was how the project became allowed, I suppose, in the first place. I set about writing the album in December of 1995...and had the thing written by April. And then a couple months on the phone just pulling together my favorite players.
What was the inspiration....well, I suppose it was the opportunity to dig around in my psyche really...
WotanCCC: You got some really good players too.
Steve Hogarth: I'd become relatively turbulent in my mind roundabout '95 and onwards as a consequence of living my life..running in this wheel, touring etc. and was under a lot of pressure. My self image was changing from day to day.... So I suppose this album is a reflection of someone with an unsettled mind trying to laugh at themselves a little bit and figuring out what makes me tick and what makes other people tick. The psychology of dreams, etc.
WotanCCC: And now a question from the audience....
Erotomania: What were your overall impressions of the shows during the US "Strange Engine" tour?
Steve Hogarth: Overall impressions...hmmm. I wasn't ready to have to think about that.... Let me see... Certain shows stuck out. The very first show at the Horse and Carriage (or something like that), was memorable. We were very nervous... Because this tour was funded by the fans and we were hoping to live up to the expectations. That made us feel very warm, and affected the entire tour. It was very much a family feel. We weren't just playing to people who'd paid to see us, but people who were responsible for us being able to come at all...
So the show really belonged to those people as much as it did to us which is very rare in the performing arts, let alone rock'n'roll.
Jodie: Do you have any plans to collaborate with anyone from Radiohead ?
Steve Hogarth: Well, I don't know any of the boys from Radiohead. I've never met them, although I've heard through the Grapevine that they used to turn up in the EMI office and raid the promo cabinets and Brave was one of the CD's they took....
And I do hear little echoes that I hear lead me to suspect some of Brave influence on them. And I think we're quite like minded in our approach. I think Tom York is an artist who is very concerned with analyzing society around him and perhaps the psyche of himself and people in society. And concerns himself with that subject matter quite a lot.
But as of this time there are no immediate plans to collaborate, but something I would consider in the future should it be an option. I went to see them at the NEC at Birmingham and I was very impressed. One of the best gigs I've seen in a long time.
DooBeeDoo: Any plans to tour with the 'h' band?
Steve Hogarth: Well, no immediate plans. To be honest, I don't have time at the moment as I'm busy with my Marillion hat on and it's unlikely I'll have a gap in my schedule until spring of next year. And that's subject to how well ICG does in the US. If it does well that'll make some sense to put the band together.
I know that Clem Burke is out on the road promoting the new Blondie album. And Aziz Ibrahim is out on the road with Ian Brown from the Stone Roses. But I believe that Dave Gregory is free at the moment after his departure from XTC earlier this year. And Richard Barbieri is on his way over here to have a beer with me after this interview. So I'll be seeing him in an hours time.
If anyone want's to send Richard their regards, now's your chance! ;-)
Lipgloss: Are you planning on re-releasing Europeans cd's on the Racket label sometime in the future?
Steve Hogarth: Ah now this is Gina, hello Gina! There are no immediate plans. This is something I've been pestered into investigating and i must try harder to get on top of it.
With the recent demise of A&M Records the whole process may become more difficult. Or it may become easier because no one will care. Who knows, it's all very political.
WotanCCC: The song "You Dinosaur Thing" contains some pretty strong opinions on your part. Is the song aimed at an indiviual or is it a commentary on something else entirely?
Steve Hogarth: Well, I did have certain people in mind at the time, and I include myself amongst the people I was addressing in the song. I've certainly become conscious of becoming an old rocker. It struck me out of the blue like a mid-life crisis....
WotanCCC: King Crimson adress' a similar topic on their "Dinosaur".
Steve Hogarth: Then I saw a new generation of kids come up underneath me who were becoming successful and carving out a niche for themselve and suddently realized that I was an old rocker. And those people may see me the way I see Mick Jagger or Fleetwood Mac or any of those people I consider to be old me.
As for crimson, I haven't heard that one, so I can honestly say I haven't stolen it :-) I guess all musicians have a similar midlife crisis.
WotanCCC: LOL, that was not what I was implying.
DooBeeDoo: I understand there is a video for You Dinosaur Thing. Has MTV or VH1 seen it?
Steve Hogarth: I don't know. I don't think MTV has shown it. They don't seem to show much but soul music these days. MTV is terribly depressing. VH1 has aired it once or twice....
WotanCCC: Good for them..MTV2 might be a better showcase for your work.
Steve Hogarth: It's a very interesting thing. I had a lot of fun as dressing up with all these rock stereotypes - Ziggy Stardust, George Clinton, punk, ashbury park hippies summer of love thing, etc.
I was even a skinhead at the end, no hair at all. Quite suited me surprisingly. I thought it would look dreadful, but it was quite liberating.
Chuyo: Steve, why wasn't _The Last Thing_ included in the UK edition of ICG?
Steve Hogarth: The main reason was Craig Leon who produced the album in the first place wasn't really into the song....
What happened was he had a day off one Sunday. Richard, Dave and I wrote - jammed the song really - and knocked it off in a couple hours. Craig somehow felt that as it was done so quickly while he was gone that it was somehow inferior, but I like it and it's a big favorite live, too.
So I'm putting on the album, not for the sake of an extra track, but because I feel it actually makes the album stronger.
WotanCCC: Sometimes the quick ones are the best ones.
Steve Hogarth: Yes, that can be the case. BTW, you can also find information about ICG at my website - http://www.hogarth.com/steve/
WotanCCC: Very cool. Any sound samples? Or video clips?
Steve Hogarth: Not at the moment. I'm not much of a wiz with all this technology. We posted sound samples on the marillion site in the past. I'll have find out if we can do that at my site.
WotanCCC: I've been told by a reliable source that there are indeed soundclips, but not video.
MadeAgain: Hi H! who were your biggest musical influences as a in your youth? Has your taste of music changed much since then?
Steve Hogarth: In my youth, which I guess, from my childhood was most definitely the Beatles and the Kinks....
The best band I ever saw was The Who on the Who By Numbers tour, a long time back when Keith Moon was still drumming.
Then when I was about 17 progressive rock started to happen. I was one of the first kids in school to first discover The Yes Album which completely blew me away. I think it's still their best album in terms of raw energy and a sense of making up the rules as they went along....
And back in those days I discovered Genesis and the Nursery Cryme album.... And I subsequently attended all the Yes tours from Fragile through Topographic Oceans. And then the Genesis tours through Nursery Cryme through Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I saw all those gigs.
WotanCCC: Have you heard the Genesis Anthology box?
Steve Hogarth: Genesis box. No, these days I don't listen to it much at all. I would probably find it interesting as a nostalgia trip, and I believe it was a friend of mine, Nick Davis that remastered all the Genesis material....
WotanCCC: Its very well done....and yes, its a trip down memory lane.
Steve Hogarth: Since the days when I was a kid I've come through an awful lot of music - Joni Mitchell at college then Steely Dan. Then in the punk scene The Police and The Clash....
More recently Pre-fab Sprout. The Pschedelic Fuhrs. and you can probably hear that in the last track on Ice Cream Genius. And then I discovered the Blue Nile who became my favorite band until about a year ago I suppose....
And now Jeff Buckley and Radiohead tend to be on my turntable more than anything. Or should I say my CD player?
WotanCCC: For more information on "Ice Cream Genius" and other Steve Hogarth Recordings, please visit the Artist Shop web site at: http://www.artist-shop.com and Steve own website at http://www.hogarth.com/steve/
Mirrorcito: I know the point of this chat is ICG, so I wanted to ask, has your solo work influenced your work with Marillion. I mean has your work in ICG has influenced your way of watching music and have some influences in works like TSE and/or your new work with Marillion Radiation (can you give us a scoope on this one also)
Steve Hogarth: I think it must have. I think it probably works in two ways. I think I absorbed the influences of Richard Barbieri. And also Aziz Ibrahim when it came to do the tour. They were very inflential....
And I probably absorbed a lot through the process that I'm not conscious of.... What I found happening as we sit down now to write Marillion albums - I think the whole band now feel more liberated than ever. No musical territory is taboo for us anymore. And I think people are really going to hear that when they hear the new album.....
The closing song from Radiation is called A Few Words for the Dead, which maybe picks up where The Last Thing leaves off! I was listening to that on the train and thinking it was a cousin of Few Words for the Dead.
Gandalf: What kind of CD's are you listening to?
Steve Hogarth: As I said, these days I'm listening to Radiohead, Jeff Buckely.... Also the Waterboys, Scritti Politti, Living Colour, the Blue Nile....
JavoVen: What led to the artwork of the single for You Dinosaur thing?
Steve Hogarth: What lead to that? Well the front cover of that single became, if I remember rightly, a collage of still from the video.... So it was yours truly in various rock'n'roll stereotype guises....
The video was directed by a Dutchman named Nils van Iperen, who did the still shoot of me in the pig tails with the ice cream. And he went on to shoot the video. He also did the stills in the new Marillion album.
By the way, I'm shooting a video tomorrow for the new Marillion single, "These Chains" which is released in Europe in September. I'm told the new Marillion album is out on Velvel in November.
WotanCCC: I have it on good authority that stills from the video can be seen on the left frame of the website (an animated gif with all the pics from the single's cover)
Steve Hogarth: I'm going to be down a well with water dripping most of tomorrow which is how the video will look. Yes, I assume that that's true.
Whoopee7: Steve, you have such a unique voice: have you had any vocal training or is it just a divine gift?
Steve Hogarth: LOL.... Divine gift, oh dear LOL. No, I haven't had any vocal training. I was in a choir when I was 11 years old. But I haven't had any training. I've been singing since I was a baby and hollering down microphones since I was 17. I've been on the road for about 20 years now. I suppose I just got better by doing it really.
I don't think I'm there yet. I don't think of myself as a great singer... But I do seem to get better each year, which is a good feeling.
H-babe: Not only his voice is a divine gift, but his entirety!
Steve Hogarth: LOL! I'm flattered, H-babe. What are you doing later? LOL!
Jodie: Any favourite Classical music in there - a lot of your more atmospheric stuff reminds me of early English church music.. (a bit ) sort of psalm singing and the like, I was particularly taken with O come o come emmanuel a couple of years ago.
Steve Hogarth: Well, that was a direct consequence of my earlier days in the choir. I remember singing that in the church when I was young. I particularly remember the Christmas carols which I loved....
Classical music as a whole doesn't really do it for me that much.... I went through a phase with Holst's The Planets which I loved...
I always liked Erik Satie, but he's too modern to be considered classical. But I like Satie's piano music, the sense of chaos and humour in it. A sense of melancholy and a certain beauty.
And I derive great joy from chords which are place together to create magic.... But I prefer it when that happens in absolute terms rather than in an attempt to mirror some classical scholar who's already done it.
bracalte: Do you own your own computer? Are you on the Internet frequently?
Steve Hogarth: I have a couple of them. I have a steam driven Macintosh laptop. And I have a Mac desk top at home....
But I don't tend to sit on the internet too much, although I use it a lot for e-mail, an incredibly useful medium for sending and receiving letters quickly! Especially for someone like me who sends much of their life travelling with no fixed abode. LOL!
But to be honest, I'm a bit too easy to sit surfing the internet some evening. It would be a luxury to be able to do it. I'm usually busy running about somewhere.
Chuyo: Is the song "The Deep Water" really about your own death?
Steve Hogarth: It's a very very personal song and it works on several levels. It's a love song and it's a vision of the abyss, I suppose. Listening to it again today, I think it may be the best piece of music I've ever been involved in. But that's what I think 'today'!
Itchy: Steve, if you could be the leadsinger of any band, but Marillion... which one would you choose?
Steve Hogarth: It'd probably be the Blue Nile.... For six months, and then I'd like to be the singer with Radiohead for six months.
And if I could get them back together, I'd like to be the singer for the Who as well. But only if I could bring Keith back from the grave.
LOL, well that's probably a tell tale indication of where I'm at... I derive great excitement from any form of music that's honest and has commitment.
Lipgloss: Just wanted to tell you that HWL cd is an AOR masterpiece! Looking back, what are your thoughts on this album now? Are you still fond of it?
Steve Hogarth: I thought Gina would get the last question in LOL! I have mixed feelings about it. I haven't heard it for a long time, so talking about it from memory....
I'm particularly proud of The Rainbow Room, Lost at Sea, Games in Germany (one of the best and most personal songs I ever wrote). And Working Town.
Richard Barbieri has just come in the door with a lager!
WotanCCC: Sounds good.
Steve Hogarth: Make that a crate of fine wine ;-)
WotanCCC: Is there anything else you would like to mention before we conclude today? And let you get to the case?
Steve Hogarth: Not really, just to thank everyone who came into the room. It was a bit of a squash, wasn't it. And see you all again soon in the fifth dimension.
WotanCCC: And thank you Steve. You have some great fans. Looks like our time is up...
ToniCCC: Thank you all for submitting such great questions today. I'm sorry we couldn't get to them all today! We hope to see Steve return to Talk City again soon!
WotanCCC: I'd like to thank everyone for joining us tonight. Steve, we appreciate your taking the time to come and chat with us tonight, and hope you'll come back to Talk City again soon!
To purchase Steve Hogarths "Ice Cream Genius", or for information on other Artist offerings, please visit The Artist Shop Online at: http://www.artist-shop.com
Finally, thanks to the Artist Shop for working with us on this conference. We especially appreciate the efforts of Gary Davis in giving us the opportunity to speak with Steve Hogarth.
Date: August 23rd, 1998
Time: 12:00 pm PT / 3:00 pm ET