Richard Clapton is returning to Tasmania soon for performances in Hobart and Launceston and I recently chatted to him about this and his new album ‘Harlequin Nights’.
The title ‘Harlequin Nights’, Richard explains has nothing to do with the theme of the album,as it was chosen quite randomly by an associate when Richard couldn’t decide between the 70 possible titles he had come up with. Richard does however say the title will be very appropriate for the cover photography which was taken at Luna Park.
Richard is looking forward to getting back to Tasmania as he has fond memories here, but because of the cost effectiveness of the tour there will be little time for extra curricular activities this time around.
As well as a new album Richard has been working on his autobiography of recent times but finds it difficult to knuckle down to writing and still has another 20 years to write about! He got a good start to the book when he took a break away with his laptop in the middle of nowhere and with his lap top managed to write half of his autobiography!
Richard is a perfectionist and although he has written some songs in the past quite quickly to meet a deadline his advice to songwriters starting out would be to take as long as you want in writing your song until you are happy it is complete. Although we could argue that Richard has achieved perfection in his song writing, he still says coming back to some songs he feels they are incomplete. Songs like ‘Girls on the Avenue’ (which only took an hour and a half to write), ‘I am an Island’ and ‘Capricorn dancer’ have become part of Australia’s soundtrack.
Richard believes his time working as a producer on INXS’s second album and learning about rhythm from John Farris helped him become more open to ideas about music and move away from solely being a singer in the fashion of Bob Dylan and Neil Young where the focus was on melody and lyrics.
Richard went on to talk to me about ‘Goodbye Tiger’ written in a fishing village in Denmark , perhaps best known for the fact Bridget Bardot once had a house there. In the atmosphere of snow falling and a blizzard it was quite a contrast and perhaps a symptom of homesickness that he would write about Australia and the images it evokes such as the red and yellow flags of Bondi beach. ‘Deep water’, one of the songs, is a song in homage to both Bondi and the Northern Beaches.
One interesting fact is that Richard is possibly the only rock artist beneficiary of a grant to travel and write songs.
You can see Richard perform at the Launceston Country Club on Friday 31 August and at the Wrest Point Casino on Saturday 1 September 2012.