Singist Richard Butler tells how a vocalist's attitude can affect the rest of the group.
In which Psychedelic Furs singist Richard Butler lines up a few approaches to the whacky world of rock and thing.
About 'attitude': "I always did think, and still do, that attitude is more important than musicianship. You've got to make sure people are watching you, you can't just stand there. You have to be entertaining."
About mistakes: "There are basic mistakes that you shouldn't make — turning your back on the audience has to be pretty bad. Still, I've done some gigs totally with my back to the audience, but not a good idea if you're not sure of yourself."
About microphone technique: "I don't think I have any. The only thing I can think of is that you've got to have a monitor man who makes you sound great. You have to believe you sound great or you've got no confidence. Live I don't think it's important that every note is perfectly in tune. If people want that they can listen to the record."
About audience reaction: "If they're sitting down, you're doing badly."
About getting them standing up: "I tend to do something physical when that happens. It's not a good idea to start swapping the set around because then you have to announce all the numbers so the lighting guy knows what you're up to. And maybe the keyboard player's got all his presets in a certain order. If they really aren't moving, jump into the audience. I used to do that a lot when we played small clubs. Now it takes me 20 minutes to get back on stage again. The girls you get in the States go right for you. Little girls can get violent. Me legs... black and blue."
About big halls: "The guitarist can really crank everything up without bugging everyone else. And there's something inspiring about seeing thousands of people out there.
About things going wrong: "I used to get really bad stage fright, imagining all the things that could go wrong. But by now most of them have so I'm less nervous. On this tour we were doing in the States, the bass broke down one day and the keyboard player covered for him and I didn't even notice much going on. You should never make a big deal of mistakes. If you stand there looking dejected, that's when the audience notice. If you just look like you don't care, then they think you don't care, and they don't care either."
About preparation: "It takes about a month of being on the road in a tour before it starts working like clockwork and people can start to take chances. Enjoy themselves. Your life changes completely on the road. For one thing, you're taken care of 24 hours a day. And someone once asked Charlie Watts what rock and roll was like after 20 years with the Stones. He said it was five years work and 15 years waiting. That's right.
About going home: "It also takes about a month to get back to normal once you've finished touring. It's a real wrench... 8 o'clock every night you start getting nervy thinking that you ought to be going on stage. I tell you, it's brainwashing."
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