Welcome to Issue #4. Time has really flown since the first issue
of the Connection, which was last year at this time, as has the membership!
Thanks to all who have joined since the summer, and to those who've been
here since its inception.
Back in September, Luka was one the many fine Irish artists who
lent their support for a fundraising benefit concert in the hallowed surroundings
of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, as part of the Yeats International Festival.
Mike Scott of the Waterboys was there to give some musical interpretations
of some of Yeats' poems, and Paul Brady and the Hothouse Flowers were
also on hand. But according to Tony O'Brien of the Irish Independent, Luka's
was the "...performance of the night. 'Gone To Pablo' was remarkable,
especially his astonishing guitar playing ending the number."
This past November 29th, Luka played at Dublin's National Stadium. along
with Sinead O'Connor, Donal Lunny, The Stunning and The Pale, as part of
a fundraiser and what was being billed as "the concert of the year"
in Ireland, The Denning Demolition Gig, on behalf of Irishman Nick Kelly. Dublin
music magazine Hot Press noted (all too briefly) on "Luka Bloom's crisp,
zesty playing and 'I Need Love' show[ed] how cultures can and
should be bridged and merged..." A little background on the reason for
the fundraiser: Mr. Kelly is suing the Irish government for being falsely convicted
and later imprisoned in the 1970's for alleged involvement in an IRA-affiliated train
robbery. This fundraiser hopes to help Mr. Kelly, who intends to take a surpreme
court action to overturn the government's use of the internationally discredited
Lord Denning judgement from the Birmingham Six case. All involved hope that this
concert has raised public awareness on the subject and help Mr. Kelly to bring
this case before the Supreme Court.
The official record release date for The Acoustic Motorbike is
January 21st, in America, while in Europe, it'll released earlier, on January 3rd.
Be assured - it's well worth the wait!
American fans will have to wait until March to see Luka. So far, Luka
has stayed near home, touring Ireland, with such dates as University College
Dublin on November 13th, Co. Clare on the 20th and 21st (Ennis and Kilkee,
respectively), then it was back to Dublin on December 6th at The Project
Arts Centre. January 92 will find him still in Dublin, playing one show at The
Olympia Theatre. Then it's off to London on the 29th, where he'll be at The
Mean Fiddler. From there to the Netherlands, where there'll be shows in
Utrecht on January 31st, in Groningen on February 1st, Tilburg on the 2nd,
Sittard on the 4th, Amsterdam on the 5th and Ancienne Belgique on the 6th.
After that, there will be a few dates in Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia,
though there are no confirmed dates for these countries thus far. As per
usual, I'll keep you posted on the latest tour info.
Luka was in New York City in the earlier part of December, to do the
taping for the video for "I Need Love".
The video was directed by Katherine Deickmann, who directed REM's
"Stand", a couple of years back. Look for it on VH-1
sometime in the early new year.
While Luka was in town that week, he stopped in at Greenwich
Village's, Sin-e, where he treated the cafe's late evening patrons
to a few songs.
Waterboys' Mike Scott has provided Luka with yet another gorgeous
song, "My Sunny Sailor Boy", which Luka himself says
"is a real show-stopper".
Check your local magazine stands and record shops for the January/February
issue of "Acoustic Guitar" magazine. There's a great feature
on Luka in it, by Beth Fishkind. Accompanying the article is the sheet music/chords
and lyrics to "Mary Watches Everything". If any of you have
figured out any other songs of Luka's and would like to share it with the
rest of us, let me know, and it'll be printed up in future issues of the Connection.
Are there any Luka fans out there who'd like to correspond with other
Luka enthusiasts, or perhaps would like to buy/sell photos or swap articles with
other fans? If so, let me know about it, as I'd like to begin a
"classified ad" section/page for the next issue and thereafter.
Just send in your wants/particulars, along with your name and mailing
address, and I'll take care of the rest. No charge for the ads, of course!
That's it for this now, I'd like to say thank you to all the members who've
joined so far, and for making this first year of the Connection such a success.
I hope you'll be with us for many issues to come! Thanks also to Susan
Wexford, Tony Alise and Jim Eaton for helping me on this issue.
I also want to send out a very special and sincere thank you to Luka,
Glenn and Tom of Tomorrow Management, and Tommy, for all their
encouragement and support.
A little message from Luka before I close: "I wish you all the best
for 1992, and I hope the people who read this have a great 1992 as well,
and I hope I see them all somewhere on the road, out and about,
riding my acoustic motorbike... God bless."
Love and peace,
The Acoustic Motorcyclist...up close
Back in November, I got an opportunity to ask Luka a few questions about
his eargerly anticipated new record, his upcoming tour plans, and other projects in
the works. The following is the outcome of that interview, done while Luka was in
The album was initially to be titled Exploring The Blue, but then changed
sometime down the road to its current The Acoustic Motorbike. Any particular reason
for this change of mind?
I don't think "The Acoustic Motorbike" had been written as a song,
or at least completed, and it certainly wasn't a certainty to be on the album at
the time I thought of calling the album "Exploring The Blue". I liked,
apart from loving the song, "Exploring The Blue", I like the image, and
I had some ideas regarding a sleeve, which would have been nice, but then, when
"The Acoustic Motorbike", the song, got finished, I realized that
right there was a very unique, distinctive image... a very memorable image to
use for an album title. "The Acoustic Motorbike", in a way, defines
what I'm about, this sort of just self-propelled energy... self-propelled
locomotive. And it's given us a very interesting image... interesting for a
sleeve, and all those sort of things.
The Acoustic Motorbike has a different feel and sound to it than did Riverside.
How was working with Paul Barrett as compared to working with Jeffrey Wood?
Doing The Acoustic Motorbike was completely different to doing Riverside. I
made a decision to record The Acoustic Motorbike in Dublin with an Irish
producer, who had not produced a major album and was not known to Warner
Brothers apart from my A&R person's knowledge of him for his work with a
band called The Stars of Heaven. Working with Paul was completely different
from working with Jeffrey. I enjoyed both experiences for completely
different reasons. The nature of Riverside was completely different. It was
my first album for a major label and I suppose I was nervous about it and I
suppose in a way, I was a little bit less confident of my position regarding the
way the album was going to be recorded. And maybe a little bit less forceful
than I was in The Acoustic Motorbike. Jeffrey is a very different sort of
person than Paul is. Jeffrey is very quiet, very introspective sort of
individual... somebody who absorbs and then goes away, and is very quiet,
but was a very strong individual. And I made some decisions about Riverside.
I made some decisions not to force certain things on the album, that I
might've liked to see, and I went along more with Jeffrey's approach, as
opposed to really asserting myself. That's not to say that I'm unhappy with
Riverside. I love it. And there's nothing on Riverside that I wish wasn't
there. But I have to say that I fell that The Acoustic Motorbike is perhaps
a little closer... a bit more true to who and what I am. But then again,
Riverside was probably more appropriate to the state of mind I was in at
that time. Paul Barrett is a very hyper, energetic individual. I've never
worked with anybody with such an unbelievable amount of energy. And he
really drained me. He literally drained me. But in a way that was just
always good fun. I don't usually enjoy working in studios. I find it very
difficult working in isolation without an audience. But from the very
beginning, making The Acoustic Motorbike was wholly pleasurable and I worked
in the exact conditions that I wanted to work. And that made the whole
experience singularly pleasurable.... and that's not to say that the other
experience wasn't enjoyable either! (laughs) It was just different.
It was just very different. I feel I was a little bit more aware of what I wanted.
It's a process of education, isn't it... just learning about the way you
want to work and the things you want to do, and learning how to communicate
that with people without offending. Making records is not easy for me, I
suppose, but as far as making record goes, making The Acoustic Motorbike was
Riverside was a collection of self-penned songs. Was there any particular
reason for putting two cover versions [LL Cool J's "I Need Love" and
Elvis Presley's "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You"] on this new
record, as opposed to adding original material?
While "I Need Love" was not an original song of mine, I feel that
my interpretation of it is sufficiently unique. It's such a unique format, that
it feels like an original song. I don't feel like I'm copying somebody else's song,
because my treatment of it is so radically different that it justifies using it,
apart from the fact that it's an amazing song. To take a song that is a
black/urban/rap song, and to give it a treatment that is Irish, that
has traditional Irish musicians and instruments working on it,
I feel is so radically that it justifies. It lends an originality that is
not originally mine. And I feel similarly about the Elvis cover. Again, it's
a surprising sort of a song to do. This was almost more difficult, even
though it's a more simple song than "I Need Love". It was a more
difficult choice because it's a song that is so well known, and has been so covered,
that it could've really disastrous. It could've been really like, "...what
the hell is this guy putting on this on for?" But again, the treatment
of it is, I feel, is sufficiently unique and different, that it justified doing
it. It wasn't a question of feeling that I hadn't gotten enough songs.
I just wanted to make an album that was really diverse. Really dynamic...
really interesting. And I have sufficient material of my own on the
album to portray myself as a songwriter. I feel that the two tracks
that I chose to include by other artists just add another dimension
to my work and... I love these songs, and I'm happy with them.
You wrote and recorded this album mostly in Ireland as opposed to Riverside
which was written while you lived in America, which subsequently gave that
album a very optimistic feel. The Acoustic Motorbike, on the other hand, has
a much more subdued sound. Is this something that happened by design?
I disagree with you that The Acoustic Motorbike has a more subdued sound
than Riverside. It definitely is darker. The songs on this album were written
during the Gulf War... a lot of them. And my mood was very much affected by
that. And I was also undergoing the ending of a very long and serious
relationship with somebody, and so that affected my mood in the process of
writing these songs. I suppose some of the songs are softer and more
personal in a romantic way because of all that. The Acoustic Motorbike has a
much more raw edge to it, sound wise. It's much closer to what I do live, I
feel, than Riverside, and that was definitely by design. I wanted to make an
album that was closer to my live sound. Everything about this is very, very
live... very raw.
You lived for a while in Holland. Would you ever consider recording an album
in another European country?
Yes. I would very definitely love to make an album in another European
country. In the last year, living in Ireland, I've had more access to Europe
than I've had for five or six years, because I spent all my time in America.
I've done a lot of festivals in Europe, particularly in Holland and Belgium,
and some work in Germany and Switzerland. I'd love to do a record
in Europe, most definitely. When that opportunity would present itself
remains to be seen. I take these things as they come. God knows where
I'll end up doing the next album.
The album, moreso than the last, has a political edge to it, with lyrics
concerning women's rights/pro-choice, native American Indians, the
environment, and Irish emigration. Do you consider yourself more of
a political songwriter than anything else, and is this something you want
to continue pursuing for future recordings?
Yes, this album definitely does have a more political edge to it.
But I still don't consider myself a political songwriter. I think that
all songwriting is ultimately autobiographical, really, because, even
the more political material gives you, the listener, an insight into the
person, and that's really what it's all about. All I'm really sharing
is my own experience. In the process of sharing my own experience,
I share my reactions to things that are going on around me, whether
that is in Dublin, or wherever I happen to be living, or whether it's
things that are going on around me in the global village. But I hope
I always will have an ear and an eye to what's going on in the world,
that I won't be purely be writing about my own emotional experience
or my own emotional life, because that is, ultimately, a limited experience.
I've always sought to draw on the experience of individuals around me
too, for the songs. It just gets so boring, doesn't it, if people just write
songs only about their own limited experience. Give us a break! (laughs)
In the early live renditions of "Mary Watches Everything",
there were lyrics pertaining to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall (i.e.,
"...they talk about the changing tides in Germany today...")
Yet on the recorded version, they were changed. Was there any particular
reason for their omission?
The song is very much about the experience of a young woman in
Ireland, at time when there are changes taking place all over the world,
and it's a song about a desperate feeling that things will never change
for women in Ireland and that still, very much, is the experience
for a lot of women in Ireland. It still is very difficult to be a woman
in Ireland, a woman who wants to take charge of her body and
control of her life. It's very difficult to be that in Ireland today.
And I felt that the references to the Berlin Wall confused the issue
and so I wanted to change that line purely to retain the focus
on the girl, on Mary, as opposed to shifting the focus of the song, to
the issue of Berlin Wall, which is relevant, but I felt that specifically
mentioning it was... it's so hard to hold people's attention these days.
It's so important to keep a clear focus. That's the simple reason I did
One of the songs, "Bones", was written initially for a play that
was performed in Dublin last year. Tell us a bit about that. Are there any
more such projects in the works?
Trinity College's drama department was putting on a production of a Jim
Cartwright play, Road, which was a play that was written around the time
of the miners' strike in England, and it was set on a road in a miners' town
in England. It was a very, very devastating play. A very devastating look
at life in urban England at that time, and as it still continues. And I was
asked to write the theme song, which would be used in the play, and that's
what "Bones" is. It's a pretty ravaging song about a pretty
You seem to be inspired a lot by films you've seen, such as "The Way
You Talk" after seeing Children of a Lesser God and now "Exploring
The Blue", based on your seeing The Big Blue. Is writing songs for a
film something you'd like to pursue in the future? Have you been
approached for any such projects?
I have been inspired a lot by films. It is very definitely something I really
aspire to. I've written songs as a result of seeing films. I hope to God
I soon get the opportunity to write songs as a result of seeing scripts,
so that the songs can be included in the film! And that's something I
hope my publishers will make happen for me.
To hear "The Acoustic Motorbike" in a live club setting
and then to listen to the song on the new record is like listening to two
different songs. What influenced you to change the sound and feel of
the song for the recorded version?
A song like "The Acoustic Motorbike" is a very immediate, live song.
And if you're in the audience, and you can see the sweat, and you can
feel the motion, and you're there in the room, it has an energy all of
its own, just right there with the guitar and the voice. But when you get
an opportunity to record something like that, you have the opportunity
to just have more fun with it and to record the song and work it in a
way that will survive repeated listening. I don't know how much a song
like that would survive repeated listening with just the guitar and the
voice. That sort of song requires the physical presence of an audience
to really work in that way. And that was the reason we just decided
to just have fun with it, and to... Paul Barrett went out to his farm and
taped the dogs and taped the cats and taped the birds and taped all
sorts of mad sounds to just lend to the atmosphere. He even taped the
sound of the bicycle, of the chain and the wheel going 'round. It just
all makes for a more interesting treatment on a record.
Tell us about some of the musicians on this album.
I decided to bring my favorite electric guitar player in the world
over from New York, Ed Tomney, because I'd loved working with
him on Riverside. And I felt that he adds a very important edge to
my recorded work. I have a very big sound myself, but he very
definitely helps to create a sound that is totally contemporary, which
is very important to me on my records. He just... he gives me the
broken glass. There's a very velvety element in my sound, but
there's also a crucial broken glass dimension, and Mr. Tomney's
my man for that. I'd also enjoyed working with Bob Riley who played
the drums on Riverside, and he worked very well with Ed, and I
wanted to find ways of having percussion on my record without
using just standard drum kits... I just don't like drum kits, per se.
I feel people just automatically find themselves working with bass
and drums without really thinking about the unique needs of each
individual song, and Bob is familiar enough with my work to
understand that I want to approach each song individually, so
I was really delighted that the two guys were able to come over.
Percussion was a problem for me because, as I say, I don't like
working with drum kits and I wanted to find a way to the
percussive on the record, differently. And I decided to work
with some Irish bodhran and initially I worked with one or two
professional percussionists and bodhran players and ultimately
decided the man who most suited a songwriter and a singer
in the context of the bodhran was my very own brother, Christy.
And so I rehearsed with him one day in my home and it was
just brilliant. He just sat in on the songs, under the songs,
perfectly. And came in and ended up playing on I think four
or five tracks from the album and it was just... his is the work
that has endured most of all, apart from Ed Tomney's, on the
album. Jerry O'Connor is a banjo player and fiddle player whose
work I've admired for a long time and always wanted to work
with him. He has a very distinctive style, particularly banjo
playing, and I'm really delighted that he was able to work on
the record with me... I was also really thrilled to be able to
invite the Hothouse Flowers, all of them, collectively, to
work with me on one song. We did it live in the studio and
it worked great. That's the Elvis song... So that's most of the
people who worked on the record.
How do you feel about live recordings? Do you think they're
of any validity and would you ever consider doing one yourself?
At the moment, I'd have to answer that and say no, because
I feel that my gigs are very special to me. Each one of them is
completely different. They feel different. I have a different vibe.
Sometimes I'm very talkaktive. Sometimes I'm not very
talkaktive. And I would hate to nail a particular performance,
or even to go through a series of performances, or to nail a
particular style of performance and just put that down as being
the definitive live recording. I generally don't like to listen to live
albums, myself. I think that you have to be there. I hate listening
to albums where there's all this applause at the end of it... with
reverb on the applause. I just don't believe in it. It's not a
believable thing to me. I don't see myself doing that.
How do you feel about bootleg tapings?
I don't have a feeling about bootleg tapings. I feel that if people
want to go and record a tape, that they'll get something out of
recording that gig, that's their privilege. I don't have a problem
with that. It doesn't trouble me one way or another. As long as
they don't regard that as a definitive thing. But I think that people
who do that sort of thing don't. They just do it out of interest
or out of curiosity, to capture that particular evening. I've listened
back to live recordings of shows of my own, and have found
them singularly uninteresting to listen to, but I know that there
are other people who've listened to certain versions of songs
that I've recorded on a particular occasion live, and really loved
those things. So it's matter of personal taste. I don't have a
problem with it.
Can you see yourself playing as a solo performer indefinitely,
or, as in the case of Billy Bragg, eventually surrounding yourself
with a band?
I don't see myself surrounding myself with a band, certainly not in
the short term. I still feel I've a long way to go in the challenge
of working with an audience, and also in developing my sound
as a live artist and the way that I work with an audience as a
solo artist. I love it! I love the challenge of it, and I will continue
to do so until I don't feel fulfilled by it, and then, if I want to, for
whatever reason bring other musicians along in my work, then
that'll happen, and I'll know when that's the right time to do that.
I'm really just a selfish bastard! (laughs)
The new album tends to remind me of the kind of things David
Bowie was doing during his Heroes/Low period, as evidenced in songs
like "Be Well". Have artists like early Bowie, Iggy Pop
or Nick Cave ever been an influence on you?
I find it interesting that my records remind you of David Bowie's Heroes
period. Of the people you refer to, the only one who's been any influence
on me at all is Iggy Pop, and that's only recently. I'm not really familiar
with David Bowie at all. I've never certainly been influenced by him in any
way. And I'm totally unfamiliar with Nick Cave. But I love Iggy Pop. I
totally admire this man. I think he's a remarkable individual. I think he's
a great survivor. I think he's a great artist. I think he's a great
songwriter. I think he's an enormously entertaining individual, and I think
he's a really courageous guy, and he's great fun. And he definitely has been
an influence on me. But only recently. He's helped me to get in touch with
the darker edge of my work. Like that recent album he had out, Brick By
Brick, I think is a really great record. I think there's some really great
stuff in there. He's an example of somebody who has aged without going soft.
I think Neil Young is another example of that... Lou Reed... These are
people who don't just age gracefully, like an old wine. They retain their
balls, and that's what I like to see. I like to see that it's possible for
people to do that. I would hate to think that I would lose all of my ability
to be angry, or pissed off. And that's what I like about Iggy.
What kind of music do you listen to, personally?
At this moment, as we speak, my favorite record is Massive Attack's Blue
Lines album. I think it's a really record. I'm starting to listen to Lynton
Kwesi Johnson. I'm listening a lot to the very early Van Morrison records...
early Joni Mitchell... Ella Fitzgerald... I'm listening a lot to really
great singers. I love really great singers. But I'm also listening to people
who have a different way of articulating themselves, lyrically, and how they
syncopate their lyrics. I think that Massive Attack are very interesting,
because they're not a rap band, and they are not a soul band. They're a
band, to me, who have a wonderful way of expressing themselves lyrically,
but who also have great singers, and who have a great sound. I think
How do you feel about new technologies in music, such as sampling?
Interestingly enough, there have been bands who have been very technological
in their songwriting, who I've really liked. I really liked China Crisis,
and I was very surprised. I went to see them at the Ritz in New York about
two or three years ago, and I didn't expect to enjoy the gig, as I'd
imagined it would be very difficult for them to do what they do live. But I
actually thought it was great. In principle, I prefer people to play live,
definitely, but yet one of my favorite bands at the moment is a band in
Dublin called The Pale, who sample a lot, and there are lots of people who
sample. When it gets to the point of people sampling, using backing
vocalists, live, but using them sampled, I think that's pretty scary. The
whole business of people not singing live, I think, is totally repulsive to
me. Completely and totally objectionable. You either are a live performer,
or your're not. That's my own personal feeling about it. I don't know if
sampling is something I'll ever get into, but I can see reasons for doing
it. I like some of the beats that people work out for themselves as a way of
making their songs more interesting. I don't have a problem with that.
What's your opinion of videos, for viewing and for marketing/promotional
I have very mixed feelings about videos. I hate looking at videos. I have no
interest in MTV or VH-1. I just don't look at them. And yet I'm interested
in the idea of making videos for certain songs. I have seen videos that have
really moved me. I have seen videos that have made me laugh. But by and
large, because they've been misused and abused so much, I find myself
wanting to stay away from them, wanting to avoid them. And yet I do accept
that they have a place to play, and they are another form of expression. I
was very happy with one video that I did myself... "Rescue Mission",
which was directed by a marvelous woman, Paula Walker, who had worked with
Lou Reed on "Dirty Boulevard" and one of Gloria Estefan's songs.
It was a fascinating insight for me into the visual arts in that sense and it
was brilliant. But mostly, MTV is full of shit. I find it obnoxious, and I've no
time for it. Whether or not I'm ever seen on MTV is of no matter of huge
concern for me. If I succeed sometime in making a great video, that maybe
gives people some break from the sexist, racist awful shit that they have to
endure on MTV, well then, well and good. If I don't, it's not important to me.
In some circles, particularly among Irish-American media, you're still
perceived as a traditional Irish musician/folk singer. Does this irritate
you? And do you think the fact that Christy Moore being your brother has
led to this sort of thinking?
To be honest with you, I am no longer concerned about how I am perceived
within Irish-American circles. I don't think about it. I think a lot of
Irish people living in America like my work now. I get the impression that a
lot of people come to see Luka Bloom because they want to hear Luka Bloom
songs. And so that's not really a problem. If there are people who are not
capable of seeing me other than being an Irish singer-songwriter in the vein
of my brother Christy Moore, well that's their problem. I mean, I love
Christy. He's my brother, and he's a great singer, and he's a great
performer. What we do is very, very different. Our moods are different, our
styles are different, our music is different, our tastes are different.... I
think most of the people who come to see Luka Bloom understand that now.
They understand that when they see me they're seeing something that is very
different. And they have their own reasons for coming to see me. I think
that particularly in America. Because unlike Christy, I've lived in America.
And I know what it's like to be an Irish person living in America. His
experience of living in England, I think, is very different from my
experience of being an Irish person living in America. And I think a lot of
the young Irish people coming to see me understand that. But it's really a
musical thing. Our music is different, as they say. It's not a problem. It's
not an issue anymore. It was. It definitely was something that I had to
overcome. And it was a contributory factor in changing my name. But I've
done that now, a long time ago, and in creating this new identity, this
musical professional identity, I've had enormous benefits from it, that go
way beyond being perceived as somebody who's Christy Moore's brother. It's
helped me get in touch with whole areas of myself that I wouldn't have done
had I not changed my name. But in short, no I'm not irritated. (laughs)
You played a lot of large outdoor festivals during the summer. Do you find
it easier to play in this sort of environment or is it more comfortable in a
smaller, more intimate setting?
I love playing the large, outdoor festivals. I don't necessarily find it
easier, but I actually really enjoy it. I wouldn't like to ever become
somebody who performs in large stadia, as a staple diet, because it's a very
unnatural environment in which to project yourself musically, because it
simply has no intimacy. But funnily enough, I sometimes do find the large
festivals more comfortable than the intimate ones, because the intimate ones
are so "in your face" that it can be more difficult. It can be intimidating,
and sometimes I tend to be more nervous in the smaller clubs than in the big
venues, which may be a surprise to people, but that's the way it is. I love
the diversity of clubs that I'm able to play in. I love the fact that I can
play in the Continental Divide one day, and then perform in the Newport Folk
Festival the next day, in front of five, or six, or ten thousand people
outdoors, and then from that go to Holland and play in the PinkPop Festival
with bands like Living Colour and Lenny Kravitz and play in front of fifty
or sixty thousand people. That's one of the great joys of my life.
Judging from the success of Sinead O'Connor and Hothouse Flowers in
Australia and the Far East, have you any intentions of touring that part of
the world in the near future?
I would love to go to Australia and to go to Japan, particularly. I sort of
have the Bon Jovi attitude of, "I'll go anywhere there's electricity."
I want to play. I want to see the world, and I want to travel in a sensible
kind of a way that allows me to enjoy life as well as playing music and my
work to date has allowed me to do that. We've concentrated very much on
working in America and Canada, and recently in Europe and in Ireland and
we're taking things very gradually. There's no hurry. I hope to be able to
go to Australia and Japan within the next year or two and gradually build an
audience there. But there's no big rush. It'll happen if it's meant to happen.
Looking back on your career, did you ever imagine that you would be
releasing your second album on a major label at this point of your career?
It's still a miracle to me. I still marvel that I'm on the label that I'm
on. Recently I received a copy of Blue, Joni Mitchell's album... an amazing
album. And I didn't realize this album was on Reprise. I was listening to
this record... it was one of the first records I really, really fell in love
with. Little did I know that this was to be the beginning of a beautiful
relationship with Reprise Records. It is a miracle to me when I think of the
wonderful artists who've made records for Reprise Records. It blows my mind,
and it's a source of great joy to me. I feel very privileged.
Is "world domination" something you would like to aspire to?
(laughs) I've no desire to live like Madonna. I've nothing to hide.
I always feel that people who aspire to world domination are hiding behind
something... they're very insecure. I'm not saying Madonna is insecure.
I'm not saying that Michael Jackson is insecure... I don't know
any of those people. But their work completely freaks me out. Their lives
completely freak me out. I'm actually a very simple man, to be honest about
it. I've no desire to do anything other than write good songs, and to make
good records, to do great shows. It's as simple as that.
What does your tour schedule look like for 1992?
My tour schedule for 1992 looks fairly hectic in the beginning. It's already
booked for February and beginning to be booked for March and April. And I'm
sure there'll be festivals in the summer, and it'll be chock-a-block with
all sorts of exciting work which I look forward to.
This just in! The following is a message from Michael Hill, Luka's
A&R person and good friend. Herein are Michael's reflections on working
with Luka and the new record.
Luka Bloom's debut album Riverside, was recorded in New York and,
in a way, it was about New York. In New York City Luka made friends, built his following and found a record deal.
With songs like "Hudson Lady" and "Irishman In Chinatown", he described his experiences
here, real and imagined. And, with "Dreams In America", he told us what it was like to be so far from home.
On The Acoustic Motorbike he returns home, literally and musically.
It's as much a record about Dublin in 1991 as Riverside was about New York City, 1989. The Dublin he returned
to was full of creative energy - lots of good bands, American movie crews invading all the cool-looking streets
and a general air that something exciting was happening. Luka decides to record the album in STS Studio,
a funky three-story walk-up in a part of town called Temple Bar, a neighborhood that has been called Dublin's
Left Bank. I must admit I was skeptical when I saw the place; the moment you walked in you knew
you weren't in New York or Los Angeles.
U2 had just left there and, after I'd spent a few days in the studio, I could see why they liked it as much as
Luka did. It was a place where you could perform, not just record; where you could invite a few musicians
up and discover whole new ways to arrange a song right on the spot; where the people watching you
through the control room glass seemed like family and friends, not just hired hands. In that environment,
Luka recorded some of his most assured, most intimate, most spontaneous performances. The mood
he manages to create on stage has translated effortlessly into that small studio, and that is very evident
on "The Acoustic Motorbike".
Luka brought with him the lessons he learned in New York. He fell in love with a lot of the rap music he
heard in the States and that's reflected in the very Irish - and very funny - rap on "Acoustic Motorbike" and,
of course, in his utterly original reworking of L.L. Cool J's "I Need Love".
That tune deftly blends New York and Dublin with, on the one hand, state-of-the-art drum machines and, on
the other, his brother and esteemed Irish folk singer, Christy Moore, playing the tradition Bodhran. Luka
recently shot a video in New York City with director Katherine Dieckmann, who did R.E.M.'s "Stand"
and "Shiny, Happy People".
"The Acoustic Motorbike" features several other Irish musicians, including the Hothouse
Flowers, who accompany Luka on his late night live-in-the-studio version of "Can't Help Falling In Love".
There's a lot of lovely, traditional Irish instrumentation on
"The Acoustic Motorbike", but there's plenty of hard-edged electric guitar too (courtesy of
Ed Tomney, who also played on "Riverside").
The album is full of potent pop music fueled by the imagination, played by hard-working human hands.
It's like the story Luka tells in the title track. "The Acoustic Motorbike" is a journey, but
getting there is half the fun. And this is just a way of telling you how Luka got there. As for where he's
going next - well, you'll be seeing him in your town pretty soon.
New York City