Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)

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Thomas Lauderdale from Pink Martini was kind enough to spare 15 minutes of his time and have a casual phone conversation with us last night. Here's what we talked about:

Was it difficult to make a turn from "good friends orchestra" to the status of world famous band?

It was quite a smooth transition, went on rather naturally in time.

Do you miss playing at weddings and political fund raising events?

To be honest not really, it was a period in the beginning when I was planning to go also in politics, and besides most of the weddings where we played ended up in a divorce. It's true, it happened to 97% of the weddings we attended. So I'm afraid it's not a good thing to book our band for weddings.

You've been touring the world for many years. What do you like best? A formal concert hall or rather a small pub full of cigarette smoke with people dancing and drinking?

Both can be just as rewarding, I have been playing with symphonic orchestras in concert halls and also in smaller cosier places.

Many of your songs have a story behind them. What's the most interesting?

You know, I think that the most interesting one may be Hang on little tomato. It's based on an ad for ketchup in an old issue of Life magazine. We drew inspiration from it and wrote the song all night long. It was a poster from 1964, it said something like "hey, little tomato, hang up there on the vine till you're fat and juicy, ready for the ketchup".

You know, each song comes out in a different way. The first song China and I wrote was "Je ne veux pas travailler", we struggled to write the song in French, it was our first song, it says "I don't wanna work, I just wanna forget about it all and smoke".

You seek inspiration in world's music and people ask you to play songs in their language. here comes our turn: have you found so far any inspiration in Romanian songs or rhythms?

I am doing research right now, so who shall I listen to? I've been recommended Maria Tanase, Romica Puceanu, Aura Urziceanu... I have a bunch of Romanian records.
And Zamfir, with the pan flute, I like him actually,... and Enescu is from Romania, right?... And Bartok is not...

No, he isn't :)
Speaking of this musical internationalism, how does it feel being labeled "the most European of American bands"?

It's a good thing, a great compliment, we'd rather be a European band than an American band, Europe is in any way better, has a much more global perspective in understanding, America is such a young country, it is, you know, a little bit unreal here. We're so lucky, I feel like I have a more surreal life than most Americans, we get to travel around... It's a great thing to travel with the band, we're like 14 people in the band, it started small and independent and slowly grew. A lot of has to do with the fact that the people in the band are great and gracious to each other, so, you know.... there are few fights... but not too many!

If you're on the road most of the year, do you still have time to work on new songs? Your first two albums came at 7 years' distance (Sympathique in '97 and Hang on Little Tomato in 2004), then at 3 years' distance (Hey Eugene! in 2007). Will you follow the reverse logarithmic order and release a new album next year?

Yes, that's the hope. I'd like, instead of going in and overdubbing and rehearsing for 7 years... I just wanna go in and record in 3 days.

Any plans to release a live performance DVD?

Oh, I think we are going to release that at some point, you know we filmed a show at the PBS (Public Broadcasting Station), it's a little difficult to produce a video, but you know, hopefully next year.
I don't know if I would ever buy a DVD of a band. Would you?

As a matter of fact I would.

I don't know if I would, isn't it better to go to a live concert?

It's very comfortable for you to say that, since you're actually there, on stage, with the band. But since we don't really get to see you live very often...

We're really amazed that we're coming there. How did it happen, do you know? That we're coming to Romania? It seems so ... unlikely, I am excited... We're also going to visit Serbia, one of my friends is actually the Japanese ambassador to Serbia, that makes sense. But maybe there's also a Romanian connection or something (laughs).

It's obviously good to have friends in high places. I'm going to end with a few short ones: what's your favorite classical piece?

George Gershwin? No... that's a little bit more jazz... What's yours?

Adagio from Albinoni.

Oh, yes, with the organ (starts humming). That's so beautiful. I was just listening during a concert to the Unfinished Symphony by Schubert and also Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto no. 2. You know, there's a Ukrainian pianist in town this week, what's her name, Valentina Lisitsa, I think she's great...

If you could choose one singer, male of female, in music history, to play with, who would it be?

Maybe Judy Garland.

I was picturing you with Edith Piaf, to be honest.

You know, that's a better answer, let's do that one (laughs), although I would be terrified of her, she would be mean to me.

Do you ever wake up in the morning humming "je ne veux pas travailler"?

No, I wake up generally in a panic (laughs) and I think at how much work there is to do, and I get coffee and try to start the day.

pink martini

Concertul Pink Martini la Bucuresti va avea loc pe 27 octombrie la Sala Palatului (detalii aici).

5 comentarii

Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)
#1 -

Super tare :P

Treaba faina Cris, la mai multe!

Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)
#2 -

Comentariu nou

felicitari, f bun interviu :)

Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)
#3 -


felicitari, Cristina!

Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)
#4 -


Un concert cat o pauza de publictate.

Interviu: Thomas Lauderdale (Pink Martini)
#5 -

m-ai convins :) iau bilet la Sala Palatului pe 27, trebuie sa vad Pink Martini live! (sper sa mai gasesc).

uite cum mai aflu si eu de tine, ...din interviuri ;-)

Pentru a posta trebuie sa fii logat.

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