With the impending release of “Songs From Another Country” and a shortened band name, the webmaster caught up with Chris Adams to get the inside story.
The big question must be the name change. Why drop the THING?
Well, this present line-up has gradually evolved into a totally different beast, with its own distinct identity, so I wanted to differentiate it from the band that made the Charisma albums.
So why didn’t you change it for the last album, ‘Moments of Truth’?
Good question. I actually thought about putting it out under my own name, because the material was more singer songwriterish, but Pauline was still playing with us, so I took the easier option. In the end, though, it was a mistake, because the name always conjures up Graham’s freaky violin and that’s now totally gone.
So in a sense, the ‘Thing’ was Graham?
Well obviously the name predates him, but in a strange way, when he appeared, it felt like we’d been waiting for him to come along. He picked up on our energy, and we took off. Trouble was, he was always more into Prog Rock than I was, and that came through in my writing.
You find the line-up influences your songwriting?
Definitely! There’s no way I could have written Heartfeeder if he hadn’t been there. It’s the same thing with George. Having him back in the band has taken us in a rockier, more Americana direction.
George has replaced your son, Robin ?
Yes. we’ve worked on and off over the years. He was in the band that made “Live In Berlin” and he played bottleneck & mandolin on Moments, so when Rob decided to do his own thing, it was an easy choice.
And Robin’s concentrating on a solo career?
Yes, he recently won the Billy Kelly Songwriting Award and part of the prize was recording a single with Glasvegas producer John McLaughlin, plus he’s doing an album with his brother Chris, so he’s a busy man these days. But he did some great backing vocals for us on the album.
There’s no Pauline this time?
No, she decided to hang up her tambourine after we got to play ‘Circus’ in the big top at the Belladrum Festival! But she never says ‘never’.
But the rhythm section is still the same?
Of course! Working with Andy and Dick has always been this effortless groove. Things seem to start happening by themselves. That’s when the songs really start to flow.
I believe the new band had its first outing at Fifestock.
Yeah, we were really happy with the gig. It was a lovely little room – very atmospheric – and we got to road test songs from the new album.
You hinted that the new material is rockier…
Well over the years, people have always said that we’re harder hitting live than on record, so we felt it was time to redress the balance.
Your producer, Danny Mitchell, how did he get involved?
The intention was to do it with John Beland of the Flying Burrito Brothers, whom we worked with in Canada, but that never came together. Then an old friend of mine, John Flanagan suggested Danny. I knew his CV, that he’d worked with Midge Ure and Bob Geldof, so I called and asked him if he’d like to hear the stuff. He came to a rehearsal, liked what he heard and we really hit it off. Working with him was a joy. I think you can hear that in the work.
Are there any gigs in the pipeline?
We’re doing a secret preview in Glasgow in April and a couple of dates in Bavaria in May, then we’re looking to do some London gigs.
How about a launch?
We’re working on that. Watch this space.
Next time round we’ll find out more about the new album, Songs From Another Country
The New Album is due out on June 24th.