Episode 110: John Waite

Episode 110: John Waite
Singer/songwriter/English gentleman John Waite drops by to discuss his 40 year music career.

From August 15, 2013
00:00:00 John Waite is in the studio with the gang this week! John is surprised to learn that Pat and Gary are comedy writers (as is anyone who hears them talk. ZING! Just kiddin' fellas)
  Gary gives the fashion report: John looks effortlessly cool with is second-hand clothes and jacket.

Look at those three handsome SOBs.

John is working on getting his U.S. citizenship. He lived in NYC for 18 years, but decided to move to Los Angeles full time after recording his album When You Were Mine, because the flying back and forth was taking a lot out of him.


As an aside, John says that if Willie Nelson records his song "Bluebird Cafe" John will kiss Willie's feet.


Pat plays "Bluebird Cafe" from the album When You Were Mine.


Pat tells John that the era when John created the albums Temple Bar, When You Were Mine and Figure In A Landscape represents his best work. He feels frustrated that more people haven't had the chance to hear it. John agrees, saying that when the record label he was with (Imago) went under, it hurt the chances for those albums to be promoted.


Pat plays "Downtown" from the album Temple Bar
  Pat talks about how John's lyrics paint a picture so well. John is heavily into literature, which influences his writing.
00:10:00 John takes a moment to honor Mike Shipley, producer of When You Were Mine, who recently passed away. He was the finest producer he ever worked with.

John wanted to be a cowboy growing up. He was into all things America. He went from the cowboy ballads of Marty Robbins to Brenda Lee, a sort of pop-country singer. A few years ago he met Brenda Lee through their mutual friend Alison Krauss and was starstruck.


Pat plays the John Waite/Alison Krauss duet version of "Missing You" from the album Downtown... Journey Of The Heart


John says that the musicianship of this version of "Missing You" is the best of any and, as a duet, it became a conversation, which it was always meant to be.


"Missing You" has been covered by numerous artists. John's cover was done by Tina Turner. He remembers being a child listening to Tina sing "Proud Mary" and being blown away.


Tina Turner - "Missing You" from the album All The Best.
  John confirms that Nina Blackwood was indeed one of the inspirations for "Missing You", along with his exwife and his then fiance.
00:25:00 John doesn't know if he considers himself a songwriter first or a singer first. As he gets older he's drawn more toward literature, but he finds in his newest band he's playing the part of the singer more and more. So, he's just not sure.

When "Missing You" first came out, it knocked Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" out of the top spot. This reminded John of seeing Tina a year before her 80s comeback playing smaller venues and blowing the roof off of the joint. Keith Richards was instrumental in getting Tina back into the mix in the 80s.


Pat plays John's recording of The Baby's song "Head First" from the album LIVE All Access.
00:30:00 Gary says that The Babys was one of the first bands that he learned about as a kid when he started listening to music that was his own.

This leads to Gary opening a case for the court:


Gary plays the opening riff from "Shelter Song" from Temples, then plays "Midnight Rendezvous" by The Babys. The verdict is immediate: Guilty!

  John mentions that a country duo covers his song "If You Ever Get Lonely" that's about to hit the charts.
Love And Theft - "If You Ever Get Lonely" from the album Love And Theft.

Pat plays a jingle that The Babys did for "Dr. Pepper". John says that they did it for $300 each, because they were so broke. Also, he thinks it rocks. He says there's no shame in it, since The Rolling Stones did a Rice Krispies jingle back in the day. Observe:


Rolling Stones sing about Rice Krispies
  Pat says that he thinks that Chrysalis, the record company for The Babys albums as well as his first solo album, under-promoted them. John couldn't agree more. They toured like madmen, had a ton of AM airplay, but the company didn't make their records available.

The first time that Pat saw John was on the video for "Change." Once he learned that John was the voice of The Babys he got all of their albums.


John Waite - "Change" from the album Ignition.

  Gary admires that John doesn't display any conceite or false modesty. He doesn't puff himself up nor does he belittle the quality of his work. John hates when artists are coy.

Pat asks how Bad English worked. John says that he and John Cain would always need a third to kickstart the writing process, since he and John Cain are from completely different worlds.


Bad English - "Forget Me Not" from the album Bad English.

John says he takes the blame for "When I See You Smile" and he now regrets it. Their A&R person stayed out of the way most of the time, but he asked the band to give the song a shot. John felt like they owed it to him to at least try it. It went to number one, but he does regret playing the song, since it's all that Bad English is known for now.


He no longer plays it live, but he'll let the audience sing it while the band plays the tune.

00:50:00 John talks about his new live album LIVE All Access. He didn't want to just cobble together a collection of hits. He wanted to play songs that sounds good live. To illustrate the point Pat plays "Evil" and "Better Off Gone".

In 2003 John went on tour with Ringo. John went back to playing the bass for the tour, which made him nervous. After he and Colin Hay left the first rehearsal, Colin says "now would be a good time to start drinking again."


During the first ten seconds of the first show, John felt like he was playing with mittens on, but he soon warmed up and got going.

01:00:00 John didn't hesitate when Ringo invited him on the tour, even though he was in the tub when Ringo called.
  Back in the 80s John worked with Don Henley on a song that appeared on the About Last Night...Soundtrack: "If Anybody Had A Heart"
01:05:00 Pat says that the song "St. Patrick's Day" is a great example of how John paints a picture with his lyrics. John says the inspiration for the song came from a photo he saw of the St. Patrick's Day parade that was on the cover of the New York Times. In the picture a woman was hugging a policeman of Irish decent who had a big grin on his face. The fact that the picture was taken soon after 9/11 added further pathos to the image.
01:10:00 John talks about the double-edged sword that was "Missing You." It stopped his career, which was bad at first, then eventually good, since he had to start again as a different sort of artist.
  John's latest album is available on iTunes or you can get a signed copy from johnwaitethesinger.com.
  Pat plays out with "Saturday Night" from LIVE All Access.
Time Song Album Artist Who
00:0:00Bluebird CafeWhen You Were MineJohn Waite
00:5:00DowntownTemple BarJohn Waite
00:10:00Missing You (Duet with Alison Krauss)Downtown... Journey Of The HeartJohn Waite
00:15:00Missing You All The BestTina Turner
00:25:00Head FirstLIVE All AccessJohn Waite
00:30:00If You Ever Get LonelyLove And TheftLove And Theft
00:35:00Dr. PepperJingleThe Babys
00:40:00ChangeIgnitionJohn Waite
00:45:00Forget Me NotBad EnglishBad English
00:50:00EvilLIVE All AccessJohn Waite
00:50:00Better Off GoneLIVE All AccessJohn Waite
01:00:00 If Anybody Had A HeartAbout Last Night...SoundtrackJohn Waite
01:05:00 St. Patrick's DayDowntown... Journey Of A HeartJohn Waite
01:05:00 Saturday Night LIVE All AccessJohn Waite