About the Album
A concept album, structured as a phony interview. The music contains numerous criticisms of the music industry and the silly questions that rock stars get asked repeatedly.
Gary Green - guitars
Kerry Minnear - keyboards
Derek Shulman - vocals, saxes
Ray Shulman - bass, violin
John Weathers - drums
Other liner notes:
A "Gentle Giant Production" Recorded at: Advision Studios, London. February/March 1976. Engineer: Paul Northfield, assisted by Ken Thomas All Compositions: Shulman, Shulman and Minnear and all permutations thereof Published by: "Clipchoice Music" Interviewer: Phil Sutcliffe Cover Production: Geoff Allman for "Spoken Image" Airbrush: Chris Clover CD Package Design: Phil Smee
- Interview (6:54)
- Give It Back (5:08)
- Design (4:59)
- Another Show (3:29)
- Empty City (4:24)
- Timing (4:50)
- I Lost My Head (6:58)
- submitted by David Wilhite. Interview excerpts decyphered by Paul Moore.
(The interview, part 1)
Voice 1: Right....Now...Gentle Giant.
Interviewer: Err. Gentle Giant, is it?
Voice 2: Send for some coffee, Paul, will you?
Interviewer: And who are you?
Derek: Well, I'm Derek, and the blokes behind me are [inaudible bit]....Ray.... [Inaudible bit] Shulman. Yes.... [Inaudible]...
Interviewer: Oh, you're related, are you? I didn't know about that.
(Scrape of chairs at table, etc)
Interviewer: Er, where...where...where shall we begin, then?
1. Yes it's been hard, going a long time and we're together even now. Why do you ask? Surely you know it! Isn't it clear just when and how. What can we tell you? At the beginning had no direction, any other way. After the fourth one, realisation, finding our road, the same as if today. 2. Well we all hear, everyone, no-one, not to not say, we like a lot. Want to be seen rock and roll music, Don't take us something that we're not. True it looks better, tide looks like turning, so all in all we feel we are alright. Yes we had troubles, much more than many, rather have none and do we think what's right. What are your plans for the future now? And can you say who does the writing then? How did you get -- who gave the name of the band? 3. Now that he's gone, turn off our faces, wait for the new man to arrive. Soon the same song, sung for the next one, saying our piece, though not alive. What can we tell you? At the beginning had no direction, any other way. After the fourth one, realisation, finding our road, the same as if today. Repeat of verse 2.
Give It Back
Lead vocals: Derek
1. Isn't it strange, oh it's funny, working for years have no money, suddenly luck can smile on you and your life seems worth while to you. Chorus: Just how much can you spend, give it back in the end, and the time of your season, was no use, had no reason. 2. And you move, you go away and you can't come home not today. Spreading it out over the bad years, not for those men, they can't hear. Chorus: 3. Haven't had much in a long time, hoping that change is going to be mine. Don't want to go, I want to stay here, spreading it out over the bad years. Chorus:
(The interview, part 2)
Interviewer: Gentle Giant, how would you describe your music?
Band: [All talking at once] Well/Well, I guess...combination of...background...very arranged...basically it's all different sorts...
(Chant) As years drift by and future dies. 1. He sits and he thinks about all he's done in life, I'm now an old man, what have I been in life? what did I do? Had no end to aspire to. 2. His dreams as a boy were of hope and intention of making his mark with his plans and invention, where did they go, how could he know how time goes. In my day had to have certain future, but now you can do as you like, all that I might have wanted, seeking what you're after, but not for me. Everything comes to those who wait, I thought everything may come to me made my way only as I was able. 3. He knows there's no more he can do, no romances, now bitten today for they have all his chances, all too late, no one waits how time goes by. Seeking what you're after, but not for me Have as my years drift by never for me.
Lead vocals: Derek
1. Lock the door and go, heads still in a daze, throw the key away, lost all count of days. Where's the float for the gas? How much left does he have? set the stage and so here's another show ask the band how they're feeling, never see them now dealing, in a way they never would we'll get our way, always could. 2. Sleep all day, there's another show today, find the map for the place, tell him where, just in case, set the stage and go, here's another show. 3. Stage is empty now always last to go. Where tomorrow? No, I don't want to know, all the scene is torn down, up again other town, set the stage and so, there's another show. Are we going out tonight? Find a friend and it's alright, leave the morning, moving so we can stage, another show.
Lead vocals: Derek
1. She knows the streets where she walks, never were paved with gold can't return, but won't dream till she's old. leaving it soon behind city so cold. 2. And everyday now so long, how could she have been so wrong. And as the morning comes, shadows on her fall upon, walking crowded the streets she looked on, packs her case and tomorrow she's gone.
(The interview, part 3)
Interviewer: So, really, when come right down to it, can you describe what kind of music you do play then? What are you playing at? What would you compare it to? How would you express to people who've never heard it?
Lead vocals: Derek
See now, like cat then mouse, I move, they move, the game hasn't an end. Good news soon, bad news then, I know the sound that says "nothing again". What then? The hours go past, my say is real, they say only pretend. Timing. Wait for that day, for my good. Timing. When I sell myself again. Do they all realise, the lion's share is always halfway. Wait for that day for my good. when I sell myself again. Timing. Wait for that day, for my good. Timing. When I sell myself again. See now, like cat then mouse, I move, they move, the game hasn't an end. Good news soon, bad news then, I know the sound that says "nothing again". What then? The hours go past, my say is real, they say only pretend. Timing.
I Lost My Head
For other uses of "I Lost My Head", see I Lost My Head (disambiguation).
1. I lost my head, it was not easy, unknown, unread, it wasn't easy, and each day, each night, wasn't wrong, nor right, I can't remember what I said I lost my head. 2. What will I feel maybe tomorrow, but time not real, hours I can borrow, so until for now, as long as how, I can't remember what I said I lost my head. (Part 2) 1. I lost my head, forget what I said, what's the use to try to deny it, I didn't think it would ever happen again, wondering why, once bitten, twice shy, never thought again would I try it, and even though maybe soon it would end, wanting to stop, but had to go on, give a little part of my person, and don't reflect, don't remember what I said, I was afraid and I stayed away making sure of my independence, isn't it true that I lost my head. Took my time and I didn't rush into anything, showed my face, just forgetting myself, I lost my head. 2. Everything's true, but everything lies, it's so hard to try to explain it, It doesn't matter it happened anyway, and for the time while someone is mine, I'll go on won't try to contain it, though never sure it could finish anyday, I lost my head, so glad that I made right or wrong, I made the decision to take my chances, give out something of me, how will I feel tomorrow? not real trying to avoid a collision, I lost my head, but today I can see.
(The interview, part 4)
Interviewer: Thank you very much, then, and good luck to you.
Band: Thanks/cheers/Thank you...
These liner notes are reproduced with the kind permission of the Terrapin Trucking (UK) Ltd. Transcribed by Malcolm Smith.
"Gentle Giant's newest album, Interview, is their eighth. It contains distinctive elements of the musical styles and recording techniques that the previous seven generated, and, as usual, takes their accomplishment a step further. It relies on strong themes, precision and energy."
So runs the opening paragraph of the program for GG's 1976 UK tour, their last on home soil. As a summary of the album it is concise and to the point, but its matter-of-fact tone hides the intense pressure under which Interview was recorded.
Barely a year into their new contract with Chrysalis, Giant were in the middle of the most hectic period of their ten year career. The success of their previous album, Free Hand, had been due in no small part to the tireless efforts of the band to promote it, including extensive tours of North America, Europe and Britain. Into this punishing schedule had to be fitted the time to write, rehearse, and record new material, and the pressure to produce a worthy follow up was considerable, both from the commercial and personal points of view.
That they succeeded is a tribute to the exceptional professionalism of the band. In just four weeks, Interview was painstakingly developed from an incomplete set of basic ideas to the meticulously crafted final product. This relatively short recording time was not, in itself, unusual for Giant, The band would normally reckon to spend around three weeks recording an album, which considering the complexity of the music was far from comfortable. But Giant were never a band to choose the comfortable option - from the beginning, they had ploughed their own furrow with a determination bordering on obsession, and by the mid-seventies they were beginning to reap the rewards, especially in America and parts of Europe.
Now, faced with the prospect of maintaining the buzz generated by Free Hand, Giant had booked the customary three weeks studio time to fashion a new winner. Having had just a month's break from touring in which to write and rehearse, the band entered the studio less well-prepared than they might have liked. The sessions for Interview would, in fact, stretch to four weeks, with the group having to grab studio time wherever they could to complete the album. It was, predictably, a very intense period, but keyboardist Kerry Minnear doesn't consider that was a drawback: "We needed the pressure to write - I think it's quite significant that nobody's recorded anything since the band split up, because there's not been that pressure to write, but the pressure was there on Interview and it produced results."
It also produced a situation in which Kerry was stuck in a basement playback room at Advision, with only a guitar and a tape recorder for company, busily writing new material for the album, while the rest of the band pressed on with recording upstairs. Exceptionally, all the parts for one piece, Design, were written out on manuscript, taken up and distributed to the other members of the band, and the number recorded without anyone but Kerry knowing how it would all fit together. He was far from comfortable with it: "we didn't like working that way, we were a band, we worked together as a band, and this was a band album."
For the most part, though, it was business as usual. Before committing anything to tape, the material would be played through live in the studio. Alterations were made, arrangements agreed upon, then the time-consuming process of actual recording began. Giant had steadily refined their approach to recording from early in their career. The utmost care was taken to achieve the exceptional clarity which characterised their albums from Octopus onwards. By the time Interview was recorded, their production techniques were well in advance of most of their contemporaries, with bassist Ray Shulman the man most responsible for shaping the band' s distinctive sound. "recording is such a laborious process" he said at the time. "If it wasn't our band, I just couldn't be there...I just couldn't stand it." He must have had a change of heart since then, because these days he makes his living as a producer with albums by Ian McCulloch, The Sundays, and The Sugercubes to his credit.
Interview itself could loosely be described as a concept album, although there is no common lyrical thread running through the songs as there is on the earlier Three Friends (1972) and The Power And The Glory (1974). The title track is a sideswipe at the lack of imagination shown by most journalists interviewing the band, and at several points the album's tracks are linked by brief snatches of conversation between "sounds" writer Phil Sutcliffe, a long-standing Giant admirer, and the group. Giant co-opted Sutcliffe to perform this mock interview, then spliced excerpts between the songs themselves, which stand as the band's responses to his questions. The whole album thus forms the interview of the title.
The music, as always, defies any general description; Empty City is a number which follows in the Giant tradition of delicate vocal interplay. Timing boasts a glittering cascade of jagged rhythms running almost totally contrary to Derek Shulman's vocal line, whilst I Lost My Head is a two-part song which demonstrates both the lighter and heavier sides of their character. Throughout, the instrumentation is somewhat simpler than on previous albums. When recording was complete, Kerry observed that there were no cellos, flutes, recorders, or vibes on the album. "maybe it's rock 'n' roll!" joked Ray.
With albums like Interview, Giant had put a good deal of the "progress" into progressive music. But the proverbial wind of change was about to blow through the world of rock, and this was to be the last album the band would make as a purely progressive outfit. With the New Wave came new energy, new ideas, and new standards, and Giant would soon re-assess their approach in the light of changing circumstances.
Cool stuff in the music
- In Interview, the guitar solo during the bridge repeats twice, then after the main 6/8 theme comes back in, it repeats a third time, in the background, on organ. (Thanks to Eric Olsson.)
- In Interview, there's a lot of whispering in the middle of the song. Can anybody figure out what is being said? Greg Hajik reports that some lines are taken from the verse: "Why do you ask?" "Surely you must know it!" "Gentle Giant." You can hear the lines clearly in the track "Interview Whispers" on Under Construction.
- In the printed lyrics for Design is the line "Everything comes to those who wait" which is apparently not sung in the song; but if you listen to the next two lines, sung in rounds, when they have reached their densest overlaps, you can actually hear the line happen a word at a time across the different vocal lines, even though some the words from the first line don't even occur in the next two lines. Amazing! (Thanks to Joe Dean.)
- Apparently, some of the unusual piano effects were achieved by sliding newspaper behind the strings of the piano, causing the sharp, punchy, rattly effect. (Thanks to Chris Elliott.)
|I lost my head charron.mid||I Lost My Head||In'terview||Xavier Aubin Charron|
|Ilostmyh.mid||I Lost My Head||In'terview||Rodrigo de la Mora|
|Sheet Music File||Title||Album||Contributor|
|Design-ghasnes.zip||Design||In'terview||H. J. Feurich (zip format)|
|Give-it-back-bass-dunn.pdf||Give It Back||In'terview||Chris Dunn|
|Empty City WheatWilliams.zip||Empty City||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|I Lost My Head WheatWilliams.zip||I Lost My Head||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Timing WheatWilliams.zip||Timing||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Design WheatWilliams.zip||Design||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Interview WheatWilliams.zip||Interview||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Give It Back WheatWilliams.zip||Give It Back||In'terview||Wheat Williams, Phil Smith|
|Sandner 1977 Gentle Giant Interview.pdf||Design||In'terview||H. J. Feurich (single PDF)|
This list is not necessarily complete, and various releases are out of print.
|UK||Terrapin Trucking/Road Goes On Forever, RGF CD 1005|
(Remastered as TRUCKCD 005)
|USA||One Way Records, S21-18467|
|UK||BGO (Free Hand & In'terview)|
The BGO is missing the last interview after "I Lost My Head."
The first DRT Entertainment release of In'terview was accidentally missing one stereo channel. This defective version was recalled from stores and a corrected disc was released. The original bar code (defective) is 28730 03532. The newer (fixed) bar code is 28730 03572.