Joe Matera, International Songwriter, 2000
Joe Matera: Tell me a bit about your background. You started writing songs at 13?
Andrew Gold: Yeah, I started around then (13). My first song was called 'Where Is The Love', not to be confused with the 70's hit by the same name. It was a dark minor song waltz.....
JM: Your most known song is 'Lonely Boy' (1976). How did you come to write that song and what was the process of recording it? I love the way you took the basic A, D, and E chords and put the 3rd in the bass, in the verses?
AG: Actually, It's kind of a semi rip off of a section of a Ry Cooder song, 'How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live'...but barely....I just wrote this song one night in Hollywood in my little apartment, and thought it should be an 8 minute opus....but got bored after 3 and a half....
JM: You are also a multi-instrumentalist and producer, having worked with such artists as Linda Ronstadt and 10cc?
AG: Yes, I have always had a knack for playing many instruments.....and arranging ideas come easy.
JM: Did you play that classic guitar solo in Linda's 'You're No Good'?
AG: Yes, me and Peter Asher and Val Garay stayed up one night recording it and we were very proud at the end. However, the next day Linda heard it and didn't know if she liked it or not....I showed up and Peter was laughing because by the time I got there she had decided she did...thank God.
JM: What inspires you to write?
AG: Money....Okay, no, I get inspired when I hear something by someone else I like...I feel like...Hey! I want to write something great like that!
JM: What sort of gear do you use?
JM: Do the songs change much from the first draft to the finished product?
AG: Sometimes, not much though...just that it goes from one instrument to many.
JM: With the internet these days and the technology available, where one person can co-write with another without ever meeting, do you think this has made things easier for someone to get their music out and to a bigger audience, or is it the same as it's been before, in the sense of trying to succeed?
AG: Hard question...I think in some ways its the same... except you can send someone an MP3 easily so they can hear it better than by the phone...or slow like mail.
JM: What are some tips you would like to share to help us songwriters write songs that are hit material?
AG: If I knew I'd be much richer! But stick with it, listen to other songs and try and analyze it...but also be original....mainly make sure that your recording is what you heard in your head....or better.
JM: What are your current projects? You have a new album coming out soon?
AG: I have two new albums coming out: one, The Spence Manor Suite, is a semi-country album of new original songs. The other is Bikini, an album of Wax rarities. (Wax is Graham Gouldman and myself).
JM: Who are your favourite songwriters and songs?
AG: Well, Lennon and McCartney, Jobim, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Debussy, Gershwin, Randy Newman, Carole King, too many to list.
JM: One last question, what is your view on the '70s and '80s. I can hear a lot of that era's sound in today's music and think that it was one great period of history that produced some memorable songs like 'Lonely Boy'?
AG: I think the '60s and '70s was the peak period for the singer songwriter for sure....people like Cat Stevens, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne...whew...good songs...nowadays, its a slightly different thing, with the recording and arrangement more important than the song....which is why they won't last as oldies. But I'm not bothered by it...it's a phase and its new. So I don't want to be like my grandparents saying, 'This isn't good like in our day!'. I like everything including Rap ...I just think its too narrow these days. I'd like to see Rap and songs, and not just R & B....anything, be successful...but...its the teenagers thing, so viva whatever is going on, you know?
© Joe Matera, 2000