MUSICIAN INTERVIEW: Freddie White
Musician Interview: Freddie White, 14 April 2008.
Q & A with Freddie and Nicola Murphy, Draiocht's Marketing Manager, two weeks before his show in Draiocht.
"I danced in a musical once to such reviews as “Freddie looks like a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time” (Irish Times) so didn’t pursue that particular branch of the arts!"
Freddie White, April 2008
Freddie White has long been synonymous with music of the highest quality. Whether interpreting songs by his favorite writers, such as Randy Newman, Tom Waits, John Hiatt and Guy Clark, or performing his own classy compositions, Freddie’s live performances are nothing short of legendary. Freddie has been part of the fabric of the live music scene in Ireland since the 1970’s and his albums continue to sell well, amongst his loyal and new-found fan base. Born in Cobh, County Cork into a musical family, by age thirteen Freddie was playing in school bands and by seventeen playing professionally. At nineteen, he moved to London, where he busked in subways, and developed his unique voice and guitar style. In 1974, he was a founding member of ‘Scullion’, together with Philip King and Sonny Condell. Later he formed ‘The Fake’, regarded as one of the seminal Irish bands of the late ‘70’s. Next came The Freddie White Band formed in 1978, which toured with Eric Clapton that year.
In 2004, Freddie White returned to Ireland after many years living in the USA. Since then he has regularly toured Ireland and Europe and during the past year has dedicated himself to the development of his latest recording, collaborating with songwriters Jimmy MacCarthy and Jim Barrett. Released in February 2008, ‘Stormy Lullaby’, is a stunning collection of moody tracks in which Freddie White’s musicianship and voice shine through. He has once again teamed up with his old cohort DanDan Fitzgerald to produce this gem. The album has an acoustic feel thanks to the input of a small, tight group of musicians from his native Cork. ‘Stormy Lullaby’ is a collection of eleven songs. Some tracks are newly written, while others (not previously recorded by Freddie) have proven their worth by becoming firm favourites with his live audiences. ‘Stormy Lullaby’ showcases what Freddie does best – that is ‘get inside’ and deliver heartrending, troubled love songs in a manner guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. It is often said of Freddie that he does not merely ‘cover’ great songs; more often than not he improves on the originals.
Q: What or who inspired you to become a musician?
Picked up a friends guitar at age 13 and never looked back.
Q: Are you a full time musician or have you other jobs to supplement your income?
I’m full time.
Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you like to be?
Q: What is the hardest thing about being a musician?
Days off either when you are on a tour or recording are a real pain - an interruption to the process.
Q: What type of music do you enjoy playing the most?
Songs with a bit of a bite to them.
Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?
Aguas de Marcos by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim.
Q: Are there any famous musicians that you would really like to work with?
Yeah – but unfortunately Jimi Henrix is dead now!
Q: What's the most unusual place you've ever played a concert or made a recording?
The Tin Pub in Ahakista in West Cork would be one of many.
Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like drawing, painting, sculpting or dancing for instance?
I danced in a musical once to such reviews as “Freddie looks like a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time” (Irish Times) so didn’t pursue that particular branch of the arts!
Q: What other musicians or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?
I have tried (and still try) to learn from anyone I come into contact with but my teenage years probably formed what I do to this day. Such people as Davy Graham, John Renborne and other guitarists of that time had a huge influence.
Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?
Wouldn’t write off a whole day – if one thing isn’t working do something else and come back to it.
Freddie White and The Fake (1978).
Q: How have you handled the business side of being a musician, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your gigs to promoters etc?
Q: Do you have any advice you could give to a musician just starting out?
Play every day and don’t do it for the money!
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
It’s too late to stop now so ….
Larry Gogan and Freddie White
Q: What are your interests and hobbies in your space time?
Mucking about in the garden – watchin the footy – cooking - eating.
Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming performance in Draíocht?
I’ve played Draíocht twice before and have had a terrific night. Funny, but I used to live in that area of Dublin when it was just a sea of housing estates and nothing else. Great to see it now has a beating heart in the form of a theatre and lots of old friends showed up the last night I played – hope to see them again this time.
What the Press have said:
'Stormy Lullaby' maintains a lifelong undertaking by this remarkable singer ... to get to the essence of a worthy song...a genuinely transcendent and inspiring sound.’
Gerry Quinn. Examiner, January 2008
‘This is a superb return to form ... those trademark sharp-toothed guitar licks ... smoky, languid voice... there’s still nobody to match White at his best.’
Siobhain Long. Irish Times, January 2008
"Tia" is a smooth and affecting sound while "The Boy Talks Tough" sounds like a standard in the making. Freddie White shows again that class is permanent...
Danny McElhinney. the Mail on Sunday, January 2008
Images taken from Freddie's website.
Further info about Freddie White can be found on:
For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht