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Norbert Stachel - February 2002 - with Brain Damage Print E-mail
 

Upon hearing the news that the incredibly versatile musician Norbert Stachel was joining Roger's band as a full time member for the In The Flesh 2002 Tour, I had to catch up with him to find out more.

(For those of you who have not had the good fortune to encounter his playing, he has worked with a diverse number of artists. Best place to start is his own website - www.purpleroom.net - and the following site which has a great biography of Norbert: www.cataustin.com/tfate/bios/norbert.htm).

I started by asking him a few general questions - how he got involved in the first place, how he coped with some of the songs, and so on. Here's what he had to say:

"A friend of mine named Steve Tavaglione played saxophone on two concerts during Roger Waters' U.S tour 2000. He wasn't available to travel outside of Los Angeles at the time to continue performing with Roger, and he recommended me to do the Mountain View and Portland concerts, the latter of which was recorded for the live "In The Flesh" CD and DVD/Video releases.

"I had some difficulty learning the original sax solo from the song "Money" note for note, since the style of that saxophonist and his soloing is quite different than my usual approach and style. The song being in the 7/4 time signature, along with the other saxophonist's choice of notes and rhythms on the original recording also made it a bit of a struggle for me to get right.

"On "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", I improvised a solo in my own style utilizing my own devices on my curved soprano saxophone.

"I was a fan of Pink Floyd's music (along with many other artists and groups) in my youth, long before I actually learned how to play any musical instruments."


Later, I was fortunate enough to pose some more questions to Norbert, once the rehearsals in London in February had concluded. Here's how it went:

Matt: It's the eve of the In The Flesh 2002 tour; how have rehearsals gone?

Norbert: They went very well.

Matt: Has the set list changed? Are there any new songs appearing?

Norbert: Roger has decided in doing the full version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and has added a new song entitled: "Flickering Flame".

Matt: Has your involvement increased?

Norbert: I am playing sax solos now on Shine On, Money, Set The Controls, and Each Small Candle. I am also playing an electronic wind controller called an "EWI" on Shine On Part 2, Southampton Dock, and Flickering Flame.

Matt: Have you tried to convince Roger that more songs need your talents?

Norbert: I think that he convinced himself.

Matt: How do you prepare for touring? It is quite a long tour, hitting a large number of countries. Do your preparations differ from, say, touring the US?

Norbert: I had to pack differently, think about voltage and modem adapters and transformers, internet access, telephone charges, luggage restrictions and convenience, etc.

Matt: Is this the biggest tour you've been on, both in terms of concerts played, and countries visited?

Norbert: It is less concerts then the Diana Ross tour in 1989-1990 or amount of concerts yearly that I did with Tower Of Power, but it is by far a larger number of countries visited then I have done on any one tour before.

Matt: Will Glastonbury Festival feel strange after playing 50-odd nights in "controlled" conditions? Has a set list been worked out for this show yet?

Norbert: I don't think so, and I don't know about the set list yet.

Matt: Are there any countries you are particularly looking forward to visiting?

Norbert: South Africa, U.A.E., Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Lebanon, Poland, and Russia.

Matt: Do you get much free time between shows, for relaxing or sightseeing?

Norbert: Yes.

Matt: What do you get up to during the show when you are not playing? Is it a good chance to catch up with other things?

Norbert: I haven't really worked out what to do between songs - I'm still concentrating on my musical role, awareness, and preparedness for the songs that I play on.

Matt: When you were asked to do the two shows you did on the last leg of the tour, did you think that it could lead to doing the whole of the next tour?

Norbert: Yes.

Matt: Will this lead to playing on Roger's next album?

Norbert: I hope so!

Matt: What instruments will you be using this time?

Norbert: Tenor sax, soprano sax, and EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument).

Matt: How much of Roger's work were you familiar with before you started working with him?

Norbert: I was vaguely familiar with the radio hits like: Money, Dark Side Of The Moon, etc.

Matt: How have you found your musical style fits in with the songs you are playing? Do you have a free hand to improvise or change things, maybe on a nightly basis?

Norbert: Yes and well, except for the sax solo on Money.

Matt: How much have the originally recorded solos and performances by the likes of Dick Parry influenced your interpretation of the songs?

Norbert: Not much, except for his solo on Money, of course.

Matt: What is Roger like as a boss?

Norbert: He is considerate, very intelligent, open-minded, creative, sensitive and aware, and straight to the point to get what he wants done when and how he wants it done.

Matt: Have you worked with other members of the band before?

Norbert: No, but I've worked with some of the American crew and production people on tours in the past.

Matt: What's next for you after the tour finishes?

Norbert: My wife and me are moving to New York City to enhance our solo careers and involvement in Jazz and other related musical situations and opportunities, as well as working on finishing and releasing my first solo CD.

Matt: Have you had a chance to work on your own material recently? Will you be doing this backstage during parts of the show that you are not involved with? What equipment will you be using to record your work?

Norbert: I plan to continue work on it using my Apple PowerBook, Digigram VX Pocket card, SD Systems mike, and Mindprint DI-Port interface.

Matt: You've worked with some fairly diverse artists in your career to date - Diana Ross, Prince, and Boz Scaggs to name just three - who have you most enjoyed working with, and why?

Norbert: I liked working with them all equally because I learned something different from each one of them of equal value to me.

Matt: Who would you like to perform with?

Norbert: Almost anyone and everyone, especially some of my all-time heroes like: Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Michael Brecker, Marcus Miller, you name it!

Matt: Who would be your dream band colleagues (alive or dead)?

Norbert: All of the above and all of the below, including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, and on and on and on and..........................................

 
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