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PP Arnold exclusive interview - July 2007 Print E-mail
Written by Charles Marsh   
Thursday, 26 July 2007

pparnold PP Arnold was in Malta to take part in the Rock & Jazz Festival at the Valletta Waterfront. PP (Pat), together with her band which included Dr Robert (ex-Blow Monkeys) performed a stunning selection of her music together with Dr Robert's music and songs that they have recorded together for an album to be launched next September.

While in Malta I had the opportunity to talk to Pat about her career, especially about the time as guest vocalist with Roger Waters, and about her solo career at present and in the future...

pp arnold

How did you meet Roger Waters?

It was in the 60's, those early days I was touring with my own band PP Arnold and the Nice. At the time we first met we were doing a Simon Dee radio show, and the Floyd were doing the programme at the same time that I was.

Then at the time of Amused to Death I got a call from Roger. He was looking for a new sound and we were doing a session, and the Perfect Sense track came up; he had the lyrics for it and also the music but didn't know exactly how he wanted to do it, so he sort of just gave me the lyrics, gave me some space, and I had a go and it came out the way it is. It is such a powerful song and has such a great message. I had opportunities to work with lots of artists but that song really changed my life.

Roger then asked me to be a guest singer on the 1999 tour, and that was the first time we actually worked together live. And then he called me again; at the time I was working with Ocean Colour Scene, and I was a little fed up with the music industry and the direction it was taking, and I really was in some rough times, so I was a bit like underground for a while, although I was doing a lot of musical theatre.

Apparently Roger had been looking for me but as I said I was a bit underground at the time and he couldn't find me. Then I met Mark Fenwick [Roger's manager] and he talked with Roger and I got a call back from Mark saying that Roger was going on a tour in three weeks, and that was how I started touring In The Flesh with Roger. For me it was great working with Roger, and I believe Roger rescued me at that time. And to be working with someone as professional as Roger is fantastic and amazing.

And how was life on the road with Roger?

 First Class travelling set!!! I mean I had gone on the road so many times but with Roger, it is great. First of all I was his guest vocalist, and everything is first class, We fly everywhere, private jets, first class hotels, well you know first class treatment. On every level. He's the boss to have. If you want to work for somebody in this business Roger Waters is the person to work for, or better put to work with as he works with you.

OK whatever Roger wants Roger gets, and he know what he wants and he knows how to get it, and with me there is a lot of time that he has to hold me down, as you know being a soul singer you're spontaneous, and at that time we were doing many songs from Amused To Death so I had a bit of freedom, but when it came to The Dark Side Of The Moon Tour it was different as he wanted everything to be as close to the original as possible, and I respect that.

What was the best concert with Roger?

pp arnold Oh my God!! There were so many great gigs. When you are performing in front of, say 30,000 people, and everybody is so mad about the songs - you know real fans shouting and singing with you, young teenagers, middle aged and pensioners all together, the audience is so vast and they all respect the music, and sometimes politically motivated too.

There was a time when in the US while playing "Leaving Beirut" that there were some mixed feelings about the song. Can you say something on that?

Yes, well, last year in the beginning of the US lap of the tour there were some bad vibes as people were saying Roger is English and he is coming over here to tell us what to do and to put down their government you know, but it wasn't all like that: he was preaching the truth, and in the beginning there was some booing and mixed feelings in some gigs especially in Bushland!!

But as the tour progressed and the situation in Iraq was getting worse, and Bush was losing his popularity, people started more like respecting Roger as he was saying the truth. There was at least somebody who was standing up and saying what needs to be said. And like on the last tour everybody was respecting him for sticking to his guns.

How did you get on with the members of Roger's band?

You know, me and Andy Fairweather-Low knew each other all the way back from Immediate Records, we were on the same label so we are good friends. Snowy? I call him the Snowman, he is the quiet guy. Ian Ritchie is an amazing saxophonist and an amazing man, Graham Broad is just a beautiful guy, he is incredible and works like an engine. I really miss Andy Wallace the guy that played the Hammond on the first 3 tours.

Jon Carin is the genius and he is great. Dave Kilminster is lovely, he really did a great job, and he is a real showman as well, in the same way as Doyle was before.

And there is Harry - also he is like the baby [of the band]. He is lovely. This time he played Hammond on the Dark Side Of The Moon. He is a lovely person and I call him the baby. He is very much into jazz, he and Ian like to jam a lot whenever they have the opportunity.

Katie Kissoon is really close as I have known her for years. And Carol Kenyon is the new girl on the block and you know Carol is Carol!!

The tour is finished; can you give us any insights of what is in store for the future for Roger?

 Well, at the last party we had for the band after finishing the tour I had my crystal ball, as I am very spiritual, and Roger is always teasing me as like I am the one who can predict the future although I always insist that I don't, and he asked me "what's in the future PP?", and I went through my crystal ball and saw that there is another tour coming up in the future!!

Who knows? Roger has many options open. I heard a rumour here that Roger will be touring again in 2 years time, who knows what's going to happen? I know right now he is very much involved in the musical of "The Wall" that is definitely something that is going to happen. He is working a lot on it now.

Well what about his new rock album?

Well I don't know - he is always working. Roger never stops working. What I know is that he promised me a song for my new album!!

And what will PP be doing now?

pp arnold Well I just finished the Dr Robert project and it will be launched next September. I met Dr Robert a couple of years ago in Spain, we met at a party and we sort of started jamming together and it came out very spontaneous, and we decided we would work on something together. So we went to a lovely studio in the mountains just ten minutes from where I live in Spain and put everything together. We recorded the material there; we started before May 2006, then I went on the road with Roger and finished it between the US and European part of the tour, and mixed it in October last year.

The album will be released on Curb Records; it will be called "Five In The Afternoon" and released in September. We will be launching it at the Jazz Cafe on the 19th of September.

What is in store for PP Arnold in the future?

I am going home to Spain and will rest for two weeks, then we've got a festival in England called the Summer Sundae in Leicester in August, then the press launch at Jazz Cafe on 19th of September. We're doing live radio, and lots of promotion for the album, so that will keep me busy for now.

I am also in the process of putting together my solo album for next year. When we were doing Earls Court this year Cat Stevens came to visit and it was the first time I have seen him for years, and he also promised me a new song, which will be my second by Cat Stevens after a very long time. I am looking forward for that to be in my solo album. I want to reconnect with Barry Gibb again and I also got a lot of songs of my own. So, looking forward for that too.

I'd also love to do something with Marianne Faithfull who was very close to me in the 60's as she was my first English friend. I met her a few months ago, and so Marianne and I would love to do something together. So right now I am trying to sort of, get on this project, find the right producer and get it rolling.

I also did a documentary about Tina Turner, it's a different thing you know - it does not have anything to do with the domestic side, it's more about people who worked with Tina and went on to do their own thing.

I've been working for years on an autobiography which is nearly finished, it's all my story from my gospel roots right till now. There will be lots of meat in there I tell you! I think it will be interesting and inspiring especially for young artists, although the industry today is changing so much. Today those who are making it are making good money. In those days there was a lot of exploitation, but who knew in those days that all the work we did back then would still be popular till now. Well it wasn't just me, everybody got ripped of in those days - say the Rolling Stones and even Pink Floyd, everybody got ripped off in those days.

Our thanks to PP for her time, and wish her all the best for her upcoming projects! (Pictures courtesy and copyright JCE for Brain Damage)

 
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