Second in the series of fan questions and answer sessions with the members of the band. Fans submitted questions to the band's myspace and through the official site, and some of the best were were put to the band before they took the stage at london's Hammersmith Palais.
This week: Tony Allen, the drums.
Is it really true that Tony Allen can drum in a different time signature with each limb simultaneously?
- Nile Amos, Brighton
Yes! For sure.
How does drumming in The Good The Bad And the Queen vary from drumming for Fela Kuti? Is There a comparison at all?
-Gil R. Mesa, Arizona: USA
Well, whatever I do, wherever I play, whatever song - it all depends on the song. Most composers, when they're composing, when they're writing this music, after they finish the music, they include a drum part in there as well. They usually just put some kind of regular beat behind it, that anybody in the whole world could play. Sometimes the beat doesn't even fit the song. I always like to extract the beat that's there, and then I try lots of different beats, lots of different ways of drumming. And then when I arrive at it I say yeah, this is the one.
Are there any programmed beats on the album?
- James, Farnborough, UK
No, they aren't programmed. They're all live. We did the music in the studio live. Even when Danger Mouse came, he was in the studio with us when we were doing it live. That's how he got used to us, got used to the music. Got used to the style. So yeah it's 100% me on the drums on the album.
My question is,what is your favorite song to perform live? great album by the way guys,love it.
- Eugene from Sylmar,CA,USA
No, not really, I enjoy anything that comes my way when it comes to playing live.
With all the various ingredients in the four musicians make-up, Rock/Afro-Beat/Pop/Punk/Reggae....Did the sound you made when you all came together for this album surprise you at all?
- Mark Gillespie, Glasgow
No, that's how it should be. I felt it came together just right.
Which part of the process do you enjoy the most: composing, the actual recording of the album, or playing the songs at a concert?
- Judith, Barcelona
The studio can be kind of boring you know, because the studio is where you create the music, you need to get out all the problems, exercise yourself, and so on. . The album is what it is. What you have to realise about albums is, even with my own music, my own albums, they have a studio feeling about them. It's too static. The studio is always a different thing, you have to polish it, you have to do this and that. Sometimes it comes out too polished. When all the radical intensity has been taken off, you know? Live shows - I like to play live, it's part of me. In Europe, sets aren't very long. In Africa, when I used to play with Fela for instance, six hours, six hours non stop! That's what I was used to, for years and years. Coming to Europe was a real change - the maximum you'd ever be onstage is 2 hours. And that would be if you were the only band in the whole show. Sometimes I feel with the sets over here, when you start to warm up, that's when you stop! That's why I crave playing live more, why I need the live side of things! It's good for the mind
What has been your favourite show you've played so far?
- Christy, Ohio
I don't really have a favourite, they've all gone fine together. Well, I should say, after the warm-up gigs, anyway. After those, there was definitely more togetherness. Even if there's the occasional slip-up now, you can't really observe it. Everything wasn't quite together at the early shows, but we had to work it out after that.
What do you think are the good things and the bad things about London at the moment?
- David, West London
Well in my experience personally, London is where I came when I first left Africa. This is where I came first. It was supposed to be my place, it's where I wanted to be. But I didn't want to be an illegal immigrant. I hated that. I mean, I've got my own problems, do you know what I mean? I always make a point of that now, no matter where I go, to never overstay my Visa. So I've never been arrested or in trouble with anything like that. But the HOme Office - this was the bad side of England in my experience - they were totally unsympathetic, I had the support of people I was working with, important people from the record companies, and they were still telling me to go back home. Luckily my first producer, the one who encouraged me to come to Europe in the first place, he decided to go back to France, and he managed to get me an exclusive contract with Barclay Records in France. And then after that contract ran out I was still able to stay there, so that's how I ended up living there.
What was the most difficult song to transition to the live gig and/or what was the hardest transition you had to make to provide each other with the instrumental comfort? (i.e. - Someone playing slower for a different take on a song, or giving space of another member's part)
- Mitch from New York City, NY, The United States of Subtle Deterioration...I mean America.
I didn't really feel there were any particular problems... maybe Three Changes was the hardest to make the transition, that's quite a complex song.
How tired do you get of hearing "how did this band get together"?
- Ryan, Kentucky
Very tired of hearing all that. We've been asked it so many times!
How many fights have you had so far?
- blythe evans plymouth, pennsylvania USA
[laughs] Well, bands sometimes have these problems with people saying 'you're not doing this right, you're doing this a bit sloppily, etc'. But we've never had that. What we've had is just to make things work together. There were a few times in the first few shows when Damon had a go at us, but he's a character, you just have to let it go. Picking at little details, that's where the problems start, people get on each others' nerves. I don't know what type of character I am with my own group, but it's the same thing, at the end of the day, my boys get along with me. So with Damon, we just let him get on with it, and at the end of the day, let's play music, that's what it's all about.
With this record, do you want to transmit a kind of message?
-Camille Mauxion, Nantes, France
It is saying something, it's talking about current events, shit that's happening in the world. I was talking to Damon about this, I said to him, if you'd left it to me, I would have made it clearer to them! He's made it very diplomatic in its message, so that it takes a lot of thought, to bring all the things together to bring the points out of it. But it's very clever how he does it. And to me it is really making two points. Talking about really big issues.
What are the bands favourite tipple??
- Kim Piper, Abderdeen
With my own band, or by myself, it's definitely Whiskey. Jameson's, or whatever really. But with this band, it's rum. So you have to participate in that! I can't mix both.
Last edited by 2-J
on Sun Oct 21, 2007 3:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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