JOHN WAITE - Baby Grown Up!
by Martin Popoff
Hugely under-rated AOR giants The Babys - very much like Piper an' Billy Squier - ended up coughing up a big solo artist in one Mr. John Waite, who, of course, is most known for his #1 hit single 'Missing You'. The guy is the consummate writer and consummate melodic rock voice, and he' back now with something he calls "a greatest hits album but not quite." Downtown - Journey Of A Heart is a mix of old tracks, recent tracks and a new track, all re-cut and reconsidered in more intimate form, not all of it being acoustic, but all of it on more of a human scale that the over-productions of the past, which Waite now decries.
"First of all, Downtown is one of the songs on the record," begins Waite, asked about the title of the record, "and it's one of the more autobiographical kinds of songs, from the last ten years, and it's about the man in the song. I mean, it's about me walking downtown New York City and all the memories coming at you. And the fact that all the memories in this case, are the songs. So it's kind of like a pretty cool title for a greatest hits record, really."
And the back end of the title - is that a recognition that you are primarily a writer of love songs?
"Well, you know, it's a microcosm of what the world is about. I mean, there are only certain emotions - it's finite. There are only certain emotions you can have. And I think it fits the bigger picture. But the Journey Of A Heart part is actually an homage to Diary Of A Lover by Johnny Thunders, which is a beautiful, beautiful title. And when I came up with the Downtown part, because it already existed as a song, that just made the Downtown part, like a journey; it made it bittersweet. It just seemed like a good thing to say."
"We always had the songs," says John emphatically about The Babys, reflecting on his proud past. "It's just that we didn't have the right producers. And I think that it's a testament to the songs that they stand up with that production. I think they just embellished. I think they were all trying to help, and nobody had any faith in, you know, how great we were. But I knew how great we were going in. But I think having said that, the fact that some of those records were gigantic records, you have to nod your head to those guys. It's a give-and-take situation. But when you spend 20 years playing the songs, I prefer to hear them like you hear them on the stage. We get a tremendous response to Isn't It Time, so I just want to see them pared down. I don't particularly like big production."
JOHN WAITE - Baby Grown Up! Page 2