JOHN WAITE - Baby Grown Up! Page 2
by Martin Popoff

Indeed Downtown eschews all that, but still sounds big, bold and vibrant. Head First even retains the power chord base it had, although most other tracks are drastically pared back.

Never again, sez John. "It wasn't until I got away and did my second solo record, that I took over production, like 100%. There was so much in play. And you're so young. Can I take this on? Can I actually be responsible? Because it's such a hard thing, to be walking back and forth from the microphone to the control room, ordering amps and seeing if anybody's hungry, and making sure everyone gets there on time, and sending the piano back the you rented. It's a big job. But I can't see me, quite honestly, ever working with anybody who is a producer again. I would rather cut the tracks and have somebody mix them, and oversee that too. There just comes a point where you know what you're doing. It just gets the point where you say I can do this. Or I can do this better."

"I think they all stand up in different ways," says John, surveying the scope of Downtown. "I think Head First is probably better than the original. It's got that wild savage kind of vocal over the top and the guitar is really blazing. And then playing bass, which is interesting, because I played bass on the song on the album. For all this thing about it being a greatest hits but not quite, there are only four really old songs, re-cut, and the rest of them are from recent records, and then there is a new song, and then there is the duet with Alison Krauss. And it doesn't take up that much of the record, but it's a strong part of it." Do you find yourself enthusiastic about working in this other world, Rounder and CMT and all that?

"Well I've always liked country music and folk very, very much. It's had a big place in my heart. I'm not going anywhere. It's not like I'm going towards country. It's in me. I was raised on blues and country, and the older I get, the more I want to see the songs revealed. I don't want to see all these huge sounding instruments saying nothing. I want to know when somebody is talking to me; I want to hear the words they're saying. And I don't want it to sound a lot different from how it sounds on stage. I want to hear the musical conversation going on. And the only music I get that from, at this point, is country. And they do, in the sense of the great country artists, and some of the contemporary young artists, it's there. It's exciting and is real to me as rock 'n' roll. I'm not even sure what rock 'n' roll is anymore. It's called country, I guess. It's semantics, my boy, it's semantics. It's all objective."

JOHN WAITE - Baby Grown Up! Page 3