Dave Ian Hill interview - January, 1999
Just in case that someone enters this page now or sometime and has never heard about him. Dave gave the worldwide Lindisfarne community what they were waiting for since a long time: A written Lindisfarne biography.For further details, please have a look at Dave's biography
RG:The book is written and published. What are you doing now ? What will be your next steps ?
Dave: Resting ! The last two or three months, during the Summer, were very intense.What's next ? - There is always the larger book project that 'FOG' was originally just one part of - but next time, I would like to do something that is not so directly connected with the North East region of England. A Stevie Wonder or Gary Moore book would be my dream
RG: Travelling across the country and spending nights with the computer writing a book did cost much time. Is there a family which had to suffer from this ?
Dave: As you will have noticed in the book credits, my partner, Elaine, gave me the kind of astonishing support and patience that you can only dream of. My feelings for her are well noted there. I felt guilty too, about my grand-daughter Lauren. She knew that grand-dad was busy a lot of the time and she would always come looking for me in the work-room.
RG: Did you have anything to do with Lindisfarne or their music before getting the offer for "Buried Treasures" ? Or did you have to discover them/their music while listening to all of their albums ?
Dave: I knew Lindisfarne only as this Geordie band who were suddenly on TV's 'Top Of The Pops', singing 'Meet Me on The Corner' one Thursday night. It was big news at school at the time. I was almost twelve years old when that was happening. 'Buried Treasures' was an idea conceived by myself, whilst working for Virgin Records, with the band's support.
RG: If you produce a 100 minutes movie, you usually have a lot more material available than is actually used. So, after writing 160 pages: how much was left out ?
Dave: Sorry, very little of any note. Generally, what I got - you got !
RG: How big was the collection of pictures and images ? Who selected the final 150 ?
Dave: The POTENTIAL collection of images was massive. The band already had a very large archive. Once I began approaching them for personal collections, as well as those of other anecdotal sources in the book - it REALLY got ridiculous ! I always intended having rare or alternative material, that would be good for the fan or just the casual buyer.
RG: Who developed the storybook for the chapters ? Was anyone of the band involved ?
Dave: That was all my fault again ! The only person who saw anything before going off to the publishers was Ray Laidlaw, who checked things like making sure I had got names right - factual stuff - and I was very grateful for that. The relationship between myself, Ray and Michael Heatley and the others at Northdown was a dream.
RG: Was there a draft version presented to them for approval ?
Dave: See above. None of the others saw it until it was published. Much burying of heads during journeys in the van between gigs.
RG: "Fog On The Tyne" (the book) was also being sold at the November concerts. Did you receive any comments regarding the buyers´ acceptance ? Maybe its confidental, but how many were sold during the tour ?
Dave: Gary would tell you, I suppose. The publishers tell me it has done around 800 copies during November -December, not including the figure sold on the first leg of the tour. I was at 3 or 4 of the shows and people's initial reactions were terrific. It's nice for your hard work to be appreciated.
RG: I know people from New Zealand or the States who ordered the book (not to talk about the two I ordered ). What is the demand like for the book in general ?
Dave: Based on press and radio interviews that I have done, there is interest right across the UK. Anything further away will depend on reviews that should be starting to show in the music and specialist press, starting March, I would guess. AND of course - this web site !
RG: Your book gives answers to a lot of questions, but nevertheless there is still a lot to inquire about. I missed to read more about former members of "Radiator" and "MK II". What are Colin Gibson, Charlie Harcourt or Peter Kirtley, to name only three, doing today ?
Dave: I tried to track Charlie down via Jacka, but no luck. Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity when he was playing with the Juncos at Eurofest Colin Gibson is very busy with his own band and has also shown up on some Juicy Lucy and Snafu reissues (several available through Repertoire in Hamburg). Peter is still working with Bert Jansch and the current Pentangle, as far as I know.
RG: Have you ever thought doing a book about Alan Hull ? There should be enough material available, I suppose.
Dave: Yes. All the key characters and more have said they would like to be involved. An AH book was always at the back of my mind.
RG: What Ive "heard" thru the web regarding the bands latest album "Here Comes The Neighbourhood" was absolutely positive. How is/was the reaction to it in Britain ? Was it noticed by the press or the radio stations ?
Dave: Reaction has been excellent, with terrific reviews in key publications like TIME OUT, MOJO, FOLK ROOTS and on BBC RADIO 2. There are also dozens of regional newpapers and magazines across the UK that have given an almost unanimous 'thumbs up'.
RG: What are the future plans of the band ? Is there a new album to come ?
Dave: Too soon for another album, I'd say. Still plenty of work to do in the UK and Europe - and of course, the US in July. Rod has been writing with Nigel again, too - to keep up the momentum.
RG: 1998 saw a massive release of CDs with old material. Very often, less is more and with three versions of "Lady Eleanor" on one single CD (City Songs) and two others on "We can swing together" this song lost a lot of its magic. What was the reason of releasing so much within only a few months ?
Dave: The band had little or no control over these issues. It was very frustrating when they are moving forward with such positivity both within and outside the current Lindisfarne. I doubt if there is much - if any - more.
RG: "Buried Treasures I + II" contains real highlights of previously unreleased or better never heard before- songs. Is there still more available (including Alan solo, MK II or Radiator) ?
Dave: Ray and I had always intended a Volume 3 and one which retained the quality level. I would love it to happen - but timing is important. I have been thinking that perhaps it could be released via the fan network Maybe fans might be prepared to commit some part of the cost upfront ? Perhaps they could contact you with their feelings to see if it might be worthwhile
RG: Rather than creating CDs at home from scratched vinyl, like for "Ruby" or "Happy Daze" or others, like Alans, do you see a chance that these are being re-issued on CD ?
Dave: I believe that (co manager) Steve Weltman has already secured 'Happy Daze' and 'Squire' from Warner Brothers. Timing and making sure Pat is looked after properly by any company involved is obviously very important.
RG: Lets get back to the plans for a new album. "Neighbourhood" under the influence of Sid Griffin showed a very positive change in the bands musical style. Do we have a good chance that Sid will produce them again ? In the interview he gave me, he mentioned that he would love to work with them more often.
Dave: There's always a good chance.He's a great bloke. He was just The Man.
RG: For me, Rod Clementss collaboration with Nigel Stonier is still not very clear. What was his specific role ? Lyrics, tunes, composing together with Rod ?
Dave: There is no 'role' as such. Read the latter chapters of the book and Rod explains. Fans should also check out Nigel's album 'Coins For The Holy Kid' that Rod guests on, along with drummer GERRY CONWAY from the current Pentangle.
RG: Lindisfarne wants to go to the States this summer for a couple of concerts, but what about Europe ?
Dave: Nothing at present.
RG: Final question, Dave. What do you think of "Status Quo" nowadays ? Are they still your heroes ? They were also mentioned in the book, so during all of your research, did you have the chance to come a bit closer to them ?
Dave: Ah, yes, The Quo. I will always have a place in my heart for them ! You know that video of theirs - I think it' called 'Rocking Through the Years' - starts with 'Paper Plane' and goes right through it's like living through my teenage years again. Masters of the boogie, those boys. Gone a bit soft now - but along with Bolan before them, I was nuts about. Saw them about 18 months ago in a small hall and it was bloody marvellous. Sod the big arenas
Bob Young has become a great friend. I've worked with him and Micky Moody on the cd reissues of their two albums and Bob's 'In Quo Country' that Repertoire also released.
Thanks a lot Dave for this interview and may your wish for a "Stevie Wonder and/or Gary Moore" biography come true.
Jan. 99, Reinhard Groll
P.S. If anyone of you is a "Quo"-fan, please check www.statusquo.co.uk it's the best Quo-site I found with a brilliant layout.