Interview with Rodrigo Debernardis
- Now that you have your own solo album, something that all musicians dream of…First question: Why “Lose the Faith”? …did you lose yours during the making process?
- Let's just say it was the worst time of my life. I was in New York...not entirely through choice. It was just a few months after 9/11 and NYC looked like the setting for end of civilization. I also had a series of family tragedies while living there, and it was all becoming too much. I decided to turn all this negativity into something positive, and for me, that meant making an album. I'd never had so much to write about before.
- How long did the project take?
- From the time I wrote the first song, to the time of release, it was about 3 years, but I was preoccupied with work and family, so it was only done in evenings and weekends, which made it take so long.
- As an artist, what kind of personal needs made you want to edit your own work? Are you satisfied with it?
- Over the years I've worked on all aspects of music production, so I knew what I was doing…knew what I wanted from the project and how to achieve it. It's good to have 100% control of the finished thing...every nuance of the album had been filling my head for so long, it gets to the point where you can't give up your brainchild to be meddled with by anyone else. And yes...I'm very happy with it.
- When did you write the songs? Are they tunes you had written through the years or they were made especially for this record?
- For years I've carried a dictaphone in my pocket everywhere I go, and capturing ideas as they occur…either strumming a guitar, playing a piano idea, or even la-la-la-ing a melody as I walk down the street. There was plenty of material on there which I'd never used, and that was the starting point for 90% of the music. As for the lyrics though, they were almost entirely written on the train in and out of the city while I was working in NYC. The album was my only focus for the 2 hours a day on that train. I listened on headphones to latest mixes, wrote lyrics and made notes, then went home to put the ideas down. Incidentally, the front cover of the CD has a view from that train window, and the inside cover is made-up of my train tickets.
- With LTF you showed your voice talent to the big audience. Why, in The Mission (your most popular and biggest band) the backing vocals were almost always by Craig Adams? Where you too shy those days?
- I'd never really thought of myself as a singer before, even though I've always liked to write, and can carry a tune well enough. For a short time at the beginning of the project, I even thought about asking someone else to sing. Then I put down some guide vocals, and started to realize I could do it. I'm glad I did because I've always thought a singer should perform their own songs. In the end I surprised myself.
- Did you play LTF in public? Do you plan to do it or it will be only just “a studio album”
- There are some people who just HAVE to get up on a stage...I've never really been one of them. Putting a band together and going back to life on the road doesn't appeal to me much. It's a lot of work, and you have to be able to commit full time to it...which I couldn't do again (I lived like that for 20 years.) Having said that, I don't rule out the possibility. I have been working on new songs, and I have enough good material.
Talking about The Mission…you (and that Zemaitis Metal Front rock machine) were recently invited to, as Wayne Hussey called them, “The Final Chapter”, the Mission’s final gigs ever. What do you remember about those concerts? Specially the London ones, in what I think were a tremendous show of rock and roll power
- When Wayne asked me to do it, I immediately said yes. As I mentioned before, life on the road lost its mystique for me a long time ago, but I'm very glad to have been up there one last time, to play some of the old favourites, and perform again for those wonderful fans...I know a lot of people really wanted to see me do it, and I didn't want to let them down after all they'd done for me.
- How did Wayne contacted you, and why do you think the other former members (Craig and Mick) were not there?
- Craig was busy – in fact he was playing in town with The Cult on the same night as one of the London shows. As for Mick, I know he hasn't played drums in many years. Also, both he and Craig had already spent many more years than me with the band, and I believe they left on not-so-friendly terms. And further, Wayne had his new band to consider...it would have been rough on those guys to ditch them for a full-on reunion.
- How did you feel sharing the stage again with Wayne?
- Like riding a bike.
- And interacting with Mark Thwaite?
- Like juggling oranges.
- How did you take (with pride and joy, of course, but Im going to another point)all the love and affection the people gave you on and off stage? I mean…don’t you miss those popularity days? Doesn’t it makes you want to be on the road again?
- I don't want to sound too ‘over the top’ about this, but The Mission's fans are really great folks. I was genuinely humbled by all the affection I received after all those years away. There is absolutely nothing to compare with playing say, “Tower of Strength” in front of those guys – watching them climb on each others shoulders – singing so loud it almost drowns-out the band. In those moments, the proceedings turn a complete 180 degrees and the audience becomes the show for the band. Something really special happens which connects everyone concerned, and is really quite wonderful. Bless 'em all!
- What are your future plans? You are now close to moving from USA to England (back home again)… is this for any artistic reasons or is it just for the family?
- Mostly for family reasons. My kid doesn't have much of a family connection here, whereas I have quite a big, close family. English people I talk to find it hard to believe I'd want to move back, but after living in the USA for nearly 12 years, it's no longer a novelty...just real life. I'm fairly well convinced my boy will get a better education in England, not to mention a proper sense of humour!
Thank you very much Simon
You're welcome Rod...and thank you!