Interview with David Cross in Music Box

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Date Submitted: 25-Feb-2000
Submitted By: George Khouroshvili (nightwatcher98 at hotmail dot com)

David Cross interview for Music Box (Russian Music Newspaper) by George Khouroshvili

Q: Was it your decision to study violin playing or your parents’ insistence?

A: I had the opportunity to start learning in a group at school (at the age of 9). My parents were supportive and bought me a quarter size violin for £1 from a second hand shop. It had no bridge but after we sorted that out it was fine.

Q. The violin is a quite unusual instrument for rock’n’roll. How did you decide to play in a rock band?

A: I wanted to be a pop star and playing in a rock band was the nearest I could get to that.

Q. What was your first band?

A: A group while I was at school where I played an acoustic guitar with a microphone dangling inside it. We tried to play ‘The House of the Rising Sun.’

Q. Have you heard King Crimson music before you joined this band? Did you like their music?

A: I didn’t listen to any King Crimson before I met Robert, but before the day when the band formed I had listened to some. I thought it was like film music and it didn't seem to have the directness of the rock I had heard. I don't think I’d heard ‘Schizoid Man.’

Q. How the King Crimson material was written? Was it created from the band’s improvisations or some of the members just came with ideas and then the whole band worked on them? How “Larks’ Tongues In Aspic” was written, for example?

A: Yes it was written in all the ways you have suggested and others (e.g., created from recordings).

Q. What did you need to stay with the band? Was your departure inevitable?

A: I think it was inevitable.

Q. Did you stay in touch with your KC colleagues after your departure?

A: Only Bill for a short while.

Q. Have you heard the King Crimson recordings of the 80’s or the 90’s? If so, what do you think of them?

A: Yes I’ve listened to some and they are very impressive. I’m glad the sense of humour has survived.

Q. Are any recordings from your middle-seventies projects available? What kind of music did you performed in Clearlight Orchestra (the proper name of the band is simply Clearlight, – E.P.) or ASCEND, for example?

A: The Clearlight Orchestra made an album with me called ‘Forever Blowing Bubbles.’ Ascend did not record much although somewhere there should be a pilot video of a Thames TV programme featuring the band...

Q. What was the main reason for your going over from rock music to the theatre? And since the majority of the readers have no idea of this period in your life could you, please, tell us more about your work in theatre? At what kind of theatres did you work? What kind of plays did you stage? What are your favourite role and/or play in theatres?

A: This should be in my biography... I have enjoyed playing all my theatre roles... Particularly a short lived production (called ‘That World’ co-written/produced/directed with English Actor/writer Dean Allen) in October 1995 in which I played ‘Shades’ (Hades) in a reworking of the Orpheus and Eurydice story in collision with a Japanese traditional tale of love and death. I also wrote music for the production, some of which formed the basis of ‘Hero’ on the ‘Exiles’ album. I love 'playing' in most of its forms.

Q. And back to the music. After leaving King Crimson you worked as a session musician from time to time and formed David Cross band only in the end of the 80’s. Why did it take so long? How did you get acquainted with DC band members?

A: A long story. In musical terms... I formed a large band in Ireland and did some concerts, in England I spent a few years confirming that I couldn’t play jazz, I studied violin, I extended my improvising skills, I worked with community bands, I formed a jazzy kind of improvising group called ‘They came from Plymouth’ which I realised ought to be a rock group and then formed a rock group. Dan Maurer found me playing in ‘They came from Plymouth’ in a pub in North London and eventually I played with him and others on ‘Low Flying Aircraft.’ I had met Sheila Maloney whilst teaching a course. We advertised for everybody else in Melody Maker and auditioned them.

Q. Please, tell us about another important project you were involved in, Radius. How did you join this band?

A: Geoff Serle asked me to play at a WOMAD festival with ‘Research’ and then created Radius...

Q. By the way, is there any unreleased project featuring your playing?

A: Not as a complete album. There are a number of unreleased tracks that I and others have.

Q. What kind of music do you listen to?

A: I rarely listen to music now.

Q. And what kind of music do you prefer to play: avant-garde, progressive rock, jazz or classic?

A: I’m not sure how to answer this question. I enjoy improvising with other musicians, whatever the context. I also enjoy being part of a well organised band delivering original well rehearsed music.

Q. What kind of equipment do you use? And what equipment did you use in King Crimson?

A: Now: Zeta violin, Art processor, Peavey combos. Then: Barcus berry bridge pick-up on a Vincent Violin, Pete Cornish pedal board, H and H stack.

Q. How did you come to the electric sound? Is it current technology that influences your style or do you choose the equipment for your musical ideas?

A: Both.

Q. Why did you choose to establish your own record company, Noisy Records?

A: To establish a more direct link between myself and the musicians I work with and our audience. To seek to define what I mean by Noisy music.

Q. Do you plan to release the works of other artists through Noisy Records?

A: In the first phase I will be making available the music of other Noisy type artists by presenting their CDs and downloads on the Noisy Website. Later I hope to release suitable performers on the Noisy Records label.

Q. What are you plans for the nearest future?

A: I am working hard at my computer skills in a number of practical areas. I am working on a final track for Civilizations, the next Radius Album with Geoff Serle. Mick Paul and I are well advanced on writing the next David Cross album.