The idea came to me during a recent e-mail exchange with British singer-songwriter, Clive Gregson. Why not create an 11 Questions sub-category for those who used to live here but later moved away? Well, Clive accepted my offer and here we go!
If you don’t know Clive and his music, you sure should. In the late 70s and early 80s, he fronted the great Poppy/New Wavy Any Trouble who started out recording for the “World’s Most Flexible Label.” London-based Stiff Records. Since then Clive has served duty as Richard Thompson’s valued sideman and as part of a folky duo with Christine Collister. Since his Nashville days, he mostly done the solo acoustic singer-songwriter thing.
As an avid follower of his flair for Pop sounds and clever lyrics, it was with mixed emotions that I heard of his announced hybrid-retirement. In 2020, Clive would wind down his regular touring in the UK but would fill his time releasing a full-length CD each month. As we all know, his farewell shows are off the table for now, but his monthly releases are coming as promised. Yours truly just had a splendid sequester with his first three offerings.
So, thanks Clive for kicking off the expanded version of 11 Questions. (In fact, he has even suggested Steve Earle for my next victim.) For you readers out there, pull our your Any Trouble vinyl LPs like and did, and go to www.clivegregson.com and order up your monthly CDs.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
Manchester, England. I moved to Nashville in 1993. My wife at the time was transferred there by her employer. We’d been living in Minneapolis for a year or so prior to that. I’d have moved anywhere warm by February 1993! My wife engineered the move to Nashville, thinking it would be a good fit for me and she was right!
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
First record bought: “Twist & Shout” EP by The Beatles. Four songs on a vinyl seven-inch in July 1963. I was eight years old. Purchased at Jones Record Shop in Ashton-Under-Lyne, my hometown. The shop is long gone, but I still have the record.
Last record bought: Sutherland Brothers eight-CD box set. Bought it online a couple of weeks ago, and it’s total gold.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
First: Derek & The Dominoes, The Free Trade Hall in Manchester in September1970. I was 15, still at school. I have a clear memory that the roadie wheeled guitars on and off stage in a supermarket trolley. I saw The Who at the same venue a couple of weeks later. The James Gang opened. I thought they were loud until The Who started.
Last: Graham Nash at The Victoria Hall in Halifax, England, last July. Loved it. He was in fine humour and good voice and his two musicians were terrific. He played two long, career spanning sets. I still wonder at The Hollies aiming him out because of “King Midas In Reverse.” Go figure.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Well, these things are stupid, right? But, if a Nashville Walk of Fame has to exist, shouldn’t Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle be included?
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
My former wife’s house. I don’t actually drink coffee, but she’d have English Breakfast Tea. We’d order in pizza from somewhere good. She’ll know where!
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. No contest! Followed by pretty much anything by Don Williams.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Phew, that’s never going to happen! Last time I did it was centuries ago. Bill Lloyd was the host (Hi Bill!) and he foolishly asked me, Dennis Locorriere and Henry Gross to join him. Henry came up with this wheeze that we just played Beatles, Stones and Beach Boys songs all night, but he didn’t tell Bill. It was wild. I have a memory that Garry Tallent joined us on bass for a couple of songs and that at some point I did “Slow Down” whilst standing on a table. Never got asked back.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Anywhere that would book me! Pretty short list. We used to do a regular Monday night thing at Douglas Corner with Blue Moon Orchestra alums (Hi Mac and LeAnn!) which was great fun. I played solo shows at The Sutler. Great gig. I turfed Harlan Howard out at one of those gigs because he was being loud and obnoxious. I don’t think he’d come to see me, and I didn’t know who he was.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
Me. I moved away in 2005 and still miss the place. It’s the only town on earth where being a musician is not weird.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Well, I’m retiring from the road at the end of 2020. I just turned 65 and have been pro for 40 years which feels like enough! I was planning to gig solidly through this last year, but the coronavirus just wiped that out. Hey ho. I’m releasing a new CD every month throughout the year. I must be crazy. After that, I’ll carry on writing, producing, recording, playing odd gigs with various combos that I like working with. More of the same really, but without the endless hours sitting in traffic jams on my own. I’m over that shit.
Hey, I was at that Bluebird gig! I got the eight CDs (the other four didn’t come to pass) that Clive did last year and they’re all fantastic. The all-instrumental “Eighteen Strings” has gotten a lot of play in my house. Clive’s move was definitely Nashville’s loss.
Awesome – I need to pull those CDs out again.