Interview
Judie Tzuke appeared on GLR
on the Bob Harris Show
to promote the Under The Angels album

[transcribed by Ian Taft - Thanks Ian!]

Click on the underlined passages to hear Judie's voice

[Under The Angels concludes]

Bob: That's called Under The Angels, and it's the title song from the new album from Judie Tzuke, who is with me here in the studio tonight on GLR. Good to see you Judie, welcome along to the programme.

Judie: Thank you.

Bob: first album this for how long now?

Judie: Um, I think it's three years...

Bob: Mm..

Judie: Two and a half, three years.

Bob: Yeah. Before we go any further, I've got a fax which I want to quote to you from Mike Harrison who faxed in just a few minutes ago, he says: ''I was delighted to hear that Judie Tzuke was coming in to the show. I saw her brilliant gig at the Jazz Cafe and I'm really looking forward to getting her new CD which I sent off for the other day...''

Judie: Thought I recognised the name!

Bob: ''...I thought her last CD, Wonderland, is the best she's ever done; could you please ask her if she knows if I Am The Phoenix is ever coming out on CD? All her others have appeared at some time or another but I've never seen Phoenix.''

Judie: No. Phoenix...we're trying to find out if it can be released on CD but we don't seem to be getting much joy on that, but we are trying to get it... if either we can do it ourselves or somebody can do it. I'm not quite sure how we go about it, but we are trying.

Bob: Because it is, Judie Tzuke cottage industry...

Judie: ...it is now! [laughs] I'm chief of everything in my record label...chief of promotion...everything.

Bob: So: tell us about that, with the new album, because...you're trying an entirely different way of getting this album out to people, aren't you?

Judie: Well, we are, and it's sort of, it's really very exciting for me 'cause everybody writes to us now at our postoffice box, and so I actually get to read all the letters, which is very new for me and so I find out who everybody is and I do tend to remember names, which is quite good, but, um, we just found that...Wonderland was my favourite album, and it just got no promotion, and you put so much into making an album, that it becomes so special to you, and then you sort of hand it to somebody else, and if they don't do anything, there's absolutely nothing you can do. So it may be that I can't do very much this way but at least I know what I'm doing, y'know, and I know how much I've done, and I'll know what I've done.

Bob: So, in other words, you supervise the recording of the album, and...

Judie: ...I took the photos on the album cover...[laughs]

Bob: ...you're now really supervising the marketing of the album as well.

Judie: Well, yeah. We're trying.

Bob: Through a PO Box number.

Judie: Through a PO Box number, and we're also on the Internet, and we've got a telephone number now, as well.

Bob: OK. I'm gonna give these out now, then repeat them later, so that we're absolutely sure to have covered all this... it's Big Moon Records, actually, that's the title of Judie's label. Big Moon Records, at PO Box 347, yeah?

Judie: ...got it in my hand here...

Bob: ...Weybridge, and the postal code for that is KT13 9WZ. And, Judie has also got a website which I'll give you, which is http, colon slash slash...

Judie: [chuckles]

Bob: ...you need to be very very precise about these things... http colon slash slash, www dot bogo, that's b o g o, dot co dot uk...now what's that single one?

Judie: Oh God, I don't know! [laughs]

Bob: ...single line pax single line [laughs] [NB: This is the old address]

Judie: ...don't really know...

Bob: So...[repeats URL]...I mean, I'm giving out our programme e-mail address now, and we've got a website as well, which we will just simply icon and link into yours, Judie, so whenever, y'know, anybody's looking down ours...

Judie: That's brilliant.

Bob: ...they'll automatically be able to open your pages as well. And I've started talking about this on the programme, the fact that we've now got an e-mail address, and we've got our website and stuff like that; I'm thinking, I wonder to what extent one sounds like a complete, kinda computer bore?

Judie: Well, Pax has had this going on - this is Mike Paxman who I've worked with always - he's had the computer for, I don't know how long for, but he's up all night, every night, talking to people all over the world and we've all been making fun of him for ages, but we've actually succumbed and we're getting one next week! [laughs]

Bob: Yes...[laughs]

Judie: So we'll also be sitting up all night, and talking to all strange people over in, sort of, Austin, Texas...

Bob: It's that moon town, you can always tell. Yeah, absolutely.

Judie: But I think it's really exciting 'cause it's so different, I mean, I don't know, I hope I can work the computer and everything but I'm looking forward to it.

Bob: I think it's incredibly exciting and you know, the opportunities, again, for getting the album out on the Internet and getting people to know about it...

Judie: Yeah. Well we've had a lot of people already ordering it, you know, through e-mails and stuff and, it's just incredible, these people from all over the world and they don't...it's just like they're on the end of a phone, I mean, I know they are, but it doesn't seem the same as a phone, somehow. It's much more...

Bob: Whoever would've thought...?

Judie: No.

Bob: Let's hear you play, Judie...

Judie: Oh God, that's if I must...

Bob: ...what's the first song gonna be?

Judie: Well this is Man & A Gun and it's from the last album, and, um, but I like it anyway!

Bob: Right, it's Judie Tzuke live on GLR here tonight.

[Jude performs Man & A Gun]

Bob: If you've just tuned in during that number you'll know, after about three notes, you're listening to Judie Tzuke, who's live with us here on GLR, it's the Bob Harris Show, at nine twenty-three on this Tuesday evening. Um, it's what, over twenty years now, isn't it...

Judie: Not quite! Not quite...[laughs]

Bob: ...er, your career, spans...

Judie: ...not twenty, no! Nineteen seventy-nine!

Bob: ...but you started writing, though, before that, didn't you?

Judie: Oh yeah, I wrote, from when I was about eleven, so yes, that was more than twenty years.

Bob: Yeah. And how did you start, 'cause you, you were putting poems to music at that point...

Judie: Yeah. I used to write a diary, and at the end of every day I used to write a little poem, um, because I had this very, sort of interesting History and English teacher who I wanted to impress and I used to sort of try and write these things to impress him really. And that didn't impress him so I then started learning guitar and put these poems to songs...

Bob: Mm.

Judie: ...but I mean also, I did do them because I used to get very depressed, I am a bit like that, I tend to go up and down, and I found that writing about writing about what I was depressed about made me feel better; and that's really why I started, and why I still do it most of the time.

Bob: Is it an exorcism?

Judie: Yes, it is. It definitely is. I mean, there are songs that aren't that, but there are definitely songs that I write that are something like that, and I definitely feel quite relieved after I've written them.

Bob: [chuckles] Because it's quite amazing isn't it, Judie, looking through your career highlights and the various labels, having now arrived at the point where you're basically very hands-on and putting everything together yourself...you've had the big corporate experience, not just once but several times.

Judie: I've had everything, but I don't think I've ever had very much promotion, and I don't understand that, I think people always feel a bit confused as to what to do with me. Um, I don't know why...I can't think why [laughs] but um, I just feel that I've never had that big coverage that...apart from probably the very first album, which I had.

Bob: Mm. I was going to say because, you know, you seemed very comfortable at Rocket, and er...

Judie: I probably was the most comfortable at Rocket really, and I had friends, I was friends with everybody there...I still am. So, that's probably true.

Bob: ...and the atmosphere seemed right for you and your music; you know, as a person and as a musician I thought Rocket and you seemed to segue very nicely.

Judie: They did, but in the end it got to a point where, um, John was away a lot, and when I used to ring the company I couldn't speak to John, John Reid that is, and I just felt very kind of, distant in the end and that's why we kind of went separate ways, not for any bad reasons or anything like that, it was just that I needed to be able to speak to John and he was doing a lot of stuff in America and, y'know...I probably shouldn't have, and, I don't know...

Bob: Mm. 'Cause you collaborated with Elton, didn't you, you worked with him didn't you...

Judie: I did but, not in a way that I felt I wanted to do much more; I mean, he sent me a track, and I didn't feel that I did something special on it. I would have liked to have worked more and actually done something special. But I'm very, sort of, y'know, proud to have worked with him...

Bob: That was something on the 21 To 33 album, wasn't it?

Judie: Yeah.

Bob: Which song was it, Judie?

Judie: Um, I can't remember, hang on...

Bob: Give Me The Love, was it?

Judie: Er, yes. Some of the lyrics were already written, so I had to write around them and that's not how I write; I tend to write about something that's in my head and then I write the whole thing, and when you start putting bits in, to work around then it can't be the same as, you know, you can't get your own story quite the same.

Bob: And is it difficult doing that anyway, y'know, kind of separate from the person you're writing with?

Judie: Well I've found now how I write, erm, is, I write mainly with Bob Noble, on this album anyway, and he actually sent me backing tracks from, um, he lives in Miami now, and I actually wrote on them as they were, and it was fantastic, because I know him so well and he knows my music so well that, y'know he knew what I liked. Erm, now I'm writing with lots of different people in that way. Sort of with people but I like to have a backing track because then I can go off on my own in the car and sort of sing awful things and nobody knows! And hopefully I can sort of, get it to sound good before I ever play it to anyone.

Bob: [chuckles] ...yeah. I was thinking of one or two of the other labels, I mean you were with Polydor, weren't you

Judie: Yes

Bob: ...you were with Columbia, more recently there were a couple of albums with Legacy, so there's quite a sort of span...

Judie: One album with Legacy, although I think, um, in the end Castle bought the Legacy one so they were both on Castle, erm, Wonderland.

Bob: Yeah. So I mean you've had a sort of range of different kind of relationships really with labels...

Judie: You're rubbing it in here [laughs] I'm beginning to feel terrible now!

Bob: No because...y'know there's a maverick aspect to it, to a lot of the musicians who come into the studio to play live for us, who've had a corporate experience or experiences, in the past have found those experiences in some way unsatisfactory...

Judie: Yeah

Bob: ...and therefore, those experiences have led them to becoming much more independent, setting up their own situation, and discovering tremendous success, often, by doing exactly that way; John Prine is a perfect example...

Judie: Well, I hope so! I'm much happier doing it this way, I get a bit frustrated because I sometimes doubt my own ability to promote it, and y'know I don't know who to ring, I don't know where to go, I don't know how to sort of get to the next stage. And that's difficult, and I have to sort of ask people for their advice and I'm getting on with it, but it takes a lot longer, it's not like having a release date and a load of promotion everywhere and your posters up - it's not like that at all, it's very much like, well what can we do this week and, y'know, who are we going to approach. I mean like, I sent you a postcard, y'know I mean that was the first thing I did...

Bob: Mmm

Judie: ...and um, told you what a great album it was, but then I am head of promotion in my own label so...[laughs]

Bob: [laughs]

Judie: I had to say that! ... and it's kind of fun doing that, and it's great when you get a reaction but it's a bit scary, because people are quite difficult to get to sometimes and I've got to plug on a bit, I've got to keep trying and not get disheartened.

Bob: Mm. Does this mean also Judie, that you're sort of putting your own concerts together as well, and tours and appearances...

Judie: Yes...well, yes, we are, we're sort of talking, um, I have got an agent but, I mean we are kind of, helping [laughs] because, you know, we've got to really. We're not a big act, we can't make, sort of money so it's all got to be done on a real budget and very carefully done.

Bob: Yeah. 'cause you were saying a few minutes ago, before we've been chatting on air here, that although you didn't see or hear it yourself, there's a reference to you on one of the Good Morning...er, was it GMTV?

Judie: Apparently so, saying that I, I was not the person to mention a while ago but now I'm trendy apparently, to have an album of, mind you you'd have to be clever to find out how to get my album but you're gonna tell them again anyway...

Bob: [laughs] absolutely...

Judie: ...but apparently I'm trendy again now.

Bob: But do you not think that's the case anyway, that, again, this is something we've talked about on the programme before, but, you know, anybody who's had a career spanning any length of time within the music industry and is still surviving, has experienced those times when you are ''in'' and other times when you are completely ''out''...

Judie: I don't think I've ever been ''in'', actually, so I'm hoping that now I might become in, but I don't think, y'know when I first started I think I was very lucky to have success because it was when the punk thing was happening and really, Stay With Me Till Dawn should never really have been a hit at that time, but for some reason it was, and, and so I kinda, I had a reasonable amount of success, but I don't think I was ever fashionable.

Bob: But, having said that, I mean a lot of the, particularly American, erm, and I don't mean quite so much the Alanis sort of, strand, but a lot of the other new American, singer-players coming across, albums coming across from the States, are plumbing into that, y'know, more sort of mellow, seventies sound, it's beginning to crop up on albums more and more now.

Judie: Well that's right, I mean we, this album, to me, sounds seventies, because I've done this album very much the way my very favourite albums were, when I was listening to music, y'know, before I actually did it myself. And I thought that it might sound sort of old, but it's quite interesting because a lot of younger people are saying that it sounds, kind of more...

Bob: ...fairly contemporary, yeah...

Judie: ...yeah. Which I find bizarre! Because to me, I love it, but to me it, it doesn't, I don't know what contemporary is any more, so many different kinds of music around at the moment, that are contemporary supposedly.

Bob: Mm. So how are you overcoming the problems of distribution because, I mean, actually getting into record shops is, quite a challenge...

Judie: ...well we're not...

Bob: ...so you're not doing record shops at all?

Judie: We're not doing record shops at all. I mean at some point in the future we might, but at the moment we're only doing it by mail order. We're just seeing how we go with it really, and it's quite remarkable how many people are finding out about it, and hopefully this is gonna tell more people, but, it keeps it very much cottage industry, and it's quite nice, as I said in the beginning, for me to actually see the letters, see who's writing to me, find out what the people who are buying my album are like, and, it feels much more personal...

Bob: It does.

Judie: ...it's a very exciting way of doing it, it's just, y'know, I hope we can keep it going.

Bob: Well, I mean in another way it's the reason I give out the telephone number on this programme so regularly, and welcome faxes and e-mails and everything else because...

Judie: Well, it's what made us think we might be able to do it, to be honest, we honestly, I promise you we were, sort of listening, one night and we were sort of thinking, I wonder if he ever gives out, box office, box, post office box numbers, and then you did, and it was like, well: OK, well, we'll do it! Y'know, we'll have a go!

Bob: But I mean that, this programme absolutely thrives on feedback because then you, y'know, you're hearing from people exactly what they want, and, er...

Judie: Well that's the same as getting the letters direct so, y'know you are really in contact with the people that, that like you. And it may be that I've only got a small following, but that following, I'm really sort of, I'm really proud of them and I love reading their letters and, knowing who they are...

Bob: Yeah...

Judie: ...and it, it makes me feel great, when I get those letters, and I hope, when I send them the album, they'll like it!

Bob: [laughs] Is the second song you're doing live tonight, from the album?

Judie: This one's from the album.

Bob: Right. What's it called Judie?

Judie: This one's called Joan of Arc.

Bob: OK. This is Judie Tzuke live here on GLR.

[Jude performs Joan of Arc]

Bob: Another song from Judie's new album, Under the Angels is the title of the LP and, details on how to get it coming up in a second or two. GLR, twenty-three minutes to ten o'clock is the time right now. Chris Walwork has, er, faxed in from Birkhamstead, he says ''Great to hear you again Judie, saw you in Rotherham, must've been late seventies,'' he says, ''I've got Welcome to the Cruise and Sportscar on vinyl, lost touch after that; tell me what's on CD these days and I look forward to hearing more new stuff,'' he says ''I met you behind the mixing desk that night...''

Judie: Oh my God...[laughs]

Bob: ''...but I'm not sure you'll remember.''

Judie: Nah...[laughs]

Bob: Hahaha...all right Chris, thanks very much indeed for your fax, and also just a thought here from Simon in Bexley, asking if you remember a benefit gig for the, I think he says Marydon Primary School, Glenn Tilbrook played that night...

Judie: Yes, yes, that was actually only a couple of years ago, yeah I sang with Glenn; Glenn played guitar on Stay With Me Till Dawn and I sang Tempted, and we sang Crowded House songs. It was fantastic; it was really good fun, it was probably one of the most enjoyable evenings I've ever spent, actually.

Bob: And Ollie from Camberley wonders, if you can explain the message on the back of Welcome To The Cruise; something to do with a fire engine...?

Judie: When I was a little girl, I said I wanted to grow up and be a fire engine, and I'm just saying that because I did what I was doing, it saved me from being a fire engine, that's all!

Bob: [laughs] Brilliant. Let me just give you the details once again on how to get hold of the album, this is if I can find the address on all the bits of paper in front of me...

Judie: Otherwise it's on my hand [laughs]

Bob: Right, it's Big Moon Records, PO Box 347, Weybridge, KT13 9WZ. shall I give the telephone number out as well?

Judie: Yes, there's the telephone number...have you got that?

Bob: OK, which is O1932 859472, and at the risk of taking up a lot of time by doing it...

Judie: Oh, go on.

Bob: ...I'm gonna give out the website address again, which is: http colon slash slash, www dot bogo (b o g o) dot co dot uk...Robert, just come over here for a second, 'cause.. it is a slash is it? Right, OK [laughs] so dot co, erm...uk slash pax slash. P a x. or, as I say, you can just give Judie a call, 01932 859472. And our own website will be linking into Judie's website too so you can get each other by, sort of dialling up the other, if that makes sense.

Judie: Great!

Bob: And ours is, http colon slash slash, www dot bbc dot co dot uk slash bobharris slash. So there we are. Does take up a lot of time giving out these addresses but worth it, I think, we look forward to you linking in and, just finally a question in from Jimmy, Jazz Cafe gig was excellent, he says; when can we see you again Judie, and will the new album be available on LP vinyl or just CD?

Judie: Well, it's just gonna be on CD; we are actually running up our own cassette copies for a few people, if they, y'know, if they don't have CDs, but, erm, it won't be on vinyl, I'm afraid. And, when will you, um, I'm doing a gig in Ireland in November but I'm actually trying to set up a little tour in January/ February this year, and that should cover most areas, I hope.

Bob: Details on the website?

Judie: Yeah, they will be...when we get them, yeah.

Bob: And if you let us know, Judie, I'll put the information across on air as well. And what's the old band up to?

Judie: Well the old band are doing all sorts of things, I mean Pax and Paul and Bob are still very much involved, Mike Paxman, Bob Noble and Paul Muggleton, but I've got a, a new band now, and, I'm not going to be able to remember everybody's surnames, [laughs]...it's Dave Goodes, Richard Cardwell...

Bob: Yeah. And it's Dave and Richard of course who've been playing here, backing you tonight...

Judie: That's right, yeah. Oh God, now you've put me on the spot, I'm terrible with names, erm, John Wood on bass, and Andy Newmark played drums on the album.

Bob: Yes. Good. Well, we look forward to seeing you again in London, Judie, as I say, immediately you've got any information about concerts here in town, do let me know, bung it up on the website, and we want to round off with a final track from the new CD.

[noises, laughter]

Bob: Ah! OK, so the opening track. Judie, thanks very much indeed.

Judie: It's a pleasure, thank you.

[Two Mountains is played]

Bob: A song called Two Mountains: it's the one that opens up the new album from Judie Tzuke, the album called Under the Angels. And many thanks again for a wonderful session from Judie and the band tonight on GLR.




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