Multiple Juno award winner, Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Order of Canada recipient, Canadian Rock icon and legend Tom Cochrane is currently in the middle of recording a new album, and gearing up for a full summer of festivals and tour dates, including Rock the Shores July 11-13 near Victoria, BC. Tom took time from his busy schedule to have a chat with us via phone, about his new music and what he’s been up to lately both musically and personally.
nMC: Hello Tom. How’s the new album coming? any due date yet?
Tom Cochrane: Hello! Things are going great so far, maybe a little slower than previous releases due to personal appearances, shows and charity work, but good so far. Right now we’re shooting for an Oct/November release but it may be sooner.
nMC: What can you tell us about the new tunes; we’ve heard that the new album has a little more blues influence than rock?
TC: I have always liked Blues. When I was a teen, we used to dye our jeans black before they had black denim ,and wear the skinny Blues tie and listen to some of the old greats. I’ve always loved Ronnie Hawkins, Down Child Blues Band and some of the great Canadian Blues singers and writers, and now that I’m living in Austin, Texas, 5 months of the year, the Blues have crept back into my heart and soul. We all absorb stuff as artists and I’ve been absorbing some of this style. We have a swing song on the new album called Back in the Game. Co-produced by my good friend Bill Bell – it’s kind of a mythical journey of sorts, with a Bluesy New Orleans sort of feel to it.
TC: Fight for Freedom is a song on the album with a Folk Country influence and quite a bit of breadth to it. I was honoured to meet Terry Fox on the very last day he was able to run, and the song has a reference in it about Terry, as well as other ‘fights’ for freedom in a broader sense, and touches on the freedoms we enjoy as people and as a nation due to other’s sacrifice. Pink Time is a song about a trucker who’s wife has Alzheimer’s and how he copes with it, and our first single, Sunday Afternoon Hang, which I co-wrote and sang with Danielle Bouchard a folk singer/writer from NY, which is actually out today.
nMC: We had a listen to it on iTunes this morning, really like it. Has a great toe tapping groove to it. Sounds like the album is going to be a good mix of upbeat and ‘thinking’ songs – just how we love it best.
TC: Yes. The record explores a lot of stuff. Kind of a mythical world of a traveling hobo – a world that doesn’t exist anymore for artists.. traveling from town to town and venue to venue spreading your music to people. It does in some respects but not like it was at the height of live music.
nMC: We remember a few years back in an interview you talked about how you and Sam Roberts met backstage at the Juno’s and Sam told you that you couldn’t retire yet – you still had a lot more to give us. We’re thrilled that you didn’t retire!
TC: Well thanks! I’m thrilled I can do this album. I have to do this, every bit as instinctive as the birds who have to fly south. Its just in me and has to come out and it took a few years to realize that I ‘have’ to put it out there if its in me. Some of the songs might not fit the Pop or Rock radio format but we feel pretty good about staying true to the songs and we hope people are going to find something in there to love.
nMC: Speaking of staying true to the songs, we just have to ask you about the show you played with Bruce Springsteen a few years ago.. what was that like?
TC: You know, the thing is I don’t care how good someone’s talent is -it does matter of course but what I mean is, Bruce is the real deal. He walks the walk. He puts his heart and soul on his sleeve and just gives everything he has and then some and people know that and respond to that. He’s an artist with conscience as well as talent and his songs reflect what he believes in. Integrity and outspokenness to causes is a great inspiration. Funny thing is I was a folk singer when I first started, and I saw Springsteen in New York at one of his first shows. It was a cathartic moment for me because most folk singers at that time were boring to watch. Bruce demonstrated that you could combine good soulful songwriting with being a captivating performer, like a mix of James Brown and Neil Young on stage. Showmanship. Performance and songwriting combined. If there is a Mount Rushmore for artists, Bruce would be up there with Dylan, Lennon and Neil Young for sure.
nMC: Many people may not know this but. you also are outspoken to causes and have been to many developing countries with World Vision, including Africa (more than a few times) to support not only with your name but with hard work. And you were awarded the Humanitarian Award just recently by Canadian Music Industry (CMIA)…
TC: It’s great as an artist to be able to focus on a few good charities and not get too scattered. It takes a few trips to see how World Vision does things – they really do help people and communities help themselves.. its not a hand out, its a leg up. Celebrities get acknowledged for this type of thing (the award), but its you guys, people, who get up every day and go out and do good things for others. As long as we all keep spreading it around.
nMC: sharing the ‘heart’
We’d like to thank Tom Cochrane for his time and talking to us, always a pleasure! We look forward to the new album, tentatively self-titled, due out sometime later this year. The best place to keep tabs on Tom is through his Facebook page where he is quite personable with fans, or on his website.