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My Arts: Pete Wylie

The part-time rock star and full time legend plays his first gig in years tonight. Here he spills the beans to his favourite media (us)

Published on December 21st 2010.


My Arts: Pete Wylie

You started Capital of Culture year and then seemed to very deliberately get out of there....
Yes, I went on strike. I did the opening show at the Arena. It was a fantastic experience being up there with the Philharmonic, a proud moment. But the year was not as good as it could have been.

It seemed to me that there were no counter arguments. One of the main problems was everyone was suddenly a born again scouser. I wrote a song about it called Last Train Out, about all the carpetbaggers who came to the city in late 2007 and departed promptly on 31 December 2008.

The one startling thing that did emerge from your “strike” that year was the Thatcher song (The Day That Margaret Thatcher Died). Do you still feel that het up?
I got a lot of my anger out then. In the 1980s, we were invaded by Thatcherism and we thought as a generation we would change everything. But looking at the situation now, we didn't.

I never released the song as a download or anything else and people tell me that was crazy because it has had 18,000 plays on You Tube. I just needed to get it out. The power of song. Even when she is dead I won't change the tense of the thing.

What have you been doing since then?Writing millions of songs and tunes. I am fresher and more creative now. Working on a film with Jeff Young; working on movie soundtracks with Hurricane Films. And working on the rest of it with Elliot Rashman. One of the things I did was get up with Edwyn Collins at the Anglican Cathedral last week. He is gentle calm and beautiful, but I made him laugh.

Hang on. Elliot Rashman. The former Happy Mondays and Simply Red manager?
Yes, he is my rabbi. He won't be called a manager. He said he wants to retire in the next five years and he wants one last challenge. I am it. He says he wants to do right things and useful things.

What can we expect tonight (Friday 17 Dec)?
Better Scream, Seven Minutes to Midnight, Story of the Blues, It's Sinful, Heart as Big as Liverpool. Anything I can remember the words to! There will be a big projected Facebook wall where people can post their comments from anywhere in the world, or from the gig. Bring your cameras, your smartphones.

You are quite a fan of Facebook
In the past, you used to have to wait to get your message out. Do an interview with an NME journalist and then wait three months for your thoughts to appear. I love the instant debate thing with Facebook, no middlemen, no wait. Reaching out to people right now. Last week I ended up in a big argument with some students. Loved it. Was a devil's advocate thing.

Ever flirted with Twitter?
Nah. I couldn't limit myself to 140 characters. My hotmail password is longer than 140 characters.

OK, let's do My Arts.

What are your top three albums of all time?
Gave up on best etc cos it changes daily. But the three records that have most significantly changed the course of my life are: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; The Clash by The Clash; Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. But then what about????? Blonde on Blonde[even changed as i wrote the sentence!]

What were the first and the last records that you bought?
First: The Wonder of You by Elvis Presley. The last was the original soundtrack of The Wizard of Oz [inc dialogue].

What was the first live gig that you went to?Black Sabbath at Liverpool Stadium 1971.

And the last?
Little Annie/Baby Dee and Marc Almond at the Philharmonic a couple of weeks ago.

Did you pay to get in? And if not, why not?
No. Because Little Annie is a lifelong friend [I'm going to duet with her next year] so mates/and pop life privileges! Plus Simon Glinn (head honcho at the Phil) is a generous god...

What tune is running around your head at the moment.
Tunes are incessantly running round in my head-my own new ideas and faves and random earworms... But right now? Jugband Blues by Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd.

Does music help you to think when you are working?
Depends...

Do you listen to lyrics or merely absorb melody?
Mainly music, but I love great lyrics.

What newspapers/magazines do you read?
None, except Liverpool Confidential. And old ones to remind myself of how inaccurate they always were.

What word do you most like the sound of?
Nylons.

Which websites do you visit most often?
Facebook = life.

Who or what do you listen to on the radio?
Radio 4, Janice Long and our own B B!

What was the best television programme ever made?
The Wire [true dat].

Top film ever?
2001-A Space Odyssey.

What book in childhood made the biggest impression on you?
On the Road, Jack Kerouac.

What's your current book at bedtime?
The Lindsay Anderson Diaries.

Do you go to the theatre?
Only if Jeff Young [best mate and movie co-writer] has something on .

Who or what makes you laugh?
You've Been Framed. Politicians.

What single work of art do you find the most moving?
Picasso's GUERNICA.

Which public figures do you most admire?
People who try to bring some good out of bad. The Hillsborough families, Rhys Jones's family for example. Plus Pamela Anderson and Paddy Hill I've kinda stopped admiring...Spiderman.

What is your favourite piece of architecture?
Woulda been St George's Hall cos I've played inside and outside it several times. But following the duet with Edwyn Collins this month -Anglican Cathedral.

Least favourite?
All the boarded up/derelict wasted houses in this city...

Who would you prefer to be stuck in a lift with. Les Dennis, Pete Price or Pamela Anderson.
Pamela. There wouldn't be much room. However, that obviously wouldn't be a problem.

*Pete Wylie plays the Zanzibar for the first time in years tonight, Dec 17. A go, go, go.

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Simon GlinnDecember 17th 2010.

He's lying: he was charged double, and damage deposit. Which he lost.

AnonymousDecember 20th 2010.

Great gig on Friday mate. Wylie is the real face of Liverpool music over the last few decades. Ever thought of going for elected mayor?

free as a birdDecember 22nd 2010.

I was very impressed by Pete Wylie's gig. More than McCartney's, in true fact. But what do I know, I don't pay to get into anything

John BoyeJanuary 15th 2015.

He looks terrible now - a beer-gutted 'professional scouser'. He'd be completely insufferable if he'd had any real success as a musician or songwriter. Sad and delusional.

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