Sam (marvello@ho.....) asked:
Is there any artist (or group) that you would like to cover of one of your works?
JW: Yes, I would love to hear a nationally recognized symphony orchestra perform or record one or more of my works.
JW: I don't recall any particular inspiration for the "Hope" album other than the band members' keen interest in science fiction at the time, especially themes involving outer space. In some respects the "Hope" album merely followed in the footsteps of songs like "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" and "Little Neutrino" both of which had appeared on the preceding album.
As far as I know, no sheet music or songbook portfolio was ever published for the "Hope" album. However, just recently I found the individual instrument lead sheets which were used during the recording of the National Philharmonic Orchestra in London, England in January 1977. Jaimie Vernon of Bullseye Records has expressed interest in possibly making electronic reproductions of these available as part of a future Klaatu CD release.
JW: "All Good Things" wasn't written with a specific dog in mind although I did have a pet bassett hound when I wrote it in early 1979. In an unfortunate case of life imitating art, my own real-life dog did in fact become fatally ill while I was away in Los Angeles recording the "Endangered Species" album. A few weeks later, while browsing through a Los Angeles stationery shop, I noticed a greeting card with a photograph of a bassett hound puppy on the front cover. Printed above the photo were the words, "I've never had a better friend than you", which coincidentally paraphrases the lyric in the song virtually word-for-word.
JW: Under the right conditions I might consider recording again but currently have no plans to do so.
The idea of a storyline connecting different Klaatu albums together is something I never really thought much about. As for "Magentalane", when we began working on that album we understood that it would very likely be our final album. And because of our recent unhappy experience with "Endangered Species", we did consciously try to write songs in a style that more closely resembled our earlier albums. So in that sense the "Magentalane" album could be considered a continuation of the first two albums.
JW: To be frank, what most likely lies behind my lyrics (as you put it) are the many enjoyable hours I spent listening to and learning from all those fabulous songs of the 1960's and early (pre-Disco) 1970's.
JW: Judging one's own work is difficult at best but, to answer your question, my choice for most satisfying musical composition is a toss-up between "A Routine Day" and "I Don't Wanna Go Home", mainly because both of these songs seemed to come relatively easily, practically writing themselves without a lot of conscious effort on my part. The most fully realized studio production would be "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft."
The first song I ever wrote was a piano instrumental entitled, "From a Sparrow's Nest", but my first composition that eventually made its way onto a Klaatu album was the national anthem from "Long Live Politzania" which originally had been inspired by a television commercial for a "beer" company.
JW: Essentially, all three questions inquire about my post-Klaatu songwriting activities. I haven't really pursued my songwriting in a serious way since 1984, mainly because of the heavy time demands imposed by the workload of my accounting practice. I do have other interests as well that keep me quite busy in what little spare time there is. There are some unpublished works that I wrote while I was still active in the music business, but at present I have no plans to record them. In the event that I am able to resume my songwriting in the future, I expect I would continue to write songs in much the same style as I have in the past.
JW: The song "December Dream" was really Terry Draper's composition. My involvement with that song was limited to helping write the music for the chorus sections only. The concept and lyrics of the song were his alone, so he would be the best person to answer your question.
(Note from Dave Bradley - I will forward these questions to Terry
Draper to see if we can get them answered).
JW: My departure from the music business several years ago was a matter of personal choice. I had to choose between two distinctly different careers. For a while I tried to do both, but soon realized that there simply wasn't enough time to devote to each and do them both well. After having been in the music business for fifteen-plus years, the time had come for me to make that choice.
JW: I still have the Hofner Bass which I acquired in February 1973 and this was the bass guitar that I used on "Sub Rosa Subway" (both versions). For the album version we wanted to extend the ending fadeout section of that song but the original bass had already stopped playing, so I overdubbed some additional bass lines using a Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar, which I also still have.
JW: Some of the various instruments that I used on the Klaatu albums include a Hohner pianet, Mellotron, Moog Sonic V, Moog Polymoog, Hofner violin bass, Fender Squire bass, Rickenbacker 4001 bass, Gibson Gospel acoustic guitar, and a Gretsch Country Gentleman, among others. When Klaatu first started recording Dee used a Gibson ES 335 electric guitar almost exclusively, but by the second album he had switched to a Fender Stratocaster. I think Terry's drums were Rogers but I'm not absolutely certain.
I don't play professionally anymore, but now and then I still get together with a couple of friends to sing some favourite golden oldies for our own amusement.
JW: The obstacles that litter the way to any type of Klaatu reunion are many and, to some extent, insurmountable. While I hesitate to use the word "impossible", I would describe the chances of a Klaatu reunion as being "highly improbable". That said, Ron Manke's idea of Klaatu doing a live concert with an orchestra such as the Edmonton Symphony is a tantalizing one.
JW: To name all the artists that have influenced my writing would take quite a long time. But if you have access to any of Billboard's Top 100 charts from 1964 to 1972, many of the artists I admire and respect would be listed there. From the one-hit-wonders (e.g. The Lemon Pipers) to the supergroups (e.g. The Cream), from Mersey Beat (e.g. The Beatles) to Motown (e.g. The Supremes), there was so much great music being produced in all genres during that very creative and inventive period. It truly was the golden age of "pop" music.
JW: The rumour alleging that Klaatu possibly was The Beatles started in February 1977, more than six months after our debut album had been released worldwide. Initially I was amazed at the inventiveness of the clues that Rhode Island journalist Steve Smith had cited in support of his conjecture that Klaatu could be The Beatles, and the speed with which the resulting rumour spread around the world. While all this was going on we were frantically trying to complete the "Hope" album to meet the deadline for delivery of the masters to the record company which was coming up in late February, so we weren't able to focus on the rumour for very long. In fact it soon became an unwelcome distraction, like a sudden, unexpected gust of wind that blows your car onto the shoulder as you're driving down the highway at full throttle.
JW: I hope I don't disappointment you, Dean, but the examples of backwards messages in Klaatu songs you mention in your question are all news to me. Although we have used the sound of backwards pianos, horns, and guitars on several of our songs, the only hidden message I am aware of is the barely audible "burping" sound present on certain mixes of California Jam, and that was purely accidental. So as far as I know, none of the backwards messages you may have heard were intentional or preplanned.