"Well, who needs education/ When you've got a degree?..."
I love that line. And I'm sensing some sarcasm.
Those words come from David Ford's "Nothing At All," one of several superb tunes on Ford's latest, Let the Hard Times Roll.
Ford is a British songwriter who is never at a loss for words. I can't tell you how many times I've blasted "Go To Hell" in my living room, feeling his passion deep in my bones. Ford is often anthemic, always passionate, and ever-so-convincing with his creations. It's music for the soul, whether you're healing or just simply feeling alive.
If you haven't found his records yet, I would suggest you do so soon.
We recently caught up with Ford, who has been touring behind Let the Hard Times Roll.
1. You recently toured the U.S. Were there any moments/shows that stood out? How did the crowds react to the new songs? Got any crazy road stories to share?
The life of a touring musician is perhaps less exciting than can be imagined by anybody who has not experienced it. My most recent American road-trip was one of the more eventful tours for me. My day in Chicago involved our reasonably priced rental car having its back window smashed in and my video camera being stolen during soundcheck. The Chicago Police Department finished interviewing me seconds before I walked onto stage and played one of my best shows! After that I packed up, drove to O’Hare airport with the rain coming in where the window used to be, picked up a new car and made it back into the city in time to get a beer and eat the greasiest roast beef sandwich the world has ever known. I love Chicago.
2. My favorite song off 'Let the Hard Times Roll' is "To Hell With the World." Can you tell us a little bit about what that song means to you?
Sometimes the modern age can be overwhelming and even the most positive of us might be forgiven for thinking humankind is losing its collective mind and our beautiful society is descending into a hellishly shallow cesspool. It’s at moments like these when I like to count my blessings. There are a great many sources of authentic joy in the world that cannot be diminished by the shortcomings of our times. “To Hell With the World” is a realpolitik feel-good song, not claiming that love conquers all, but suggesting that it might provide a welcome anesthetic.
3. What's the biggest misconception about David Ford?
It is widely presumed that as a solo musician, I must be an acoustic guitar troubadour with a sack full of softly-sung emotional ballads about girls who have bruised my tender heart. Actually I like to shout, break things, embrace a variety of musical styles and work hard to create an ever-changing live show that incorporates elements you will not find at any other concert.
4. You recently said in an interview that "music is supposed to be an art form. And an art form is often based upon things like vulnerability." Can you tell us a little more about that?
I say a lot of things.
Rarely do I remember what the hell I was thinking at the time. That might have been in reference to the swaggering bravado of much modern pop music. The glitz and glamour of the musician as celebrity leaves me utterly cold. To attain a particular lifestyle through music is fine but when the lifestyle becomes the sole purpose of the work in question, I find myself wondering why anybody else in the world should really give a shit. It’s absolutely right that we should be in awe of our musical heroes but it should be because of their ability to affect us through music, not because of the car they drive, labels they wear, nor the champagne in which they bathe.
5. What are the five best albums you have heard in the last few years?
In the last 32 years, I have really enjoyed: Born To Run, Desire, Harvest, Blue Valentine, & Exile on Main St. Of course, these were all recorded before I was born.
Sadly, I don’t think I have heard five new albums in the last few years that I’m all that bothered about. I’m really not proud of this fact but I rarely hear any new musicians who sound worthy of ironing Springsteen’s jeans.
6. Finally, how will England fare in the 2010 World Cup?
The British are historically, a nation of spirited losers. Confident in the belief that the trappings of victory are vulgar and unseemly, we have developed a knack for perfectly-timed valiant sporting disaster. In keeping with such precedent, England are destined to lose at the quarter-final stage but in a fashion that makes us all feel like we came so close and that 2014 is going to be our year.
I also fully expect England to be defeated by the USA who, it seems, are still hung up on the idea of actually winning things.