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Talking Heads -

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(generated from captions) This program is not subtitled didn't want to be a pop star, If Richard Clapton he was such a talented song writer. then it was a pity he did. Under orders to write a hit song, 'GIRLS ON THE AVENUE' PLAYS rocking life style a bit too hard. Eventually he latched onto the hard All this bloody rock... Yeah! is a great survivor. But, 30 years on, Richard Clapton and dream of stardom. A lot of people strum an air guitar, and eventually a real one, Richard Clapton had the air guitar, courtesy of a friend's Dad.

was not such a lure. But being a rock star welcome to Talking Heads. Richard Clapton, Peter, lovely to be here. But you became a legend anyhow. Well, a "leg end", after a fashion. Would you explain the difference. Foghorn Leghorn, than I do a legend. Yes. I feel more like It's quite... I guess it's quite odd the way other people perceive you. I can't really feel that. there has been 18 albums. Well, over the years,

that the audiences want to hear most? What are the ones really stands out. that 'Goodbye Tiger' Quite honestly, I would have to say 'Girls of the Avenue'... mainly recognise... ..which I think public at large it was a bit of a flash in the pan, For my hardcore audience, all that seriously by my audience. and it was not taken at the end of the gigs. It's a bit of a party song a few years ago said A rather nice article about you that you have got lots of milestones, on the way. but plenty of burnt out car wrecks Yes. Sums it up, really. Um, look I... You wouldn't have changed a thing? It does. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

ever since I was very young... I think because... know, a young teenager, Bohemian kind of lifestyle. I was always besotted with the whole

and look at your early years, Richard, let's turn the clock back you wouldn't really wish on anyone. which, to be honest, during the Menzies era, I was born in Sydney at Sydney Hospital, and my mother was the night sister and my father was a doctor. My parents are separated. by the time I was two, They were actually divorced in life. so I got off to a pretty shaky start are a bit of a blur. The early years of my mother Her life became a roller coaster, and I was on the ride with her. of fairly normal existence, She sort of had periods to everyone else's upbringing. and not too different in these holes. But then, she would fall down pretty much out on the street Quite honestly, we would end up with no roof over our heads, I think I was placed in orphanages. and I do recall a couple of times of my father, My mother was sort of the antithesis because she had always aspired to... Bohemian artistic side of life. ..probably more the that sort of dream she had. She never did realise Until my mother died when I was 10, which was from suicide, I had no knowledge of my father. She never mentioned him. I knew nothing about him at all. So, a few days after she died, when my father came to collect me it was a bit of a shock placed me into a boarding school, and, pretty much, fairly promptly,

all my high school years. where I spent And, we just never got on. from the very start. It was a fiery clash to become a doctor My father obviously wanted me or some similar sort of career. PLAYS 'I CAN'T GET NO SATISFACTION' also from a fairly well off family. My best friend at school, Ross, was with The Rolling Stones. And we were completely besotted of... young teenage boy thing We were into that thing looking at yourself in the mirror... of getting broom sticks, and "How cool am I?" to have a musical instrument, would have ever allowed me There was no way my father

my first electric guitar. so, Ross's father actually bought me

been buying all these Rolling Stones When my father realised that I had

he was quite outraged. and things like that, and Bob Dylan albums,

had yet another falling out. my father and I On the day of the maths exam, and bought a Rolling Stones album, I went into the city in Sydney, instead of going to the maths exam. So, that was the end of that. to get out of Australia, I was so determined are looking over, especially the UK, and my friends and I and it was just all happening. In England... specifically London, revolution, was happening. of the whole hippy cultural there was this explosion So, I saved up my money, on the ship going across, got myself the cheapest fare and that was how I got to London. your mum died, when you were 10, Richard, it wasn't until

that you met your dad. my true identity, I wasn't even wearing Chinese looking came to pick me up, so, when a doctor who was distinctly it was a bit of a bombshell. What impact did that have on you? of resentment, not just for... Well, I really had a lot I had resentment towards my father,

for my mother's family, I had resentment and on the other side of things, they contributed to her demise because I just felt to a very great extent, my mum went from being unsettled because, quite frankly, to quite unhinged of her life. towards the last couple of years for a long time, And, so, I carried this baggage decades to try and reconcile it. and it really did literally take you went through an awful lot. God knows, for a 10-year-old, Yeah, I have reflected on that, it has contributed a lot and perhaps,

to the nature of my song writing, because, I guess, no pain, no gain. childhood when you read about it, Bob Dylan had a pretty chequered so did most of my idols, really. came from? Is that where the sunglasses actually came from... Partly. No, the sunglasses which you get on your eyes, ..a condition called pterygiums, the eye surgeon... and the eye surgeon... the operation successfully, After he had performed on stage". I would start wearing shades he said to me, "If I were you, and it just became an image thing. And I said, "Yeah", I take them off. If I don't want to be recognised, when you got to London. Let's see what happened and arrived in London, You had come from Sydney where you have got so much going on. All of this is just mind blowing. I know that I continued my art career. I worked in art studios by day, and going to Saint Martin's by night, and studying there.

To this day, I can't really distinctively remember why I left such a well paid art job, to chuck it all in to be a full time musician. I had written a handful of songs. I would think that the turning point was probably when I hooked up with these naughty American boys, and as it turns out, I was living in a building where everybody was stoned all the time, and I was the only goody two shoes in the whole building that had never done drugs.

So, one night, I'm starting to sleep in bed, and there is this commotion going on downstairs, and there were, like, six uniformed bobby's, two sniffer dogs, and two narks, and they are just busting every little bed-sit in the whole building. They could not arrest me for drug possession, but they could have me deported, so, I hit the road, and that is when I became a pendulous bum. 'PURPLE HAZE' BY JIMI HENDRIX PLAYS It would have been close to a year, of just me, standing out on the auto barn with my thumb out, and going all over Europe, sleeping in farmers barns in France.

I slept in Copenhagen Railway Station, and all kinds of romantic things. To some people, it might sound terrible. To me, it was, like, one of the happiest periods of my life. So, I got to Berlin, yet again, and it was at the onset of winter, I had been trying to write to my father to tell him I was in dire straits, and I was getting no response at all. So, ostensibly, I was all alone in the world. I have been homeless, stateless, everything, and, I had this particular night in Berlin, and I thought, "Oh, man, this is it". So, the next day, I went to the Australian Military Mission, in Berlin, and there was a woman there called Gisla, then she told me that she lived in a commune in this place called Klausmann Place, in Berlin. She wanted to take me around there, and that is where I met Faulk, and Faulker was fascinated with me as a song writer. After a period of time, I started to feel guilty again. There is a job for a gardener going at the British Embassy, and I'm babbling on to Faulker about how great it is, I've got this job, and he just gave me this sour look, and he said, (Speaks with a German accent) "You... you said you are song writer. "Song writers write songs. They don't work at gardens". And it was such a great thing he did for me. Were you racked by self doubt, or did you know, "I'm good at this"? I didn't really care... It meant a lot to me, what Faulker and the other people directly around me thought. And, as I said, I think at that stage, there was five of us living in this commune. The world at large didn't matter so much at that stage. I was always pretty chuffed when they would always go... ..(Speaks with a German accent)... "That's fantastish". You become part of this band - Sopwith Camel. You are offered a recording contract, but it all falls over. Yeah, which is all a bit... was a bit tragic, but it was like black humour as well. That was my first stage into the record industry, and we went down to Munich to actually sign the deal,

and we were told that, unfortunately, one of the biggest bands in the States at that time, was called Sopwith Camel, who were signed at United Artist. They had said they were going to sue our arse. How did they come up How did we come up with the same name? Or either of you?

I'm sure I probably would have thought of the name, because everyone else in the band was German.

Was it the first taste of the fact that the industry was pretty tough? Yeah. I am here to testify to the fact, that, in the '70s, the record industry was very tough. You have got no idea. Well, about this time, you came back to Australia. Let's look at what life was like for you. Australia was still reasonably conservative, and I had come out of five, six years, living in free love and hippying... ..a free will community, which was Europe. 'LIVING IN THE '70S' PLAYS I kept getting knocked back job after job.

I was still too young and rebellious to want to cut my hair. I though, stuff that. As we all know, record companies all want to jump on band wagons, so, 1972 was the year of the singer song writer...

"Hey, we've got to get us one of those". And within less than another week, I was signed to Festival Records. They also gave me the latitude to be able to chord a very credible album... Definitely weren't pop songs. That's why I didn't get this annoying pressure to come up with some sort of bubble gum. 'Prussian Blue' literally sold about 2,500 copies, which was not too shabby, but not too great, for that day and age. So, then, Festival began putting enormous pressure on me to come up with a hit single. This really rubbed me up the wrong way. It was just not what I wanted to do. Have you just recorded another album? Yeah, I have just done the other album. That's just finished now.

What is the name of that one? 'Girls on the Avenue.' 'Girls on the Avenue'. Right.

And that's the big single from the album? Yeah. SONG: # Girls on the avenue. # Yeah, Girls on the Avenue, in a way, did me a lot of good, because it definitely put me on the map, except it put me on the map in the wrong place. It was somewhere I didn't want to be, which is, being a pop star. I had grown to love Australia, but not the Australian music industry. So one day, I went out and got myself a ticket to go back to Berlin, the entire 'Goodbye Tiger' album. and virtually wrote "I'm not going to come back, I just said, to put up with this... "And I'm not going or else"... "..come up with a hit single, SONG: # Goodbye tiger. # one more album, Because I owed Festival Records complete artistic latitude. and they just gave me I think the orders on it were gold

started mixing it. before we had even in Australia, It was the whole pub rock culture to audiences because you were playing quite heavily. who were largely drinking of this wonderful subculture, part of the fabric You just tended to become probably made me a better performer, and I must admit, I think it because the sensitive, shy, introverted, poetic persona to be honest. was not going over all that well, I was bloody rock. Yeah. It was... When I come out, called you Ralph. Who was Ralph? Your mates in those days Well, everyone has got to have an alter ego. Michael Chugg was my manager. on stage, He really turned me into Ralph because he had a bottle of, and I will never forget it,

down my throat, and he was pouring it in the audience. and there were hecklers so I wrote this song about...", "So, ladies and gentlemen, you know, Of course, I was going, you know what I mean. "Till I'm done", and Chugg... He's going, rock 'n' roll Ralph was born. And from that moment on, Different persona? Oh, very different persona. from who you were, And, a kind of universe away a struggle, hasn't it, and in a way, that has kind of been had certain expectations because the commercial industry of how to turn you into a star, which you didn't really want much of. actually be a really good thing. But having this alter ego can able to separate your true self, It's something... Because you are this entertainer called Ralph. and then... So, you have So, I have walked a tight rope to write fairly serious songs, throughout all these years of trying if I didn't have my alter ego. which could be very draining, ..exactly... Jekyll & Hyde. It is very... A bit Jekyll & Hyde. your dad turned up During this time, unexpectedly, at an awards ceremony. at an award you were given, I'm not sure if anyone has... how shall I put it?... I think I'm the only... an Australia Council Grant. ..rock act, that ever received and all the rest of it, It was in the newspapers, validated my existence. and, so, therefore, And, so, suddenly, my father, all those years before... who had disowned me ..and I had never seen or heard from him for a long, long time... ..suddenly turns up out of the blue, and it was just like, "Right", you know? "So, OK, I'm valid now, am I?" My existence is validated. Richard, a musical future in the US beckoned.

It did, and I went charging across to the United States, and learnt a lesson that I have passed on to... successive generations, which is, that if you sign a record deal here, in Australia, for the world, that means, you are powerless to actually negotiate your own deals elsewhere. Well, I specifically went to the United States, pretty strong interest because there was from about six major labels. these major record deals, I had been offered was going to come to fruition, and none of it record contract I had back here. because I was shackled by this The Nightline', in LA, for Festival, I did an album called 'Hearts On

sit over there sobbing forever and my manager said, "You can't "Because the money is running out, and promote this album". "So, come back SONG: # Hearts on the nightline. # around bars in Sydney, going, After a bit of a period of stumbling "I couldn't be a contender", that it just wasn't going to happen. I just had to realise back here. So, I just quite happily resettled my first manager, Chris Murphy had been and had found this band hairdresser band, to me. that sounded like a new wave and I was just blown away. Anyway, the the band was INXS, the whole spirit of music, To me, they engendered music, not to be rich and famous, which is really just your plain but because you love music. called 'The Loved One'. this old Gerry Humphries song, They wanted to record And they asked me to produce it. 'THE LOVED ONE' PLAYS went shooting to the charts. Anyway, 'The Loved One' a full album with them. Then they asked me to do

red, blue and white. # SONG: # Underneath the colours into INXS for a year, perhaps. I threw my whole heart and soul of Australian music. This was like the golden age became like a little family. The cultures of INXS and myself to run out of audience. And you just never seemed

would be packed to the rafters. Every gig you would do, of camaraderie was just fantastic. But anyway, the spirit

called Benny's, There was a bar in Sydney musicians speakeasy. and these were like very romantic and very Bohemian. For a start, for me, it was just hanging out with your mates... Hanging out in these bars, and as well... There was positive elements to it and stuff like that. Cross pollination of musical ideas I met Susie, probably 1985, '86. and the babies were born, So, then, we got married, pretty stable. and I was trying to keep my life into that partying life. I didn't really want to get back creeping back, But it sort of started and by the time it got to the '90s, to be a bit out of control. I must admit, I was getting for me She virtually made the decision and my wicked, wicked ways, that she had had enough of me up to the Gold Coast. and that she wanted to move It was almost like a dual life, a fairly wild rock singer at work, where I would go out and still be but I didn't bring that home. and just be a doting dad. I would come home you thought about your own father? Being a dad... did it change how Yes, it did. about four or five years ago, now, Unfortunately, he died

we didn't really start getting... and it's sad in a way, that ..reconciling and getting on track of his life. until the last few years and reconciling to some extent, Instrumental in you getting together was Susie, your wife, wasn't she? Yeah, definitely. Susie was an international jet setting model for about 15 years,

and had pretty much been living the same lifestyle as I was, because she was hanging out with a lot of rock stars, and just getting that rock stars get up to. up to a lot of shenanigans and stuff But, when we first met, have always been over-awed myself and my circle of friends like a light switch, at the fact that, into the courtship, about six, eight weeks Susie just flicked it all off, about the relationship, and just said she was serious and she just abruptly stopped and never touched anything again. And you followed? No, I didn't directly follow. Some of us had to work, mate. Couldn't all be a stay at home mum. No, that is where I maintained a duality to my life... ..the public and the private. Must be a bit weird to live two lives like this, though. Sometimes, it gets a bit frustrating, because I did a live album called 'Best Years Of Our Lives', which is one of my biggest selling albums, ever, and it was full of all this throw away adlibs... just very natural. I was making them up on the spot. I don't know whether I regret this or not, but one of my throwaway lines is... ..(Impersonation)... "Good evening, and welcome to the party that never ends", and it just stuck to me like glue. Every night... I'm going to work, but my audience is coming out to enjoy themselves, and it's, "Hey, mate, hey, Ralph, welcome to the party that never ends". And you want to keep the party that never ends. Exactly. That's how I earn my living now. Life now, is actually fantastic, because baby boomers will probably bop till they drop, so, I am really fortunate and really blessed there. I was just calculating... I have probably done about 7,000 of these rooms over the years. But, this is just your normal weekend sort of gig. And I'm pretty used to doing it, but I always look forward to it, because it is a great band, so, that makes it all worthwhile... and the audience, of course. SONG: # I think about you all the time. # Well I still like to revisit my Berlin origins, which has been really experimental and adventurous with music. But I am still conscious of my fan base, and the fact that I should not move too far away. I finally woke up to myself and made a conscious decision to manage myself, which I think has been a smart decision. The last two or three albums I have recorded, have all been recorded under the house here. And after 35 years of recording music in big studios, I have got to say, this is the most liberating experience I have ever had, because it is great to be able to work when you want to, and work for as long as you want to, and just when the mood takes you. And, so, I have just been working on stuff like this. PLAYS A RECORDED SONG I think I do keep a really positive outlook, because there are so many songs still to be written. Writing a song is... You don't need an analyst. You exercise all your demons when you write these songs. My marriage has sort of fallen over recently, but I think it was a gradual decline. There has not been any real dramatic kind of change to my life. You enjoy your Japanese heavy metal concert, because that is one gig I won't be going to, thank you very much. How long is it? Saskia and Montana have just finished their HSC, and they will soon turn 18. I think the lesson I learnt from my father,

and all problems that created by trying to railroad me into following his footsteps... I don't want to do the same thing to my kids. I have had a wonderful life. I have got no regrets. And I also learnt to take the roller coaster ride. If my career is at one of its slowest points, I just go, "Look on the bright side. It can't get any worse". You can only go up from here, and sure enough, you do, and if you stick with it long enough, you just keep going up and down and up and down, and enjoy the ride. I have got to say, you had a pretty unpromising start,

but it seems like you have lived the life you have wanted. I have to say, once again, it's because I got into this because I just love music.

That is how you get to handle the white water ride. Because it can get pretty rough, but if you really love music that passionately, you can't go wrong. It has been great having you on Talking Heads. Thanks, Peter. Thanks, Richard. Thanks a lot. Closed Captions by CSI

Tonight - Kevin Rudd says carers and seniors won't be worse fugitive father in court murder charges. murder charges. Commonwealth customers cop the biggest rise yet. And Paul cranky over cranky over speedboat races. Wet'n'wild is Gold Coast. It's not Sydney. Good evening. Welcome to ABC News. I'm Virginia Haussegger. The Prime Minister has moved to end days pensioners were going to cop it in the neck come budget time. Kevin Rudd this guaranteed that their payments will not be targetted by will not be targetted by his budget razor gang. And while trying to put the controversy to rest,