richard tandy - 5th july 2002
Carl Wayne: Joining me in the studio is who I certainly call the quiet man of ELO, an absolute genius, Richard Tandy. Let's just demonstrate what a genius this man is. Here he is with Jeff Lynne on Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor.
You did realise it was Grieg didn't you, or did you think it was Greek ?! Richard, how're you doing?
Richard Tandy: Very well Charlie, good to see you.
CW: Many, many years ago, we used to sit in Dorothy's box room and play those songs.
RT: Yeah...you don't look any different!
CW: I feel it! You're in the studio with your lovely wife Sheila, married for twenty years, she looks great!
RT: She does, doesn't she?
CW: You're a very talented man, Mr. Tandy.
CW: Yes...you wrote Mississippi Nights for Trevor, of course. And you are, as I call you, the quiet man of ELO because Jeff always says you're his right hand man. Tell us a bit about the song-writing process with Jeff.
RT: He'd show me a tune, I'd learn it pretty quick and build it up.
CW: With him and Louis Clark?
CW: Was that from day one?
RT: Yes. Jeff would have the idea, I'd learn it and we'd put it together.
CW: When did you actually join the band?
RT: Right at the very start, as soon as they began touring.
CW: Then you were in that wonderful spaceship, were you?
RT: Yeah, it was good that.
CW: I saw that at the Empire Pool. I sat there with a guy named Peter Lister-Todd and we sat about 45 rows back because you know how big the Empire Pool is, and he said "How do you feel?" and I said "Sick!"
RT: It was a big show.
CW: It was wonderful, wasn't it? I mean, how big were ELO?
RT: I don't really know...you'd have to see what other people say!
CW: I mean, the concerts, the venues you played, what size were they?
RT: We did a couple of stadiums at the height. Anaheim Stadium.
CW: How many did that hold?
CW: 84,000! That's extraordinary. It's a bit like the Beatles, I suppose, when they played at Shay Stadium.
RT: Same sort of thing.
CW: But they didn't have the equipment to cope with it in those days. And, you obviously work with Jeff. How big was the gap between ELO and the reformation, the new ELO.
RT: Well, that was last year, so fifteen years.
CW: And the first person he called, of course, was you.
RT: Yeah. And we were over in America last year, in Los Angeles.
CW: And you went to his house?
RT: Yeah, we did some rehearsing and a couple of TV shows and a concert for the DVD. We had a tour planned but it didn't happen.
CW: But it should have happened, shouldn't it?
RT: Yes - I'm still hoping it will happen.
CW: He is a hugely talented chap, isn't he?
RT: He's fantastic.
CW: Like all great partnerships there is, I suppose the leader and the follower. With someone like Jeff who's got all these ideas the ideal man for him is you, isn't it?
RT: I would hope so, yeah!
CW: The way you interpret what's in his head. There's no agenda with you, there's no ego there, and that's why you are invaluable.
RT: Nice of you to say so!
CW: I always remember when we worked together as younger men, you were always unlike me and maybe Trevor and Ace in the Move, there was nothing there, no agenda, you just used to get on with it and quietly be in control and composed about what you did.
RT: Thank you.
CW: Tell me about Zoom; it's a good album, isn't it?
RT: Oh, it's fantastic. He did it all himself as well and didn't tell me.
CW: What do you mean he did it all himself, he did it with you?!
RT: No he didn't, I'm playing on one track.
CW: So he just called you over there for the one track?
RT: He just said "I've got an album, I'm going to take it on the road."
CW: And you were waiting for that?
RT: I didn't know anything about it. I was playing with Trevor Burton and I got a call one night.
CW: And you weren't there anymore because I came to the Railway and you were there and the next thing I knew you were in Los Angeles.
RT: That's right.
CW: What was the track?
RT: A track called "Alright"
CW: Which was the single. Do you think that was the right single?
RT: I think so, yes. There are lots of great tunes on there. Superb job.
CW: Just going back to Jeff, do you think there was a reason he revived ELO? Was it to use up songs that he'd got?
RT: No, well, I presume he went through a creative period and suddenly found himself with lots of ideas.
CW: And you think he couldn't shift them as Jeff Lynne, so he shifted them as ELO?
RT: I guess so; I don't really know, I was just glad to get the call.
CW: It's interesting because I've seen the video which was good, but it doesn't bear any resemblance or capture the excitement of the original ELO.
RT: It's a different slant, different time.
CW: And is he as confident, do you think, with the new vehicle?
RT: I think so, the last time I saw him he was. He was a bit sad because he was very close to George Harrison.
CW: He was; did you work with George?
RT: Only a little bit, for a few days on some of his albums.
CW: And was of course like Jeff, another nervy chap. He's not the natural front man, shall we say.
RT: Yes, you're right.
CW: I remember a story that somebody told me, that when they did the Heartbeat thing for the children's hospital in Birmingham that somebody had to lead him on stage. I think Ace Kefford led him on.
CW: That must have been a sight to behold! Well, Richard, you're a great talent, we're going to play out with the first international hit for ELO, a classic, do you want to introduce it for me?
RT: It's called Evil Woman.
CW: It certainly is, thank you for coming today.
RT: Thanks Charlie.
Transcribed by Helen Macdonald for The Official Carl Wayne Website
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