Music Eyz Interview With Wendy James
Some of our younger readers may not be too familiar with Wendy James, if you aren’t then trust us when we say she stood out. Wendy is back with some solo material and amazingly did the interview you are about to read, amidst the chaos that is Hurricane Sandy and the following storm.
We talk Transvision Vamp, new material and how she has adapted to New York following her move from London.
Music Eyz: Wendy, thank you very much for taking the time to chat to us. For those that don’t know you, tell us about Wendy James.
Wendy James: I’m from London. I’m a singer. I’m a musician. I was in a band called Transvision Vamp. Then I made a record with Elvis Costello. Then I made 3 Solo Albums. Now I’ve released a single with the guitarist from the Stooges and the drummer from the Bad Seeds. And I’m recording currently my next Solo album. I live in New York City. This is my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/THEWENDYJAMES and this is the iTunes link for my new single: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/youre-so-great-single/id566665844?uo=4
Music Eyz: So you are from the UK but you have moved to NYC. What made you move and how have you adapted?
Wendy James: I always wanted to live in Manhattan, you know, I came here when I was 16 and it just fed me, the taxis, the street signs, the Avenue, The Hudson, The Sky-scrapers, the fast-talk, the action…. and then I found I had the chance to move so I moved. I’ve been here 10 years, so I’ve adapted to the pragmatic realities of New York City but… really I belong to the world of music and musicians. That’s where my heart and my imagination is.
Music Eyz: What do you miss most about the UK?
Wendy James: The pubs and a few good and true friends
Music Eyz: So we couldn’t let the chance go to speak to you without mentioning Transvision Vamp. The group was hugely successful, what was it like back then?
Wendy James: Big! and Fast!
Music Eyz: Your image and reputation in Transvision Vamp was pretty famous, was that really you or was it exaggerated for your career?
Wendy James: Well, I never had a stylist, so I guess it was me. But… unless I fact-check all the stuff written about me, I doubt much of it is accurate. How could it be? Everything is second person reporting with a subjective opinion, so… it gets convoluted at best, untrue at worst.
Music Eyz: What was the best memory of Transvision Vamp?
Wendy James: Brixton Academy and Glasgow Barrowlands
Music Eyz: We won’t dwell on the past too much as you have new material out. You obviously read our review, but can you tell us what you think of your new material?
Wendy James: I like it!! I think it’s fair to say I’ve improved with everything I’ve done over the years. I have become more fearless, more of an auteur, and very much in my own voice
Music Eyz: What motivated you to make ‘You’re So Great’ and ‘Its Alright’?
Wendy James: I met James Williamson, he is the guitarist in the Stooges, they are from Michigan, the Stooges drummer Scott Asheton was in Sonic’s Rendezvous Band. ‘You’re So Great’ is an SRB song and one of my favorites. I had in mind to record it, whomever I was playing with, but when I met James it was obvious we should do it together, and then I called up Jim Sclavunos the drummer from the Bad Seeds and asked if he was in town, and he was… so – simple. We did it. And covering Bob Dylan was the ultimate song for me. It is my song of choice of my life. We recorded together in Berkeley, California and then a couple of weeks later I mixed it there also
Music Eyz: Are these tracks indicative of what we can expect from you in the future?
Wendy James: I think there’s a continuity between ‘Racine 2’, ‘I Came Here To Blow Minds’, ‘You’re So Great/It’s Alright Ma’ and the new songs for my new album, even continuity back through to Transvision Vamp. I just get more hard-core, stronger, more musical as I go on…
Music Eyz: So obviously the music industry has changed a huge amount since the 80s and 90s when you experienced the height of your success. How have you adapted and what have you learned about today’s industry?
Wendy James: Make your own decisions. Believe in your convictions. Letting other people decide your fate is a lose/lose. At least if you fail (and really what is failure if you are pleased with something? It just means you didn’t make any money, it doesn’t necessarily diminish the work) but still – it’s better to fail on your own terms. A hell of a lot better than succeeding on someone elses’. I could be wrong! Owning nice houses and pretty clothes is cool too!
Music Eyz: What can we expect from Wendy James in the future?
Wendy James: More music, and I have no idea… I write the songs, I make them to the best of my ability at any given moment and beyond that, I have no idea. Who knows what is going to happen even half an hour from now? I never have a plan. The one thing that is steady in my life is my desire to write songs, record them, release them and perform them
Q) Music Eyz: Are you back in the UK any time soon?
A) Privately I’m sure I’ll be around Ladbroke Grove in the next few months, Publicly I just hope this single or the album warrant me being over there, touring, doing Radio, doing TV… doing some Festivals… but I cannot control that. Only the fans who buy the music can. If they buy it enough, then promoters will want to book me. If they don’t, they wont
Music Eyz: What are the Top 5 tracks on your iPod?
Wendy James: Can I calibrate what is played the most? Television, The Rolling Stones, The Stooges, The New York Dolls… I’m like everyone else, I pick and choose depending on the mood… Jay-Z is good for walking down Broadway!
Music Eyz: Anything you want to say to your fans and the readers of Music Eyz?
Wendy James: Well, I guess – um…… I know! Tell UK radio to start playing these tunes!!!
Music Eyz: Thanks again for your time Wendy. We hope to meet up when you get to London next and take you to a lovely pub.