THE INTERVIEW: Prog Rock Legend Eddie Jobson

Check out prog rock legend Eddie Jobson and his “One Night World Tour” with his new band UKZ at Town Hall, NYC Sat. 1/24.

Eddie Jobson has played keys (and electric violin) with such luminary classic rock outfits as Roxy Music and Jethro Tull, was one of the principals of the brilliant band UK, has released a slew of innovative solo albums, runs two labels, writes countless jingle and TV scores (he has a few Clio awards under his belt) and when he has time, conducts the Bulgarian Women’s Choir. Not that he isn’t busy enough, but for the first time in 27 years Jobson is stepping on stage (Town Hall this Sat, the 24th at 8pm) for the “One Night World Tour” with his new band UKZ. I talked to him about the band, the show, the new UKZ Radiation EP…and about his life.

First and foremost, it’s wonderful to hear new music from you, at least in a band setting. Tell me about the process of picking out a band from You Tube auditions? That’s a pretty unique approach.

That’s just the way it is these days, with the whole structure of the music business having just collapsed. You don’t have the management or the agents the way you used to get. Now it’s just yourself and the Internet. So I got these great players from around the world. *NOTE: The band is Aaron Lippert on vocals, the infamous Trey Gunn on ‘Warr’ touch guitar (wait ‘til you hear him play this thing!), Alex Machacek on guitar, and the amazing Marco Minnemann on drums (with Jobson on keys and violin, of course).

Do you have a philosophy or concept this time around with UKZ?

I wanted to be relevant and contemporary. One of the key parameters for me was that what we were doing had to be contemporary.

Can you tell me a little about the custom $80,000 keyboard rig you’re using for the Town Hall show?

Well I’m not sure about $80…well maybe with all the computers. The modern way to do anything on stage these days is with computers and computer software. And they are great, but then again I have a fear that I’ll hit a note and nothing comes out or the wrong sound comes out (laughs).

Does it really feel like 27 years since you played with a band like this?

I can’t believe it’s been that long, I feel like no time has passed. I keep getting hit with reality, when I hear people say “well your generation….” Other than a brief show I did with King Crimson last year, I haven’t been playing like this since I was on stage with Jethro Tull at the LA Forum in 1981.

King Crimson? They just played here before Xmas actually. That must have been quite a challenge to get up and play with those guys after all that time off stage.

Yeah, I was on stage playing with them for over 1000 people in this huge open air festival. We played all instrumentals that night and I was standing center stage playing my violin.

Why Town Hall for the “One City World Tour”?

Well this is the “One City World Tour” and New York is the capitol of the world. I have people flying in from all over the place and New York just seemed like the most central place to do it. I wanted to play in a theater just because I don’t see UKZ as a club band and Town Hall is perfect. By the way, they tell us we have the biggest light show they’ve had in a hundred years.

As I was watching the video for Radiation on YouTube and I was hoping for the violin, and was tickled to hear it, how much of a part does it play on the UKZ EP?

My approach to the violin this time has been a little bit different. It’s almost like a guitar riff approach. For instance, on Radiation you don’t really know when the violin takes over the guitar solo. The song has been downloaded in over 17 countries and I’m getting emails where people are responding that they don’t know what instrument is what…unless you see the video of course. That happens a lot with this group.

Being the crusty-old prog head that I am, I have read rumors of a UK reunion. Is that going to happen?

No. There was. I have been trying to make it happen since 1993. I’ve gotten close a few times. At this point, in many ways, UKZ is the result of failing to get UK back together, but there was too much baggage really and I’ve come to the realization that this is much healthier.

Being a long time fan, I have many favorites of yours, in fact one of my sister’s most favorite albums is your solo album Green. She actually bonded over that with her husband; it was something they found they had in common when they first met.

It’s an amazing thing, even when you don’t think about it, but every album ends up being the most important album for someone, representing a part of the life. That’s really the wonderful part for me, when I hear that someone has been touched by my music that way.

When does the UKZ EP Radiation come out?

It will be released on March 24th, but you can buy it from my label’s website and other prog rock sites as well.

To see Eddie Jobson and his new band UKZ at Town Hall tomorrow, Saturday January 24 at 8pm for the “One Night World Tour” you can get tickets Here

Ralph Greco

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