The Exclusive Adam Wakeman Interview
As is almost a continuing theme of some of my recent interviews, it is surely never easy for a child of a legendary musician to step out of the shadows of their famous parent and make their own name in the music business. But Adam Wakeman has done a phenomenal job of doing just that. He admittedly was a little nervous about stepping on stage with his father, Rick Wakeman, for the first time in 1993, after recording an album together for the first time earlier that year. Bbut when people took notice that he more than held his own behind the stacks of keyboards, he knew anything was possible. Now, after recording multiple solo albums and contributing to other projects such as the bands Artful Dodger and Shooter, as well as working with such artists as Lisa Stansfield, Tony Hadley, and Atomic Kitten, Adam has turned his attention towards his just-finished solo album, Neurasthenia, which shows Adam and his band taking a decidedly harder, almost alternative approach. Adam was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions for me here, and you will surely enjoy this interview!
[Billy Donald] Adam, thank You so much for taking the time to join me here! I see by checking out your great site that you have been a very busy guy lately with tours, guest appearances, and your new album, Neurasthenia. How do you like the finished product on the new record?
Adam Wakeman I'm really pleased with the finished masters. Its taken over two years to get the album finished. This is one advantage to having complete control over the project from day one. There were no record company guys telling me to make it more or less commercial or checking mixes along the way. The result is an album that is really personal, and hopefully people will relate to that.
[Billy Donald] You said on your site that Neurasthenia takes a more band-like approach this time around and you weren't kidding! I really enjoyed the sound samples on your site. Many of the tracks, such as "Sacred," have some real attitude! Did you do the vocals yourself?
Adam Wakeman Yes, vocals, guitar & keyboards. "Sacred" is one of my favourite tracks. There are three or four quite heavy tracks ("Paranoid Love Song" and "Speak" being two of them). The band vibe really comes across and I can't wait to get some live shows happening.
[Billy Donald] When do you anticipate the albums release? Will there be a release in the U.S.?
Adam Wakeman At the moment, the album's UD release date will be dictated by our distributor. This in turn will be dictated by the pre-release reviews that we are waiting for. I think realistically October/November, but I hopeearlier. (I'm just very impatient!) As for US release, no record companies have been approached in the us, but will be shortly.
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[Billy Donald] I guess one of the obvious questions here would have to be what does your dad think of your music?
Adam Wakeman I sent him a copy late June, but I haven't heard back from him yet! He hasn't heard any of it while I was making it, as I didn't want anyone to hear it until it was finished.
[Billy Donald] You have done a great job of carving out your own style and you are nicely making a name for yourself with your music. Did you ever feel like there was a lot of pressure on you since you were following in your dad's footsteps?
Adam Wakeman In the early days of touring with my dad, I occasionally had times where it was quite difficult to get on stage without thinking that the audience only thought I was there because of my father. The important thing was to remember why I was there. I am fortunate enough to have a job that I love, which can be hard enough at times without creating reasons for it to be harder! Any pressures in the early days have long since faded. Now I just concentrate on making music I enjoy, which hopefully others will too.
[Billy Donald] You have several siblings that are also involved in music in some way or another. Is there any friendly competition at all between yourself and your brothers and sister?
Adam Wakeman There's no real competition between us and our paths are very different. My brother Oliver has been releasing some good albums for a few years and I admire the fact that he's doing exactly what he wants. That's something that too many musicians forget. There's no point if your not enjoying what you're producing. That comes across, I think, when you listen to bands/artists that are putting records out that they aren't into. Jemma's writing for a publisher which she signed to last year and has written some great songs.
[Billy Donald] You achieved a real milestone by becoming the first child of a Yes member to play live with the band! You were waiting in the wings to sub for Igor Khoroshev at a 1998 Yes gig in England until he showed up at the last minute. However, you did join the band for the encore. How did you enjoy that experience?
Adam Wakeman That was a great feeling to be involved - even for such a short time - with the band. It was seeing Dad with Yes all those years ago, when I was younger, that made me want to do this for a living. The previous two days of frantic rehearsing, however, was slightly more nerve-racking!! Still, it stood me in good stead for producing the Yes tribute album, The Revealing Songs of Yes, last year!
[Billy Donald] Adam, I want to thank you so much for joining me here and I'll be looking out for the Neurasthenia release in the near future! Do you have any touring plans after the album? Any chance that we might see you in the States again?
Adam Wakeman I would love to come to the States again. I toured with a band called Shooter in 1999 and spent about five-six months there. It would be a dream to get my band there … but we have to get a release first! (any suggestions gratefully appreciated!) Thanx - Adam