Street Date: Interview With Christopher Cross Upon Release Of New Album “Doctor Faith”
Oscar and five-time GRAMMY winner, [lastfm]Christopher Cross[/lastfm] is a music icon, best known for his #1 smash hit, 1980’s “Sailing.” Since the ’80s he has been a touring machine, averaging 100+ shows per year in all corners of the world.
Now, after a 12-year hiatus, he is back and better than ever with his new album, Doctor Faith. Read on for our exclusive interview, and check out Doctor Faith, streaming right now at Cross’ website.
Stream the entire new record on Chris’ website — click here to listen!
Recently we had the pleasure of speaking to [lastfm]Christopher Cross[/lastfm] by phone. Here are excerpts from our conversation about life, politics, and new album Doctor Faith.
SD: Doctor Faith must be a pretty exciting project for you. It is several years in the making, is that true?
[lastfm]Christopher Cross[/lastfm]: Yeah about 3 years in the making of it and it’s been 12 years since I’ve made a record of new songs. So it’s been a while.
SD: It sounds like these songs follow a bit of a common thread – is there any sort of narrative going through the album?
CC: Well production wise, first off, I’m a guitarist so all of my past records have been produced more like [lastfm]Steely Dan[/lastfm] records. This album I produced myself and it came from a guitarist point of view and it is a guitar oriented sounding record, more like a [lastfm]Crowded House[/lastfm] record. So that was a big change, and I produced it myself. Lyrically and thematically, the title Doctor Faith, that song is about therapy, psychotherapy, and that song is about emotions and personal insight. I think all the songs on the record sort of go along with that.
SD: I get that in particular from the first two songs: “Hey Kid” and “I’m Too Old For This.” Do you feel like you’re imparting some wisdom upon a new?
CC: The first is certainly cross-generational just like [lastfm]Bob Dylan[/lastfm]’s “Time’s They Are A Changin'”. You know look, I’m not done but it’s your time to say what you have to say and we also apologize a little for the set of cards they have been handed. It gives some advice but it is definitely cross-generational and just sort of saying “were handing you the baton now, it’s time for you to run, do the best you can.”
Then “I’m Too Old For This” is really sort of a Bill Maher rant. You know, we’re [Cross, and long-time writing partner Rob Meurer] both 60 and at this point in our lives we really thought things would be different and things would be a little more compatible, politically and societally. You know the US is pretty disappointing, everything from Congress to Kim Kardashian so you just got to get set up with it and we just wanted to express that. It is a little untypical of a song coming from this sort of soft pop guy.
SD: In particular with “Hey Kid”, is that aimed at the younger generation in general or is it specific to people making music from that generation?
CC: I think it’s for all young people. I think when were musicians we use those metaphors sometimes like “practice your chops” and “practice your smile” but those can be applicable to anything. It could be science or sales or anything like that. You just want to hone your craft, whatever it may be.
SD: In “We’re Too Old For This,” you quote Dylan Thomas. Does he inspire you or is that just a line you happen to like?
CC: Well he is a great writer and the line is very inspiring and it worked in that place and regardless of how the song is trying not to surrender to all this mess. Clearly in the end we’re saying exactly what Dylan said. Don’t surrender to the dying light; don’t take it lying down. We got to fight this. You can’t let them win. You got to fight for quality art and equality and all the things that we’re fighting for, the things we believe in. Choice and preference and all those things that we support. We don’t want to give up that fight. You got to keep doing it. [lastfm]Bob Dylan[/lastfm] says in one of his songs “it’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there” and you don’t want to give it up and call it a day until the very end.
SD: Outside of Bob Dylan, are there musicians or lyricists who’ve influenced you over your long career?
CC: Well this album is dedicated to [lastfm]Joni Mitchell[/lastfm] and down at the bottom of the record it says “for lifetime inspiration, I dedicate this album to Joni.” Of all the artists in my life, lyrically, harmonically, and just in terms of her career path, her artistic journey, Joni is the number one influence.
SD: Historically you have been a touring machine – your bio says you have been averaging 100 shows a year. Are you hitting the road as hard as ever?
CC: It has dropped off a little bit because of the economy. We are doing 60-70 shows. But I was in Japan and then went over to Europe and I’m going back to Europe. I still tour a lot and it’s where the income is and it also reaches your fans. There is no better way to promote a record than with the new music.