TIM JACKSON – Better Late Than Never (Q&A)


‘I don’t really care how but I want it to be heard!’, says Tim Jackson. ‘Better Late Than Never’ is his first solo release.

A release Dopecausewesaid writes about as : ‘Absorbing his record collection of great singer-songwriters of the past 40+ years, you’ll hear shades of Paul Simon, Ben Folds, Tom Petty and yes, even Elton John in the title track’s piano break which could be the cheeky half-cousin of Crocodile Rock. The album is a musically intricate, sometimes sad but ultimately an uplifting story of fulfilling your dreams after being derailed by everyday life.‘.


Now go ahead and listen!


At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?


I was lucky enough to be able to record the record with some great musicians I have known for many years including Jon Green (producer/guitarist for James Bay, Linkin Park etc), Iain Hornal (Multi-instrumentalist for ELO) and Tom Meadows (Drummer for Kylie etc).


When we were playing the songs live in the studio it felt amazing as we were able to bring them to life together. The guys understood instinctively how to interpret my thoughts musically and the feeling of being totally in sync with one-another is one that anyone who has been lucky enough to play in a good band will be familiar with.




The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?


The record is already a success in the sense that when you listen to it back now, I feel it accurately represents my musicianship, feelings and it achieves what it set out to. I am proud of the songs and, for the first time in my life, I have been able to distill my ‘essence’ onto the record and listening to it tells you far more about me than I ever could be talking to you.


In terms of ‘commercial’ success, it won’t be a success in my eyes until everyone who I want to hear it is aware of it. They don’t have to like it but there is a demographic of music lovers who appreciate the craft of alternative singer-songwriting who I want to know about it. That can be from radio airplay, featuring in prominent steaming music playlists or having my song featured in a film or TV show – I don’t really care how but I want it to be heard!



Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?


There are many great songs that have the ability to seamlessly push artistic boundaries while being concise and catchy and that’s what really attracts me. For the past couple of years, I’ve been slightly obsessed with ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ by Paul Simon, so much so that the sound of it is clearly referenced on my own track ‘Calm Down’. It is both harmonically and melodically complex and ambitious but, at the same time, really memorable. The lyrics are simultaneously conversational, droll and emotional and it clocks in at almost exactly 3 minutes. It is a work of art.


Other songs that achieve this in my mind include ‘What A Fool Believes’ by Doobie Brothers and ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder which has one of the most outrageous chord changes in its chorus in musical history!




If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?


Haha – that’s a very dangerous question! Pop music history is littered with the corpses of bands and artists who were given too much time and money by their record labels to make their next album after having success on a limited time and budget. The best art always comes from limitations, whether that’s the Beatles creating magic with only 4-track recording, Bon Iver making an entire album with just and guitar in a log cabin or Bruce Springsteen making Nebraska with a home tape recorder.


That said, there are always exceptions to the rule and Wildflowers by Tom Petty was recorded over a couple of years and is one of the most immediate and tight records you could ever wish to hear. So, to answer your question, if I had an unlimited budget, firstly I would use it to spend time away from the distractions of everyday life and give myself the time to write 10 really good songs that stood on their own.


Then, I would get the best band together that I could – that would still be the same guys I have worked with for years as we have a shared intuition that you cannot buy. Then we would just spend weeks working on the songs and playing them before even thinking of recording them until they were as good as we could get them.


Finally, we would find a great studio with a great recording engineer and record them live as a band in a matter of a few days to capture the energy.


If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?


I would probably ask Billy Joel and Ben Folds Five. Three piano-playing singer-songwriters from three different eras the ’70s, ’90s and now all sharing a common instrument. I think it could be a great tour, the jazzy craft of classic period Billy Joel, the nerdy aggression of Ben Folds and the weary dad-rock of me. We could come together at the end in a triangle-shape of three huge grand pianos and play New York State Of Mind, Underground, and Better Late Than Never – well if you don’t ask, you don’t get!



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