More well known for his sublime piano ballads like Ginger Man and Little Ray Of Sunshine, Brian Cadd has delivered a new solo album, Bulletproof, his first in 11 years.
Brian Cadd’s new solo album, Bulletproof, his first in 11 years, is a reminder to fans how much his ‘70s Bootleg Family Band kicked out the jams live on stage.
“That was its very intention,” the former Perth-boy says of the rock’n’roll nature of the record. “From the very first bar of the first song, it was going to be a rock album, and it turned out to be so.”
Cadd reformed the Bootleg Family Band for the record, enlisting past members Tony Naylor, Gus Fenwick and Geoff Cox.
“We wanted to make an album that was representative not of the records we had back then, but was representative of the live shows we used to do,” Cadd explains. “We were always on 11! It was loud and raucous – it was full on, but the records I became best known for were things like Ginger Man, Let Go and Little Ray Of Sunshine and those things. I always say to people that the real sound of the band was live. We were basically a rock and roll band.
“The album was recorded the way it would have been back then. We were going to all be in the same room at the same time playing it basically live in the studio. We were never going to do any more than three takes of any song. That really ratcheted up the tension, I can tell you.”
The result is a completely organic sounding album – very ‘70s in feel and groove, but very sonically now. It may be Cadd’s best record yet. There is a real US flavour to a few of the 12 tracks, so it is no surprise to discover that Cadd has plucked many of them from his own back pages, writing for other artists, or touring The States as a member of The Flying Burrito Brothers.
“Mostly that’s the three songs that I’d written for other people,” he explains. “They were always going to be for Joe Cocker [I Still Can’t Believe It’s True], the Pointers [The Pointer Sisters – Love Is Like A Rolling Stone], and Bonnie [Tyler – Yesterday’s Dreams]. I’m very happy and proud that they did record them – it was lovely – but years go by and somebody asks you to play the Cocker song or play Bonnie Tyler’s, and I had this feeling that I missed something, that I really should have done a version of those myself just because they are really good rock songs.”
If it sounds so far that Cadd is using Bulletproof to revisit his past – finally recording his old songs that were hits for other people; returning to the rocking ‘70s live sound of his beloved band – wait until you hear the ode to years-of-obscurity, Long Time Til The First Time, a tale of struggling for years before finally getting even a minor hit. Similar in style to much of Ian Hunter’s (Mott The Hoople) work, it’s a knockabout story that will be familiar to everyone who put the hard yards into a band. “
Yes. I have to say something,” Cadd declares, before launching into the wonderful raspy storytelling mode that made his 2010 autobiography such an enjoyable read. “I was in Nashville, I had the band tracks with me – I’d put a rough vocal down. I wanted to do the vocal again, and I have a very, very old friend who has a little studio there. I said, ‘would you mind if I did a vocal on that thing?’ I get to about the third run though, he presses the button and he says to me, ‘this song’s about all of us, isn’t it?’
“That’s exactly right: it is. It’s about all of us who’ve had the same set of struggles, albeit in different countries and at different times and generations and eras. You still had that fundamental basic struggle to get something on the radio, or get something out to the people to get them to like it, or to get them to come and watch you play. To get them, is the main mission for our industry.”
In our 20’s we all thought, ’50 is so fucking old,’ but once we get there, we still feel in our late 20’s apart from the dodgy knee or sore back, [speaking from experience here]. Cadd laughs heartily and couldn’t agree more.
“That’s right! My theory is I stopped at 28. This year I was 70. It’s my 50th year in the business. Now, sometimes in the morning getting to the corner is a bit harder than it used to be, but I’m telling you, once you get onstage and the adrenaline kicks in and the music’s loud and the audience is rocking, you are 28 again. That’s why you tend to do really ridiculous things onstage that you probably shouldn’t physically try and do – you are 28! That’s really the thing about hanging up your boots. That will happen to me when I no longer feel like that, when I come off stage one night and I really feel like a ridiculous silly old man leaping around – then I’ll probably stop. Until then, I’d rather rock than not rock.”
There seems no immediate danger of that happening – indeed, Cadd will be touring Bulletproof through 2017. Whilst he won’t be able to bring the full Bootleg Family Band and guests to WA – “imagine the bar bill!” – he is adamant they’ll be coming at some point.
In the meantime, Cadd is touring with his old Axiom bandmate, ex-Little River Band singer Glenn Shorrock on these dates:
Thursday, March 16 – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany
Friday, March 17 – Bunbury Entertainment Centre, Bunbury
Saturday, March 18 – Astor Theatre, Perth Sunday, March 19- Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Mandurah