Interview with Graeme Duffin of Wet Wet Wet - a WW exclusive

Graeme Duffin is a member of Wet Wet Wet. He played lead guitar on that song, did vocals on it and has appeared on Top of the Pops a total of 56 times.

He also runs a successful recording studio in Scotland and has a daughter who was recently invited over to Nashville by the man who produced Neil Young's Harvest album. Graeme also has a stammer. In the interview we talk about his work with aspiring pop idols, his involvement with Wet Wet Wet, Esther, his daughter, and speech difficulties, as highlighted by the movie The King's Speech. We also talk about fame and how much it costs. We talk about how Robbie Williams cleaned out the money pot at Chrysalis and the shocking revelation that Graeme Duffin of Wet Wet Wet is into Prog Rock!

An extract is published here. To read it all click the tab above marked

WW: Graeme, we’re sitting in this marvellous studio, at the Foundry Music Lab

GD: Aye, it’s not much but it’s home

WW: You have provided a fantastic opportunity for young aspiring musicians..

GD: Well we not only have the studio here but we have a couple of rehearsal rooms and a training lab as well where we run some courses in conjunction with our local Motherwell College. We do NVQ, an HNC and an HND in music technology and it’s and kind of rock and pop performance-based course where they can access our years of production experience. The Studio itself is mostly for private projects. The idea of the name Foundry came because we are virtually on the site of the old Ravenscraig Steelworks.

WW: What do you think motivates people who want to become professional performers?

GD: I think there are two main streams, two lines of thought. For some people, they see things that go on in the reality TV shows, where it is all about 15 minutes of fame. It is basically a karaoke competition. Shows like Pop Idol and The X-Factor generate huge amounts of cash for the industry but all that happens is that you have a vacant celebrity slot that is available at the end of the competition and the person who gets the most votes ends up in this position. Depending on the sort of person this is, they can end up having quite a stellar career or else they can be almost immediately dropped, which is damaging and harmful.
So one answer to that question may be fame, people just want to be famous, end of story. The other type of person is the artist. First and foremost it’s the artistic integrity that is important. They are not really interested in selling out or being manipulated by the system. It becomes very difficult for them because if you are so artistically minded that you aren’t willing to engage with the system and engage with what remains of the music industry, which is rapidly changing, then that type of musician can end up being side-lined and ultimately, ignored. The type of person who tends to make something of it has first of all a certain level of talent and ability. But you also need to have a real business acumen, drive and a focus on where your career is going, and at that point it is about the determination to continue to carry on and work as hard as you can.

WW: So you have a balance between musicianship and fame. At this point, which of these two streams is likely to get you in? Can you be a talentless nobody with lots of chutzpah.?

GD: Yeah! I think that’s possible and people have made careers out of that, out of just being famous for no reason other than being famous.

WW: Would Wet Wet Wet have made it today?

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Jim Baxter said...

OK. Read all of that. It's about as interesting as something well worth reading. Somebody who can talk honestly without any self-interested distortions, just talking about what they do and people they know who do the same. In this case it's somebody whose work a lot of people know about.

We are most of us interested in all types of lives of course. You just need somebody who can talk without any self-interested distortions. They're all around.

(The 'tape was still running'? You mean you hadn't switched off the iPod? Or what kind of machine were you using man? This is 2011!)

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Sadly Jim there was no tape. a eupemism for something I don't understand. Graeme spent about three quarters of an hour setting us up with a pair of AKG cardioid mikes, taking the time due to a bug somewhere, and then just clicked a mouse and then gave me a WAV file which was about 750 megs.

Smoking Hot said...

Thanks for that. Amazing how something becomes so relevant out of the blue. l also have a stammer, very slight every now and then but when l was very young it was bad. l still remember my mother taking me to a specialist when l was about 8? 9? . He wanted me to put wooden shapes in the relevant holes. l got angry and turned to my mother and said "He thinks l'm stupid. l'm not doing this. l want to go home" Not a trace of a stammer.

My mother took me home ... got an ice-cream on the way back too. :)

p.s. Bit naughty telling him you hated the song :)

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Smoking, thanks for sharing that. I suspect a lot of people will feel a bit more comfortable about stammering because of the film, or at least that they are not alone.

ps I did not really hate the song and as I said, listening to it again, it was great.

I forgot to ask him what Reg Presley thought about it all.

Smoking Hot said...

l hope it does for them. Personally l really never had an issue with it, l just lived with it and it just got less and less.

Liked him talking about his daughter. Last band's kids l was reading about was Led Zep.

Foxy Brown said...

@ Jim,

You just need somebody who can talk without any self-interested distortions. They're all around.

I think they're a dying breed, or they tend to be getting on a bit - which is pretty much the same thing.

The blog looks wonderful.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you Foxy. I have to admit that my reader demographic tends towards the over 50's. Since I am in that category it is perhaps not surprising. The thing is, many of us are hippies at heart, but with cleaner underwear and a few bills to pay.