Interview with Bassist/Instrumentalist Nick Beggs (The Mute Gods, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, ex-Kajagoogoo)
Beggs, front and center, with Roger King (left) and Marco Minneman
He’s a multi-instrumentalist (best known for Bass & Chapman Stick) who has been seen backing the likes of Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, and John Paul Jones among countless others. His musicianship has been chosen by the cream of the crop of musicians, making him part of the cream of the crop himself. But for most people, he’s known for laying down that funky bass line on the 80’s synth-pop classic, “Too Shy” as a member of Kajagoogoo. However, his merits have proven him to be more than just part of a band who had that one hit.
With all of this music amassed, it’s a surprise that Nick Beggs has never pursued something to a more singular nature with a band that he could call his own. After a suggestion by Inside Out Music founder Thomas Waber for Beggs to create his own record. The wheels began their motion as both Marco Minnemann and Roger King entered the picture to round out what would become The Mute Gods, and a collective of personal tunage would be unleashed.
Written and recorded while on the road, Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me possesses multi-dimensional elements of tuneful grandeur. You hear a plethora of the various styles he has played over the course of his career, yet the focus for melodic intricacy zeros in on the creation of hook laden material, even with the instrumental tune “In the Crosshairs,” complete with hard rock flair alongside its Page-esque guitar commanding this nugget. That same hard edged stance blares from the speakers with both “Feed the Troll” and the title track. Even with “Nightschool for Idiots” taking a mellower turn alongside the pop mastery of “Strange Relationship,” you still hear where his heart lies both musically and lyrically. Beggs holds his own with this record
TOMMY HASH: Would you consider this new album your debut solo album?
NICK BEGGS: Yes, this is my own project which I put together as Thomas Waber (Inside Out Records Founder) suggested that I do something (on my own), because I had been working with lots of different people over the years. With that, the idea came up that I should be writing my own material and put a project together. So I took his advice, and as I had been working with Roger King and Marco Minnemann with both Steve Hackett and the Steven Wilson band, I figured they would be two people that I would love to get involved (with this). I asked Roger if he would be interested in producing the record for me because I didn’t want to produce it and write it concurrently. And then I asked Marco to play drums – he agreed, and that’s how it took shape.
TH: How did the album gain momentum as it was taking shape, did you feel that there was a great amount of energy with everybody involved when things got in gear?
NB: Roger King and Marco Minneman had never met, we were never in the studio (together). This record was made as a traveling experiment with me writing the material and file sharing. So everything was done on the road while I was touring. I wrote all of the songs in hotels, backstage areas, and dressing rooms. Then I sent the files to Roger, then we sent the files to Marco.
TH: With your track record working with so many different artists, what was like creating something that was yours?
NB: It was the first time where I have had a band where I was the lead singer and where I was writing all of the material myself. I never decided to be a solo artist, really. In so many respects, that was the original aspect of it in terms of history; with me at the helm, directing everything
TH: Did you find this a challenge?
NB: It felt surprisingly comfortable by many respects, regardless of having been in many bands over the years and contributed many projects. But I felt quite at home doing it.
TH: The title of the song “Night School for Idiots” really stands out. Was there a personal approach to the lyrics?
NB: Its a record which is autobiographical and also observational. There are personal experiences that are referred to.
TH: Having been involved in the 80’s scene, do you feel that the musicianship from the new wave era was overlooked at the time (with fashion and all that). There have been articles in the past where artists such as Talk Talk, Thomas Dolby, and even Devo have been debated as possibly being progressive rock.
NB: I think the media looked for “broad stroke” and looked at the headlines; they would pigeonhole anything they can just to get a headline. That was just sloppy.
TH: And as a musician, with all of the bands/artists you have worked with, what is it that you want to bring to the table for everyone you work with?
NB: I want to fulfill the brief, stay true to the artist or the band. I listen to the artists and try to interpret what they want on the record. Very often it’s working with them to give them what they need and that’s where this record is different. When looking at The Mutes Gods, this album is really me doing what I want to do.
The brief conversation ends, but in closing, when asked what he will be working on the future, he states that more music from The Mutes Gods will be on the way; plus he tells me that both Madonna and David Gilmour have approached him about playing on their records. Nice hints indeed!
Copyright & Publishing: 2016 Tommy Hash for Ytsejam.com