maybe two months and that's definitely hard. One of the times; in 2006, Jen and Sophia (my daughter) was four and they came over for the English part of the tour and they
didn't actually accompany us everywhere we went on the tour but met us here and there on days off and stayed with friends and family and some B & B's around England and then they came home and I went on to Germany and Holland with Al and did another three
or four weeks. That was a long time to be gone and then in 2008 we were back over again doing Germany and Holland. Those times are challenging, but on the other hand those have been some of the most amazing tours I have done with Al with great audiences
and great venues and some great opportunities to get my music out there. I sold more CD's in Germany then just about anywhere I have ever played. That's the up side, and it is a balance, just trying to be as present as I can when I'm home. Contrary to
what some people might think, I don't just get to come home and basically take time off; there's plenty else to do.
Music Arts: Well that leads up to my next question. What percentage of the time is spent on your own endeavors aside from your touring with Al?
Dave: Well there's not as much time as I would like to spend on my own music, per se. With touring and gigging there is very little time for me to book any solo stuff because I never know for sure what Al is going to be doing, because I never know very far in advance what is going to show up on the tour schedule. He doesn't know. You just wait to hear from the agent as to what gigs have come in. Sometimes they just come in at the last minute. So that makes it hard in terms of booking my own stuff, and as you know, I do a lot of house concerts and private events. Sometimes we can set those up at the last minute and I can work them around what Al's doing. So in terms of gigging I don't do a huge amount because it's too hard to work that around Al's schedule. In terms of recording, I did manage to get this new album "Step Up," recorded, which I'm very happy with. The trick is also getting out and promoting it, which would involve more gigging. It would also involve sending it to radio and that sort of thing. I've had a little bit of success getting it out but I haven't tried very hard. Again, radio these days is nothing like it used to be. It's always been hard to get airplay unless you are with a huge, major label. Now radio's become so fragmented it's hard to know where to even try to get airplay.
Music Arts: I know there's no payola anymore and radio stations have to adhere to there format as to what they are going to play on rotation, that's unless you can get in with an independent radio station.
Dave: But they're all inundated, even if they like what you send them, they might play it once or twice. There's a public radio station in Sacramento that once a week they have a show that features local acts that is mixed with international acts for three or four hours on Saturday evening. Since my new album "Step Up" has come out they have been featuring it, maybe not every week, but two out of three shows they will play a track from it. Which is great but that is nothing like rotation on a real commercial radio station where they play your song ten times a day, everyday, and people really get to know it. So it's a whole different thing. I think people now are discovering a lot of music through You-Tube, which is fine if you have a really snazzy video that catches peoples attention or you've got a novelty song or something weird that goes viral. A lot of that stuff doesn't tend to last; it's sort of a flash in the pan. The whole industry is in kind of strange place. I do a lot of different things. I do songwriting workshops in schools. I write custom songs for people. I'm starting to do more production for people. I do studio work for people long distance because I'm not exactly in a major music hub but it doesn't matter, it allows me to put guitar tracks or people tracks on their stuff from where ever they are using the Internet. It's kind of like a lot of musicians aren't wildly famous or anything, but who are full-time players who patch together a whole lot of different little things to make it work. That's kind of what I do. I would love to focus a little more on my own songwriting, my own recording and things like that. I've been doing a few more shows with a full band, which is pretty fun. I've gotten to play with some really great players. I can't really afford to tour with a band so what I need to do is develop little mini bands in different regions, so that when I go to an area I can call those players who will know my stuff.
Music Arts: I really liked your song "The Loyalist." Spending so much time playing Al's music do you find yourself writing more ballads?
Dave: You know, I think being with Al all the time has changed my writing somewhat, I'm definitely always aware of his opinions about songs and his particular point of view. He has a very particular style of writing and he has been a big influence on me but I have other influences too. I don't know that I write more ballads then ever. I have always been drawn to story telling in songs and that is what I love about Al's music and that is part of why we have an affinity. I don't know if I am doing more of that now then I was before. I don't know if it has really changed my writing that much. I just do what I do but he's been an influence even before I started playing with him. Hopefully spending all this time working with him I've picked up a few tricks and generally kind of absorbed some of what he does.
Music Arts: Yeah, Al's a walking thesaurus. He's amazing the words he puts into songs.
Dave: Well Al and I have that in common, we both like unusual and interesting words; we like language. A friend of mine was telling me he counted at least three six-syllable words and a couple of five-syllable words on the new album. It's not the sort of thing that I think is being done a lot in songs at the top of the charts. Ultimately one of the things that I figured out is that as an artist, you have to make music that you really like, because if you don't, it's not going to feel real. People are going to pick up on that. If you are just trying to write something that someone else is going to like, but not writing something you can respect yourself, it won't work. You have to do something where if it weren't your own music, you would still go out and buy it. That's the goal, you put it on and go, "I really enjoy that!" As Al himself would say, "It doesn't always happen." Al has, I think, seventeen albums and he likes about half of them. I'm sure at least when he was recording them he liked all of them. You aim as high as you can and sometimes it works out and some times it doesn't work out as well. Also, there's how it works out commercially and how it works out artistically. I don't think I am giving away any big secrets when I say that Al is not terribly fond of some of his most commercial successes and yet he is very fond of some of the songs he has written that were not big hits. I feel kind of the same way. I know that there are fans who love "Song on the Radio" and it has a place in my heart simply because of the time and the place, but it's like pulling teeth to get Al to play that song. He almost never plays it. In fact, the story that he tells is that Clive Davis sat him down in a taxi and rode him around New York City saying; "Ok now, for your next song, I want one hundred twenty beats per minute, a sax solo in the middle and dah...dah..dah"; he got so mad at being dictated to that he wrote that as a slap in the face to Clive. You're on my mind like a song on the radio; it's such an obvious commercial thing. Oh course the irony is; he did that and it was actually commercially successful. But take, "Old Admirals," or "Roads to Moscow;" these are songs that are so incredible that nobody else could have written. I think they are part of a legacy that is really lasting and yet they (these songs) never could have been big commercial hits.
Music Arts: Finishing up, I'd like to ask you what you would like your fans to know about the direction of your music for 2012 and beyond?
Dave: I guess the I plan to continue on the path that I launched on to in "Step Up." I'm kind of excited about doing stuff that's a little more rock and poppy, less folky. There will always be that folk element because that is where I came out of but it really is fun to put on an electric guitar and rock out too. So I am definitely going to be looking for more opportunities to do more shows with a full band. I'm exploring trying to do some instrumental stuff and to make some music for film, TV and advertising and that sort of thing and collaborating with different people to explore that. But primarily I really want to try and get out there some this year and see if I can do some more stuff with a full band. Maybe we'll get the call and find out that they want Al to come back to Europe and I get to go along and we could do another run over there. I'd particularly like to get back to Germany because that was a really interesting experience the couple of time that I did that.
Music Arts: Well we certainly are looking forward to seeing you and Al March 3rd at Anthology in San Diego.
Listen to Dave's music and read more at his website http://www.davenach.com
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The Give a Damn Campaign is a project of the True Colors Fund, founded by Cyndi Lauper. The True Colors Fund works to inspire and engage everyone, especially the straight community, to get involved in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. As an advocate for more than 25 years, Cyndi has worked to bring her straight peers on board in support of equality. As she says, "If one us is not equal, none of us are."