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Having recently become a father and conscious of the legacy he’ll leave behind, Newton Faulkner returns to “have a positive impact on people’s brains.”
Paul Nolan, 23 Aug 2012
Did it afford him the opportunity to meet musical heroes?
“I’ve obviously met all the guitar people in my kind of bizarre, specialist acoustic genre,” replies Newton. “I’ve got to know quite a few – Thomas Leeb, an Austrian player, helped me arrange stuff on this album. He’s become quite a good friend, and was the first person whose stuff I started learning when I began playing guitar. That’s going back to when I was 15, so it’s amazing. The most starstruck I’ve ever been was quite random. If you’d asked me beforehand what I’d do if I met them, I would have said, ‘I’d just say ‘hey guys, how are you doing?’’ But I was a bit of a gibbering wreck when I met The Proclaimers. (Laughs) It was really strange!
“It was backstage at V. The entire cast of Hollyoaks was there, and Matt Lucas and Paul Rudd were hanging out, which was a weird pairing! I was like, ‘who the hell is that?’ Then I turned to go on and The Proclaimers were there, and they went, ‘Oh, hello mate’. And I went (babbles excitedly). I just couldn’t do it!”
You also did Jay Leno.
“Yeah, I was on with William Shatner,” Newton laughs. “I’d pay him a lot of money to do a spoken word version of one of my songs – maybe it can be part of the promo for the single!”
One of the singles on Hand Built By Robots was a cover of Massive Attack’s sublime ‘Teardrop’. I wonder if Newton ever had any feedback on it from the Bristol outfit?
“I did actually,” he affirms. “I was on a train with one of the guys from Massive Attack and I didn’t know him, apparently he clocked me. I think it was actually his girlfriend who said, ‘Sorry, I have to introduce you – this is the guy who wrote ‘Teardrop’. I was like, ‘No fucking way! Amazing!’”
Oddly, Jose Gonzalez also had a cover of ‘Teardrop’ out around the same time. Could we say that was the folk equivalent of Blur vs. Oasis?
“That got a bit dark!” Newton winces. “Not from him, but fans were like, ‘You stole the idea off him – he’s been doing it for years!’ I’d been doing it for a while as well, so it was just one of those bizarre things.”