DPRP's Gert Hulshof speaks with
Neal Morse about his solo work
and his recent work with Transatlantic
On the 28th March 2010, I conducted a short telephone interview with Neal Morse. I recorded the complete interview for obvious reasons, however, some of the parts were not that easy to hear but with a little help I have managed to reproduce the interview to paper..
GERT: How are you doing?
NEAL: Iím fine, that is to say, I have been shooting some baskets with my son just yesterday and the odd thing happened, my son passes the ball to me and I am trying to catch this, but instead the ball hits my finger. Now the top joint just hangs.
Had me worried but I still can practice so I will hope for the best.
GERT: I sure hope you will be healthy again for the tour as we are looking forward to seeing Transatlantic live in 013 Tilburg in May.
NEAL: Yeah, You know itís sold out.
GERT: Really - I had not read about that yet - OK, well thatís cool. Well now for some questions on "Whirlwind" - this has been out since November, and is a fantastic album. Why did it take so long, almost a decade, to record a new Transatlantic album?
NEAL: It just did not feel the right time before. You know, God had been calling me out of Spockís beard and Transatlantic and I really dedicated myself to Jesus at that point in my life. It just did not occur, a bunch of things have happened since then. Yeah, I feel it has become a strong album, I am happy with what it has become, and we are looking forward performing "Whirlwind" live now.
GERT: "So Many Roads" had itís pre-release almost at the same time I think - and is just coming to the stores right now. I am doing a review of the album - also a good album. Why two medleys "Testimony" and "?"?
NEAL: Yeah what else can you do if you have these hours long albums, You cannot play the entire albums all the time so yeah a medley.
GERT: I was wondering why not play songs out of "Neal Morse" and "Itís Not Too Late"?
NEAL: "Testimony" was the first prog album I did and it seemed logical to do a medley. Why not the first two albums, really well you are the second person to be asking me this, I donít know just never thought of that really. They are not that proggy, they are more pop, although one of the songs ďwhole
Nother tripĒ is kinda prog?
GERT: We never saw you play them live.
NEAL: Iíll remember that, maybe I can consider doing the odd one in the future.
GERT: Religion plays an important role in your life now.
NEAL: Yes, that true, ever since I turned to Jesus I have been committed to Jesus in everything I do. You could say it has become a red line in my life yes.
GERT: There is a lot of discussion going on about the religion in your music as well?
NEAL: I feel I make music in a way I want the music to be, and Jesus is a red line in my life. I want to write lyrics that have a meaning to me, to try to get across a message. The message is not per se preaching religion, although my beliefs certainly are involved. I do not want to hit people over the head with my message. I donít feel it my task to turn them to religion. It is my belief. Through my music I want to give my message to the people. I want people to start thinking when they hear my music.
GERT: With all the discussion, you could say the message comes across in a certain way. Does this affect writing for Transatlantic or is writing for Transatlantic different than writing for your solo-albums?
NEAL: Writing for Transatlantic is very different, for one thing the songs do not need to be finished. They are more a shell at which we will work with the four of us into making it a complete song. Whilst writing for my own albums, I will write up to a finish. With Transatlantic itís a collaborative thing.
We are interrupted by Nealís wife Cherry asking Neal something before we can go on. I was a bit off guard after the interruption.
GERT: OK to continue right now?
GERT: In Europe, your live band are Dutch musicians, fans, a terrific band. They can beat your studio mates?
NEAL: I donít know about that but they are fantastic. By the way they are not all Dutch ... we do have one member who is English.
GERT: True, I forgot about that. Are there plans to do a studio album with this band?
NEAL: No, no plans, we have been considering it however.
GERT: Makes sense donít you think, we can then experience them in the studio and live playing their own recordings with you.
NEAL: Like I said we are considering this and yes we will keep this in mind for the future - maybe we will come round to doing it.
GERT: Your previous albums all have been live albums apart the last studio recording being "Lifeline" - are there plans already for a new solo studio album?
NEAL: No, there are no plans for a new studio album. I am concentrating on the Transatlantic tour right now. We will rehearse as Transatlantic in a few weeks, then hit the road with the show, therefore I am basically practicing for the upcoming Tour.
GERT: I saw Daniel Gildenlow is joining Transatlantic for the shows - how come?
NEAL: We were really pleased with him and enjoyed it last time. He was willing to come aboard and had the time, so why not. We really enjoyed it last time and so did he I reckon.
GERT: A completely different question to end. How about politics and the way all issues seem to be pushed through - like the Obama Health legislation?
NEAL: Ha, I am not much into politics, I think politicians are only busy with winning. They will not keep the health and well being of the people in mind. Politics is a game about winning and losing. As for the Health legislation we will see what it brings. For some people it will be beneficial for others it will not. We will see.
GERT: OK, that was it then Neal, do you have anything you want to add.
NEAL: Yeah, tell the readers to pray for my finger to heal (laughing)!
GERT: Thanks, hope to speak again soon.
Interview for DPRP by Gert Hulshof
Live Photograph of Transatlantic by Joris Donkel
Neal Morse - Official Website
Neal Morse - MySpace
Transatlantic Official Website
Transatlantic - MySpace
DPRP Concert Reviews: Transatlantic - May 2010
DPRP Review: Transatlantic - The Whirlwind (2009)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - So Many Roads (2009)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - Lifeline (2008)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura RTR (2007)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - ? RTR (2005)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - Inner Circle (2005)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - One RTR (2004)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - Testimony RTR (2003)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - It's Not Too Late (2001)
DPRP Review: Neal Morse - Neal Morse (1999)