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Interview:
Thomas Dolby celebrates past, eyes the future
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

On the 30th anniversary of his debut album, "The Golden Age of Wireless" -- and its Top 10 hit "She Blinded Me With Silence" -- Thomas Dolby is carting a time machine around the country.

It's a Time Capsule, actually. The 1930s mobile road trailer, which Dolby says "looks like it was designed by H.G. Wells and Nikola Tesla," houses a video studio that allows concert-goers to record 30-second messages to the future.

"The messages can be along the lines of, 'What would I like to tell my great-grandchildren?' or 'Which of todays' music should still be listened to in 100 years time?' " Dolby, 53, explains. "Or it could be, when our species is wiped off the face of the earth, 'What would I want to tell an alien visitor' or 'If you only had 30 seconds to live, what would you say, and to whom?' "

The videos will be posted on a Time Capsule channel on YouTube, and Dolby says he'll try to send the most popular messages (based on numbers of views) "sent into space."

"I know at least three people that have their own rockets, ranging from Richard Branson to X Prize winners," Dolby notes. "There's going to be hundreds of clips -- some hysterical, I suspect, and some profound. We'll want to share them as widely as possible."

Musically, meanwhile, Dolby has plenty of new material to play from his 2011 release "Map of the Floating City," but he won't be playing that at the expense of "The Golden Age of Wireless" or any of his other older favorites, either.

"I try and let the songs evolve and breathe rather than trying to replicate the way they were 25 years go," he explains. "You're never going to match it exactly, and psychologically you change and you don't feel the songs the same way, either. And some of them change quite rapidly...I like that you can let go and allow the decades that went in-between influence the choices you make."

"But I still think it was an innovative album. It was very fresh and pioneering. But I think that what made that album stand apart was they're songs I could just play on the piano and sing; they weren't dependent on the groove or the sound or the production. They were timeless songs, so they still sound relevant today."

Thomas Dolby, Aaron Jonah Lewis and Ben Belcher perform Wednesday, April 4, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Door open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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