Take 2: Toby Bourke
Toby, you used to be signed to Aegean Records, George Michael's record label. Could you tell us about your departure from Aegean?
After Waltz it became increasingly clear that George had lost interest in the whole idea. He was in the midst of deep grief regarding his mother's death; my own mother died 6 weeks ago so I can understand that he was 'distracted' to say the least.
How was your working relationship with George?
With George it was really good. We got on well and shared a keen interest in generally talking bollocks about most things, in particular politics and generally being rude about the Tory party. He was undoubtedly a perfectionist in the studio and this was a discipline I hope I learned from. He was always polite and fairly patient with me while we were doing Waltz.
Did George's arrest have a negative impact on your career?
No more than it did on his! I think George handled the arrest thing really well. I saw him a week or so later after he got back from LA, and he was just bewildered by the maelstrom of media interest. He was undoubtedly entrapped and in this country the offence would have earned him a mild judicial rebuke. I can't wait for the cop who arrested him to carry out his threat to sue for distress!! ummm... only in LA.
What have you been doing since your departure from AEGEAN?
Since Aegean I have been doing a load of things actually. A lot of recording in the first year. Last year I spent 10 months nursing my mum in hospital. She had emphysema, which is a chronic lung disease, she really was very ill. She came out of hospital in December 99, we had a great Christmas as a family, we all got a chance to be with her at home all the time. She knew how much we loved her, and we were all at her side when she died in March. Currently I am finishing the album off which is out in September. I'm actually writing this at the studio. I also run an Internet Service Provider which launches in the UK in September so I'm busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest!
What was your reaction when George wanted to duet with you on "Waltz Away Dreaming," your first single? Do you feel that George's contribution added or detracted from your original vision of the song?
My reaction...I was absolutely gobsmacked. It was a great honour to be asked and I thought his addition to the song was lovely.
What was it like when you filmed the video for "Waltz Away Dreaming"?
Filming the video was really funny actually. Simon (my manager and old
mate from school) and I were in this caravan thing with a bedroom, a bathroom,
a kitchen and a lounge. We were surrounded by flatterers and had an unlimited
supply of beer. George, because of his experience, knew exactly how he
should look, what make up he needed and how he should be lit, etc. whereas
I just got a big dollop of gel on my head and ended looking like a big
eejit with what looked like a spider on my head. Look at the first bit
of the Waltz video when I'm close up on camera - it looks like a big spider
Tell us about your new single...
The new single is called 'House of Love' and is out in the UK in mid-June and the rest of the world thereafter. I wrote the song and sing and play guitar on it, etc. It's a big up-tempo number that deals with the destructive disciplines of some love affairs and the deceits that arise from feeling unable to be yourself.
When will the first Toby Bourke disc (album) be released?
The album is out in September but is as yet untitled.
Do you have an official website and/or an official fan club?
No, I don't have any of these things. I've seen a few unofficial ones, and they seem to be OK. When I have the urge to flog things other than records to fans then maybe we'll do one. (That was a joke.)
Does your degree in politics help your career in entertainment?
Not at all really, it just means that if it all goes tits up again I can do something else! Some of my songs are political of course but that has more to do with what's in the heart than things you can get a degree in.
In your last interview with us, you said your nickname was Doy. Where did you get that nickname?
I was called Doy because it was a word I used to say continually when I was a baby.
Do you consider yourself a songwriter first and then a singer or vice versa?
Definitely both. I write songs with words that express how I feel about something. I can sing a bit so I express myself through song. Otherwise I guess I'd try writing a book. My songs are quite personal really.
What's your favorite brand of guitar? How many guitars do you own? What brands?
I use epiphones and I have 3 or 4 of them. My favourite guitar is my Kimbara acoustic. It isn't particularly fantastic, but my mum and dad bought me it and it's the one I used on Waltz.
Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
In 5 years I would like to be still feeling healthy, standing on the terraces at Lansdowne Road in Dublin next to my daughter Hannah Molly, who would be 8 and a half then, on an early spring evening, watching Brian O'Driscoll holding up the Six Nations Rugby Trophy after Ireland have won the Grand Slam, having beaten England 50 - 0, with enough money in my pocket not to be overly concerned!
Photos and Artwork courtesy of Mango Management.
Special thanks to
For more on Toby Bourke, please read our first interview.