L-R: John DiMambro, Alain Whyte, Milo Todesco (drums) Photo: John Gillhooley
Alain Whyte is best known as the primary songwriter of every Morrissey album since Your Arsenal. He also now has a band called Red Lightning in which he writes and sings all the songs. RL will be playing @ Trees here in Dallas on Thursday night.
While growing up in London who first made you wanna pick up a guitar?
I fell into it by accident. It was Elvis who made me want to sing so I realized I needed to play guitar as well.
When did you first start to think about doing a project where you sang lead?
I was doing that before I met Morrissey. I was 16.
What keeps you inspired after having written songs for over 15 years? I noticed that "Black Dog Day" seems to have a few political lyrics in it?
That is interesting. I wrote about depression and combating it. I think the way world is run is a major factor to depression and inequality. It is easy for people to target each other and blame one another, whilst the seldom at the top laugh at the divide and rule situation. Democracy is not being played out.
What are a few of your favorite countries that you've gotten to play live in during your career?
Argentina was quite a trip.
"Sign Up" sounds like the most like a Moz song out of the Red Lightning songs (a bit Your Arsenal era) did any of the songs start out as demos for Moz?
Funny enough no, bar the last track, "The Two Of Us", that was a demo for M but he didn't use it.I wrote a song crassly titled "She Doesn't Love Me" that became "The Never Played Symphonies."
Does writing for your own vocals change your arranging process?
It is different writing for myself than doing a tune for Moz as I am writing in a raw set up.
Is it true that the first time you worked with Moz was just being in the "Sing Your Life" video, and that you didn't know you'd actually be joining his band?
That is true, but I had a hunch that he would ask so I got Spencer [Cobrin, drums], Gaz [Gary Day, bass] and myself to work on Moz tunes in case we were asked and I was right, and very lucky.
What was the extent of your songwriting involvement on Moz's new album Ringleader of the Torementors?
Well, I was glad to be asked back, and I worked hard.
With the arrival of Jesse Tobias, will you still be in Moz's touring band for '06?
I do not know if I will be asked.
Many fans love the song "Southpaw" from SG, did you ever try to convince Moz to play it live?
I did once, and I think he will decide to do it at some point as he likes to change stuff around.
You seem to be pretty consistent with your use of a limited number of guitars on stage, do you maintain only a same small stable when recording?
I did this time on the new Moz record; if you've got a great sounding guitar or two you don't need 15, even though I have more
What happened to Johnny Panic? I loved the "When I Drink I Love You More" single.
It self destructed, which was a shame, but things happen for a reason.
What are the 3 songs you have ever written that you're most proud of?
"Baby Come Back", "Sunny", "The Edges are No Longer Parallel", and a new tune on Ringleader called "Life Is A Pigsty."
Who are your top 3 guitarists of the past 15 years?
Brian Setzer, Bert Jansch and Bernard Butler, there are so many. There is this jazz guitarist I think called something Stevenson [Rudy Stevenson?] and he blew me away. It is always the ones you don't know.
What bands are you currently listening to?