LA.com spoke with the Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame, who's bringing his “Ringmaster” act to the El Rey Theatre in Hollywood as part of Lucha VaVOOM.
Stewart spoke to us by phone with Jamaican music playing in the background.
Your upcoming show with Lucha VaVOOM sounds like a very good time. Is this your first gig with a burlesque/wrestling act? (How could it not be?)
Can you share any details about the show?
My last single (Lucky Numbers (2013)
Amazon and iTunes), which just came out this last Christmas, and the video (features) all the characters from Lucha VaVOOM. It was filmed in a huge circus tent. And then I have a little TV web show called “The Ringmaster,” that I wrote (using) the characters and others guest stars like Andy Garcia, and different people come on it. So I have been working with them for a while – and (with) Rita D'Albert, sitting over there in the room with me now. She is the founder of Lucha VaVOOM. We have been building up this idea now for a while to create a kind of Rock and Roll Circus.
And you have “The Ringmaster Show”
Ah! “ The Ringmaster Show,” the TV Web show. It's, like, me meeting people, and people playing live, crazy stunts happening – this is a full-on rock-and-roll Show at the El Rey with an integrated circus.
So why do they call you the Ringmaster?It slowly became my name over the years … creating some kind of tom-foolery where I was in the Amazon or off to Jamaica to record Jimmy Cliff, or you know with a gang of people. I would kind of ring up my comrades, a bit like something (when) you create “The Magical Mystery Tour,” or something. And so I was always doing that, like in "Don't Come Around Here No More," with Tom Petty, I was in the video sort of creating this psychedelic mayhem. So people call me The Ringmaster. It became like a nickname, Then I thought, “Well it's my nickname, might as well use it.”
You have been making electronic music since the '80s. What do you think of today's electronic artists, especially the EDM scene?Well my records, my solo records, are not electronic records. My last three albums I've made in the last three years are all Piano/organ, kind of rock and blues and country blues, kind of a little bit “spunzy.” In the early '80s, I was one of the pioneers of electronic music.
The only real electronic music nowadays is still quite sort of underground. I was one of the first people that was recording in the bedroom on a 4-track making records, whereas now everybody can record in their bedroom on Garageband. Back then it was really sort of unusual. Now a lot of people can make records with the samples, software and electronics and Garageband and mix it and put it out.
What was it like reuniting with Annie Lennox on stage as Eurythmics at the "Grammy salutes the Beatles" event?
It didn't feel like, "Oh my God the years have gone by." It just felt, you know, like when you meet a friend you haven't seen for a few years. We spent 40 minutes (rehearsing). We canceled the next day's rehearsal because we already got it, and we spent the rest of the day just jamming to all these other songs, so it was very easy.
And how did you feel performing a Beatles tune with the remaining Beatles in the audience?
Yeah it was odd, you know, somebody looking down (on us). I've known all of them, apart from John. I have known them all personally for years. But seeing everybody alongside Yoko (Ono), being best friends with George (Harrison), seeing Olivia Harrison, who was sitting there ... a bunch of people that I knew. Then suddenly they were put into context, and “Oh, God yes, the Beatles."
You had a breakout hit 30 years ago yet are still making original music today. What can you tell today's musicians about longevity in the business?
For me it's always been about not looking back and moving forward. Being relevant by constantly moving forward – I think that's the only thing you can do.MORE INFO: luchavavoom.com
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