Tell us about the new record .
The album is called ‘Fragile’ because I think we all are. Given the right or wrong circumstances and events, we can all crumble irrespective of how smart and clever and strong we think we are. We’re quite delicate little creatures. I went through a bit of a personal crisis – I was drinking too much, my father died, a whole slew of things – and you put all those in alignment, it causes a major implosion.
You say in the sleeve notes that the album is like a diary. Can you tell us about some of the chapters behind the songs?
I write directly about what’s affecting me, and a lot of what was affecting me at the time was me. I was always Mr Fix-It, the strong one who could balance Ultravox and Visage at the same time. But then, given the wrong circumstances, it all falls apart. Opening track I Survived is fairly self-explanatory; Fragile, again, is self-explanatory. The opening line, “You might as well have asked me not to breathe”, is obviously directly about the drinking problem that I had, because when you have a problem like that, it is like breathing or blinking or walking – it’s not something you have to think about, you just do it. All of that stuff – it is like a diary, and it’s all logged in there.
It’s been quite a while since your last solo album, Move Me...
It has obviously been a long time in the making. I haven’t spent 12 solid years working on it – that would be just ridiculous! But I started working on it 12 years ago, and went through a lot of ups and downs in the process: a lot of self-doubt, analysing the state of the industry – was there any point in making an album when we’re swimming in a sea of mediocrity? Will anyone even listen to it? All of those things, which I think is fairly bog-standard in any artist. So I just wasn’t motivated to finish the thing.
Are you happy with it now?
I think so, and it sounds like megalomania because I did everything on this album myself – even to the extent where I mixed it, and I’ve never mixed an album by myself before.
Is it harder releasing a solo record than band stuff, such as Ultravox’s Brilliant in 2012?
It’s more nerve-wracking because you’re on your own, it’s not a group of people. It’s not a communal statement. This is naked, this is you, on your own, exposed. It’s quite an intimate record because of the subject matter. It’s like streaking, a bit embarrassing in places!