Between April 2002 and April 2010, Chris de Burgh answered over 1,000 questions from his fans, submitted via his official website in a section called 'Man On The Line'. This section of the official website went offline many years ago, so the questions and answers are archived here.
16th March 2010 - Mel Rennie (59) from Benoni, South Africa:
Hi Chris, I have just listened to your new CD and I am still blown away at the sound and strength of your voice. I have waited a long time for your new music. My grandchildren are now listening to my old CD's of yours. I met you and your crew briefly on the flight from London for your last SA tour and you so kindly arranged for me to get tickets. Your show was awesome and I will definitely be at the next one. I would like to know if you will be bringing out more music with your lyrics and' if so, hope that there will be another "Patricia" type song on it. Still one of my favourites. Best regards. Mel
Hi Mel! We really thoroughly enjoyed our trip to South Africa in November. I was particularly pleased, because I haven't been there to perform for 11 years and there was a terrific turn-out with sold-out shows right across the country. The album "Footsteps" is either already platinum or is about to be platinum in South Africa. It has been a great success and indeed it has been very successful in many other countries around the world, where it has achieved gold status. I feel that it was a good idea at this stage of my career, or certainly two years ago when I started recording it, to have a look at the songs that have influenced me down the years. I am delighted that you find my voice powerful and as I said right at the time, the songs for "Footsteps" were all recorded live, which I am going to be doing with "Moonfleet" as well, wherever possible. And recording live means that you have to, as it were, raise your game, particularly when working with orchestras. Orchestras are made out of wonderful, classically trained players, for whom I have great respect, the greatest respect indeed. And quite often I know from the past, some of these orchestra players need to be convinced that the performer they are playing with can actually do his job. And I like to think that I know exactly how to sing with an orchestra, having done so many shows with them, and indeed recordings with them. So I really do my best to make the vocals as strong and as powerful as possible. As I said earlier in MOtL I have written a lot more material for "Moonfleet And Other Stories" as the album is going to be known. Indeed I think I have come up with 16 new songs, all with original lyrics and original melodies. So I hope you enjoy what you are about to hear, which should be towards the end of the summer, early autumn. In terms of your question about "Patricia The Stripper", probably not another one like that, because that was a bit of a one off. But nevertheless there will be a lot of fun tracks on "Moonfleet", because I have gone into the area that I am very familiar with, which is Irish music, but obviously with the context of being in the 18th century in England. But it is more like sailors' music, shanty songs and sea songs. A lot of them are very cheerful, involving hornpipes and fiddles and so on. And of course what we call squeezeboxes.
17th March 2010 - Chris Raymond (58) from Twickenham, UK:
Hi Chris, I'm fascinated to hear of your album in the making which you will call Moonfleet. I knew that you had been inspired by the book by J. Meade Faulkner writing the song Discovery, for example, many years back now. I would love to know more about what inspired you to develop this theme and what fans can expect when the new album is released and the Moonfleet tour takes place. Many thanks. With love, Chris R
Really what I wanted to do was expand upon what I achieved in "The Storyman" album, which I absolutely adored doing and I am really very proud of what we achieved in that record. Because "The Storyman" expanded these ideas that I had like "The Grace Of A Dancer" for example, "Shadow Of The Mountain", "Leningrad", where I came up with a story in my head and then actually made up a song where I condensed the lyrics a lot, but the story itself was available in long form, either on the internet or with the the CD. So it seemed a natural progression to move into an area of a longer idea. I have done trilogies in the past, like "The Revolution" trilogy, "The Leader" and so on. But "Moonfleet" has always been a very very favourite book of mine, and it was a huge challenge to take the song. There were times when I thought I had done too much and it was just too much for me to take on. It was like a huge journey, involving at least ten or more pieces of music, voice-overs, whether it will be narration, orchestration, band music, this kind of shanty music, sea ferry music that I spoke of before. I think I am now on top of the whole problem and I am quite sure that it's going to sound terrific. J. Meade Faulkner of course wrote the book "Moonfleet", and as I said at a press conference in Hamburg last year, there have been songs like "Discovery" that have come straight from my love of this particular book. Also another one which we are using the melody of, "The Heart Of Darkness" from the 1991 album "Power Of Ten", where those who know the song will remember that I used the line "Last night I saw it there, shining in the dark again, the light that all men seemed to fear." Well that again referred directly to what the young hero of the "Moonfleet" story, John Trenchard, saw when his own personal journey and adventure began.
18th March 2010 - Poobie Govender (52) from Durban, South Africa:
Dear Chris, My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed your concert on 17 November 2009 at the ICC in Durban, South Africa - We are waiting for you to return. Have you ever considered collaborating with Black South African artists? We have some great Black artists in South Africa and it would be interesting to see what comes from the collaboration. Collaboration of this nature would definitely contribute towards extending your music appeal to a wider spectrum of the South African audience, or indeed a much larger African audience. Kind regards, Poobie
Of course there are some extremely good South African artists. And I have got a reasonably good record collection by them and I also very much enjoy listening to music from all over the world. There is a record label which does ethnic music from all over the world and I have collected about 10 or 15, and they do involve music from South Africa. I am always interested in collaborations, as people know. I have collaborated with artists from Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Canada and France to name but a few. And who knows, maybe one day I'll have a chance to collaborate with some artists from South Africa.
19th March 2010 - Lisa Monck (28) from Sydney, Australia:
Dear Chris, My aunt died of leukemia 20 years ago. She selected Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart) to be played at her funeral as she felt it sent the message she wanted to her family. 20 years later, my mum still plays the song often in memory of her sister, as do I. I was wondering, what were your motivations and inspirations for writing the song? I know it may seem strange to be asking, but Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart) is such a meaningful song to me, I'd like to know if it is to you as well. Thank you for giving my Aunt a voice when she was no longer with us.
The song "Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart)" is one that I wrote in the late 80s for a friend of mine whose wife had gone out riding with a companion one day, very close to where I live, here in Ireland. And there had been some very heavy rainfall. And she and the friend were crossing a river that they were familiar with, but the river had become very swollen and as they crossed it, the horses panicked. Both the riders were thrown off their horses and both drowned. The horses survived and went back to their stables, riderless. And of course this lead to a lot of searching. And after three days my friend's wife's body was found. The other girl was never discovered. He of course was absolutely distraught and his family, these young children. And I wrote this song just on the spur of the moment to help him get through his grief. I played it shortly after the funeral to him and about 20 or 30 other people. And of course it evoked a lot of tears, but strangely enough from him and myself, neither of us was crying. And it wasn't until I provided him with a copy of the finished record that we had, "Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart)", that he told me that he listened to it for a week with his children, and it really helped them to get through the grieving process. I have heard before that people have used this song in funerals. Also the song that I wrote for "The Road To Freedom" called "The Journey". And I am happy that this has provided some kind of comfort. Recently you may have heard of my oldest fan, Norah Batchelor. She died, aged 99, and at her funeral, by her request, they also played "Carry Me (Like A Fire In Your Heart)" and "Here Is Your Paradise".
22nd March 2010 - Doris Neerfries (41) from Dinslaken, Germany:
Dear Chris! I love the song "You'll never walk alone", which you recorded for the Special Christmas-edition of your "Footsteps"-album, very much! I already liked the Gerry Marsden-version, but sung in your voice the song is even better! It's strongly connected with my favourite-city Liverpool. The first time I heard you singing "You'll never walk alone" live at the radio-showcase for Magic 1548 in the trophy-room of the FC Liverpool in October 2006, organized by Phil Easton. It was great to be there - and to hear the song in this absolutely appropriate location - and everybody sang along - even the Everton- and ManU-fans!!! The next time I heard it live by you for a very, very sad reason - at Phil Easton's Memorial Service in the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool in March 2009 - and all the guests there were very touched by that song! The same happened when you sang it in April 2009 at your concert in the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool for the Hillsborough victims! Everybody in the audience was on their feet, hugged each other, waved, sang along and no eye remained dry!!! I wonder at which point you decided to record this song and publish it on CD!
The song "You'll Never Walk Alone" comes from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "Carousel" and as many people know it's become a football song. Not just for Liverpool FC, but also for Celtic Glasgow, and also, I believe, Dortmund in Germany. The song, as I understand it, is a song about encouragement and support. And it always has sent a chill down my spine whenever I have sung it at a football match for Liverpool. And it's always been in my mind to record it. And as Doris has pointed out, I sang it at the funeral of a friend of mine in the Anglican cathedral in Liverpool last year, my dear old friend Phil Easton. And anybody who was in the Philharmonic in Liverpool during my concert tour of the United Kingdom will surely never forget the extraordinary scenes when everybody in the audience sang and hugged and cried. And the applause went on and on and on at the end. Not for me, but in memory of the Hillsborough victims, the many many young people who were crashed to death at a football match twenty years earlier at Sheffield in England. And this has been a very emotional moment in my career and certainly unforgettable.
23rd March 2010 - Ruth (42) from Munich, Germany:
Dear Chris, thank you so much for the fantastic concert in Benediktbeuern. And thank you for the wonderful dance! I very much enjoyed our little waltz! I've been listening to your music for 27 years now and I am especially fascinated by the lyrics. I have to admit that there are quite a few songs that made me wonder and contemplate.. Last year a lady wrote that she would consider you an "Ambassador for Heaven and Spirit", who might get his inspiration from the world of spirit. She couldn't have expressed my thoughts and feelings in a better way. In your answer you said that you are "definitely a spiritual person" and that you do have experiences with a psychic healer and spiritualist medium. I also recall you coming out that you've served as a "healer". I want to explicitly give you credit for expressing and standing by your beliefs. It does take a lot of courage. But I also think that this is what people are searching for and what the world needs these days. Now here comes the question: There is especially one song that set me thinking - "The Journey". I've tried to understand whereto your friend is travelling. As you are singing about "the terrors of the dark", I couldn't make out whether he passed over to the spiritual world or maybe rather is just letting his mind float away to some kind of parallel worlds of light and dark. The whole song seems to describe a very mystical experience. A journey to discover the various spheres of shadow and light? What is it about? Love and may your guardian angel look after you! Ruth
Before I answer your question I would like to say yes, I am a spiritual person. And yes, in these days of utterly cynical journalism at a time where newspaper sales are collapsing, journalists and editors think of just about anything they can to boost sales. And being deeply cynical is one way. I think people know my feelings about a lot of journalism. I think it is a very corrosive influence in people's lives. They are not really aware of it until they stop reading the stuff that is written. So to stand up and say yes, I have these beliefs, and to talk about these things, does take a certain amount of self-belief. However, moving on to your question about the song "The Journey". I wrote this initially many years back after my friend Glenn Morrow died. I never finished it. I suppose I never really came to terms with what happened to him until many years later. But thinking about, it is the journey of the spirit and the people who will welcome us after we passed through to the other side. "The terrors of the dark" of course mean, in my opinion, those moments right after death when the spirit is being released from the body and flies towards its greeting. Many times we have heard about people who have had near-death-experiences, NDEs they are called. And they describe almost uniquely the same thing about whooshing through a tunnel to great light, where people that they know are meeting them. The cynical people of course will say, well this is just a recreation of the birth experience. I personally do not think that at all. I think there is something that happens and will happen at the end of our lives. It is, I suppose, a journey to discover what is there in the future for all of us. And I have had the chance to sing this a couple of times at funerals of friends. And thank you very much about your last remark about guardian angels. Yes, I strongly believe in guardian angels and I am not ashamed to talk about it another time, because I think we are all surrounded by guardian angels. And I think all we have to do is listen.
24th March 2010 - Alireza Royaei (20) from Tehran, Iran:
Hello Chris, My state of being your fan is not very old, even when you came here, I didn't know you. But when I listened to the song "I see you every where" for the first time I turned to be your official fan :). Well now I think It's time to ask my question :D . So I ask: In the video clip of the song "The words I love you (Dooset Daram)" which you sing that with Arian band, you say the word "Dooset daram", I mean you speak Persian there. Did you learn some other Persian words during your journey to Tehran? And do you ever listen to Persian Music (Traditional-Pop-etc)? I suggest you to listen to Siavash Ghomayshi (The Iranian singer who live in the U.S) music. He is very nice, like you. Sorry for writing a lot. Thank you for your attentions to Iran and other fans and for your coming answer. Bye ;)
Hi Alireza! I think everybody knows by now my feelings about the people of Iran, and what has been happening there in the last 2-3 years. I was delighted to have had the chance to visit and meet many of those who like my music. And I was astounded by the reaction and indeed the reception. And I was astounded at being told that if we were to do a concert in Tehran, we could probably sell a million tickets, because people were so interested in seeing me performing and singing. I am glad you liked the song "I see you everywhere". It's that feeling when you are missing somebody, and you are walking down the street and see somebody in the distance that looks exactly like the person. Then you run up and you certainly realise that it is not. It's really a story about somebody, not me, but of course I have a rich imagination. But if you are in love with somebody or falling out of love with somebody, you really miss that person and you feel they are everywhere around you, everywhere you look. As far as other Persian phrases and words, yes I am sure when I was there I heard many phrases, and I asked what they meant, and I attempted to remember them. But "Dooset Daram", which means "I love you", is a phrase that really has come forward and I have used it frequently on stage at the end of my song "The Words 'I Love You'", and it's wonderful to see the reaction of the Iranian people in the audience to those words and indeed the sentiments of the song. And I'll have a look-out for this Iranian singer you are talking about, Siavash Ghomayshi.
25th March 2010 - Giff Bird (58) from Adelaide, South Australia:
Hi Chris, I owned a VHS tape of your "High On Emotion - Live From Dublin 1990" concert which unfortunately I had stolen. My question simply is why has not this particular concert from VHS video ever been put onto DVD format like a few of your others; for example The Road To Freedom concert? Will it be released on DVD possibly in this day and age of that most popular format? Thanks for the music that entrances the ear, captures the heart, and inspires the soul. As a musician myself it would have been a world of black and white music without the music of Chris De Burgh which only has coloured my musical world over the years. Thank you.
This is a question really that I can't answer, which I'll have to pass on to my management about DVD formats. I entirely agree with you. I think it should be on DVD format. And hopefully it will happen shortly. It's very easy, as I understand it, to transfer from VHS to DVD. Thank you for your comments about my music at the end of your question. I feel very fortunate to have been given this ability to communicate to people not just in my own vicinity but also all over the world. We are in the process of putting together a live DVD of the most recent concert that we filmed last year. And hopefully that will be available shortly.
26th March 2010 - Jean de Courville (52) from Montreal, Canada:
My question is a technical one. I am a first generation fan, the first time I saw you was in 1977 at F.C. Smith Auditorium in Montreal. I would like to know what happened with your beautiful acoustic Guild guitars that you used in your early tours? It may probably sound like a funny question, but I thought that those guitars where jewels.
Quick answer to this one: I still have those two beautiful Guild guitars, the six string and the twelve string. Indeed recently I was playing the big twelve string and it's got an absolutely wonderful sound, very rich and very beautiful. And it's certainly a guitar that brings back a lot of memories for me, because I have had it with me all these years and toured with this particular instrument for many years as well.
29th March 2010 - Laura Küper (16) from Germany:
Hello Chris! :D At first I have to say, I'm sorry for my English. I'm just a student and I know it's not perfect. Hope it's not too bad. We are absolutely happy that you come to Gelsenkirchen in summer. We were waiting for the other concert to be confirmed and then saw it wouldn't take place. Horrible! But now we will see you in summer, sitting in the second row! Wow! And to make you hopefully write back to me, here is a question. I listened to the song "The Shadow Of The Mountain" from The Storyman and I was thinking about it without finding the answer. The song plays in the same year when Vesuvius erupted the first time. And this girl, the young soldier loves, lives in the shadow of this mountain and obviously no one knows that it's a volcano. In the end you sing "Till the day we die". Now the question: Does Vesuvius erupt before the man returns home? Does the girl die? Do they see each other again? Pleeeeease write back. :) See you in September! Laura
Yes, I am delighted that we are returning to Gelsenkirchen. I am not quite sure what the problem was with the date that was cancelled. I think it was probably an issue with the venue. But also I have great memories of Gelsenkirchen, and I remember there was kind of a moat around the stage. I believe that has now changed. (Editor's note: Gelsenkirchen has now unfortunately been cancelled as well and a new concert in Rastatt has been added to the schedule. Tickets go on sale shortly, see TourNews for details. This question was answered by Chris de Burgh before this change in the tour plan was known.) Now we move across to "Shadow Of The Mountain". What I was trying to imagine here was a soldier who comes from the village of Pompeii or actually just above Pompeii from the hills, and they have always known about the volcanic potential of Vesuvius, but had obviously no idea what was about to happen. And he is dreaming of going back to Mary, his girlfriend. And I pictured the song being about six weeks before the eruption of the volcano and the young man as a soldier is now returning from Rome probably in mid July to see his love. And of course we all know what happened next. But he has no idea what is about to happen and I think probably neither of them survived. But they did get together. And he had some sort of forward feeling, some strange knowledge about the future, which is why he sings "till the day we die". And I kind of pictured them as many people were discovered, actually hugging each other in the holocaust that actually happened after the volcano erupted. I kind of see them with their arms around each other.
30th March 2010 - Emma Streets (17) from UK:
Dear Chris, I am a relatively new fan but am so inspired by your music and your passion. I want to be a singer, (sort of going down the opera root at the moment, but I love and sing most genres of music). I have recorded an experimental CD this Easter, which I'm really proud of; but I think I have a long time till it all kicks off. How old were you when you really decided you wanted to be a musician? I also am so interested in your spiritual references and ideas. The reason I am now a fan is because my parents used to play me 'Spanish Train' when I was little, and when I found the CD again recently, I was so excited that I knew so many of the words and songs after so many years. But now that I am older, I actually also understand them. The song "Just another poor boy" I find one of the most beautiful religious songs I've ever heard and I am so intrigued to know where all the inspiration comes from? Are you a Christian? Thank you so much for your time, and for all the joy and excitement your music has brought to my life. Emma
What a lovely question, and good luck with your dream to be a singer! I hope that your experimental CD is everything that you wanted it to be. I suppose I was in my late teens, early twenties, when I thought I'd give this music business a try. I knew nothing at all about it, but I enjoyed singing and playing the guitar. And I had a feeling that I had some kind of ability. I was working hard on my song writing techniques and skills, because it really is something that takes a lot of learning, and I was listening to all my particular song writing heroes to find out exactly why their songs worked. And this is what I recommend to anybody who wants to be a song writer. You just take apart the songs that you really admire and see why they work. Is it the high note in the chorus? Is it a changing beat somewhere? Is it the key? Is it the sentiment of the music? Is it the production? There are so many elements to making a great song. And have a look at the ones that you like and I think by disassembling them you can find out why they work. But to recreate a great song is extremely difficult. I am delighted also that you came back to "Spanish Train", because I always felt that "Spanish Train" was a good story, a strong story. And if you have a strong story, it will survive. The song "Just Another Poor Boy" was my vision of what would have happened if Christ had returned around the time I wrote the song. That was in the era of the hippies or just after that, when I wrote this song. And perhaps Jesus would have been regarded as just another hippie. And although people knew there was something really special about this man, it wasn't until his crucifixion and resurrection that he really became the figurehead that he subsequently became all over the world for twenty centuries. The inspiration for that song just came from an observation about how Christ himself would have been treated if he came back. Because at the time he frightened so much to this status quo of the government of the time of the Romans, that they felt threatened. And that's why he was treated the way he was. Am I a Christian? Yes, I suppose I am a Christian by birth. But I always ask questions. I ask questions about the origin of a lot of the bible, and why people accept so many things about religion as the perfect answer. And so many things about religion should be questioned, and why is the pope supposed to be more divine than a little boy in Mumbai? I don't think he is! I think we are all equal at the side of God. And we should really go through life bringing as much good to as many other people as we possibly can.
31st March 2010 - David (37) from Fort Lauderdale, USA:
Hello Chris! I've been a fan of your music for many years now, since 'Into the Light'. being in the US, finding your older material has been hit or miss, but I finally have everything! Maybe because I started in the middle, but 'Into the Light' is still my favorite album of yours and I wanted to ask you about my favorite song from it, "Spirit of Man". Obviously, the meaning is pretty simple to discern, but the melody is infectious, as is the chorus. Any interesting notes about the background of the song? Also, you mentioned a few years back on here that Anthony Head did the 'Tempest' reading on the studio cut of 'Don't Pay the Ferryman'. Is this the same Anthony Head who went on to play on Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Rupert Giles?
"Into The Light" has been a very successful album for me. And I remember at the time that I was recording it, there was something really special about this album, that I felt we were going to have a big hit with this. It wasn't just ballads like "Lady In Red" and "Fatal Hesitation". There was so much punch and force about the strong songs that I really had a very good feeling about it. "The Spirit Of Man" is really about the way that mankind pushed back the boundaries. And one incident helped me to finish the lyric which was, I remember in January, when one of the space shuttles exploded. It was an absolutely shocking and horrific thing. I think it was in January or February 1986. And immediately the NASA announced that they were going to continue with the program, which is what the astronauts who died would have wanted. "We are going to go back up there. We are going to find out what happened, what went wrong, but we are going to go back." And this for me exemplified the spirit of man. And finally you are absolutely right, Anthony Head, actor, was the man who did the talking during the song "Don't Pay The Ferryman". And he went on to become an extremely successful actor in America.
1st April 2010 - Brent (38) from South Australia:
Hi there, being a huge progressive rock and movie soundtrack fan, the Crusader album has so many complex elements to its playing and production that I think sets it apart as equally your best work. Can you please tell me more about the actors and the video of Crusader as I am fascinated with that video also... cheers and thanks for your amazing music!!
The reason I wrote this song was I was trying to get into the mindset of the people at that time. We forget now just how incredibly important religion was in the lives of ordinary people. And their fear of hell, their belief in heaven. To the same extent, I think, where many people in the world do not understand the extraordinary offence that Muslims took and still take and can take to any insult to their prophet Mohammad. As everybody knows who reads my site regularly, I believe that everybody should have the right to believe in what they want without other people insulting or causing offence. But we find it hard to understand that particular point of view at the moment in the 21st century. But go back not very far, just a couple of centuries, maybe even less, and religion was incredibly important in art, in music. If you listen to a huge amount of music like Bach and Handel, Mozart, it was religiously inspired. A lot of the paintings for generations, for centuries, were all about religion. And I was thinking about the time when the centre of the Christian religion was Jerusalem, and what the reaction would have been amongst the great heads of Europe, the states like England, France, Germany and so on to the news that Jerusalem had been taken by Saladin. And they for once decided to put apart their differences and march down to save Jerusalem. This is a fairly romantic vision that I have come up with and it probably bears little reality, but nevertheless I was interested in the idea what would it take for human beings to put aside their differences and concentrate on fighting a common enemy for example from outer space. And that's what the song is about. The video I haven't seen for years, but we did it in a famous old castle in England, the name escapes me unfortunately. It was an interesting thing to have done because we took a couple of days shooting it and tried to use a lot of imagery and symbolism. There is not much more I could say, because I haven't seen the video for a long time.
2nd April 2010 - Jeremy Easton (32) from Pennsylvania, USA:
What was your inspiration behind the song One More Mile To Go? It has become one of my favorites. Also, what was the inspiration behind Saint Peter's Gate? Another one of my top favorites!
"One More Mile To Go" was a song that I wrote imagining somebody returning home at Christmas. And I can see it so clearly in my mind, it's a picture where it's a snowy moonlit scene and there is a train coming round a corner on the left-hand side. You see the lights of the train and it comes round and then it performs a big circle in front of you and then it goes down a hill towards a little village and there are people waiting at the platform, stamping their feet in the cold. And this person in the song realises as he looks out of the window that he is very close to his home that he has missed for many months, perhaps even years. And he is looking forward to going back to the place where he was born and brought up. It brings back a huge amount of memories. It's a very filmic idea in my mind. And then of course if there is the chance for peace on earth, well we have I think more than one mile to go, but who knows what it does take to bring this dream of peace on earth. And this is something I returned to in the theme from my song "The Bells Of Christmas". "Saint Peter's Gate" was another story song where I wanted to look at the idea of again going into that sort of what-if-area that I am always fond of going into. So what if the souls and the spirits of all those who have gone before are up there or down there or wherever, they are out there waiting for those who have caused such chaos and murder and damage in other people's lives. People like Adolf Hitler, Stalin and all the various other horrors of historical times. And what will happen to them if we go into the mythical area that we read about in bible history. But maybe there is Saint Peter, and maybe he waits at the gate and maybe he ticks off the names, you know and so on. And this is just a story about somebody going up there and seeing at first-hand what has happened to one of these dictators, who is going through an eternity of misery and torment. And then the person in the song realises or is told that he is too soon to be there and he has to go back to his life again. But it's a story of revenge, that's what it is about.
12th April 2010 - Alison Bellerby (47) from Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK:
Hi Chris, Did you ever fly on Concorde? Alison x
The answer about Concorde is yes, I was very fortunate to fly on Concorde, I think it was 12 or 13 times. It was just the most amazing aircraft to be on. And up at the front you could see the height that you were flying. It was shown on a kind of board at the front. And the speed you were going, Mach 1 and then Mach 2. I think the highest it went up was about over 60,000 feet. You could almost see the curvature or the world. At take off there was maximum thrust and that was very exciting, particularly when a Concorde took off and had to go through noise abatement procedures. Once I remember in New York, looking out my window and all I could see was the sea rushing below me. And that was because Concorde was doing a sharp left turn. I also was fortunate enough, that is pre 9-11 days, to actually going into the cockpit and the pilot explained and how the heat expanded the metal. And I was invited to put my hand on the side of the aircraft, on the inside of course. And we were doing about 1,300 miles per hour at that point and the heat coming off the metal was incredible. I think it is such a shame that Concorde no longer flies, because 3 1/2 hours across the Atlantic, my friends that I used to go with from time to time to Barbados described it just as a long lunch.
13th April 2010 - Chris E. (33) from Rostock, Germany:
Hi Chris: I have organized a "dinner in the dark" - pitch dark may I add - for people at work. It appeared that quite a number of my colleagues are sceptical and afraid not to see what they are eating. Strange to me, for I had always believed that the main sense you use during a dinner is taste. To my amazement I failed badly, for tests showed that blindfolded people could not tell the difference between sparkling wine and apple juice mixed with sparkling water. So while I am happy to explore the world of the sighted in that I will try anything I can like driving a car, rowing, watching tennis or watching films, I find that giving up sight even for a short period of time scares people beyond what I expected. Have you ever had such experience of finding your way around a house in the dark, or have you ever had a four-course meal relying solely on smell and taste? Wishing you a joy-filled time, Chris
A very interesting question! I know that there are restaurants which replicate the experience that unsighted people have for those who have sight by serving food in the dark. And to have to rely on your sense of smell and sense of taste rather than visual is an extraordinary thing. I have never done it! But I also think that if you are unsighted, your other senses become extremely powerful. For example this is maybe just in my case, but we have a lovely old dog called Millie and she has been completely deaf for about 3 or 4 years because of problems with her ears. But her sense of smell has improved dramatically. And she still has very good sight, so I think you compensate from one to the other. I have also been told that if you put on an eye patch and are presented with red wine or white wine, certain ones of them which are not so obvious like Savignon Blanc for example, it is actually difficult to tell whether the wine is red or white in certain cases. And I am sure that is totally believable. Finding my way around the house in the dark, yes I once did this in the old castle I was brought up in. We lost power one night and I was groping my way around. And I remember listening to the creeks of the doors. It was windy and it was pretty freaky actually, I must say. I was getting the shivers up and down my spine, thinking of what might be lurking in a place that was 800 years old.
14th April 2010 - Kelvin and Alwyn (36 and 37) from Anglesey, UK:
Two guys, two questions if that is ok? We have had long discussion about this in the pub so here goes! Please excuse any spelling / grammar we are typing on a phone in the beer garden! Q1. Alwyn: Hello, much respect to you and you are a gift to music. I almost wish I was Irish - pure class (but as a Welshman I'm blessed already!) so my question "CDB High on Emotion -Live in Dublin" 1989. Is there any chance of that performance again, live? Light a fire, etc. Borderline, etc. wow awesome! I'm getting old now and missed them that time! Q2. Kelvin: Any thoughts about doing any more instrumental pieces like the first song on 'Road To Freedom'?
Funnily enough, when I was a schoolboy at Marlborough College, a secondary school in England, I would often have to take the ferry from Anglesey across to Ireland, so I know the area fairly well and I have to admit it was very beautiful, but fairly bleak as many of the Western coasts can be in England and Ireland. So I hope you enjoyed yourself in the pub and had a few beers. Just coming back to "High On Emotion - Live In Dublin", I spoke recently about hopefully getting this transferred from VHS to DVD, if it hasn't been done already. And we often perform the songs that you mentioned "Borderline", "Light A Fire", you know "The Revolution" and so on. And instrumental songs have always been of great interest to me. I am sure I will come up with a few in the near future.
15th April 2010 - Andrew Stokes (24) from Dublin, Ireland:
Hi Chris and first of all can I just give my sincere thanks for the fantastic homecoming concerts you gave us in the Gaiety in Dublin. They were just out of this world, a real treat and also a special thank you for taking the time to sign my ticket and have another photograph taken with me, I will always treasure that moment. My question for you this time is about the Dublin concert. I would like to ask you what was going through your mind just before you walked onto that stage on the first night in the Gaiety? After such a long time since last performing in Dublin were you feeling nervous at all or could you not wait to get on that stage and start performing.
The three concerts in the Gaiety were tremendous fun for me. And just to point out that I wasn't in the slightest bit nervous. I was just really looking forward to the three shows that were all sold out. And a tremendous buzz and excitement, not only amongst the audience, but also in the backstage area. Funnily enough generally I am very relaxed before a concert and it was the same before the Gaiety shows. I suppose the success of those shows the way that people reacted, the amazing response when I walked out, the standing ovations and so on, they are really imprinted in my mind. And some of you may be wondering why I responded to the journalist about his piece that he wrote about those concerts. Well, his piece was just sheer dishonesty. He had written that, I imagine, pretty well in his head, before he even went. And this man is a theatre critic, he is not a music critic. It is quite clear that he is not a music critic. It's not something I think that I have ever done before, and certainly not interested in doing it again to write to a critic, because it is just not worth it. And I often wonder what's the point of writing a review of something that has already happened. You know, if you are there you know what happened, and if weren't there, you probably don't care anyway. So if you write a review for a theatrical production that might be on for the next two or three months, fair enough. But to review a concert, particularly if you are not even a music reviewer, well I think it is a waste of time. And this man clearly was so prejudiced before he even walked into the building that he was dishonest and it was a very bad piece of journalism. However I responded because I wanted people who had been there to remember that it was actually an amazing three nights and very enjoyable for me. So just to say, Andrew, it was good to read your question and to be reminded of the terrific fun that I had in my home coming shows last year.
16th April 2010 - Andrea Brown (56) from Edinburgh, Scotland:
Hi Chris. Another insomniac night! But at least I have your music to soothe me. I love all of the albums you have released, but I was reminded tonight that Eastern Wind is an especial favourite of mine. It is such a passionate album and the quality of the playing is so phenomenal. The drumming in particular is so tight and accurate and driving. I'm sure I've read somewhere that this is one of your least favourite albums because you found it difficult to work with your touring band in the studio, but for me there is a creative "edginess" to the whole album which sets it apart. I wonder if now, with the disbanding of the regular touring personally (the new band is, by the way, HOT!), and sad losses to us all, if your view has changed? Also I'm sad to note that you are not coming to Scotland any time soon. I saw you at the Usher Hall and Glasgow SECC, both amazing venues, and I will miss being able to see you live.
Insomniac night, oh dear! Well, some people might say if you listen to Chris de Burgh music it will send you to sleep perfect, but at least it makes you feel calm. I often use lavender oil on the pillow which helps me to go to sleep if I for any reason can't. "Eastern Wind", I don't think I have said that I didn't like it particularly. I think it was a bit more effort to have my own crew, my own band performing on it, because I knew them so well, I knew their abilities so well that sometimes it is actually refreshing to get other musicians that you haven't met before to give their kind of input onto your material. That's what I have often done in the past and indeed nowadays when I make my records. I rarely use my own touring band, although they are terrific musicians, because I am looking for input from elsewhere. And I am about to start my new project "Moonfleet And Other Stories" and I will be using mainly studio musicians and people that I have known from the past who bring a different point of view to the music. There is certainly a creative edginess to the album and I know that it was for example a huge record in Norway. It became the biggest selling record since Abbey Road, I believe, and a big hit. Maybe it was that edginess that people liked it. Scotland is always in my heart and I love going there. And I apologise if we haven't been there for a while. I think it is probably a touring question that should be put to management, why we can't get up there as often as possible. But in the past I have certainly loved being in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and indeed up in Aberdeen.
19th April 2010 - Mark Allen (39) from Wirral, UK:
As a car enthusiast, have you ever been asked to be a "Top Gear" star in a reasonably priced car? If you were asked would you accept and have a go? Do tell!!!
"Top Gear" is a very good programme and I really enjoy watching it. And I have often wondered what it would be like to go around the race track, trying to beat some of those times. A lot of people I know have done Top Gear, most recently an old pal of mine called Terry Wogan, television and radio presenter who has recently retired from the most successful radio programme I think in Europe. He had 8 or 9 million listeners on his breakfast show every morning. And he certainly enjoyed it. I haven't been asked! So "Top Gear" - if you are reading this - BBC television - please give me a ring, you know where I am! I'd love to do it!
20th April 2010 - Cathaera Stephens (42) originally from Australia, currently in USA:
I was very curious about what prompted you for the lyrics to the song "Devils Eye". I've researched a lot of "no no" subjects for a number of years now, and by filtering out much of what is on television, I was horrified at what I found. That song is closer to the truth than most will ever realize, even though most have the wrong idea on who the "bad guy" is. Remember, history and books are written by the victors, and the losers are always the ones called the bad, or "evil" ones. :)
Interesting question! What occurred to me, as we were looking at television, it's entirely possible that something could have been put into the TV back then, and this is back in the late 70s when I wrote it, to actually observe the people watching television. And indeed that has come a lot closer to the truth, because nowadays there are survey samples that you attach to your TV, and people can instantly tell how many million people are watching a certain programme, what they do. During advertisements, do they get up and have a cup of tea? Do they switch off the advertisements? There is a huge amount of interactive stuff going on and it cannot have escaped notice of, for example, the American military, down the last half century about the impact of mass hypnosis and what we can do to people. And we've had stories in the past of how there have been words and visuals put into advertisements that come in on a subliminal level that people have reacted to, not even aware of what they are seeing or watching.
21st April 2010 - Jacqueline Ebner (51) from UK:
Hello Chris, Having just recovered from a nasty allergic reaction to an insect (clegg) bite, I was wondering, are you allergic to anything? Love, as always, Jacqueline xx
I am sorry to hear about your nasty insect bite. I have never heard of a clegg. Am I allergic to anything? The answer is no. A lot of people think they are allergic to things, but they may just have an intolerance. For example I have slight intolerances to milk products or too much wheat products, but I don't believe I have any allergies. Although if I was invited to one of those dinner in the dark things I spoke about a few days ago, one thing that you would not want to give me is fish. Because all fish products are uncomfortable for me. And if I am served fish at a dinner party, I am very smart. I usually say "Look, if I eat this, I rip off my clothes and sing Russian songs and dance on the table", so the dish is immediately taken away just in case I do that. No, that is just a bit of joke, but I don't believe I have any allergies at all.
22nd April 2010 - Leanne (53) from St. Mary's, Ontario, Canada:
Hi Chris, As I was sitting in the pub Friday evening, listening to a gentleman with greying hair sing a variety of his own and other people's materials, I wondered - Do you ever think about what you might have done if you hadn't "made it" with your music? I have the Harry Chapin song, "Mr Tanner" running through my head as I write. It isn't really apropos but the first and last lines of the chorus "Music was his life.... It just made him whole" fit with my musings. Would you be the man we saw on Friday or off somewhere else completely? Personally, I'm glad you are where you are!!
A man singing a variety of his own songs? Well, at least he was still doing that, which is wonderful! A lot of people have this belief that they have to try to do something, just in case there is a situation in many years to come where they say "well, I could have been...". Give it a try! Even if you fail, you have given it a shot. It sounds like the gentleman singing in the pub was doing something he loved to do. It's a form of creativity that a lot of people really need to get out of their system, whether it be art, painting, or singing, perhaps singing in a choir, or making sculptures. A lot of people have this urge. Unfortunately nowadays with the TV programmes like Pop Idol and X-Factor, an awful lot of youngsters believe that they can make it. Even if very very occasionally one of them, or a band, does make it through, it is no guarantee to long-term success. Because the thing people are forgetting is that it is an entertainment programme for a few hours on one night, and then again next week and so on. This is an entertainment programme, it does not guarantee long-term success. But at least for many of these people it's a chance to try. The biggest drug in the modern age is fame. And a lot of people think that everything happens if you are famous. I can tell you what: Nothing really significant happens! Except that you become very aware of the intrusive nature of the media into your life. But if I hadn't continued, I would have given it my best shot. I was always ambitious, I was always able to take the knocks and the punches, and get down on the floor and get up again. And be banged on your nose, and down I go again. It is a career built on disappointments. And you have to be very very tough to survive. And in fact recently I was talking to some friends and the question came up: How many people have had a career as long as myself, 35 years or so, who have made it writing all the words and all the music, who have never been in a band, or a duo, to succeed on a world-wide basis in a long career with their own material? There are very very few. And I certainly would be interested to hear back from the fan base on this one. I know that there are names for example like Chris Rea. I don't think he was ever in a band. But Simon and Garfunkel were in a band. It's a tough thing to do, which means that you have a lot of loneliness, certainly creative loneliness. And you are the only person who can do all those TV and radio interviews for all those different adverts. And you have to be tough, you have to be able to take the criticism as well. I certainly get plenty of that, but it goes straight over my head.
23rd April 2010 - Angela, Claudia, Christine (42, 39 and 42) from Augsburg, Germany:
Hi Chris. In the past 20 years we visited many different concerts in various locations. Thank you for every one of them. We have enjoyed every single minute! There have been huge ones, like Munich Olympiahalle and smaller ones, like Landshut or Benediktbeuern. Having the choice between them, we would always prefer the latter. There were also quite unknown places, like Wülzburg-Weissenburg. Could you explain the procedure of planning a tour? Who makes the suggestions? There are a few more cosy locations in southern Germany we could tell you about. Who makes the decisions? Have you visited these places before? Angela, Claudia and Christine ("The Three of Us")
I have always been interested in not only returning to places I know well, but actually going to places I have never been before. You spoke about Augsburg, I can remember another venue in Augsburg, outdoors, I think I have been there twice. But certainly it has been an amazing night, an amazing concert and an amazing atmosphere to perform in Augsburg. And of course the Olympiahalle, many times, terrifically exciting. Landshut - wasn't that a beautiful place! I remember the beautiful old buildings in the town square. For those who don't know where it is, it is quite near Munich, and just a beautiful part of the world. And it is such a privilege to be able, not only to perform there, but go there. I often say to friends or people around me, you know, people travel vast distances to come to see a place like this. Then it's important to look around and enjoy it, and see what is significant. Not hide in the hotel, but get out there, as I always do and find out a bit about the town or the village or the city. And I think many people know how much I do adore being in Europe and seeing historical places and cathedrals and art galleries, museums. Just meeting the people, just being part of the life of the community there. Benediktbeuern - absolutely gorgeous place! I believe I am going to be back there again this summer. The unknown places, Wülzburg-Weissenberg, beautiful. And in terms of planning a tour, this generally is a procedure that goes between my management and our promoter. The promoter will suggest a venue, the management will have a look at it and decide about whether the logistics would work, the number of people who could come to the concert and so on. Whether we could actually work it into our itinerary. Quite often the problems can be the vast distances that I have to travel between shows, if it is planned to go to the more unusual locations. But still it's great fun, and I am sure I'll see Angela, Claudia and Christine later in the year when I do my shows in Germany in August and September.
26th April 2010 - Jim Dunbar (52) from Burlington, Ontario, Canada:
As with many artists, be it film, music, art, many believe that although they may have had incredible success with one, two , or many projects, they continue to believe that "the best is yet to come". In some cases, I have seen this to be true. I must admit, for 30 years now, 2 wives, and many "stories" of my own, I always can find something in your new songs that bring out the reflective past we love to hear and think about, as well as the new future we have yet to know. My question to you, Do you feel you have yet to write your own ultimate song, perhaps an ultimate concept album ? Continued love and support.
Good question! I always used to feel, and I still do, I suppose, that I am only as good as my next song. Or indeed, possibly, I am only as good as my last song, the one I have just written. I think part of the excitement of being a creative artist is knowing that there is always something about to show up, something on the horizon. My current project "Moonfleet And Other Stories", it's been very exciting. I don't think I have ever been so drawn back to my studio as often before, because although it has been an enormously difficult project to put together of something like 35 to 40 minutes of music, voice-overs, stories, unusual different styles of music, you know what you call the sea music, the reels that we hear from the past, and incorporating them into the modern style of recording. The whole thing has been fascinating, and sometimes extremely irritating for me, sometimes if I can't get a thing to work correctly. But nevertheless very interesting. And the same thing with the other 6 songs that I have written at the end of the new CD. All different, all unusual. And I am really looking forward to sort of going into those and finishing them. And then saying "right, what's coming up next". Because I have always been looking forward to the next project and see what comes up. I suppose in my head I am constantly thinking about two years in front. Because there is no point coming up to a new album project, without having a few ideas as well. And I like the fact that you, Jim, like something in my songs, bringing out things that make you reflect possibly to your own past and think about. Just a short finish to your question: One of the songs I will be recording shortly and releasing is called "Pure Joy". It is about those moments in life, where you see children singing, or in my case seeing dolphins in their natural habitat in the ocean, seeing that pure joy of living, and how rarely we seem to be able to experience that for ourselves. But anyway I hope you enjoy that song and indeed all the other songs on the Moonfleet project some time in the near future.
27th April 2010 - Nicola Perree (35) from Plymouth, England:
Hi Chris, having recently become a parent myself, I find I can't listen to your song about her 'this is for Rosanna' without crying. Do you find that these feelings grow as they grow up and move away or do you get used to them and relax a bit more?
Hi Nicola! Thanks for your question. Given the well-publicised background to how difficult it was for my wife and I to become parents, you can imagine our incredible delight, when our first child, Rosanna, was born. And even more so, when she became Miss World! I was basically stunned and astounded, that a child of ours had been born when the doctors gave us slim chances of ever becoming parents. When I wrote this song, I obviously was deeply into new fatherhood. At that stage, Rosanna was just 2. And I remember in the studio singing the first few lines to a good friend of mine who was playing on the album, and he also just had become a father himself. And after the first verse, he said "I am sorry, I can't listen anymore", and he choked up and had tears in his eyes. And it's the same thing for many people. I have always found the ability in myself to go deep into my emotions very quickly when visualizing something, particularly if it is about children. I have a song coming on my new CD, which tells the story of the second part of the song "Love Of The Heart Divine". And this particular song is called "One Love, One Life". And recently I was describing the story to a friend. And I was so deep into what has become a movie in my mind that always immediately I could feel my eyes mist up, and my friend was also very misty-eyed. I think that's part of whatever gift I have for communication. It's this ability to convey my emotions in a powerful way.
28th April 2010 - Kaz (33) from London, Canada:
How are you able to sing about such passionate times, when it's clear you couldn't have lived in most of those time periods? You are able to bring a person to that place and time through nothing more than words. Where does that kind of power come from?
Those of you who know my music know that I have always had the ability to put myself into different situations, very strong visual imagination, somebody who can convey a picture or a film to somebody else, so hopefully that film in the mind also comes to life in almost the same ways as I see it or I intended to have it. As a student of history down the years I have always been fascinated by lifestyles, costumes, architecture, language and historical events and dates. And it doesn't take much for me to jump into those times and almost feel surrounded by the people of those times. Because I travel a huge amount and I always take the time to go and visit places of interest and try to imagine what it was like living in those times. And I don't regard it, as you suggest Kaz, as a power. I think it is just an ability that somebody with a strong imagination, or indeed anybody with an imagination can actually achieve.
29th April 2010 - Alison Bellerby (46) from Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK:
Hi Chris,I love the "Footsteps" CD, especially your amazing version of "All Along the Watchtower" and "The Last Thing On My Mind" I have always loved that song and your version is very moving. As you know I am a Designer and I was wondering about the similarities between presenting new designs, and the launch of a new Album. With me there are two different scenarios. If I have a specific brief, there is always the worry that the client wont like it, and want to make changes. But most often, I design something that pleases me and when I am confident about the work, it is usually well received. Do you ever get nervous when a new album is released, and worry about whether the fans will like it ? Do you care about what the media think ? Or are you just happy that you have produced an Album that means something to you? I am really looking forward to the concerts next year !!! Love and Hugs Alison xx
Of course yes, when a new album is released I wouldn't say I get nervous, but I get excited, a bit concerned I suppose whether or not it will receive the attention that I feel it deserves. And with Footsteps fortunately this has been a very successful record for me. People seemed to like the concept of the cover songs, chosen for a specific reason by myself, because each one of them as we know has a reason for being on the record, because they were very much part of my musical journey. Do I care about what the media think? No, because the media are of very little importance at this stage of my career. But I care very much what the people who buy the records think, and people who come to the concerts. Because after all it is their opinion, particularly when it comes to an artist who has been around for a while, it's the opinion of the people buying records who count the most. The next record Moonfleet is of great importance to me, because I put a lot of effort into this one. And it's worth reflecting at this point the fact that I spent six months writing this album, working very very hard every day on this record, for hours and hours a day. A very complicated album to put together. Not just the six songs at the beginning, which are unrelated to the Moonfleet project, but the Moonfleet thing itself which looks like it is going to be 35 minutes long, uninterrupted music, voice-overs and colours. The whole story is told in those 35 minutes. For those six months I didn't get paid a penny. And I am hoping that this is a successful record. But every time somebody downloads illegally or pirates a copy, that means that all that work that I put in is for nothing. And people should reflect on that the next time they pirate, or indeed the word is steal, a copy of a song that is not being paid for. What they are doing is not just taking it from the record companies, which in many cases have been reviled for their profit-taking in the past, but people should think more about the songwriters and how they suffer from this kind of piracy.