Friday, 20 February 2009

Patrick Fitzgerald (Kitchens of Distinction) interview

I couldn't quite believe it when one of my heroes answered an email I'd sent to what looked like a dead address, but Patrick Fitzgerald, vocalist from Kitchens of Distinction did just that. Bless him. Here's what he had to say. Doctor in the house.

What's your fondest memory of being in Kitchens of Distinction?

The first recording session for Love is Hell – my favourite time in the studio, down at Berry St in Clerkenwell. We had the run of this basement studio and allowed our fantasies full reign. Musical fantasies that is. Drove the engineer Barry Sage to drink. We had 10 days to make our first opus and we did it. Proud moment.

What's your favourite KoD song, and why?

Today it's In a Cave – the words and the tune. I’m a tune fan and this one still does it for me. Trying to get a version on the piano at the moment but getting stuck. Tomorrow it may be Sand on Fire, because of Julian’s tremendous riff.

Was there much pressure from One Little Indian at the time to change your sound, or go in a more commercial direction?

Er, how can I put this? Yes. How about, lets put Third time... on the second album as well, see if it helps sell it. And lets release a 4 track white label version of Death of Cool as a single? Oh god, they had the worst ideas and the least nouse of any biz people I ever met. They must be relieved they still have Bjork to pay the wages.

When did you realise the end was near for the band?

When it stopped being fun and became bitter and twisted instead. I can remember vividly one of the last rehearsals when we’d played a song and there was this eerie silence afterwards, as if it would be too painful to play another. And for the life of me I cant really explain why.

Are you still in touch with the other band members?

Julian was at mine recently playing some guitar and reminiscing. He writes for TV/film.

What did you do immediately after the end of KoD?

Went for a long walk. And then thought about this Fruit album I’d finished the year before and how I’d better get on with that.

And what are you doing these days? Still making music as Stephen Hero?

I’m recording the follow-up to 57 stars right now. I’ve pared it down to 11 tracks and have recorded all the pianos, and am halfway through the vocals. First week of March its cellos/effects/backing vocals. Then mixing. My first record without drums I think. And my most bleak, and the reason for that will become clear in time when I start talking about what’s been going on these past 5 years. Not now, not yet. And I also work – I’m a GP, which pays the bills.

Do you still listen to music as avidly? If so, who are your favourites?

I do, but to very different music. Lots of 20th century classical – Shostakovich, Vaughn Williams, Richard Strauss, Messiaen, Morton Feldman are in my car. Along with my favourite record of recent times – The National’s Boxer. Can't seem to play that too much. PJ Harvey’s White Chalk was a hit in my house. Joan as Police Woman’s records get played over and over. December was Nick Cave month, and January was Bob Dylan’s Bringing it all back home. Kristin Hersh’s new songs (Speedbath) are extraordinary. Why isn’t she up for some kind of ‘sainthood in music’ honour?

Would you do anything differently with KoD if you could go back and do it all again?

Hmm, isn't it good that you cant go back and fiddle? The mistakes are made, the regrets cemented. What did we do wrong? Well, lets start with that cumbersome name, that cumbersome label, the silliness of democracy in art. Want me to go on? Thought not.


Emma said...

He really is a lovely man isn't he.

Nice interview Sam!

Anonymous said...

Total interview SCORE, Sam! Awesome.

What is a GP? Is that a physician? Whoah.

He should be proud of that unusual name. I've always remembered it. The band was first mentioned to me by this very good looking college classmate of mine about 10 years ago. We talked about the Smiths a lot, and he thought I'd like KoD. But I never investigated them at the time!

Now Martin always has a laugh when I'm playing them at home and he asks something like, 'Oh, is this Kitchens of Despair again?,' 'Laundry Rooms of Distinction?' But I LIKE the name.

A layer of chips said...

Kitchens of Distinction was the strapline for a kitchen retailer in the UK in the 80s. I guess the name came from there.

And, yeah, a GP is a General Practitioner. Or doctor!

Koekkener said...

Very good work, its a complete fulfillment. Keep up the good work.