Elvis Costello is my musical idol. Could I meet him and keep my cool?

He remembers deciding at the age of 17 that he wanted to be a songwriter for the rest of his life, “but I mostly auditioned for publishers, not for record companies because, well, look”. He shows his face and offers a wry smile. “It’s a face that is not very obviously a pop star. It is a face for the radio, as they say.

The two defining characteristics of Costello over the years have been stylistic bustle and breathless productivity. Although he was signed to the punk-era Stiff label and became a new wave icon, he quickly veered in different directions from the land of the 1981s. Almost blue to the soul of the 1980s Become happy !! He later collaborated with artists as diverse as the Brodsky Quartet, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and Paul McCartney.

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Elvis Costello in 1977, the year of his first album, My goal is true, has been freed.Credit:Getty Images

Even at 67, he has never been a heritage player who relies on his catalog. And while many artists have lamented a creative stasis during COVID, Costello’s last 18 months have been a flurry of activity. In March 2020, he cut short a tour and retired to a vacation cabin on Vancouver Island with his wife, jazz singer Diana Krall, and twin sons Dexter and Frank, who recently turned 15. year.

And he got down to work. He released his 31st album, Hey clock face, in October of last year. This year he recorded a 96-minute spoken word for Audible titled How to play guitar and Y. Although he discusses the guitar and the horrors of learning the F chord, it is actually a rumination about the nature of music itself, and he stresses the importance of treating it as a joyful thing that connects us to innocence and the willingness to experience it. we had as children.

In addition to working on a gigantic luxury edition from the 1979s Armed forces album, which features numerous live recordings from the era, including the infamous 1978 ‘Riot at the Regent’ concert in Sydney when a cranky Costello left the stage less than an hour after the show started, he collaborated with Hispanic artists to make Spanish model, an inventive reimagination of the years 1978 This year’s model.

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And this week Costello is coming out The boy named If. His 32nd album is sort of a concept album about the difficult journey from childhood to adulthood. It’s his most rock-hard record in some time, and remarkably cohesive given that he and the members of his band, the Imposters, have recorded their parts separately in three different countries – Canada, the United States and France. He also wrote a short story and created an image (under his artistic pseudonym, Eamon Singer) to accompany each track, which will be included in a limited edition book.

He has suffered setbacks lately. Her beloved mother passed away in January at the age of 93. “The last time I saw her was when she attended the opening night of my last Liverpool tour. So I am now the oldest member of my family.

Three years ago she was diagnosed with prostate cancer, “but I don’t use words like cancer battle or survivor because I have lost many close friends who have had fatal battles with cancer. illness, and I had successful surgery that saved me from serious illness. ”.

The conversation turns to his late father, Ross McManus, a trumpeter and big band singer who made Australia’s Top 20 in 1970 with a cover of The Beatles. The long and winding road, under the name of Day Costello. Costello recalls going to the cinema in Leicester Square with his father that year to see the Beatles documentary So be it. Both father and son came out depressed.

“I watched my favorite band go their separate ways before my eyes,” Costello says. “So seeing Peter Jackson’s new documentary series has been such a joyful experience. It was wonderful to see the most famous band in the world doing what everyone else does in music, which is wanting something by singing absurd lyrics or changing the tempo without being shy about it. topic. I deliberately watched the show slowly because I didn’t want it to end.

He shakes his head and rubs the beard on his chin.

“And then after going through it all to do So be it, they were able to go on and do Abbey route, “he said.” Just amazing, right? “

A fan is a fan, it seems, even if your name is Elvis Costello.

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