A Few Words With...Dave Cousins

Interview and photos by John A. Wilcox

Since the earliest days of the Strawberry Hill Boys, Dave Cousins has remained the central figure of Strawbs for over 4 decades. Currently on tour with Dave Lambert, Chas Cronk, John Hawken, & Rod Coombes, Cousins and the band have a new album on the horizon - The Broken Hearted Bride - produced by Chris Tsangarides of Judas Priest and Killing Joke fame. Cousins snuck in a few enlightening moments just before hitting the US to share some insights with Progsheet...

PS: You're back on the road with the Hero & Heroine / Ghosts line-up. What do you feel sets this line-up apart from other incarnations of the Strawbs?

DC: This was essentially our rock band. The earlier line-up with Hudson, Ford and Blue Weaver was still in the folk rock mode. The 1974 line-up concentrated on the US and Canada and hardly ever played in the UK.

PS: With such a large catalog of songs, how do you choose what to play on any given tour?

DC: We have to play the "favourites" such as Autumn, Lay Down and so on. But, we try to introduce something new each tour. This time it's two new songs from the upcoming album, The Broken Hearted Bride, the title track, and The Call to Action. These are the most powerful songs we've done in years and they are highly political.

PS: How did you come to bring Roger Glover on board for the Two Weeks Last Summer album? Had you known each other prior?

DC: We had met at various festivals. He was surprised when I asked him as he thought I was folky. We soon put that to rights!!

PS: I'd like to know the background story on a few numbers. Let's start with Ways And Means.

DC: A song about my family and the relationship between me, my then wife and my two sons. I want the opening verse on my tombstone:
I am as the world forever spinning
Rekindled by the early rising sun
I am as the road that's ever winding
A never ending journey just begun

PS: Heartbreak Hill.

DC: I got the title from the Boston Marathon.

PS: Further Down The Road.

DC: Written on the day I left Devon Air Radio. I was sad to leave, disliked the management at Capital Radio who had bought the company. I got my own back by winning back the license 18 months later!

PS: The Golden Salamander.

DC: Pink sunglasses and the English hunting scene.

PS: You've worked on several projects with Chris Tsangarides. What does he bring to the process that appeals to you?

DC: He has wonderful ears. He instinctively knows how to mix a song to best advantage, be it a heavy rock song, or a track with me and a steel guitar player as on my recent solo album Secret Paths. He's the best I've ever worked with and they include Gus Dudgeon and Tony Visconti!

PS: The Broken Hearted Bride is the title of the upcoming Strawbs CD. Where did the title come from, and what sort of tone can we expect from the album?

DC: I don't really know where it came from. It's an observation on the state of the world where young kids of 8 years old are sent in as suicide bombers. Several tracks on the album are political and it's possibly the most powerful album the band has ever made.

PS: Please tell me 6 CDs you never tire of listening to.

Jackson Browne - Late For The Sky
Jackson Browne - I'm Alive
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
Radio Tarifa - Rumba Argelina
The Albion Band - Rise Up


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