Mike Oldfield was steaming-over Pete Waterman, Virgin Records, The Stud Brothers . . . you name it. Is the "Tubular Bells" man always this grumpy?
"No, I'm not...People have got this picture of me being some kind of boring hermit hippie singing to himself on a mountain-top but, in fact, I like a laugh as much as anyone else does. At the moment I'd admit I'm in a grumpy mood, but I reckon I've every right to be."
For starters, he's not pleased with Virgin Records, even though "Tubular Bells" was the record on which, back in '73, Virgin's fortunes were made, and despite the fact that Oldfield has since sold 20 million copies of his 11 albums for Richard Branson's company.
"At the moment I'm recording a completely uncommercial one-hour instrumental using real instruments, because, although I'm associated with electronics myself, I think that computers and machine-made music are leading us all up a blind alley. Trouble is I've not been too happy with how Virgin has been promoting me recently, and I'm going to be free from them soon. After that I'll do my next project, which I'm really excited about, for another company."
And what's that, Mike?
"A follow-up to 'Tubular Bells' actually..."
And the Studs?
Mr. Oldfield read me their legendary review of his latest single-a brazenly chirpy little number from the "Earth Moving" LP, with a vocal by his girlfriend Anita Hegerland. We both thought it best not to dwell on the Studs, but they'd obviously caused apoplexy in the camp.
"With the single, I was just interested to see how easy or difficult it was to make a song like that; it only took an afternoon to do the backing track, and I enjoyed the discipline of putting it together. But it would be hell to make that sort of music all the time."
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net