It comes as no surprise that England's intuitive folk artist Damon Gough -- aka Badly Drawn Boy -- finds musical inspiration in mundane activities, as evident from the title of his latest disc "Have Y
It comes as no surprise that England's intuitive folk artist Damon Gough -- aka Badly Drawn Boy -- finds musical inspiration in mundane activities, as evident from the title of his latest disc "Have You Fed the Fish?" (Artist Direct) Gough tells Billboard.com that life's daily chores are very important to him as a singer/songwriter.
"I remember listening to [Bruce] Springsteen years ago talking about being a songwriter and [him saying] remember the little things that most other people forget," says Gough. "Whether it is childhood memories or whether it is the sound of feet on gravel. I've got a photograph of my little daughter on the CD booklet and she's just looking at a leaf on the floor like she's enthralled. The older you get, you don't do that anymore. As a child learning things, every single detail counts. So, there is a bit of that that goes into songwriting."
A native of Manchester, Gough ended his promising soccer career (he had a tryout with England's elite club Manchester United) to focus on his music. A modern singer/songwriter, Gough worked the club scene in England, with the then unsigned Doves as his backing band, before recording his 2000 debut album "The Hour of Bewilderment," which won England's Mercury Music Prize.
2002 has been quite a busy year for Gough with the release of two albums: the soundtrack to the feature film "About a Boy" and "Have You Fed the Fish?" The former peaked in June at No. 7 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 11 on Billboard's Top Soundtracks tally, while last month, "Have You Fed the Fish?" topped the Heatseekers chart.
For years, Gough has been considered a British Beck (a title he says isn't warranted due to their incongruous styles) who appears to be on the cusp of American success. While the majority of his recently finished fall tour took place before "Fed the Fish?" was released, he says he's not in any hurry to return stateside. He's back on more comfortable ground with U.K. dates planned through the middle of the month, although a spring North American outing may be in the works.
"I've often said I'm not on this planet to bust my balls and try to impress America," says Gough, who has pained memories of a marquee in Salt Lake City advertising him as an electronica artist. "Nothing against America... but for an act like me, I'm feeling kind of misunderstood to be honest. I would be thrilled if I could be a permanent artist over there, but I'm seriously not going to compromise my life to do it."
With three albums, a few EPs, and various singles to choose from, Gough's unfettered live performances parallel his folksy lo-fi songwriting motif.
"I've never really been able to have a setlist," Gough explains. "I don't know what it is. I may do a song one night but I try to fluctuate it. You've got one of your opening songs that everybody feels comfortable playing and you might have a good closing song for the end of the set, but the in between I want it to be living and breathing. When it all clicks, I think potentially it is one of the best shows people will ever see. It's all about reality."
Here are Badly Drawn Boy's upcoming tour dates:
Dec. 2: Cardiff, England (Cardiff University)
Dec. 3: Bristol, England (Bristol Academy)
Dec. 4: Nottingham, England (Rock City)
Dec. 6: Norwich, England (University Of East Anglia)
Dec. 7: Cambridge, England (Corn Exchange)
Dec. 9: Portsmouth, England (Portsmouth Guildhall)
Dec. 10-11: London (Brixton Academy)