PJ Harvey Drummer Finds Time For Solo Album
Drummer/keyboardist Rob Ellis and his bandmates in PJ Harvey wrap a three-month-long stint opening for U2 this weekend in East Rutherford, N.J., but Ellis tells Billboard.com that there's plenty moreDrummer/keyboardist Rob Ellis and his bandmates in PJ Harvey wrap a three-month-long stint opening for U2 this weekend in East Rutherford, N.J., but Ellis tells Billboard.com that there's plenty more on his current musical platter. The multi-instrumentalist released his solo debut, "Music for the Home" (Leaf) in November, and hopes to begin work on a new album this summer.
"Music for the Home," a collection of somewhat minimalist, piano- and found-sound-based instrumental tracks, represents collected recordings of the five-year period from 1994 to 1999. Ellis has had offers to perform some of the material in a live setting, and says he'd love to do that soon, but admits, "I haven't worked out a way of doing it yet, because it's mostly computer-generated."
However, he has been working up songs and pieces of music for a follow-up. "I've got a whole load of new stuff," he said, "and after this tour's finished, I plan to start working on [a second album]. I actually was hoping to write a lot on this tour, but I find it hard to concentrate while I'm busy doing something else."
Indeed, the U2 tour comes in the midst of PJ Harvey's longest-ever jaunt, as Ellis has been on the road for 10 straight months with the group he helped found in 1991. The only holdover from PJ Harvey's original lineup other than frontwoman Polly Jean Harvey, Ellis co-produced the group's most recent Island album "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea" (Island), which peaked at No. 42 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 210,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan.
Ellis enjoys his collaborations with Harvey, noting, "We work so naturally together. We just know instinctively how to respond to what each other's doing." But in addition to his solo work, he has still found time to record three albums with his side band Spleen, as well as lend percussion to U.K.-based electronic act Laika (whose Margaret Fiedler is a member of PJ Harvey's current live band).
PJ Harvey springs back into action June 30 at the Roskilde Festival near Copenhagen, and is booked on the European festival circuit through Aug. 25.