Super Bowl LIII
Simon Bonney Shares Scott Walker Cover From Long-Shelved Album: Premiere
Simon Bonney has done "a whole lot of other stuff" with his life since we last heard from him, as a solo artist, in 1995 and from his band, the Crime & the City Solution, in 2013. But now the Australian-born rocker is getting us up to date with Past, Present, Future, a compilation that pulls from his solo albums Forever (1992) and Everyman (1994) and features six tracks from the unreleased, legendary Eyes of Blue -- including a cover of Scott Walker's "Duchess" premiering exclusively below.
"It was just time," Bonney, who's now living in Thailand -- and is actively making music again after a hiatus -- tells Billboard. "I just thought it was time to put out the Eyes of Blue material, and I re-listened to the other material and the lyrics seemed to me to be more relevant, or differently as relevant, now as they were in the '90s. It's a very dynamic period in the world; A lot of people are feeling that they're struggling to see how the future will unfold for them and whether or not they'll have a place in the future. And that's what a lot of these songs are about."
Eyes of Blue was recorded in at Tempermill studios in suburban Detroit with Dave Feeny engineering and co-producing and a band that included Matt Smith (Outrageous Cherry, the Volbeats) and Troy Gregory (the Dirtbombs, Electric Six, Killing Joke) and a guest appearance by Chuck Prophet. Bonney was about to sign a deal with A&M records for the album but it fell through when the label was dissolved into the new Universal Music Group during the late '90s and the Eyes of Blue recordings have been in the vaults until Bonney struck a deal with Mute Records for Past, Present, Future; He predicts that the handful of other songs will come out at some point, and "maybe Eyes of Blue itself," Bonney notes.
He credits Smith bringing "Duchess" into the mix. "Matthew has an encyclopedic knowledge of music," Bonney says. "He and I share a love of country music, which you can hear in the Volbeats, but he's got incredibly wide musical tastes and comes from a kind of punk rock background. He just played me ('Duchess') and it just seemed right. His piano playing on that is fantastic, and it's just a beautiful song to sing."
With the compilation due out in May, Bonney has rekindled his interest in songwriting in recent years and is currently plotting two recording projects -- an acoustic EP with his wife, singer-violinist Bronwyn Adams, and an electric EP he plans to start recording during March back at Tempermill, with at least one coming out during 2019.
"I'm enjoying playing music again -- what can I say?" says Bonney, who will be touring, with Adams, to support Mark Lanegan starting May 3 in Jacksonville, Fla. "I don't like doing music if I'm not sort of called up on to do it. I know a lot of my contemporaries, for them it was music or nothing. That's all they wanted to do. Music is one of the things that interest me, but the other things that interest me feed back into the music, anyway. It's all sort of this big pot of things that interest me, and it just feels right to play music at the moment. The world seems like it's in the right place for my kind of observational music."
Bonney's tour dates with Lanegan to promote Past, Present, Future include:
May 3 -- Jacksonville, Fla., Rockville
May 4 -- Atlanta, Shaky Knees
May 5 -- Nashville, Mercy Lounge
May 7 -- Chicago, Bottom Lounge
May 8 -- Detroit, The Shelter
May 10 -- Concord, NC, Carolina Rebellion
May 11 -- Baltimore, Ottobar
May 13 -- Boston, The Sinclair
May 14 -- Brooklyn, Warsaw
May 15 -- Philadelphia, Underground Arts
May 16 -- Asbury Park, NJ, The Stone Pony
May 18 -- Columbus, Ohio, Sonic Temple