Tim Robbins on his solo album and Shane MacGowan
Hello Tim! So apparently you've been telling the BBC your new album was inspired by a midlife crisis [Robbins recently separated from partner of 21 years Susan Sarandon].
Did you hear that interview? That's the problem with the internet. I made a joke, you can hear it. If you listen to the actual radio show, it's very clear I'm joking. 'I was thinking of calling it my midlife crisis album.' Some journalism can be pretty lazy and sensationalist. They just jump on that. Before you know it, a tabloid is writing that I have been making major revelations to the BBC. Not only are they doing that, they are writing side articles where psychiatrists are writing about midlife crises. You know, it's all stupid and amateurish.
We'll take that as a 'no' then?
The minute it goes out on the internet... before you know it, I've created the entire album as a response to my midlife crisis. Some of these songs... one of them was written 25 years ago. Another one was in the last 12 years. Nothing to do with what's going in my life now. They had to do with what was going on with my life at those times. Nothing to do with this.
People in Ireland may remember the performance you gave in 2008 as part of the Rogue's Gallery performance curated by Hal Willner.
Yeah, that was right before we did the record. We did the Dublin show and about four nights later we did Gateshead. And between Gateshead and London we recorded the album.
I seem to remember you dueting with a rather unsteady Shane MacGowan at the end of the Dublin concert.
I did indeed. A dream come true. I've been a huge fan of his for a long time.
This isn't a vanity project for you either -- wasn't your father a musician in Greenwich Village?
My dad, yeah. He was a folk singer. He helped run [legendary downtown New York venue] the Gaslight Café. He was an assistant manager there for a while. He brought me an awful lot. I saw quite a few people... Tim Harden, Loudon Wainwright, Cat Stevens.
You're 51, why wait until now to make an album?
Well, I've been pretty busy. What with a couple of careers and that. Working in film and acting and directing and writing, running my theatre company, raising a family. I didn't think I could put the proper time into music until now. My son... I've just dropped him off at college. So, time to hit the road for me.
You played a singing politician in Bob Roberts back in 1992. Did that whet your appetite for music?
The thing about Bob Roberts... they were asking if I wanted to do a soundtrack for it. I felt I didn't want to hear those songs out of context. There was some interest then in me as a singer, blah blah blah. It didn't feel organic enough. I've been around musicians all my life. I had respect for musicians and the process it takes. It didn't feel it was the time to do music.
Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band is released today. The band plays Whelan's, Dublin on Sunday