Mike Scott chats to Karen Greenshields about music, song writing and irate bus drivers.
2012 has produced a bumper crop of rock n' roll autobiographies. The list of memoirs that will grace the shelves by Christmas is a veritable Who's Who of musical legends - Neil Young, Rod Stewart and Morrissey to name but a few. Scottish musician Mike Scott is currently touring Europe, reading excerpts from his memoir Adventures of a Waterboy in Music. He hopes it's a book that will have a wide appeal.
'I’ve had a great ride as a rock n roller and done a lot of things that have been fun, certainly fascinating to me and I've lived in different countries and dipped my toe in different cultures and I've always thought, I've got to write all this down, its too good not to write down.'
In his memoirs, Scott charts the rise of his thirty plus year career in the music industry, from teenage editor of a pop fanzine to scaling the heights of commercial success. He also details his various stints in New York, Ireland and the Spiritual Foundation at Findhorn.
At one point, Scott describes his love for music as ' the most intimate relationship in my life. Making music, creating music from the first glimmer of song can be a profound, very beautiful experience.'
To complete his memoirs, the musician spent nine months getting up at five thirty am to write, mostly from memory but assisted by some notes he'd taken along the way. These came in handy when he was to write about his first meeting with Dylan.
'It was such a momentous day in my life. When I got back to my hotel that night I wrote it all down and that was very helpful.'
For a musician who has always guarded his privacy, the decision to include personal stories such as meeting up with his father after a thirty five year absence, was straightforward - only if they related to the music.
'I wanted to write about my life in music I didn't want to write a book about my personal life. I'm not a whore in that way, I've never curried publicity in that way as a musician and I wouldn't do it as an author. I didn't want to be under pressure to write something salacious or titillating. The publishers I've gone with wouldn't have been interested in a book like that anyway.'
Edinburgh born Scott set up the Waterboys, always intending to have a band that would change its line up.
'When Waterboys began I was a solo artist. I brought hired hands in. It wasn’t a band like U2. I always knew the music would change as the music required. It keeps the music fresh and I like that.'
He's been described as ' one of the greatest songwriters of all time' and the Edinburgh born musician finds it difficult to recall a time when music didn't feature large in his life.
'I have music in my head all of the time. You can't see it but my feet are tapping. It must have driven the teachers mad. One time a bus driver came roaring upstairs saying stop that bloody noise!'
As he's traversed the globe, inevitably he's mingled with the great and the good of rock. Hanging out with Patti Smith, jamming with Bob Dylan and having Bruce Springsteen recently introduce himself as a fan hasn’t turned this Scotsman’s head.
'Rock and rollers are just people. I realised early on they are just people not heroes, it's the music that matters.'
Mike Scott and the Waterboys will play a string of dates in Australia and New Zealand in January 2013.