An Interview With The 100-Year War’s Front-Man, PAUL FREEMAN About His New and Old Music, Touring Memories and More!
Posted On 20 Apr 2016
Tag: 100 Year War, ABC Family, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Baba O'Riley, Babyshambles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, Carl Alty, Carol Bayer Sager, Chris Cornell, Clive Davis, Deana Carter, ELTON JOHN, Fox, George Harrison, Heroes, Hollywood Bowl, James Blunt, Joe Cocker, John Mellancamp, Kevin Savigar, Kingdom of Dreams, Mark Owen, Meat Loaf, Paul Freeman, Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Ron Wood, Ronnie Wood, Royal Albert Hall, Ryan Adams, Shotgun, South Wales, Steve Winwood, Take That, The 100 Year War, The Santa Clarita Vocal Choir, Todd Rundgren, Welsh, Willie Nelson, Wings, You're Beatiful
Combine angst, joy, endurance, love, and pain, for the modern day incarnate of The 100 Year War. Welsh-born musician Paul Freeman founded The 100 Year War with drummer Carl Alty. Their debut album release, “Kingdom of Dreams,” is produced by Kevin Savigar.
Freeman plays guitar, keyboards, and bass on the album. He sings all vocals, with the exception of The Santa Clarita Vocal Choir on “Shotgun.” The album features the stellar, military-esque drumming style of Carl Alty. Liverpudlian Alty toured with Freeman, and has performed in opening acts for such artists as Elton John and Babyshambles.
Producer Kevin Savigar is known for his many collaborations with Rod Stewart, and he has worked with George Harrison, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, among others.
Paul Freeman has toured extensively worldwide. He toured with James Blunt, playing guitar on the recording of “You’re Beautiful.” He has opened for Roger Daltrey, Joe Cocker and Chris Cornell. He played guitar and sang on tour with Ron Wood, Todd Rundgren, Roger Daltrey, and Steve Winwood. Paul’s songs have been covered by Meat Loaf, Robbie Williams and Mark Owen of Take That. He has co-authored songs with Deana Carter and Carol Bayer Sager. His songs have been featured on Fox Network and ABC Family programs.
Learn more about the band and Paul in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some of the highlights for you and the band in 2015?
You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me!! This year has been amazing so far. It feels brilliant to have an album that i’m so proud of done and out. 2015 was incredible. 1, because it was when the band really came together, but 2, which is way more important, I got engaged to the best woman on the planet… So that trumps everything really!! (Laughter)
Growing up, did you always know that you wanted to be a musician? Can you remember your earliest musical memory?
Oh yes without question! I wanted to do it from the age of about 9 when I found my first guitar in what you guys call a dumpster. My earliest memory is sitting with my dad in the living room playing Wings records. I think I would have been about 4 then.
Was your family always supportive of this dream? Since you were named after Paul McCartney, I assume that your parents were pretty musical people too.
Actually, no, they are big fans but they don’t play. My grandfather though was my true musical family member as he was the only one that had gone out and done anything. He used to sing for the South Wales choir and used to tease me about the fact that he’d played at the Hollywood Bowl and I hadn’t. He passed 2 years ago and was the inspiration behind “Heroes” on the new album.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since your first released EP, “You And I” back in 2008? How has your sound grown too?
Hmm. I think its become a little more focused in the writing and production. I find it easier than I did back then. (Laughter) I know who I am as a person now and back then I was young and very scattered. I think working with Clive Davis and everything that was going on in my life around then really helped me find my real voice internally and externally.
Can you talk about first forming The 100 Year War? How did you come up with this historical name?
It was actually after a conversation with my Great Grandmother on her 100th birthday. We had a long talk about how she had lived through 2 world wars and all of this change, but yet here we are 100 years later still making the same mistakes as a human race. The 100 Year War meaning for me is about the internal stages we face as humans over a life span and how little we change from one generation to the next. We just have better, more fancy things to distract us from the reality of that now, but essentially we still want what we’ve always wanted. To love and be loved in every way that that can possibly mean.
You’ve toured with a long list of incredible performers. Can you talk about some of the most memorable ones?
Opening for Joe Cocker was a really special one. I mean he was a true Legend! He would come into our dressing room smoking a bit and tell us stories about his start in the business. This was all before the show!!! He was a wonderful man and I feel so blessed to have toured with him and to have had that time. Other than that, shouting guitar chords for Baba O’Riley at Ronnie Wood across the stage at the Royal Albert Hall. I’d say that was another highlight. (Laughter)
You played guitar for James Blunt for quite some time. Can you talk about that experience? What did you learn from doing that?
Ahhh yes. It was beyond fun. I was very young and it was my first real experience of touring. So what did I learn? Hmm I learned about ALL the things. (Laughter) It got messy for all of us, but god was it fun. Seriously though I did learn very quickly what it takes to tour at that level and how much work you really have to do and how good you really have to be. It’s a lot of no sleep and travel, and then people needing you to be your best shiny self all the time because they are all meeting you for the first time so they have an expectation of you that you have to up hold. Also, you have to do everything!!! when that moment comes and you’re riding that wave. Take it all in and do all the stuff. When it’s gone it’s gone. James had his moment and had an amazing one doing it and I think that’s all any of us can hope for.
I understand that you are a big fan of poetry and writing it. How different or similar is songwriting to writing poetry?
Wow, yes! I love it, reading especially. I’m not sure how good I am at writing it though. I am huge appreciator of the art form. A lot of mine end up as songs but I do love the process as a starting off point. Poetry doesn’t have the boundaries that songs do. You can go anywhere. Make it as long or short as you like, use language that you wouldn’t use in a song. Song writing, especially commercially viable songs, have certain limitations around them. I wish it were different but 70 years of proof in this area is hard to argue with. There are things that just work, always have and always will. Poetry doesn’t have those constraints. Which is why I love it.
Can you talk about putting together “Kingdom of Dreams”? How long were you working on it? What do you think is the inspiration for these songs on it?
The whole thing from start to finish was about 6 months. After coming up with the band name I wanted to write around that theme and really dig into who I am and who we are as people in this point in time. The title track is a great example in that it’s a slightly tongue in cheek view on where we are at, even down to the Hey’s and Ho’s. They were put in to make that point that all the songs have them and when you do put them in people respond. Every part of that song is soaked in irony, not as a negative at all, just as an observation. We are creatures of habit and we will always make mistakes and mess up and that’s ok. That’s the good news! Everything is cyclical, it’s the core of what it is to be human. However, this album is about looking at that and saying `NO,’ that’s not how I want to live any more. It’s about changing peoples view of you by starting with how you see yourself. It’s very personal in that respect and hopefully something that resonates with others too.
Who are some your favorite artists? What musicians have been inspiring you and your music? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future?
The list of people to work with in the future is endless, there are so many people that have inspired me since I was a child. I think of the older artists it would have to be Bruce Springsteen or Paul McCartney. Those guys invented it all. I would love to work with Ryan Adams and I think Bruno Mars would be great to write with.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
The main thing for me would be positivity and a sense of hope. The idea that we are powerful, ever changing beings that are beautifully flawed, and that’s the way it should be. I want to give people something smile about and something to think about all at the same time.
Check out The100YearWar.com for more on Paul and his band, The 100 Year War!