Interviewer: What was the first concert?
Neil: And it was just a fabulous experience for me. Went up to Manchester and did two concerts and will be in Birmingham tomorrow night. And so on and so forth…
Interviewer: Well I’m always one to be the first on at a concert and I hope to see you in a couple of weeks time, but how has the act changed since the one that I saw when you were last here at the Festival Hall?
Neil: Well…new music, a lot of new songs. Hopefully I have changed in the last year so that reflects itself in the performance. The audience is more familiar with me at this point, so there is more of a relationship. It is more enjoyable for me this year, I think.
Interviewer: Are you a prolific writer these days?
Neil: Prolific? I don’t write many songs. I write an average of ten or twelve songs a year, and I think I’m lucky with that. I don’t know how prolific I am.
Interviewer: You write ten or twelve songs purely, ten or twelve that are well enough to use.
Neil: Generally, if I’m not happy with a song or if there’s something about it that doesn’t excite me I never complete it. I don’t even go past the first melodic refrain or lyric concept. So that I never know…the songs that are completed are the ones that stand the tests of constant singing and exoneration.
Interviewer: I read somewhere that there’s a new album from you entitled “Moods.” ?????
Neil: It’ll be out in about four or five weeks.
Interviewer: What are song of the songs on “Moods?”
Neil: It’s very difficult to describe the songs. The album is comprised of all original material. The songs vary…really vary. They go from very light frivolous things to some very interesting, unusual types of songs. I’m very proud of the album. I think best. I’ve written four or five of the best songs I’ve ever written in my life on this album, and I’m very pleased with it.
Interviewer: I know my favorite album so far (I haven’t got “Moods”) is the “Taproot Manuscript.” Is there anything that compares with that?
Neil: I think you’d have to listen for yourself. My own feeling is that “Moods” compares certainly favorably with “Taproot Manuscript.” It is a special album. I’m very proud of it, and I think if you like “Taproot Manuscript,” you’ll like this as well.
Interviewer: How long has it taken you to make the album?
Neil: Generally…well, it’s difficult to say because some of the songs that are on this album were in the writing when I was here last time. So it was a year ago. The actual recording…we actually spent three months…four months on this album which adds up to a year on the album…recording it. It varies. It depends on how complicated the work is and how many mistakes we make.
Interviewer: Are there any unusual sounds or unusual instruments?
Neil: More than anything, the type of song I think is unusual. And I wouldn’t even want to go into it. Suffice to say it is a very broad album covering many different areas and experience. And I think some of my best music is on it.
One of the most interesting songs on the album is a song called, “Morningside,” and it’s the story of an old man who dies leaving only a table that he built by hand for his children…with a legacy for his children. And he dies alone, the children never coming to claim his gift. A song called “Captain Sunshine,” which I love for the feel of it and for what the words mean to me. A song I wrote called “Play Me,” which I also love…just a very tender, gentle love song. And there are some strange things on this album, also…a piece called “Walk On Water” which is really three musical forms in the framework of one song. And a song that I wrote in Spanish called “Canta Libre,” which is also very interesting. These are the ones that stand out in my mind.
Interviewer: Where are you going to go from here, Neil?
Neil: I don’t know…God knows!
Interviewer: There were rumors floating around…reports floating around… that you had plans to retire from recording. Any truth in that?
Neil: Not from recording. From performing…from performing…from the stage, yes. I’ll retire…either kind of sabbatical. You know I’ve found that every few years you need a rest…you have to get away from the fatigue of traveling, performing. You need a chance to get away from it and look at it from a different perspective and let the juices start flowing again….this time. I’ll be stopping in October, probably for two years…maybe longer…maybe not. Probably two years.
Interviewer: It needs to be probably that long.
Neil: I feel that now, although I’m leaving it open. I may stop at six months and say “My, God…I have to get back on the stage…” I’ll just run back on…whereever they’ll let me. Right now I just want to take some time off. I want to write a show for Broadway. I want to do film. I want to study music and I need time. And the performing and the traveling that it involves doesn’t permit it.
Interviewer: You must enjoy stage performances, though.
Neil: I love performing. It’s not an easy decision for me to make, but it’s one that I feel has to be made at this point.
Interviewer: Because you do seem to put a lot into a live performance. How do you feel after a show? Is it a good feeling or is it… I guess it depends on the show?
Neil: It does depend on the show. Generally, I feel pretty good after a show. Of course if the show isn’t up to what I think it should be I don’t generally get depressed about it, but the best part of the show is during the show for me because that’s when the excitement is at an enormous level.
Interviewer: What are the joys you get our of recording a studio record?
Neil: The joys are the music and the record. Hopefully ever once in a while you come up with something special…something that’s great …that transcends what I’ve done before. That’s where the joy is. And actually having accomplished that, sitting back and saying “Yes, that was worth it; It was worth all the time and the work and the effort.”
Interviewer: Presumably, the “Moods” album is already out in the United States.
Neil: No, it’s not. It won’t be out…I think it will be released simultaneously here and there.
Interviewer: So it’s a little early, I guess, to ask you if you have any other ideas…any plans to go into the studio again?
Neil: Well, actually…yes, there are many things that I want to do, but right now I’m kind of ????, like at the end of a race when you’re finished you want to walk around the track a few times and catch your breath before thinking about the next race. There are many things that I want to do musically, though. Hopefully, I will have the chance to do them in the next few years…next four or five years.
Interviewer: Things…such as…can you explain?
Neil: Conceptual albums…all kinds of things. I don’t want to talk about it because then I’ll feel obligated to do it and if I change my mind my mind, I’ll feel…you know…just really to make the best, most moving effective music that I can make…
Interview: Neil Diamond, Thank you very much!
Neil: Thank you…
Music: Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
Interviewer: And that’s the way Neil closes the show…with “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”