Richard Marx - "Whatever We Started"
As a performer who had his first hits in the '80s, how do you feel about the current nostalgia surrounding that decade?
Richard Marx: I think it's pretty cyclical, I remember about eight years ago everything was '70s, not fashion obviously but music people were looking to reinvent that sound and you have bands like the Black Keys and any number of bands who grew up with '70s rock that were doing that and now in the last few years people are kind of coming back and chosen that decade because it was fun. There was some great music as well as some cheesy music, but there's cheesy music in every decade.
There were some really great breakthroughs; we can't forget that U2 came out of the '80s, so I think it kind of makes sense that every period of music will make its renaissance.
When you performed then, your work was often described as a cross between balladry and a classic rock sound, what would you say was more of your intention for your sound in that era?
I don't know if I had an intention. I just wrote regular songs that spoke to me that I liked and I never got caught up in genre, I never got caught up in "I have to be a rock artist period" or "I got to be a pop ballad artist." I just wrote whatever I wanted to write, whatever came out and resonated with me, and I thought was musically and lyrically exceptional. I wanted people to hear those songs. I don't know that many artists who are that premeditated, you know we just write and make shit up and the stuff we really like we record and other people might interpret it as, "Oh, they must've had this really grand plan."
I think once you start putting an album together you do consciously begin to think about what's missing and what you need to add, what do I want to change, what do I want to say, what's missing thematically? All those things come into play. That's not really premeditation that's just searching for other means of inspiration.
I guess that has helped in your career as a writer and produer?
Yes, very much so. It could be, well you know, my resume is so schizophrenic, and that's my favorite part of my career. My resume is so diverse, I've gotten to work not in every genre of music but on most of them. As a student of music, as a fan of music I'm always looking, I don't want to be constantly looking at the same kind of music; that gets boring. So if I can keep doing what I've been doing which is jump from a country artist to a rock band to a really beautiful orchestral pop record, a real sort of organic/rootsy Americana kind of thing, I'm never going to get bored and it's going to pull the best part of me every time.