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Damian Lewis is Scheduled to Guest Appear on BBC Radio WM

On the Radio

by Gingersnap | | August 30, 2023

Damian Lewis is scheduled to guest appear with host Dax Hale on BBC Radio WM on Thursday, August 31, 2023 just after midday, BST time. He will be discussing his forthcoming UK tour that begins next month, following the release of his Top 40 album Mission Creep. BBC Radio WM is the sound of the West Midlands on 95.6 FM, DAB, Freeview 722 and BBC Sounds. Be sure to tune in on Thursday and listen to the live player here.

UPDATE: After the broadcast, you can listen here for up to 28 days after the initial airing. We provided some sound bites of the interview below:

Host Dax Hale: “He can now also add successful musician as well. His debut album Mission Creep was recently released. It went straight into the Top 40. Here’s a clip from the lead single of the album Down on the Bowery.”

Damian’s song plays.

Host Dax Hale: “Congratulations. It’s a terrific record. It’s got a bluesy-acoustic feel to it and, are you proud of it?”

Damian: “I’m really proud of it. Really, really proud of it. It’s been a really fun year and a half doing something totally different in the creative space, making music with wonderful musicians and producers and engineers. The idea was that we wanted it to have that sort of in the room end of the bar type feel.”

Host Dax Hale: “So what sort of music were you into as a kid and as a teenager? When you were busking, were you playing your own songs and covers as well? Whose songs?”

Damian: “It was all covers. I didn’t have the confidence to write my own music back then. I had an Elvis medley, which I love because I’m in love with Elvis. I played Bowie, JJ Cale, Neil Young, Lenny Kravitz, the Beatles, the Stones. You know, I could just crack them out…Donovan, you know, anything Simon and Garfunkel, anything good on a guitar, a bit of Tears for Fears from some 80’s music that I liked. And making some AC/DC songs acoustic, Led Zep. Just you know, all the big hitters. A bit of Velvet Underground, Mark Bolin/T-Rex…just stuff that I could get onto my acoustic guitar and then shout at people on the street.”

Host Dax Hale: “So for this album then, it’s fair to say that it really is…I mean I’m always a sucker for great lyrics and Never Judge a Man by His Umbrella has gotta be the song title of the year, by the way. But it’s a real, personal collection of songs. You can tell that this comes from the heart, doesn’t it?”

Damian: “Yeah. It definitely has songs…records are a little bit like journal entries, aren’t they, or they can be. They reflect a period of time in your life. Helen died, which I think is common knowledge for most people and that all happened around the time I was writing so there are definitely some personal songs about her and about life as I saw it at the time and then there are a couple of homages in there. Like I said, I love JJ Cale; I love Neil Young. So there are a couple of covers in there. There’s a Dr. John cover, but it’s mostly original material and I suppose it all comes out of a sort of rootsy, bluesy, singer/songwriter-y space. So if anyone likes the people I’ve just mentioned…you know, I like so much music! Bowie, Elvis, Stones, more recently Arctic Monkeys…I love them…lots of influences, but you’re right, it’s a sort of storytelling album. I’ve got an amazing band of musicians, and all of them are expert jazz musicians and they bring that sort of influence as well into it. It’s a bit of a hybrid thing.”

Host Dax Hale: “It’s a proper album. The singles stand alone. It’s a proper body of work which is why – I’m old school – I like that. As a result of the band and reaction to the record, and the fact it’s done so well, you’re taking it on the road. You’re actually now living the rock star lifestyle. You’re coming to Birmingham Town Hall Friday the 15 of September. Have you been rehearsing a lot for it?”

Damian: “We’ve played a lot of London gigs and we’ve played some festivals but you’re right, this is the first time we’ve gone out on tour and Birmingham is a big date for us because it’s a fabulous venue, your Town Hall, and it’s a big city and I’d love people to listen to the music, you can get it on any streaming platform, and come along and hum along. It’s a fun set. I’ve got two or three new songs which we play. It’s a fun evening; it’s not sort of a somber affair. It’s a good show. We’re really looking forward to coming to Birmingham to play.”

Host Dax Hale: “You’ve mentioned Birmingham. Didn’t you actually do some – in your formative years – some training in Birmingham?”

Damian: “My first two ever professional jobs, which I amazingly and luckily snaffled up while still in drama school, was to come to Birmingham Rep [repertory theatre], yeah. I played in a production of Rope and then I played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, which I was terrible in. I stayed in Harborne near Birmingham and had my motorbike nicked from right outside my flat. I had taken that motorcycle all over Europe busking and I put the rubbish out – recycling because I’m a good citizen – went back upstairs, came back out 10 minutes later to throw out the rubbish and in that 10 minutes it was gone. Never heard a thing.”

Host Dax Hale: [to his listeners] “Okay so if that was you and you still have got that bike all the years on, then bring it along to the Town Hall on the 15th.”

Damian: “Don’t ride it through the audience but yeah, if anyone’s got my bike…”

Host Dax Hale: “There’s lots of debate right now about the lack of opportunity in the arts for people from the working class background, disadvantaged background. Is that something you feel strongly about as well, that there should be greater representation?”

Damian: “Absolutely. It’s critical. It’s critical for art to be representative for all different people in society and partly the problem is getting into these drama schools like the one I went to, Guildhall – brilliant, brilliant drama school – but they cost money because you now have to pay like as a student going to University. They’re expensive and as a result I actually have a Damian Lewis scholarship fund at the Guildhall to help two students who were struggling financially to complete their third year of their training to help them finish. I’m absolutely committed to that idea. From whatever background they come from, they have a right to sit down and write a play, write a script, write a screenplay, write a novel, and they’ve got just as good a chance as anyone else. It starts with the word because if you haven’t got that then you haven’t got actors who are representative from that part of society, costume designers, artists, and on it goes…directors, producers, etc. etc. So it’s giving our writers the confidence from all walks of life to sit down and write brilliantly.”

Host Dax Hale: “Have you got a rider? I mean it says on your Twitter blog you’re a ping-pong champion. You can ask for a ping-pong table because I bet Mariah [Carey] has never done that, has she, let’s be honest.”

Damian: “I’d love it if she were at the other end of the table. So yeah, ping-pong table, one bottle of tequila – everyone’s happy – and two or three Elvis towels because it gets quite sweaty on stage.”

Host Dax Hale: “Spot on. Spot on. You’ve mentioned you’ve written some more songs so is the plan for now, surely after this, there’s gotta be another album?”

Damian: “I am concentrating on a second record. You know…tricky second album. But I do love writing music and I love playing music with my band. As long as people keep showing up to listen, let’s keep the show on the road. I’m really enjoying myself; it’s a lovely thing to do.”