This Gary Brooker interview was conducted in 1990 by Carsten Overgaard and Niels-Erik Mortensen: we've split it into various parts: find the rest by clicking here
Well, turning to maybe your future plans, you have now actually planned of reforming the group and releasing an album.
No, that's not true. (Pause) No. I don't think one could ever really conceive of reforming Procol, I mean what would you reform it from? I mean who ... who is in Procol Harum?
Well, some of the same persons who ...
Some of the same ... how many?
There've been fifteen at least
How many have been in it? Well, I mean who is the guitarist? Um, who's the organist? Um, the actual fact is is that Keith Reid and I have been working on ... we started last year to write some new songs 'cos we hadn't written seriously together for quite some time. And ... I've in fact been playing rhythm and blues for a couple of years, and getting, not fed up with it, but it had gone as far as it was going to go ... and I just felt like I wanted to play ... well, wanted to write some songs with Keith, you can't explain it, just wanted to (laughs).
Or go back to the ... do some original things and ...
Well, I'd been writing original songs on my own albums, so it wasn't that I was a frustrated writer at all. But, um, I've very much made albums when I've made songs, I've used different musicians and I've never formed up a band that would go out and play those.
No, but ... why didn't you? I mean you've been working with Procol Harum for ten years, ten, twelve years, and then you went on your own. Would you like to have a kind of ... band, instead of musicians you could work with all the time?
Um ... well, yes, perhaps it would be nice, I've never really ... I never really wanted to go out and ... and tour at that particular time, when I had my albums
Have you been more satisfied with the solo albums than any of the previous actions?
Um, in many ways ... I mean I wouldn't comment about, I wouldn't even bother comparing them with anything else, but in many ways, on the solo albums I've had a bit more control, sometimes perhaps too much, so that, yeah I might have lost objectivity at some points, perhaps not, but um in some ways they've come out as I hoped they would., which is not always the case when you're working with six or seven individuals as in a Procol Harum album, or as it was in the end, anyway.
Why did you decide to split up eventually after the last album, Something Magic?
Well it had always been our policy even from when we did Whiter Shade Of Pale we said well if this not successful we'll knock it on the head, which is English for 'We'll stop doing it', but Whiter Shade Of Pale was successful, so we didn't knock it on the head, and ... well when I say successful I don't mean commercially, I mean musically successful, in other words we liked, we'd enjoyed what we'd done, and ... let's put it that way ... we'll carry on with it until we stop enjoying it in some way. Which is exactly what we did: each time it came round ... you know, to make an album or something, we'd find ideas, like them, we enjoyed making it, and we'd go out and play, and then the next album would come round, and so on. I think by ... when we got to our tenth album, um, we struggled a bit ... I think we were a bit tired somehow, I don't mean physically tired, I mean tired of finding the new ideas and the new approaches, and I think we felt at the end of that that we'd almost gone full circle. Well we had gone full circle, we were really doing things that we'd started out doing ...
Repeating yourself artistically, and so on, too much, do you think? Perhaps your ideas were getting worse?
Yeah. Perhaps we just needed a rest?