Chesney Hawks Interview
How are you doing?
I’m good Keeping busy. Ovbiously all gigs have been cancelled til next year.I am doing online shows every other week and getting to spend time at home with my family.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
I grew up in very rock and roll household. My dad was a rocker,he was in a band called the tremolos.It meant we had rock stars around the house all the time from bands like Marmalade,The Searchers even The Beatles were around the house.We also had guitars in every corner of the room.I started getting into music at an early age and from there it was no brainier. There was not anything else I wanted to do.
Who are your musical inspirations and what music do you listen to at the moment?
Well i grew up in a very 60s household in the 80’s.I have a 60s dad so pretty much The Beatles was a big part of it all.I don't think I would be sitting here if it wasn't for that Lennon McCartney George Harrison songwriting.They were songwriters but from my generations was Prince that just turned me upside down. No one had that all round talent like that man and no one ever will I feel. I learned so much from Nik Kershaw. I was fan and had he privilege to meet and work with him.I would also count him as friend.I wrote countless songs with him.
I have three kids all teenagers i have been introducing them to my faves. Prince The Beatles. My eldest is 19 musical and is a musical theatre guy so lots of that,my daughter is more pop so lots of Adele and people like that.My wife is a pop head too so anything in pop charts and me and my son indie who is 14 is a good guitar player and loves rock and roll?
Can you tell me 2 things about yourself that people might not already know?
I was Billy Oceans paper boy good,really.He was a good tipper.You would get 20 quid at Christmas
Im and Avid skateboarder .I mean I like long boards.Going from pub to pub. Iv'e got about 15 of those
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Id say supporting Bryan Adams in 92 at the Yellow Stadium with around 80 thousand people.Its the most incredible crowd who were up for it Extreme were on before me,you know who sang ‘More Than Words’.It was late afternoon the sun was going down.It was just incredible fun that extreme of gigs but then i just love small acoustic gigs with me and a few hundred people where you can see the whites of their eyes.I do acoustic tours every year.I remember the last acoustic gig I did at the Half Moon in Putney.I get my brother on stage who is a drummer and sometimes I will get my dad up.The best gig I have been to has to be prince.I have seen him 10 times.There is nothing like price and I am very sad I will never see it again.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
Well im an artist so ask other artists that questions they would say I've got lots to achieve. Commercially The One and Only was by far my biggest record but artistically the latest album that hasn't even come out yet because of the whole Covid situation will be my biggest achievement.It will come out Next Year.
Can you tell me your relationship with the song ''The One And Only''?
Ive had my ups and downs with that song.I didnt play it for 7 or 8 years.Id say from 94 to the mid 2000s I didn't play it at all.These days its different now, we are good mates,id say more friends with benefits. Over the years its grown into something I hadn't imagined. Great thing about it is music had ability to go into peoples lives and when that happens I feel you give up that ownership of the song .Now its very rare i do gigs without playing it. I am proud to have been part of that its a great song,its also really hard working out the chords for The One and Only its also in four different keys.One of those interesting pop songs.
Ok so this changes from gig to gig and week to week.It would have to be a song from real life real love album called John Lennon Lived Here.I was only 19 or 20 when I wrote it.I went to New York just going around the places where John Lennon had been too.Went to Strawberry Fields,Statue of Liberty where he was photographed doing the Peace sign and of course the Decota building where he died. That's the record I would like to be remembered for.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
From back in the day one of the better stories I can remember was once we got stuck on a bus going to a radio station in Madrid.It was me the whole band and entourage.We had to get a mini bus down a street to the Radio Station and the whole street was packed full of fans.They rushed the bus and the bloody thing nearly turned over.It was rocking so much the driver was trying to move forward.The tour manager said don't move we were trapped on there for like two hours.The window of the radio stations got blown out ,the police came and then finally the crowd got dispersed.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I did a tour once with Huey Lewis ,played lots of European venues ,this was before the wall came down we did East Germany.He used to come in the hotel bar and once he said to me,I've seen your show and my advice to you is ‘Never Come Off The Road’ always play live.His career is something I can look up to and his words have rung in my ears since then.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
Its very different from when I started,I thinks its a double edged sword.Its interesting how you can now build an audience without the music industry business machine behind you.I like that because then you have the power of your career in your hands would have been interesting when I started to have just sent a tweet out to millions of people.On the other hand it gets rid of the mystique of some artists.It wouldn't have been good for artists like Prince and David Bowie who used to control their image.Another thing about how it is now is that you can view the haters. Im my day if people didn't like you,you didn't always get it in the face.Its difficult for young artists.If this was a different world I would go back to Vinyl and radio but its not so just go with it!
What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?
Yeah its been actually a good and bad side to life.One is that I travel a lot between London and LA.My carbon footprint is a bit large for my liking and I don't kids to see my family and kids as often as I would like.Also all my earning are from live gigs so I got completely slammed.I am not able to make money so I have been working out what to try and do.I have been doing a few things online to raise awareness and also at the same time raising money for charities and trying to pay a few bills. Goodness knows when things will get back to normal but I would say things will be cancelled till next year. So roll on 2021.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
Its funny the next show im doing is a Desert Island Discs type of theme and one of subjects I am covering is the first record I bought which was Superstition on old gold label .Stevie Wonder was the coolest and the second song I bought was Ghostbusters
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Probably answered this before but I would have loved a sit down with two guitars and John Lennon. The greatest honest song writer that ever lived.I loved every single thing he did.
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Wow man alive probably be imagine.I sound like a broken record but it was the first thing I learned on the piano.
What things make you uncomfortable?
No this sound weird but flying. Not a comfortable flyer. Back in the day I did 7 countries in one day I cant think of anything else.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
Funnily enough i have started to write my memories.It would all be about truth and honesty. There's no point writing a book that is not honest. it's difficult because some things you don't want to bring to light. I would tell my story from a crazy background to my dad’s 60s rocker big parties and jamming in the back garden and I would wake up with drunken musicians on the floor as I went to get my cornflakes in the morning.I would get it all out there.
What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
Well at the moment I am doing the season finale of live and unfiltered .Season two is later in the year. Im taking a while off putting the finishing touches to the new album. Spending time with my family .Best thing to do as musicians is be as creative as we can.