Tricky The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Tricky The Exclaim! Questionnaire
What are you up to?
Right now I've got my cock in my hand because I just woke up. Oh, projects? I'm working on Costanza [Francavilla's] album and I've got an album I'm just finishing off called Rodigan and Tricka, a spiritual, urban, ragga hip-hop album. I've got an album called Nearly Goddess and I'm starting a label, Brown Punk [Records].

Why do you live where you do?
I live everywhere because I don't like being in one place. You know when you move somewhere and you don't know it very well, you walk around with your eyes open. Then you recognise it so well that you stop looking.

What have been your career highs and lows?
There ain't really been any lows 'cause I could be working on a building site or in a factory. A career high was when Rita Marley said to me, "You remind me of Bob." That fucked my head up.

What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
In Austria, a guy came up to me with a big smile, shook my hand, hugged me, and then said, "That was not a very good show, huh?" I was stunned. I think I told him to fuck off.

What should everyone shut up about?
Eminem should shut up about his fucking mum and dad. His mum was an alcoholic and his dad wasn't around and he slept on his friend's couch 'cause he was broke, right? My mum committed suicide when I was three; I found my dad in a phone book when I was 12, and I didn't sleep on my friends' couches — I slept in prison cells. You don't hear me on records every minute saying ‘Oh, my mum, my dad! Oh, I've been in prison!' I'm here to touch people's souls. For me, talk about prison and fucking guns don't make any sense. The reason I'm a musician is so that I could get away from that.

What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
I dislike my temper. I love how I'll take anybody and let them do anything. You could be a drum tech in my band and the next thing you know, you're singing on the record. I believe everybody should have opportunity.

What advice should you have taken, but did not?
Chris Blackwell told me I should never have done a deal with DreamWorks — I should've listened to that. Someone told I never should've done the album with Muggs — I should've listened to that. My man said I had problems with reality when I was about 16 — I should've listened to that. But then again, if I were to listen to everything I wouldn't be the person I am.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I just kicked a guitarist out of my band because he thought he was a rock star and he was arrogant as fuck. I've kicked a girl out of my bed for thinking I'm somebody I'm not. One time, this girl, we were in bed and she put her hand on my heart and she said, "I thought like you want to tell me something." And I'm like, "I've known you for three fucking days. What the fuck would I want to tell you? And if I did have something to tell someone, it wouldn't be you." Sometimes, girls try to relate to me like I'm a suffering artist when I'm not.

What do you think of when you think of Canada?
British Columbian weed. It's the strongest weed fucking around. I like Canada —the easy-going pace, the multi-cultural aspect. You don't have to walk around like you do in New York. You can be a bit more chilled out. And the girls are gorgeous, man!

What is your vital daily ritual?
I train and cook and make some music every day. Tai Chi, Brazilian Jujitsu, boxing, anything to do with contact. I go to the gym sometimes but if I'm on a bike, I'll be looking at a girl next to me. I need to be with a man and feel contact.

What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?
Anything that takes the power [from] record companies means we're gonna start hearing good music — they only give us what is gonna sell. I wanted to give this album away for free on MP3 but we couldn't find a way to do it. You know, just not be part of this fuckin' McDonald's money-making machine.

What was your most memorable day job?
Stealing. We used to steal every day. Get up and think of where you're gonna rob, how you're gonna get your money.

How do you spoil yourself?
I used to take loads of drugs and drink. Now, I have Tai Chi for two hours.

If I wasn't playing music I would be:
Selling drugs, probably. It's something most of my friends do now, and if I lived in Bristol, I'm gonna be doing what my friends are doing.

What do you fear most?
My concentration level is so short that I get scared of little things and then all of a sudden I forgot what I'm scared about.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
To be honest with you, I'd rather go into a recording studio. Don't get me wrong, I like girls but I've done that. Going and doing a song is a bit more interesting. But then again, I've got a thing about underwear. I got a lingerie line — Panties by Tricky. I prefer to have sex with a girl with her knickers on than off.

What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Lee "Scratch" Perry. That guy's different. I've met him a few times but yesterday properly for the first time. He's just strange, not on this planet, do you know what I mean?

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Margaret Thatcher. I'd put matchsticks in her fingernails and torture her for about two hours and then make her eat fucking barbed wire. There are kids going around shooting each other in England. That's still because of her reign. Now the crime in England is so bad; we're still suffering from Thatcherism.

Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
Not young, if I was 60, go out blazing like in a gunfight. I'm not into drugs now, but if I'm 60 I could start getting into fucking heroin and fucking all kinds of drugs. Or maybe we'd fucking be super rich with loads of nurses around and a swimming pool hooked up to a brandy drip.

It ain't easy being a Tricky fan these days. After garnering wide accolades for his 1995 debut Maxinquaye and 1996's equally lauded Nearly God and Pre-Millennium Tension albums, a series of lukewarm releases threatened to eclipse the pro-spliff Bristol-born artist's earlier impact.

"I did Blowback for the money basically 'cause I was broke," he admits of his 2001 Hollywood Records debut, which featured a hodgepodge of unlikely collaborators including Cyndi Lauper and Live's Ed Kowalczyk. "I knew I had to get back to doing my thing."

Tricky's seventh album, Vulnerable, is very much an attempt at recapturing his glory days of yore. According to him, it's dedicated to "all the people who stuck with me from Maxinquaye through now." Released on his own Brown Punk Records label, Vulnerable also showcases the vocal talent of Martina's successor, Costanza Francavilla.

"She was the perfect, perfect vibe," he says of Francavilla. "There were a lot times where she would just chill out for a bit while I was doing my thing, but I could feel her presence there all the time, spiritually. Plus, she knew my music so there was two-way trust."

As an artist often considered ahead of his time, Tricky senses that the commercial world is finally catching up to his forward musical vision. "I'm not giving a fuck about that but it feels like that's where it's going. It feels like things are changing and it seems like a good time for all individual-thinking artists, so I think my time is coming soon."
Andy Lee