The sons of mu­sic leg­end Roy Orbison talk to MAR­ION McMULLEN about mu­sic, me­mories and next year’s holo­gram tour

Caernarfon Herald - - SOUND OUT -

What is your ear­li­est mem­ory of your father singing?

ROY Jr (aged 47): The first thing that jumps out would be in Lon­don. We were prob­a­bly at the May­fair Ho­tel or one of the two or three big ho­tels we stayed in.

I would’ve been two or three years old and I re­mem­ber they wouldn’t let me go to the show.

I was just ly­ing on the bed and I re­mem­ber I could feel the floor shak­ing and the peo­ple clap­ping and ev­ery­thing.

I just I wanted to go down there so badly and I fell asleep to Roy Orbison mu­sic. It’s nice to fall asleep to. It was so sooth­ing. ALEX (aged 42): I re­mem­ber get­ting pulled up to do a bow – be­ing about three – and just see­ing all of those peo­ple look­ing back.

That was in the UK as well and it was amaz­ing how hard ev­ery­one clapped. It was stun­ning. WES­LEY (aged 52): He came to pick me up on his mo­tor­cy­cle, we rode to the top of the hill and he started singing Yel­low Sub­ma­rine and I thought it odd.

I said: “Are you just mak­ing that up on the spot?” and he said “No, it’s a song by a re­ally ter­rific fa­mous band called The Bea­tles.”

Was mu­sic al­ways around grow­ing up?

ROY Jr: I grew up on the back of a tour bus. I slept more nights than not in the stu­dio, so I re­mem­ber liv­ing in the mu­sic stu­dios, and there was al­ways a gui­tar in the room.

Roy al­ways left a gui­tar nearby and I still sleep with a gui­tar nearby. I have a gui­tar in ev­ery room of my house right now so I don’t have to go search­ing. ALEX: Life re­volved around the turntable and mu­sic and peo­ple com­ing by to write mu­sic or play mu­sic or want­ing to do mu­sic busi­ness, and so I think it was all en­com­pass­ing. WES­LEY: For me it was a lit­tle more of a soli­tary ex­pe­ri­ence.

I had a record player and some of my dad’s records hang­ing around and a Johnny Cash record and a Jerry Lee Lewis record and Merle Hag­gard, who was one of my grand­fa­ther’s favourites.

He played that quite a bit.

When did you start play­ing mu­sic your­selves?

ROY Jr: Well, I have a son, Roy III, and he’s one year old, and we have him on this new Royal Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra al­bum, A Love So Beau­ti­ful.

At 10 months old, he plays on the song Oh, Pretty Woman so we have three gen­er­a­tions of Roy Or­bisons on Roy with wife Bar­bara this al­bum. and his son Wes­ley

Our dad in 1970 in Lon­don was a pas­sive ag­gres­sive dad.

He didn’t push it on us, he just made it easy to choose mu­sic.

He gave me a gui­tar for my fifth birth­day so I could say I started at five, but I re­mem­ber sneak­ing in and play­ing with his gui­tar ear­lier than that. ALEX: I think I was three, right? I re­mem­ber my hands were too small to get on the gui­tar.

First they wanted me to play the vi­olin! I had to have a sponge to go on the chin holder be­cause it was too far away be­cause I was so small.

I was le­git­i­mately the worst vi­olin player prob­a­bly ever.

It made me much more com­fort­able when I got to drums a lit­tle while later.

WES­LEY: I al­ways sang for as long as I could re­mem­ber, but dad said if I wanted to get into writ­ing songs and all that I should learn an in­stru­ment and be able to ac­com­pany my­self. I think it was prob­a­bly close to my 18th birth­day when I got a gui­tar and then it started pretty full on.

What was it like hear­ing songs like Only The Lonely, Cry­ing and In Dreams played by the or­ches­tra for the first time on the al­bum?

ALEX: I lit­er­ally cried. It’s strange but I don’t know what the tears are, be­cause they’re not sad tears.

It’s just so beau­ti­ful that it moved me to tears the first time.

When we were sat around, I re­mem­ber see­ing these guys get a lit­tle misty, and I thought ‘Good, it’s not just me.’

How will the holo­gram tour work next year?

ALEX: By sheer en­ter­tain­ment magic. We can’t get too deeply into how it’ll work, but we can say that it’s gonna work well.

The tour will be our father walk­ing out on stage as a holo­gram sur­rounded by the Royal Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra play­ing the ar­range­ments that are on the record with our dad’s vo­cals.

To have the Roy Orbison con­cert ex­pe­ri­ence again will be in­cred­i­ble for peo­ple, and for me per­son­ally.

If it passes muster with me then I’m con­fi­dent it’s gonna pass muster with other peo­ple, even the peo­ple who have seen many, many, many shows.

ROY Jr: I was sold when they first de­scribed it and said ‘Here’s the way it’s gonna go, your dad’s gonna walk to the cen­tre…’ He’s gonna walk?! What else is he gonna do? I was blown away just from that.

That’s like Darth Vader walk­ing into the room! He’s gonna walk into the cen­tre of the stage? I’m gonna have goose­bumps already.

What is the best piece of ad­vice your father ever gave you?

ALEX: I was a fa­mous short­cut­ter, like I would try to stack all the plates on the table so it would only take one run to the dish­washer, and he must’ve sym­pa­thised with that and he said, “When you do some­thing, do it 100%, even 110%.

“Give it your all, so you don’t have to come back and mess with it later, be­cause those short­cuts end up mean­ing more time later.”

I didn’t fig­ure that out un­til I was 35 years old, and now those words echo in my head.

WES­LEY: Choose your friends wisely. ROY Jr: He had so many bits of ad­vice. He was very, very smart, but one thing that I think about more and more as I get older was that he said, “Son, the surest way to poverty is to be­come a poet or a jazz mu­si­cian.”

All these years later, I’m kind of a poet and a jazz mu­si­cian. ■ A Love So Beau­ti­ful With The Royal Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra is out now and the sin­gle Love Hurts will be re­leased on De­cem­ber 22. The or­ches­tra will also be per­form­ing with a holo­graphic Roy Orbison next year as part of the Roy Orbison In Dreams tour. Go to roy­or­bi­son.com for de­tails.

Roy Orbison pic­tured back­stage at the Lon­don Pal­la­dium in 1965, and above, with his wife Bar­bara and baby son Roy Jr. Be­low, is new al­bum A Love So Beau­ti­ful which fea­tures Roy’s clas­sic tracks with mu­sic from the Royal Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra

John Len­non and Ringo Starr at the birth­day party of Roy Orbison in 1964. They are pic­tured with his son Roy Jr

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