Sax and the City Sax and the City

A former member of Spiritualized, exiled Brit and full time sax king Ray Dickaty has played some of the biggest stages out there. The Insider catches up for a natter. 

Ray Dickaty arrives in Poland for the first time – what happens next…
Well, to be honest, I visited Poland a few times before finally making the move to live here and was fortunate enough to visit some nice places and feel the energy and the sense of ‘can do’, so it wasn’t so much a shock when I finally settled. I had played some shows, met some people, and got used to Soviet era apartment block living. Of course, the shock of the language is a major one: where are the vowels?

Best (and worst) band name you’ve heard?
There are so many good ones but The Stooges I like and pretty much sums up the nature of the band. The worst, probably, is Bum Gravy – yes that was a real band playing the mid-90’s London pub circuit.

Favorite gig space here? 
That really depends on the music being played, but for contemporary free jazz and improvised music, in a bar, then it would have to be Pardon To Tu. For great sound quality and a reverent atmosphere it’s Laboratorioum at CSW, and for small rock gigs, Powiększenie. I don’t much like Palladium or Torwar, but at least they provide a decent space for mid-sized bands to play. Warsaw has plenty of gig space, the problem is the lack of imagination of some promoters.

What makes sax so cool?
Who said it was cool, I always wanted to be a guitarist!

What’s the best gig you’ve played?
Some of the best gigs often happen when not expected. The larger ‘hyped’ gigs sometimes suffer from too much pressure. So my best gigs have often been more what I term “throw away”. Not to demean them in status, it’s just I don’t think about them too much beforehand – then, often, something magical happens. Having said that, the Bluebird Theatre Denver Colorado with Spiritualized was a standout gig where the instruments seemed to play themselves and the music flowed. Headlining the second stage at Glastonbury was quite special because it seemed like a validation for all the hard work we had put in as a band.

You’ve played on the Lollapalooza tour! 
It was great fun hanging out on the third indie stage (ie. the back of a truck). We were far enough away from the corporate rock monsters to be taken no notice of by the festival goers and were pretty much left to our own devices. We simultaneously played gigs in small towns on our days off with great help from an underground network of cool bands, so I have many fond memories.

Any diva behavior to report?
Lollapalooza had its share of shocking behavior. Having arrived in a no-name dust bowl town, we proceeded to follow the circus across the mid-west. Arriving at one site the drummer and myself realized that the grounds incorporated a lake and it may be refreshing to relax by it whilst waiting to play. Settling down with a couple of beers we were rudely awoken from our revelry by black clad beefcakes in the form of Metallica’s personal army and informed that we had no right to sit by the lake as Metallica wished to jet ski on it. Now considering this was a rather a large lake it did and does seem quite ludicrous. I have disliked Metallica intensely ever since. Oh, and seeing Lars the drummer’s personal towel bearer being berated for providing the wrong colored towels or whatever also scores on my dislike list.

What is the future of Warsaw?
Well, I hope that Warsaw does not become another Americanised European city and retains its sense of being a European capital with a thriving and encouraged cultural sense. I would also hope that it does not, like London did, become far too expensive and prices out its artists/poets/philosophers/writers and musicians.

For more on Ray, and where to catch him, check:
www.raydickaty.com

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