Rob Dickinson

A fresh start for a rock veteran

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By Gary Graff  
After eleven years and five albums with Catherine Wheel, singer Rob Dickinson found himself without a band in 2001. Suffice it to say that he didn't rush into the next phase of his music career, but instead spent his time traveling and woodshedding for a few years before releasing his solo debut, Fresh Wine For The Horses, in 2005.

Q: So what did you do in the interim between the last Catherine Wheel album and Fresh Wine For The Horses?

I moved to New York in 2001 with a pretty solid sense I would make a solo record, and I got bogged down a little bit -- not just by September 11th but the shock of not having a band around me to speed the process along. I got very bogged down and started to overthink the method of making this record. Then I went back to England for a few months. I wrote a song called "Oceans," ironically, in my parents' house, where I'd written the vast majority of Catherine Wheel songs. Then I decided I was going to move to Los Angeles and jumped on a plane and went to the West Coast, and started making this record in October of 2003.

Q: Did you need some time to decompress after Catherine Wheel?

Probably. I did jump straight back in and put this enormous pressure on myself to write and make a record within a year. I don't think I was really ready for that. I found myself enjoying being in New York and thinking, "Geez, do I really need to make a record?"

Q: As a title. Fresh Wine For The Horses sounds a bit like Toby Keith's Beer For My Horses ...
Dickinson: Toby Keith? (laughs) I didn't know that. It was a phrase we were joking around with in the studio when we were making the record -- nobody knew where it came form, but it just stuck around. It sounded like a fresh start for me. There's a certain amount of celebration in that title. Initially it just sounded strange and odd, but it had a nobility to it.

Q: Are you thinking about your next solo album yet?

I am. I'm writing songs for the next one already, yeah, and thinking about a new one. But I think we're a long way from this record being over. I'm still out there playing shows and letting people know I'm back. It's great being back in the clubs and meeting these people that still love this music I made ten, fiftenn years ago. Catherine Wheel seems to have such a long life to it, and seems to have meant so much to so many people. What a joy it is to play that music, and my new stuff.

Q: Is there a possibility of Catherine Wheel working together again in the future?

Absolutely. We're all on very good terms. I don't think any of us put out the possibility we won't ever make another record, so who knows. Maybe we can make another record at some point. It's all good.

Gary Graff writes extensively about music. His work has appeared widely in such publications as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press, and Billboard.