Prince of tears

The inspirations driving Baxter Dury’s sleazy tales and pop beats
By Clementine Zawadzki | Music | 27 October 2017

Baxter Dury’s songs are laced with more perspective than most; rich in personality from dialogue to portrayal; take his recent single Miami, which offers a glimpse into the imagined world of a man who’s decadent delusions precede a slightly inebriated reality.

Following in his father’s footsteps (Mr Blockhead, himself), the Buckinghamshire-born musician illustrates fact through fictional characters such as this on his new record Prince of Tears; a 10-track account of warped truths. Bouncing between sleazy beats and sleazier lyrics, Baxter’s music works to its own rhythm, yet is chock-a-block with references, nods and derisions.

Unravelling these touchstones (only ever so slightly), here Baxter takes us through five key influences that underpin his latest sonic offering. From Serge Gainsbourg – who inspired Baxter’s narrative and cinematic approach on Prince of Tears, bringing in a full band and orchestra to add weight to its soundscape – to the “horrifyingly soppy” impact of a romantic break-up in, scroll down and get to grips with a new kind of royalty, the Prince of Tears


“I like the unlikely tones of John Coltrane, maybe this is unapparent on the surface of my music but it does inform it in spirit (pretentious). He sat back way back from the rest of the Jazzers, more concerned with something melodically obvious than thrashing around scales. His handsomness dictates the way he plays and theres a non-arrogant confidence to it.”


“Paris is a place I like, partly because Paris likes me. It has a certain lifestyle rhythm only appropriate to itself based on French culinary cliches and being relatively laid back. The music is mostly poor as the French inherently clap on the one and three and they have for years specialised in slightly over-sexualised, crooner creep balladeering. Except the obviously great Serge Gainsbourg who betrays most of their musical history and was hugely influential on this record, with his sleazy narratives that I don’t understand set against big cinematic scores.”


“I think importantly music can be richer if you learn to harness some of the stuff that has effected your world and feed it in. This record was vey much redirected by the impact of a break up. This would usually be horrifyingly soppy for me to go into, but I hit it head on and it set an interesting tone.”


“I found my own limitations influential in the sound of the record. I like my ability cap in terms of singing and understanding of how music should work. Sometimes it’s like building the Ark out of nail clippings. When you get something right and it’s melodic and effective it’s also usually different from other peoples’.”


“The orchestrations are a device to lift it from just a small-man provincial honesty into something cinematic.”

Baxter Dury’s Prince of Tears is out now via Heavenly Recordings.


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