Dave Harding Interview, part 2

by Lee Gonnella on August 28, 2012

We’re back talking to old friend Dave Harding, about his new album “You Came Through”.

DITTMo: Reading the liner notes and listening to these tracks, these songs seem to be very personal and autobiographical, even more so than your first record. I get the feeling of a musical journey that’s not always been easy but always exciting, followed by a gracious homecoming…..can you expand on that and talk a bit about your songwriting?

DH: I really had a hard time for a while. I’ve been writing songs since I was in my early 20’s. But I’ve always been a slow writer and lazy as fuck. Then I found myself in Richmond Fontaine in my late 20’s, and in a band with a hard-working, great songwriter. I mean, for every Vlautin song you hear, he has probably written another three that he ends up tossing out. He work’s hard at it. When the band first started, RF actually played a couple of my songs. But it was frustrating, as I was playing bass and Willy couldn’t really play guitar like I wanted it to be played on the songs. But the main fact was that RF has for the most part been his artistic vision. I used to have people, long ago, tell me: ‘how come they aren’t playing your songs in the band?, you write good stuff’. But I knew that my stuff was a different animal than Willy’s. I knew that the band needed that vision, it was no good to dilute it.

Then I went through a period where I tried to write stuff which I thought would work for the band to play. Man, that sucked. I was trying to force myself to write things that weren’t natural for me. So I kind of gave up, and didn’t write a whole lot for a long time. Then, when RF was recording “13 Cities” in Tucson, I got real frustrated for a number of reasons. I seriously considered leaving the band around then. But I also made a commitment to myself that I would record a record of my own stuff within a year. And that’s where “Across the Road” came about, which I recorded a year later.

Across the Road” was a great lift for me. I got some really nice feedback and compliments for that record, and I was really proud of it. And working with Mike Coykendall and all the great musicians on that record was a great boost as well.

I had no intention of making the record that became “You Came Through” . But I went through a little songwriting binge last year, writing new songs and finishing songs that had been sitting around for a while. So I really pushed myself to record the record after coming back from a series of tours with RF, when I felt that I would be musically inspired. And my ‘spiritual advisor’ through the time leading up to the recording was Willy. If I was doubting myself and had thoughts of cancelling the recording (which I did a couple of times), I would talk to Willy and he would talk me down and set me on the straight and narrow. So I owe him a lot in the making of the record.
DITTMo:  Last question Dave, what’s next for you and what can we expect in the future?
Right now I live in Denmark, my wife’s home country. It is nice and peaceful here, with kind of a laid back country vibe. This summer has been a good one for writing songs. A change of scenery often does that. I don’t know what the future holds. I hope to continue recording and touring with RF. And I hope to continue to write and record albums of my own. I’d like to get some kind of group going over here in Denmark…..but I hate being the front guy! So if anyone out there knows some kind Danish musicians, let me know!
Thanks so much again to Dave Harding for taking the time and giving such thoughtful answers. I’ve said it before, and I’m not the only one who thinks it, you won’t meet a nicer guy! Check out his new album at Amazon or on  I-tunes, you’ll be glad you did!

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