Wednesday June 18, 2014 8:00 pm
Presented by KRCL
Karl Wallinger was born in Prestatyn, north Wales on 19 October 1957. His musical career has been wide-ranging, interesting and took him to the heights of critical and commercial acclaim in the early 1990s. These days, he's musically self-reliant and recovering from a serious aneurysm.
His formative years were spent listening to the hippy rockers of the 60s such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Love, as well as Motown and Merseybeat, all of which have echoes in the funky but folkily-hippy soul pop songs he went on to make.
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Leaving the public school Charterhouse, Wallinger's first foray into the music business was in 1976 as a member of the group Quasimodo, who were much later to mutate into The Alarm.
He moved to London in the late 1970s to work as a clerk for ATV/Northern Songs music publishing company, but soon he became musical director of the Rocky Horror Show in the West End.
1983 found him joining a funk band called The Out and then The Waterboys as a keyboard player. Tensions between him and Mike Scott in the band were severe, coming to a particular head in 1985. Scott refused to lip-sync on Top Of The Pops, costing them a place on what was then the single most important method of publicising a single. Then Scott over-ruled Wallinger over the inclusion of songs written by each of them about Live Aid and its aftermath.
Wallinger left The Waterboys, along with his bandmates Guy Chambers and Chris Witten, in 1986, and worked on what would became World Party's debut album.
Private Revolution was released in 1987, and was a minor hit for Ensign, who'd kept Wallinger on contract after he'd left The Waterboys.
Private Revolution was also a minor critical success. Suffice to say although interest was there, it wasn't a breakthrough. That came with the 1990 album Goodbye Jumbo, released after Wallinger had contributed to SinÃ©ad O'Connor's 1988 debut album The Lion And The Cobra.
Goodbye Jumbo was commercially successful, spawning the hits Message In The Box and Way Down Now, and becoming the very first Q magazine Album of the Year.
The follow-up, Bang!, was another big commercial success, reaching number two in the UK album charts and charting with the singles Is It Like Today and All I Gave. In 1994 he was the musical director for the film Reality Bites and also contributed to the soundtrack of 1996's Clueless.
In 1996 Karl wrote She's The One, for the film of the same name. Tom Petty, as musical director for the film, decided to perform the soundtrack himself. The song was eventually given to the soundtrack of the film Match Maker, but it was the start of a strange period in Wallinger's life.
Guy Chambers, who was in the band with Wallinger, begun working with EMI artist Robbie Williams, as they tried to develop him as a major solo artist.
Williams was a fan of World Party's Egyptology LP, which featured the song. He recorded the track with Chambers, and the rest of Wallinger's band, but not to his knowledge. The single went to number one, won a Brit, and its parent album, Escapology, was a massive seller.
While the royalties from the Robbie Williams version would prove useful, the farrago was the last straw for Wallinger, who left EMI. He was able to take back the rights to World Party's back catalogue and jumped to a label called Papillon, run by two former EMI executives.
In 2000 Dumbing Up was released by Papillon, but after a short period of touring, disaster struck when Karl suffered an aneurysm. Effectively taking him out of action for two years, it was largely royalties from She's The One which saw him through.
More legal manoeuvring and recuperations took him to 2005, when he decided to take World Party back on the road and into the public consciousness. Operating with his own label, Seaview, he has set about re-releasing his back catalogue in America.
Early 2006 saw him playing the South By South West festival in Austin, Texas. He told us, "It was very heartwarming when people sang material back to me, not only older material but newer.
"I've been away for so long; it's a crazy planet and I don't care [about the industry] anymore. I just want to go out and sing now."
That line of advice tends to get stated with a lot more frequency than it's actually followed. In Gabriel Kelley's case, though, it's something he's never needed to think about: It's the way he's always done things.
The talented 27-year-old raised most of the funds for his debut album with a Kickstarter campaign, but his manner of conducting his life and music runs deeper. The saga of how IT DON'T COME EASY came to be is one of steadfast determination and self-sufficiency and a commitment to doing the right thing—often against challenging odds. And, as Kelley himself notes, there's a corollary: Even when the creative process isn't a walk in the park, it's worth the effort when the work is honest.