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Rochester show kicks off John Waite's seven-week tour

The English musician has enjoyed success in the music industry, but enjoys his freedom from it even more.

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John Waite
Chris Schmitt photo contributed by the Rochester Civic Music Department
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ROCHESTER — From a resumé perspective, John Waite has no reason to spend seven weeks performing on the road. Waite, the platinum British musician behind the 1984 hit single “Missing You” and author of 10 studio albums has nothing to prove.

That doesn’t mean he has nothing to say.

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"I’m a writer,” Waite, 70, said in a phone interview Friday as he took a break packing for his trip to the U.S. “I write to communicate with people and share whatever is going on with me.”

One of the things on his mind was the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Waite said he was repulsed watching warfare thrust on civilians there.

“All done because a country wants to expand its borders,” he said. “Can you imagine taking your kids to school one morning, and the next day, there’s no school?”

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Waite added a tribute cover of Bob Dylan’s timeless ant-war anthem, “Masters of War” to his new EP “Say Anything.”

Waite recalls hearing the “Masters of War” when he was 14 years old. He said the “no-holds-barred” lyrics call out the people in power who push people to war in order to profit.

“There’s just something that’s hypocritical to life,” he said.

His Sunday “Down by the Riverside” show at Mayo Park kicks off a U.S. tour on the EP project.

For Waite, having something to say and write is only half of the process.

“There's nothing like taking that to people and sharing it and seeing their faces,” Waite said. “It’s like an extended family.”

His show will feature old hits and newer, autobiographical songs. He said those songs tend to mesmerize audiences.

“Nobody speaks, we’re in that moment, it’s like free fall between two points, you’re in the ether,” Waite said.

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A nighttime outdoor show should amplify that feeling, he added.

Waite’s success in the music industry has afforded him some freedom from the industry to write and perform what’s important to him.

“It’s a serious thing; it’s not a small project,” he said of the new EP. “I have complete freedom, full autonomy.”

That autonomy was earned after decades of working within the music industry and years of touring.

“This is paid for in blood,” he said.

Even early days and struggling to find success, Waite said he found friendship and camaraderie on the road. Going from destination to destination to play for people who want to hear music was also rewarding, he added.

“When you’re young, it’s part of the romance,” he said. “You’re sharing jokes, sandwiches, cigarettes, girls.”

Spending hours on the road, that camaraderie endures, he said.

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Tim Hogan, who plays bass on the tours, keeps a running gag going at the end of each tour. As they get ready to part ways at the airport, he says he wishes he had a show that night. Part of him means it, Waite said.

Related Topics: MUSICROCHESTER
John Molseed joined the Post Bulletin in 2018. He covers arts, culture, entertainment, nature and other fun stories he's surprised he gets paid to cover. When he's not writing articles about Southeast Minnesota artists and musicians, he's either picking banjo, brewing beer, biking or looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter "b." Readers can reach John at 507-285-7713 or jmolseed@postbulletin.com.
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