Interview mit William Fitzsimmons



William, you are in tour again. How has it been so far?

Terrible! (laughs)


No, it´s been good. Well the weather has been very awful, which is relevant when you are doing festivals. Actually they cancelled a festival in Italy, but we still played. We found a little tent and we just got our guitars and played a little acoustic session. It has been wonderful. It has been really good. It´s 6 month mostly being on tour which seems a little weird but it´s good.

What do you miss the most when you are on tour?

My children.

I knew that you would say that!

Yeah! And I miss my family. I love to tour a lot. If my family would be with me, I feel like I could stay out on tour for a couple of years.

But that is not possible?

No it is. But not right now, because my youngest is very small. You can do it. Some people say you are crazy, but I know some friends who have done it. And I think they loved it. It´s a sacrifice, but I think it is a bigger sacrifice to be away from your family.
The older I get, that´s the way I prefer to tour with. You want the band and you want these guys around you. We very actually able to sleep one hour this night and everybody is like "OK!" There´s that and then there is the person who cannot function in that situation. It is like having a different family.

And what do you miss the most when you are not on tour?

(considers a few seconds)

Hard question?

Yeah kind of, I really like playing shows. I miss the feeling, to be able to connect with people through music. I love writing a lot, but I met some people coming to me after the show and they were crying and that´s really powerful for me, that´s amazing. You know, that doesn´t get old. It´s not weird for me. It´s really beautiful. I feel amazing. That´s an incredible feeling that someone is so moved that he cries. I think that´s the most I miss and you cannot replicate when you are not in a space with people and you are sharing the same feelings. And I miss the camaraderie of being with my band. Anybody feels to be a part of a sports team and it´s just sharing experience all the time. We are still making jokes of things that happened seven years ago. It´s those things. But my life is very fulfilled know and it´s fun there, too.

Do you see each other often when you are not on tour?

No, not really. More often I see my other friends, because they are all pros, they are playing with their own bands. I live close enough to a couple of cities where friends are playing. When one of my friends is playing in St. Louis or something I drive down to see him.
It is very intense when you are on tour together and sharing the same space, you go on each other’s nerves. When you are done with the tour, it´s healthy to not see the other guys for a few month. But you really miss them a lot. I love these guys like brothers. We talk occasionally. Living with someone in a van can be annoying. There have been a few situations where people have gotten so annoyed that they couldn´t even talk to each other for a while.

What would you do, if you weren’t a musician? Would you work as a therapist again?

I liked doing therapy a lot. I would probably find my way back into psychology. I liked being an academic. The happiest time in my life was when I was studying. Learning and reading. When you have kids you do not have the time to read that much. I mean I read but most of the time children´s books. Which is fine. One thing I think would be fun is to work as a counselor at a colleague, work with colleague age kids. That is a cool age to work with. They are old enough so you can have real conversations, but not too old to not can be fixed. There´s still hope (laughs).

Can you tell me something about the new record "Lions"? What is it about?

It came from getting to know and being a part of the life of the biological mother of my oldest daughter. I had a pretty long and weird journey of becoming a father. You have a lot of life changes and things that happen. It is a very long story. It´s leading to the person who made this sacrifice. She gave us her baby. This experience was very big and powerful and it kind of changed me. I never had an experience like that. No one made me a gift like that before. And I never had this kind of responsibility before.
Good music and good art doesn’t have a singular definition, doesn’t have this one interpretation. And I am not saying that to be wag, some people go too far and write nonsense. You know, like " The moon in the sky was so cold and lonely." It doesn´t fucking mean anything. I want to touch the people´s emotional system not just in mind and they bring their own stories to that. That´s what you have to do. For me it was learning how to appreciate someone who has a very dark and a light side. Learning to understand that I have the same sides. I had to deal with that. That I am both, a sinner and a saint. The metaphorical lion supposed to be similar. They are kings. But they are also very awful. They are animals. They are very dangerous. So that´s the idea and that´s where it came from. But I mean, the longer I do this the more I appreciate the people´s points of what the songs mean to them.

Where did you get the inspiration for your songs?

That one particular experience, the "Licht", it was in a hospital and it was the moment when we were saying goodbye to my daughter´s birthmother. She was leaving and we were staying. It seemed like a movie because it was so crazy. I mean we just fucking lost it and were weeping, it was so hard but harder for her. We were so happy, you know. But it was very painful, too.
Most of the record was written when it was warm enough to sit on my porch. And Josie, my youngest daughter was sitting on this bouncing chair and she was a manor part of the story that I was trying to tell. It was a sweet experience, because I got to sit there with my daughter and was thinking about these things. So she and her birthmother gave me the main inspiration for that record.

Another subject. Have you ever been a singer/songwriter or have you played in bands before?

I did. The first band that I was in was a Led Zeppelin cover band. It was fun. I loved Led Zeppelin and still do. All the guys in the band where ok. I wasn´t very good. I was the worst one but it was really fun. I loved it. It took a lot of time to get comfortable with playing in front of other people, because when I learned I spent years of playing by myself. It´s really different to share musical space. And that ended kind of bad. The band ended up playing a show at a prom, and they didn´t tell me. They we´re sort of kicking me out without telling me. Which was worse. But that´s fine now. Two of these guys are still really good friends. It´s funny now. But that was kind of a confirmation for me to say no. I am just going to make music by myself. I have to make it all work by myself. I couldn’t just rely on others, being loud and having much of instruments. You´ve got a guitar and your voice. GO! And so it´s got to be a good song. There has to be something interesting which is speaking to the people. I am thankful for that but I love playing with other people now. But I still really like playing alone.

Back to your daughters. Have there been any difficulties because you are a musician and on tour a lot?

I was home almost for the first two years. That was amazing. I was actually on tour when my youngest was born. She was born two month early. I supposed to be home then. And then I was away from home 4 month out of six, so I was a part of her life one third, which was awful. I mean she doesn´t know. But I know. And my oldest, she talks and runs around and so on and she knows that her daddy is gone. And that are the difficulties. I had a minor break down when I came home after the US tour. Because I was just there and hadn’t taken my medication, and I was very emotionally and saw how much they changed. And we talked everyday on FaceTime and stuff like that. But it´s not the same. There´s no touching and cuddling. And that was massive for me and a very hard thing. But I love the challenge to make that all work. Because it is my responsibility and I have to do that for the ones I love and to make sure that I am making choices to do both. But I think it´s cool, jumping in and figure it out how to make this work.

Is there any reason why you adopted 2 girls, instead of one boy and one girl for example?

We went to a really good agency. And you don´t really choose, like you do not choose when you are getting biological kids. And it´s a child and you love it but I would have chosen two girls, I always wanted to have two girls. I mean, boys are sweet. And then they are not. You know what I mean? They stop being sweet and then they are like peeing on the wall and they smell like shit. And girls are like small princesses. I mean they are children and gonna be awful sometimes and I am sure when she is thirteen we are gonna have difficulties. I would have been thrilled if we would have adopted a boy. I like it. I am very fulfilled. I was meant to not have kids until I was this age and now I am supposed to be doing this. It´s making me a better person.

Do they like your music and maybe listen to it when they go to sleep?

Josie and I are playing together. She is awful (laughs), because she is so small and not able to play music. She likes watching my videos, so she is seeing me. But she doesn´t really like to listen to it. I used to play to her all the time when she was a baby. But it´s not really hers. She likes to dance so she needs something where she can go like this to (makes some dancing moves). I guess when she is like in the mid-twenties she would say: "Wow, dad was super cool!" But then I would be gone. And then she´ll figure it out. And she will feel bad. And it´s gonna be too late. (laughs)

So we´re coming to the end. What are your plans for the future?

I don´t know. I really want to write more. It has been a lot of touring and it happened so many things that I want to write about it and share. It´s interesting, it becomes harder to find those feelings of the songs when you first wrote them. I mean I cannot count how many shows we played.
And I surely want to spent time with my family. That is the most important thing. I think I want to come back next year and do a solo tour. I like it both, like to do the band thing, because it´s awesome but you have to deal with the things I said before and then there is the solo thing and you think: "Fuck, that is so boring." It goes back and forth.

Thank you very much! Do you have any last words for our readers?

I never do. You know what I mean?

Stupid question?

No, actually I am some kind of glad that you asked. No I really do not do that. Is that bad?

No! Because actually everybody says the same: "Thank you for supporting me and so on."

Fuck that.

They are going to hate you.

(We both were laughing)