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Anne McCue

A Conversation with Anne McCue

Anne McCue: Hey, Frank. How are you?

Puremusic: I'm very, very good. It's so nice to speak with you. It's been far too long.

AM: It has, hasn't it? A couple years maybe?

PM: It's been a couple of years, I think, yeah, since we bumped into each other--I can't remember the last opportunity. It's too long, I know that. But I follow what you're doing, this way or that. And you seem to be ever-blooming.

AM: Thank you. Well, yeah, we're trying.

PM: And you seem to get more photogenic as you go on, and that's a very good trick.

AM: Well, that is what they call a trick. That is a trick, yes.


PM: Yeah. I think, like the guitar, like anything else, people just get good at it.

AM: Yeah, that's true.

PM: And on top of being a good looking person, I think you get smarter in front of a camera all the time. And it really shows. I mean, that picture I saw on your site of you with Les Paul was particularly good.

AM: Oh, yeah. That's fun.

PM: That's very Hollywood.

AM: [laughs]

PM: But that's one of the cool things about Les Paul, is he makes a pretty girl look even prettier.

AM: Ah, that's a very good quote.


PM: Now, you know that we at Puremusic got on the Anne bandwagon very early on.

AM: Very.

PM: We interviewed you around the brilliant debut Amazing Ordinary Things almost exactly four years ago.

AM: Good grief!

PM: Right? [laughs]

AM: Wow, that's a long time ago now.

PM: I wondered on the way over to the studio how your life must have changed since that time.

AM: Yes, it's changed a lot, really.

PM: How would you say, in what ways since those early days of Amazing Ordinary Things, what comes to mind as some ways that life has changed?

AM: Well, I think that I was more naive then, you know how it is.

PM: Right.

AM: And I've been through a lot more, and done a lot more touring. And you get whittled down, it's like a sculpture. The chips will come off gradually, and you start forming something that's less abstract. I feel like I'm becoming more defined with less bullshit, sort of thing. Not bullshit in a bad way, but just getting more towards the truth, somehow.

PM: Sure, as the details are revealed about who you are, and what your path really is.

AM: Yeah.

PM: I looked through that original interview when I was listening to the record over and over this morning. And I never did get around to asking you originally what kind of a home it was that you grew up in, and what you were like as a young girl, say, in school.

AM: Well, I came from a very big family. We had a three-bedroom house, and eight kids.

PM: Wow.

AM: And we grew up in a war veteran's estate, so it was this place out in the middle of nowhere that they divided up all these farms into quarter-acre blocks, and built these houses. There wasn't really much of a town. It was a small town, but suddenly the population increased very rapidly. They didn't have a cinema or things like that. It was a bit of a cultural wasteland.

PM: Wow.

AM: Yeah. And a lot of tough people lived there.

PM: Well, that would make you tough, wouldn't it?

AM: Well, not necessarily. For some reason, I'm not very tough. [laughs] My family is not. They're very gentle sort of folks.

PM: Right, I see.

AM: Yeah. And I think that was due to my mother's influence. But anyway, so it wasn't like the place you dream of going back to, really, in that regard. I'm sure it's changed a lot since then. Now they've got other things, a university there, and all that. But in those days it was just becoming a suburb, awkwardly.

PM: So what was the atmosphere, then, with eight kids in just a few rooms? What was the family like? What was the atmosphere of the family?

AM: Well, I thought it was fun to have some kids to play with. And we didn't really need to have friends from outside come over; I mean, there wasn't any room anyway.

PM: [laughs]

AM: So we could play football and cricket. You didn't really need any other kids.


AM: And everyone loved music. We're all musical in a way. So at Christmastime, we'd get the eight best records of the year.

PM: Right. [laughs]

AM: So it was always great. And then for eight birthdays during the year, you'd get another eight great records. We had a pretty good record collection, in retrospect. And we had pretty good taste in general. So in that sense, it was great.

PM: And it's funny how those important records can bring to mind those specific holidays, like, "Oh, yeah, the Christmas of the White Album. I remember that Christmas."

AM: Exactly. I remember that, because I got that for Christmas when I was twelve, or something. And I just listened to it for about six weeks every day. I just listened and listened and listened. I remember getting that for Christmas. So yeah, records really played a big part, because there wasn't a lot of stuff going on out in the town. There was the church, because we were Catholic. Music in the church wasn't really thrilling at that time. But also because of that, my sister got a guitar to play. She used to play guitar in church, and that's how we got our guitar. And if not for that, we might not have had a guitar for a long time. So that was good. Everyone played that thing, and it just really fell to pieces eventually.

PM: [laughs] So what were you like, specifically, as a young girl in school and stuff? What kind of a personality did you have? Were you a quiet person?

AM: Well, I became quieter as I went along. I think when I was younger, when I was like eight or so, I used to write plays and put them on at school. And then as I got older, I became more introverted, less of a leader, I suppose. And I ended up as a teenager quite sort of into punk music and pretty introspective. And that's how I started playing guitar, because it was something you could take into a room, and you weren't bothering people, and you could just play it, and it was like a good friend, your solace.

PM: Right. And did that change as you went over towards the introspective side, is that the personality that you retain today, or did you recapture elements of the first and fuse it with the second, or--

AM: Well, I think as I go along I get more towards the happier child. Lighter, hopefully. I definitely feel lighter now than I did ten years ago, so...

PM: What do you attribute that to? That's a miracle, and a beautiful thing to hear somebody say.

AM: Well, my brother actually said to me about ten years ago, "Remember the child that you used to be? Remember that little girl, and how wonderful she was and how excited she was about being in the world and all that." And he just said, "Keep that in your mind." Because we're all like that as children, we're full of love and excitement. And so I started trying to think about it more often. Because that's who we are essentially. It's just because we've had that beaten out of us psychologically, or whatever, that we change.

PM: Yeah.

AM: But over the years, we've still got that in us, and it is the best part of us. So I've tried to focus more on that in the last few years.


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