Interview with Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies

Brad Roberts who's baritone vocals became famous thanks to the "humm, humm, humm " hit song did a brief solo tour in 1999. During a stop over in Fredericton I caught up with him for this interview.

GB - How are you solo shows going so far in the Maritimes?

BR - The shows have been going great. Our show here in Fredericton is the last one for the Atlantic tour. We've had a great time. We were all over, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and Moncton which was our first show. Things got kicked off to a good start there and then we made a full circle back to New Brunswick.

GB - How does it feel to be on stage and not have the other band members backing you up?

BR - It's fun in a different way. I kind of miss having them around, but at the same time there is different things you can do in this format that you can't in the other, so it's a nice change.

GB - You called this "The Working Vacation Tour", are you getting a chance to visit any of the attractions in the province?

BR - I actually had a couple of vacation days this weekend and took the ferry out to Grand Manan and checked out the cliffs and the ocean and all that stuff. It was really nice.

GB - Your latest album, Give Yourself a Hand, has more of an electronic sound. Do you purposely reinvent your sound to keep things fresh?

BR - In the case of this record I write the lyrics first and they kind of dictated what the music was going to sound like. They had a certain attitude about them so the production style ended up fitting around them.

GB - Has the new album pretty much your exceptions for it sales wise?

BR - The record we put out this time could have sold better. It's not selling badly and currently doing very well at radio. The first single when ever we play it at the acoustic show it is recognized by everybody. Our second single is with Ellen Reid, our keyboard player, it's starting to move up some charts as well.

GB - You great up in Winnipeg but have also live in London, England, and recently Harlem. Do you like to signature yourself in different areas of the world for inspiration?

BR - I think you can't really find inspiration when you look for it, and putting yourself in a situation is kind of an artificial thing to do. It might or might not produce results. You just kind of have to keep working at it.

GB - Did the initial success you achieved in America surprise you?

BR - Yes, well I think if you ever have success in the US it better surprise you because anyone excepting it is going to be sorely disappointed.

GB - Have you had a chance to look at any of the web sites dedicated to you and the band?

BR - You know I really don't know much about the Internet and I hardly get on there but I am led to believe there is several web sites that have been put up based on The Crash Test Dummies just by people who are fans. It's surprises me that anyone would take the time to bother to do that frankly cause it seems like a big joke.

GB - You are know for you Baritone vocals. When did you discover you could also sing Falsetto?

BR- The falsetto thing came to me singing in the shower one day. I was just doing it as a joke, parodying some old 70's funk soundtrack of something and I realized I had one, so figured why not put it to use.

GB - What's up with the transvestite Cowboy get up you wear on stage?

BR - I started wearing the cowboy hat in Red Dear, Alberta and thought ... cowboy hat, cowboy boots, Red Dear Alberta, T-Shirt... we were playing near the West Edmonton Mall, what the hell it seems to all make sense. Then that night I got really drunk, took my shirt off and I started thinking I should wear a bra. Then I brought this pink boa and I kinda grew into this person and soon I was putting on lipstick, the whole shooting match. (laughs)

GB - I understand some women like that?

BR - This is a strange phenomenon that has occurred to me time and time again, Heterosexual women approaching me when im in drag. I can't explain it. (laughs)

GB - I Like your videos. How much input do you have into the concept of them?

BR - We have varying degrees into the concepts of our videos. Some come straight out of the band, usually all in our keyboard players head. In other cases they are brought to us by our directors. In the case of "I'll Get You in The Morning" Ellen came up with the basic concept and she and the director got it up and running.

Interview done in Fredericton, NB, August 28,1999.

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