He is an world class actor and back on the screen soon with the 3rd Season of Designated Survivor. But he is also an excellent musican, which Kiefer Sutherland proves not only on his second Album Reckless & Me out on 26-APR but also with a full length European Tour which will hit Vienna on 05-OCT. WEGOTIT NASHVILLE met up with Kiefer in Amsterdam to talk about Music, Jack Bauer and Whisky.
How is life?
II’s good, just finished the third season of Designated Survivor which will be out on 07-JUN on Netflix and then went straight into kind of quick rehearsals cause we’ve changed the show we are doing right now, iI’s not the show we are actually doing in Vienna but i’s very intimate. Two, three hundred people, more acoustic, more of a storyteller vibe. Give a sense of what the songs kind of felt like when I wrote them compared to what June made them sound, and tell stories about where I was when I wrote it. Why I wrote it. Why I think anybody else should wanna listen to it etc, And so we went into rehearsals for that and this is great being back on the road.
Is it hard switching between doing music and doing movies?
No because we’ve been doing it for five years now and we play together all through the year no matter what. So we have done 300 shows in two and a half year’s and that’s while doing the other television show and so we’ve got used to that part of it. The one challenge is doing something that is a very differnt kind of show and kind of feeling. So that makes you a little nervous but I’ve got a great band and we love playing together.
Lot of people are surprised on what energy and what feeling you present on stage
Oh well thank you very much. This now is much more quiet. In fact I find myself in a chair moving a lot because it just makes me wanna do that. I had a laugh myself last night cause thank god the chair had a back moving all in circles.
Here in Amsterdam you are playing the Vodelkerk. It’s the first time you are playing a church isn’t it?
Yes and I haven’t been to a church for a little while (laughs) It’s gorgeous here but I love Vienna, in Vienna I shot a film called Three Musketiers and i stayed for almost three months there. There is this amazing amusing park. The Prater. My daughter came and stayed for a couple of weeks when we were there, she and I were there and I fell in love with this city and it’s such an interesting thing cause it’s very few places like it that can be so present and couraged with what is happening now and still preserve the incredible history and culture that Vienna is responsible for, for years you know.
But I guess on this tour there won’t be much time for sightseeing or doing stuff like going to the Prater…
No, no it’s literally you get to town, you wake up on the bus, go take a shower if you are lucky, get something to eat, come to a couple of interviews, soundcheck, warm up for the show, do the show, get back on the bus, that’s it. It’s really important to like each other cause that is all we’ve got and we do.
The question about you doing music is: What took you so long?
That’s actually a very kind way of putting it. There are a lot of different reasons, primarily I really started writing in what I guess is a politic way in my thirties and got bad songs out of the way and got some songs that I really liked and started building on that. And it took me to that point in my life where I felt like where I had lived enough and seen enough and had something to write about that was worth listening, And that’s just for me. The Rolling Stones were writing when they were 19, 20 years old. The Beatles the same thing. So everybody is different. But that works form me, and I think one of the reasons why during my twenties I didn’t even really approach it very much I played guitar a lot but i did not sing. I didn’t do anything like that and I think I was very aware of the stigma of an actor doing music and would never want to….
Is this a burden sometimes?
It’s not a burden, I think it just took me to a point in my life where I finally got to a place where if you gonna make fun of me ok, I still really like this songs I still really like playing them and I’m at a point in my life where I don’t give a shit you know, I’m doing this for me and if other people like it that’s fantastic.
So you are not aiming for the big stadium tour?
We are scheduled to play some stadium shows opening up for bigger bands, you know we take every opportunity that we get. But no I did not get into this to sell a million records or play a stadium, we started playing small
But it’s more than a hobby?
It’s way more than a hobby, the time it takes to even make two albums, play three hundred shows, you know
Especially in these days where there is hardly any money to make in the music business..
It is a fight. The question for us on a tour is how much do you loose and what is acceptable, but the reality is I love storytelling, I‘ve done it for 35 years as an actor I will continue hopefully we have to do that til the day I die and it is just such an interesting way for me to do it because it is on such a personal level you know, unlike 24, Jack Bauer was a character no stretch of the imagination, mind Jack Bauer, so that separated me from an audience, now on stage in front of 300 people I‘m telling a song about what happened to someone who passed away earlier in my life and I tell you why and I mean I tell you what that did to me and hopefully someone out there in the audience can relate to it and feel less alone about what they are going through, fantastic, and that’s the experience that I found lenglife that I‘m falling in love with but it’s storytelling on a very kind of personal intimate level and for me I found that to be incredibly rewarding and incredibly scary at first
Because you are wide open and you see an audience whereas when you do a movie there is hardly any direct audience reaction…
Yeah you are all taken if someone is to laugh at the wrong time and I said well ok I can‘t do this .. and the people who’ve come to see us have been incredibly gracious. They have been interested. They have a good time as do we. So as long as it is an even thing I’d like to do it forever.
The new Album is called Reckless & Me – what‘s the story behind?
I used to professionally rodeo. And of the things I enjoyed the most when I was rodeoing was at the end of one rodeo you would load your horse and your saddles and all of your tech-equipment and you would drive in the middle oft he night to the next rodeo. And it was so peaceful and so quiet. No one was in too much of a hurry. And so I wanted to write a song about that: Just going from rodeo to rodeo. And I started writing about a horse that I had, called Reckless and about halfway through the song I could not figure about if I was writing about my horse or about my personality or about an aspect of personality and it made me laugh. As a joke in the show I’m now saying it’s up to you to decide which one I was writing about. But for me I was actually to write about both and I like the double entendre in that song. And it is also a fun title.
What is more challenging? Doing music or doing movies?
I have been doing films and television and theater as an actor for 35 years. So when I read a script I’ve got to a place where I can analyse what I want do with that part quiet quickly. I can get into a shorthand with a director quiet quickly because I know the vernacular. 300 shows might be a lot for us in two years but it is not a lot in the grand scheme of things. So this is very new: the learning curve is huge. And so that for it becomes very exciting. Especially if it works. And for the times if it doesn’t – what’s interesting about this band – for the time we don’t feel perfect I have always felt that we have given a really good show. But there are some nights it is really special. And there are some nights were you go: Ok we have learnt a couple of things tonight. And if you can take it like that I think you can have a really good time. So again it’s the learning curve, Jude Cole who has produced both records has been in the studio since he was 17 years old and he is my age. Him is like: No no no, don’t do that.. Don’t put in the organ right after the guitar-solo. It’s like reading a childrens book for him. For me it is like trying to learn all of the stuff at the same time. So that has been exciting. I have to admit. Just like any of us who try anything. When I started to rodeo I remember my agent saying „are you done with acting?“ I said: „No I can do two things at the same time.“ But it was very exciting to start something new. And as I started to become efficient with that the excitement kind of stayed off and it really became competitive. It’s such a new way for me to tell a story that I find it really exciting. Especially for the two hours on stage. And maybe the hour before and certainly the hour after. The other 20 hours are fucking grind. So I must really like those 4 hours to get through the other 20.
There is a lot of image: The cowboy hat, the whisky – Is this you being the actor?
No.I think the whisky. I have the hats. they are mine. No the hat that I‘ve had used through the last few tours is just one that I think is cool and kind of bizzare looking and I don’t think people would expect me to walk out like that. You know the story’s about the whisky – most about them are very positive. I can look back at my life and I can tell you almost every bad thing that has ever happened to me was a result of drinking. So I‘ve had to try and really keep that in check and understand why I do it. And understand when I should or when I should not do it. To be honest: I have struggled with it at times in my life. So those stories are all real. They happen to be a real country theme as well. Country Music is really about workers. Farmers. And the real workers are the interior of the country. And many of them live very isolated lives. And people that become isolated from other people tend to have to deal with whisky more than others. Whether it was Johnny Cash. Whether it was Merle Haggard, Wylon Jennigs, Kris Kristofferson. All those guys all wrote about that kind of stuff. It‘s the reality of life. A lot of people do it and write a song about it. Some of it can be good life country songs and you can split it into two ways: Either I drink myself into a stupid cause I had a broken heart. Or I was out with some friends on a boat and we had a drink when we were fishing and we had a good time. And that has been my experience in life: there is the good of it and the bad of it.
Or as Chris Stapleton sings: „I drink because I’m lonesome or I’m lonesome ’cause I drink“
Yes Chris Stapleton had this amzing line in one of his songs: „I drink because I’m lonesome or I’m lonesome ’cause I drink“. And that‘s a reality. A lot of people I know don’t drink any more. But a lot of these people went through a long period when they did. But again most of the songs that I’ve written about are not positive. They have sad or bad endings. but that is exactly how I feel about it. I acknowledge the fact that there has been a lot of negative aspects of my life that have been caused by that.Trying to learn from that. But then sitting around having a bunch of drinks with my friends, there is nothing I enjoy more than that. And that‘s when you tell the real stories (laughter).
We heared you are filming these intimate concerts for some sort of film or doku?
We always film stuff whether we stick some stuff on social media eventually. Maybe we will have enough stuff to put something together.
You did this great doku-film „I trust you to kill me“ about being on the road with Rocco Deluca
We were a small label and were figuring out different ways to get recognized. Doing a two weeks tour with four dates in Europe and showing the ups and downs of life on the road was hysterical.
Will we ever see you as Jack Bauer again?
I have learned not to say no, He is not going to be very fast nowadays, I can tell you that. I loved playing that character. It was really one of the greatest experiences that I had as an actor, because the character that you saw at the very beginning of 24 is not the same guy at the end. So the writers were smart enough. The last season informed the next one. So when he looses his wife, he is a broken man. And then he looses his daughter and he is an even more broken man. And then he finds love again and there is hope. A little bit of hope and then that‘s taken away. So you watch this character grow as the show grew. So it was so interesting to play. I was never feeling I was doing the same show week after week after week. It always felt different and it always felt exciting. I learned more in that 10-year-period as an actor than I ever have. And if an opportunity comes up wether it is a movie or on television, I think the idea of 24 should go on for a long time. And I hope it does. And if there is a way for Jack Bauer to come into that I would not rule that out.
The Tourdates for Kiefer Sutherland:
22-JUL Bristol, Colston Hall – SWX
23-JUL Brighton, Concorde 2
25-JUL Bury St Edmunds, The Apex
27-JUL Crappone, Country Rendezvous Festival
28-JUL Lörrach, Rosenfelspark
29-JUL Dornbirn, Conrad Sohm
03-AUG Bournemouth,O2 Academy
06-AUG Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree
07-AUG Edinburgh, The Liquid Rooms
08-AUG York, Barbican
03-OCT Hamburg. Docks
04-OCT Berlin, Heimathafen Neukölln
05-OCT Vienna, WUK
07-OCT Bern, Bierhübeli
08-OCT Munich, Technikum
09-OCT Cologne, Die Kantine
15-OCT Cardiff, Tramshed
16-OCT Glasgow, The Old Fruitmarket
17-OCT Dublin, The Academy
19-OCT Hull, Asylum University
20-OCT Manchester, Ritz
21-OCT Birmingham, O2 Institute
22-OCT London, Shepherds Bush Empire