"I'VE GOT A THROAT INFECTION, WHICH MAKES SINGING A BIT OF A PROBLEM," writes David Gray. "TO BE HONEST IT'S A TOTAL DOWNER." With his Dallas concert a week away, I should've taken Gray's request for a written interview as an omen of bad things to come. Instead, I jump through all the hoops--I e-mail his publicist a list of questions, she sends them to him and he faxes her back a handwritten response... which she then faxes on to me. It's a bit awkward for all involved, but at the time, it works. Gray's three-page response was obviously written quickly and is entirely in capital letters. The British publicist offers to transcribe it for me, but I tell her that Gray's writing is probably easier to understand than his English accent and take on the challenge myself.
But Gray's not taking the challenge of the Dallas concert, as an upper respiratory infection has forced him to cancel the remaining dates of his tour. It's probably just as well; although he has tentatively planned to return in early 2006, Gray certainly wasn't looking forward to his metroplex visit. "Dallas is a funny place, famous for an assasination [sic] and a ridiculous TV series," he writes. "In reality it's so fucking hot that most of the time you never see anyone, they're too busy diving into the nearest air conditioned space."
"One thing I'll always associate [Dallas] with is bugs!" Gray continues. "At a certain time of year there are literally millions of the bastards. I played a show there once and they were flying out of the dark and landing all over me because of the bright lights. It was actually quite unpleasant and made it hard to focus on the music at times!"
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Gray's latest CD, Life in Slow Motion, returns to the same moody vein as "Babylon," the mega-hit that transformed him from interesting singer-songwriter to adult-pop star six years ago. The new album's subtle production barely hints at the fact that this is the first time Gray has recorded in a proper studio, his previous efforts having been recorded mostly in apartments on the cheap. "This album was a very complicated one to make," Gray says. "Involving so many people, musicians and equipment, so many opinions and ideas made it more complex rather than straightforward." Gray seems to wonder if the money could have been better spent. He hints at a return to basics for an upcoming series of EPs or possibly releasing some of the live recordings that were made on his current tour. Hopefully by the time that tour resumes and he finally arrives in town, Gray's health and attitude toward our fair city will be much improved.