Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) has partnered up with James Williamson (Iggy & The Stooges) to deliver Acoustic K.O. EP. Williamson and Tek have worked together and put a new spin on four Williamson compositions from the early/mid 70s. These two legends have unplugged their amps and reworked two songs from the Iggy & The Stooges seminal album Raw Power and two from Pop & Williamson’s masterpiece Kill City. Deniz Tek gives Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles an insight to this new EP and working with the legend James Williamson.
Congratulations on the EP, has this concept of revisiting four classics with James Williamson been talked about for a while?
Thank you. Depends what you mean by “a while”. I think we started talking about it on a hike along the north coast of the Big Island, about a year ago.
How was the idea first pitched to you?
No one pitched it. We were discussing the idea of playing acoustic in some of the local joints in Hawaii, and then hit on the idea spontaneously of doing a recording, and we said, yeah, lets do that.
Did it take a bit of convincing from James to get you involved?
No, I was all for the idea from the beginning.
Was there a lot of discussion about which songs you would put a new spin on?
Not much. Once we started thinking about it, we could see that some of the tunes could work re-imagined as acoustic songs, and others wouldn’t work so well that way. The ones chosen were pretty much self evident. James made that call.
Was it hard work and challenging to rework these songs in a predominantly acoustic sense?
All recording is hard work if you want to present quality, but this project wasn’t any harder than most. Challenging, yes! I’ve loved these songs for decades, and they are part of my DNA, almost – to rework them was very concerning for me, especially figuring out how to sing them as well as I could, but with a different approach than Iggy’s masterful performance on the originals. James, as producer, facilitated that.
Did you have the right people in mind who you wanted to bring in and work on these songs such as Petra Haden and Annie Hardy?
James knew them and had worked with them before. He has a semi-regular session crew of fabulous players that he likes and works well with. Annie provided a deeply emotive, almost heart wrenching vocal on No Sense Of Crime. Petra can do just about anything with her voice, as you can hear, and came up with violin parts, etc. So great.
Did you only work on these four or did you have a few others up your sleeve?
I’ve been practicing on a few others, on my own, but these four are the only ones we actually recorded. Are there any plans to tour with James? We’ve talked about the possibility, but there is nothing definite about that at this point.
Do you think for a fan that just thinking about the possibilities for the set list is both exciting and mind blowing?
Well, yeah. It’s blowing my mind right now as we speak!
Are you excited about getting back on the road with Radio Birdman?
Funny you should mention that. We got back together in the rehearsal room just last night, for the first time in ages, and it went really well. We all had a good time and had a few laughs. I’ll be very happy to be on tour with them in June around Australia.
What’s next for Deniz Tek?
Touring with my new solo album “Mean Old Twister” later this month with selected USA shows and then a long stretch of dates in Europe. After that, the Radio Birdman tour and then recording my next solo album. So it will be a busy year!
Interview by Rob Lyon