RS: What was it like opening for Depeche Mode on a regular basis?
Ted Ottaviano: We really learned our job. We really went in to that tour having had played for maybe up to fifty people at the most. And then, all of a sudden, just in the blink of an eye, we were on a worldwide tour. And so we started out in America on their Some Great Reward tour, and then two years later we finished on their Black Celebration tour and it really a coming of age. It's almost like the band leaves as boys and girls and they come back women and men. It really was true on so many levels.
RS: Back in the day when you played live gigs, did you use
multiple keyboard rigs, pre-sequenced material, or a combination of
Ted Ottaviano: I always felt that Book of Love had more integrity live than most bands that I was aware of. And the reason being is that we used electronic keyboards instead of a lot of traditional acoustic instruments. People perceived that as nothing, that we were just pressing play and dancing to our songs, and the reality of it is that we always performed on stage exactly the way that we made our records, which was a combination of sequencers, synthesizers and samplers, and then live keyboard playing.
So a sequence that was sixteenth-note or thirty two-note, something that was just physically too complex for us to play and often wouldn't have sounded as good being played by us, was pumped through a synthesizer. Anything that needed like the human touch, we played it, and that's how our music was - there was nothing on tape, no audio files at that point even existed, even just using reel-to-reel tapes, which some of our contemporaries did at that time, we didn't do, everything was running live. Unfortunately the problem was at that point most samplers didn't have the amount of sample time that they do now, so we used to have a wall of samplers. It was impressive-looking, though. I mean, our space set-up right now probably wouldn't be as impressive-looking; you could just do everything with one unit.
RS: Speaking of which, have you considered reuniting for a small tour?
Ted Ottaviano: We did a couple of shows in 2001 just to support our Greatest Hits collection and, and we are going to do a show in New York to celebrate these reissues coming out. And then based on how that goes, I mean if we have a great time, if we find that people are still interested in seeing our old faces and bodies, maybe we'll do more shows.
RS: Did you ever hear from Mike Oldfield about what he thought of your "Tubular Bells" cover?
Ted Ottaviano: No, I didn't. Over time it has become one of our more popular tracks, but no, I never heard, I never heard from him. I mean, we gained approval to use it so I assume that it wasn't horrifying for him.
RS: Did you run into any problems with the sampling on the Lullaby album when you were doing the re-masters?
Ted Ottaviano: Once there were all those legal restrictions that happened in the early 90s, everything got cleared. I think it was Biz Markie, but there was that one lawsuit that happened and that kind of shook everyone up, and as a result, all this housecleaning kind of happened. So our catalogue is good to go.
RS: Do you miss the glory days of late 80s sampling, when it was
just so much less of a hassle?
Ted Ottaviano: Yes, I still feel like people should be just sampling, you know, whatever they want. And until people are making money from this stuff I mean, that's really what's illegal, making money off of sound recordings. I don't even mind when I hear people sampling our stuff, I've heard it and I mean it doesn't really bother me. I just finished working on some tracks for, I don't know if you know this group, Dangerous Muse?
RS: Oh, I love them.
Ted Ottaviano: I produced their early stuff, and their album is hopefully going to be coming out this fall, but once you've finished a record you have to go through every single sound and make sure that everything's gone through the channels for clearance if needs be. As a result, you end up steering away from samples; you use them as just like the last case scenario because "why put yourself in that situation?" But as far as I'm concerned it's too bad because it hasn't even been fully examined yet, the way they use samples in music.
RS: What was it like working with Flood on the Lullaby album?
Ted Ottaviano: He was so great. He was so great and I feel like we were't ready for him, because he was just so cool and he was so laid back and he was just so knowledgeable and sensitive, and it was right after our first sort of success, and we had spent to two three years out on the road so it was just pure chaos for us. So he was just great to work with, but I think in hindsight if we had landed back firmly on the planet, we would have been able to have more creatively taken advantage of his knowledge. But at that point we were a little distracted by everything that was going on, so it was almost a battle, getting deadlines met and things like that.
So it was a great experience, he was the right guy, and I wish that we were more focused doing it because he had even more of a wealth of knowledge and creativity than we took advantage of at that time.