Music - Costello’s wheeling back years

Undated Handout Photo of Elvis Costello. See PA Feature MUSIC Costello. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/James O'Mara. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Costello.
Undated Handout Photo of Elvis Costello. See PA Feature MUSIC Costello. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/James O'Mara. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MUSIC Costello.

Elvis Costello and his band The Imposters return to the UK later this month for a string of live shows in which the audience use his unique Spectacular Spinning Songbook device to select the songs. Andy Welch reports.

Elvis Costello is doing one of his favourite things – relaxing in New York. “The vibe is very mellow,” explains the 58-year-old rocker.

The city has been a sort of home to British-born Costello for the past nine years. He stays there when he’s working, while the rest of his time is spent at home in Vancouver with his Canadian singer wife Diana Krall and their twin sons Henry and Frank.

Now the boys, born at the end of 2006, are of primary school age, Costello and Krall have had to become a little more settled.

“They start first grade in September, so we can’t be pulling them out of school to go wherever,” he explains.

“Having both your parents as working musicians will mean a lot of travelling, but we have to be considerate. They’ll still get to come on the tour bus with me when I’m out and about.

That’s got to be better than taking geography, right?”

It’s a busy time for Costello, who’s currently writing and recording songs for a new album that will be released before the end of the year, while once again working with master songwriter Burt Bacharach on a stage adaptation of Painted From Memory, their 1998 album.

He hopes it will develop over the 12 months and end up on stage in “the next few years”.

“We’re writing new songs, so it would be nice to write songs for that. I’m also working long-term on a book of my own,” says Costello.

“It’s not fiction, but it’s not non-fiction either. I’m not writing an autobiography.

“Everyone knows that story, everyone’s an expert, so I can only tell people what they don’t know.”