I reject nostalgia, says Elvis Costello

Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello rejects nostalgia despite a long career which begun in 1977.
Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello rejects nostalgia despite a long career which begun in 1977.

Elvis Costello doesn't have a relationship with nostalgia.

The UK rock star - who turns 64 this year - has been performing for more than four decades and boasts an impressive back catalogue that he regularly explores in live performance.

But just because he still sings those tracks, it doesn't give him any sentimental affection for the past. Or so he argues.

"I'm aware of other people's nostalgia about particular songs but that doesn't influence the way I perform even those same songs," he continues, adamantly. "If I performed a song my view would be different to theirs, that's ok isn't it?"

Providing examples, he references last year's anniversary tour of his 1982, Imperial Bedroom, in which he opted to mix up the order and change the arrangement.

"People are inclined to make a big deal about decades aren't they?" he says with a sigh.

"We haven't so much. Last year we made a gag, 35th year since we released Imperial Bedroom. It was a satirical spin to it because obviously if we'd been doing it in a very straight faced way we would have done it on an a decade anniversary and we didn't."

There's a similar response to a question about his 40-year career. "I guess it is if you tell me it is. I don't count things like that," he says.

"I'm not saying I'm not playing the songs from the past, we do play them. The puzzle of all of this, the puzzle of time is for it to be something which propels you forwards rather than something that holds you back."

Born Declan Patrick MacManus in Paddington, London on August 25 1954, he became Elvis Costello in 1977 - the same year the slightly more famed Elvis died. As a teenager he moved to Liverpool with his mother before returning to the capital a few years later where he eventually exploded into the scene as a brash singer-songwriter.

His last solo album came in 2010 and he considered writing a new one a "fool's errand" before deciding he wanted to see what a record would sound like from Elvis Costello and The Imposters in 2018.

"I wanted a picture of this group, and songs that I came up with, once you've got a simple idea like that it's not hard to do."

Australian Associated Press