February 8, 2006
By JANE STEVENSON - Toronto Sun
He already has won nine Grammys, but Daniel Lanois says getting nominated never gets old.
The Hull-born, Hamilton-raised producer-songwriter-guitarist is up for three Grammys tonight at the Staples Centre in L.A., including in the top category of best album as one of the producers of U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
"It's always a lovely compliment," says Lanois, 54, down the line from his L.A. home. "It's never the thing that one goes after while working, but if somebody tells you, 'You look nice after a hard day's work,' it's like, 'Okay, thank you.' It's a chance to celebrate."
Steve Lillywhite is listed as the main producer of Bomb, but Lanois -- who also has produced albums for the likes of Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson and Brian Eno -- says he was involved in a couple of tracks which didn't make it on the previous U2 record, All That You Can't Leave Behind. He helped out in the studio for another week on other Bomb tracks.
Otherwise, Lanois is excited about the other two Grammy nods for his latest solo album, Belladonna. "It's great 'cause you know it's an instrumental record, so I didn't think anybody would pay any attention -- but they did. In fact, it's a very innovative record and I'm glad somebody spotted that. If you listen to the record, some of it, you don't know how it was done. And that's what people come to Danny Lanois for. We don't know how he does it. It's ongoingly mysterious, even to me." Not that he's expecting to win. "I guess it's really great, 'cause it's sort of an unlikely invitation," he says. "I'm not expecting to get it but if I do then 'Let's have a party.' "
Lanois will arrive at the Grammys on a night off from his latest two-and-a-half week tour in support of Belladonna, which included a stop at New York City's Carnegie Hall just this past Friday.
"I've always said that 'great work leads to great invitations.' There doesn't seem to be any substitute for having done things from the heart for a lot of years. When you do things from the heart you actually touch a few hearts. And there's no amount of publicity or muscle action could ever replace that. It's actually the communication that we hope we achieve ultimately -- touching a heart."
Lanois will tour Australia and Scandanavia in April and play some select summer dates before launching another big year-long tour in the fall in support of a new singing record.
"It's a record that's built around this band (drummer Steven Nistor, guitarist Jim Wilson and bassist Marcus Blake) that I'm working with," Lanois says.
"So it's less of a Danny Lanois in the labratory record and more of a live-driven record. I write the songs, we record them, we roll down the hill, we've played them at a few local clubs, and if they sound good then we put them on the record or go back and re-record them. So we're using the live setting as a testing ground for songs."