'People tend to be very skeptical': Dhani discusses following in George Harrison's career footsteps

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Dhani Harrison, in an interview with Neil McCormick of the Telegraph, laments the pressure put on children of famous musicians — openly wondering why artists in other professions like acting get a pass.

Harrison, of course, is inextricably linked to his father George Harrison, having been born to the former Beatle and Olivia Harrison in 1978.

He made his professional debut while working on George’s final recording, 2002’s Brainwashed. The younger Harrison and producer Jeff Lynne completed the project after George’s death in November 2001 after a lengthy battle with cancer. Dhani also was on stage for the Concert for George, an all-star tribute show held on the first anniversary of the former Beatle’s passing. The show included both Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, along with other key Harrison confidants like Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Lynne, Billy Preston, Tom Petty and Jim Keltner, among others.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: With the electronic-imbued “Make It Home,” Dhani Harrison blends both the expected and the wildly unexpected, sounding in voice like his dad but in reality nothing like the Beatles.]

Dhani then formed thenewno2 in 2006 with Oliver Hecks on drums and synths, and their debut You Are Here followed in late 2008. Harrison worked with Ben Harper in 2010 as Fistful of Mercy, before releasing the second thenewno2 project thefearofmissingout last July.

Harrison produced the new album along with Paul Hicks; they are joined by Jonathan Sadoff, Jeremy Faccone, Nick Fyffe and Frank Zummo on the record, who combines both analogue and modern sounds into a new sonic melding that Harrison jokingly describes in the Telegraph piece as “electric experimental surf rock psychedelic space blues.”

Still, for all of those fresh sounds, most of the talk surrounding thenewno2 has been about George, not Dhani Harrison. Dhani says he remains surprised by the skepticism that followed his decision to follow in his dad’s career footsteps.

“In almost any profession, even if you’re the kid of an actor, people are very supportive and want to see the next generation,” Harrison told the Telegraph. “It’s like, ‘Go Michael Douglas! Have a great career!’ But in music, for some reason, people tend to be very skeptical. It’s funny, because music is one of those things it is natural to go into. You hear it so much growing up, it kind of permeates you and eventually you spew out some music of your own.”

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Here’s a look back at our thoughts on Dhani and George Harrison. Click through the headlines for complete reviews …

ONE TRACK MIND: THENEWNO2, “MAKE IT HOME” (2012): Harrison possesses a voice with all of the longing and peaceable bliss of his father, but his vision for this music moves well beyond the Beatle-y stoicism of old. Underneath the lyrics’ perhaps-expected psychedelic nutopia on “Make It Home,” there is a boisterous, very modern soundscape — punctuated by axle-busting bass, squelchy programming and shiver-inducing piano counterpoints. Yet, somehow, amid all of that cacophony, the sonic texturing, the scronks and synth splashes, “Make It Home” remains utterly tuneful, almost intoxicatingly inviting.

DEEP CUTS: FORGOTTEN GEMS FROM GEORGE HARRISON: We were brought back to the late George Harrison this week with the release of Early Takes Volume 1, featuring 10 early outtakes and demos. The truth is, there is still much to discover about his solo work. You say you’ve got a best-of compilation, and this new acoustic offering, and that’s enough? Not so fast. Our list tried to find lesser-known songs from throughout Harrison’s career away from the Fabs — from All Things Must Pass to Brainwashed, an album completed by producer and friend Jeff Lynne after Harrison succumbed to cancer.

GEORGE HARRISON – LET IT ROLL (2009): There’s something in the way that Let It Roll, compiled with a loving and almost magical rhythm by Harrison’s family, moves through his catalog. Rather than yielding to familiar chronology, “Let It Roll” mixes and matches from across Harrison’s history. All of a sudden, essential complexities can be explored again, old scores can be settled, the familiar is seen differently. Let It Roll goes from “All Things Must Pass,” which works nearly 40 years later as a delicately spiritual memorial to the fallen Harrison, directly into the jaunty put-down song “Any Road” from his posthumous 2002 release Brainwashed — only to reverse course back to the Utopian “This Is Love” from his ’87 comeback album Cloud Nine. We begin to hear all of this with new ears.

DEEP BEATLES: BEATLES, “I WANT TO TELL YOU” (1966): As the Beatles’ career progressed, George Harrison gradually developed into a first-class songwriter on a par with the formidable John Lennon/Paul McCartney partnership. One of Harrison’s more unusual compositions, “I Want to Tell You,” fits in perfectly with Revolver’s experimental vibe. The pounding piano, pervasive dissonance, and a subtle reference to Harrison’s increasing interest in Indian music and culture add up to a classic and offbeat track.

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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