‘I’m not interested in the past': Elton John insists his new T Bone Burnett project isn’t about reminiscing

Elton John, providing a sneak peek into his upcoming album The Diving Board, says he doesn’t know how fans will receive producer T Bone Burnett’s stripped-down, rootsy approach. “That’s part and parcel of the excitement,” he adds.

John says T Bone Burnett, who has done notable work in fashioning third-act hits for the likes of Gregg Allman, John Mellencamp and B.B. King, Burnett advised him to “go back to basics. Let’s make this a piano-oriented record.” As the sessions unfolded, John confides that he “found someone that I love, that I want to work with forever.”

The idea, John says, wasn’t so much to rekindle past triumphs like Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water, as to build upon that foundation. “I’m not interested in the past,” John says in this video. “I want to know about the future. Can I improve?”

Even as John comes to grip with the idea that he can ever completely recapture his 1970s hey day, he’s also intent on making the most of every opportunity to create. “It’s a different era now,” John allows. “I know I’m never going to get played on the radio. So, what kind of music do I really want to make?”

John and Burnett worked together most recently on 2010’s The Union, recorded with Leon Russell. The Diving Board is due September 24, 2013, from Capitol Records.

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