Tim Rice interview that appeared in the Welwyn Hatfield Times 21 Feb 2007
The man who wrote the lyrics for Evita and a string of hit musicals has fond memories of weekend jobs in Times Territory. Reporter Laurel Smithson catches up with Tim Rice
Donít cry for me Welwyn Hatfield!
21 February 2007
That, in brief, is the plot of the life of Sir Tim Rice, writer of lyrics for musicals including Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, who spent some of his early years in the Welwyn Hatfield area.
The 62-year-old, who has won three Oscars, said: "When I was at school in St Albans I worked weekends in Welwyn Department Store in WGC
"It was a long time ago and I was about 15, earning 75p a day in the hardware section selling hammers and nails."
The father-of-three added: "Then I worked as a petrol pump attendant in Hatfield for two summers running and earned about £12 a week.
"It was on the old A1 that runs through Hatfield, before the tunnel was built, so it was very busy, tips were good and I enjoyed it."
It wasn't long before a career in the legal profession beckoned and he began work for a legal firm in London.
But he never neglected his dream, to get into writing and music.
"I wrote two songs and made some demo tapes of me singing them to send off to record companies," he said.
"To my surprise, or not, they didn't like my voice, but someone liked the songs and it went from there."
It was on one of these trips to a publisher that he bumped into a music writer called Andrew Lloyd Webber, with whom he was later to collaborate on many musicals.
One of these was Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, for which Rice used a band from Potters Bar to make one of the very first recordings.
"They were called the Mixed Bag and, along with the Tales of Justine from the town, they were very good," he recalls.
"Unfortunately neither of them made it big, but they helped me."
His inspiration for the musicals he picks is varied.
He said: "For Joseph I was asked to write something for children at one school, but I never thought it would go beyond that."
"I decided to tell an old story in a new way and Joseph was one of my favourite Old Testament stories."
For his motivation for writing Evita was after hearing about the heroine - Eva Perone - on the radio.
He is currently working on words to the Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker.
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