Elvis Costello revealed he's prepping a major boxed set edition of his 1979 classic third album, Armed Forces. Costello will release his latest album, Hey Clockface, on October 30th.
Costello — who's renowned for the generous helping of rare and unreleased material he offers up each time his catalogue gets reissued — spoke about the latest overhaul by Universal, telling Billboard, “I can’t imagine there being another edition of releases after this one. And the first will be a six-record set based on Armed Forces. There are all those sayings about history repeating itself. It’s not something you can plan for. That said, I think Armed Forces holds up pretty well. And the package includes three live recordings ranging from the summer of ‘78 to the summer of ‘79, so it traces the development of the Attractions as a live act, from a club combo to a successful pop group — it’s quite interesting to hear. I had expert help in photographing my handwritten notebooks. So you’re getting something.” There's been no announcement as to when Costello's latest reissue series will kick off.
Costello shed light on the period covering the album and its subsequent tour dates, which flung the Attractions all over the globe: “There’s a difference between the person who made the record and the person who was on the road — constantly from the summer of 1977 to the summer of 1979, while making two albums during that time. The disarray of my life has been written about. So look at what the songs are saying, not the words that came out of my mouth on one night.”
When pressed as to whether fans can expect all his albums to be presented in such deluxe packages, Costello said, “If we can. Right now, it’s in everybody’s interest to let me do it the way I’m seeing it.”
Costello — who's never been far from the road since breaking internationally back in 1977 explained, “I can’t be certain when I’ll set foot on the stage again; or, frankly, whether the audience that largely comes to see me — who are inevitably more of my generation — will ever want to come to a theater again. So in the interim, I want to take the music I recorded some time ago and present it in a way that’s as exciting as it was when we first released it.”
He went on to reveal: “We’ve done a new version of one of the albums from my catalog, and that’s going to come out next April. And we’re making a compilation based on (1998's Burt Bacharach collaboration) Painted From Memory, in the hope that we’ll complete the picture with some other songs we’ve written that people still haven’t heard.”
Elvis Costello told us that upon launching his career, he never set out to change or break the rules of rock and pop songwriting and recording: “I was just making rock n' roll records as I knew how to make 'em and ballads and all the music that I loved. And obviously over the years, the things that I can draw from has grown, because I've listened to more music, I've absorbed more music, more music has interested me. I've written a lot of different things, I've had all these collaborations of different kinds — some of them very far away from the world that I began in. But they've all sort of had some positive influence on the possibilities of music when I set out to write and arrange.”