A Conversation With Robert Forster

In December of 1977, Robert Forster co-founded The Go-Betweens, with fellow musician Grant McLennan in Brisbane, Australia. Since then until today, Robert has been actively involved in the business of performing and releasing records, either as a member of The Go-Betweens or with his illustrious solo career. Along the way Forster has accumulated worldwide acclaim, his songwriting often cited as being exemplary, especially among music critics. Robert Forster has now taken a different path creating his latest album, The Candle And The Flame. It reveals only part of what became a journey of creating music with family and friends, with a need to find joy and solace in the face of adversity. In early July, Karin Bäumler, Robert’s wife and musical companion for thirty-two years was diagnosed with cancer. Explaining his new album Robert says, She’s A Fighter is the last song I wrote for The Candle And The Flame album. I wrote the music for it in June 2021. I liked the tune and the quick energy of the song, but I didn’t know yet what it was going to be about. Karen began a series of chemotherapy sessions in late July, she spoke of fighting for her health and a path through chemotherapy to recovery. The phrase, ‘She’s A Fighter’ came to me. I liked it and I knew immediately that it would work with the melody I had written earlier. I needed just one other line for the lyrics. ‘Fighting for good.’ The song was finished. I had written my first two-line song. I had just out-Ramoned the Ramones! Because the song has so much meaning to us, we decided to record it as a family. The only time this happens on the album. Karin sings and plays xylophone. Our daughter Loretta plays electric guitar. Our son Louis plays guitar, bass, and percussion. And I strum an acoustic guitar fiercely and sing. And that’s ‘She’s a Fighter.” The Candle And The Flame consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler, and Louis ForsterRobert explains, “The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin’s strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record ‘live’, catching magical moments and going for ‘feel’. And that became the sound of the album.” 

She’s A Fighter is available now as the first single from The Candle And The Flame. The full album will be released on February 3 of 2023. After receiving an advance copy of the new LP and playing it non-stop for many days, it was agreed, we had to arrange a conversation with Robert Forster. But, we received word that Robert was not keen on doing interviews about the new album as he felt it was too personal, he didn’t want to appear to benefit from his wife’s illness. His PR man, familiar with Norman B’s reputation for intimate and sensitive interviews, encouraged Robert to chat with the LEM host via Zoom. Robert was so pleased with the conversation, a follow-up session is being scheduled. Please listen carefully to what Robert has to say, this is a moving, heartfelt conversation.