James Rhodes – Instrumental

James Rhodes is a classical pianist and author of the book “Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music.”

If you think you’ve seen me go deep with a guest on previous episodes of London Real just wait until you see what happens in this interview…

In this episode I ask James about:

  • his Princess Diana moment aged 7
  • being the victim of child rape
  • his suicide attempts while in a mental institute
  • being the first ever pianist signed to a rock label
  • why his book was so nearly BANNED
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • and so much more!

So click Play and enjoy the one of the most powerful episodes of London Real I’ve EVER made.

[0:08:39] Introduction

[0:09:50] Princess Diana moment. Dichotomy of people who knows classical music and those who don’t.

[0:10:45] Bach

[0:12:00] Everyone has a piece of music that resonates with them.

[0:13:10] Imagine listening to it and now I’m playing it on stage.

[0:14:10] You don’t think that all great art comes from pain?

[0:14:44] People suffer from trauma.

[0:14:55] Bringing classical music back to the masses and starting own label.

[0:17:10] Introducing the Beethoven music on stage.

[0:18:20] Put away the distraction for 1 hour to listen to live classical music.

[0:20:30] I don’t care if people despise classical.

[0:21:30] Boléro

[0:22:00] Mozart’s complete works has been released in 70 CDs

[0:23:30] Do you think about your legacy.

[0:24:30] Schubert

[0:25:20] Are you an outlier? Malcolm Gladwell. 25 best piece that runs alongside these musicians

[0:28:40] I want the music to be the greatest music of my life

[0:29:00] Memoir that talks about sexual abuse.

[0:30:15] Self harm was a coping mechanism.

[0:31:20] People mistake kindness for flirtation.

[0:33:20] Child abuse is just the tip of the iceberg.

[0:34:00] I fully understand why people don’t want to talk about it.

[0:34:40] Healing.

[0:35:45] Images circulating on the internet.

[0:36:50] The toxic shame of child abuse.

[0:38:28] It goes on to impact the psyche of the child.

[0:40:27] We want to feel loved.

[0:41:45] Geoff Thompson. Confronting the man.

[0:42:55] You are only flogging this to sell more albums.

[0:43:47] Would you rather I did speak out or learning your niece is with this man.

[0:45:23] It hasn’t gone away.

[0:46:00] This is a great life. When I became a father.

[0:47:20] Its a memoir, and that was a small part of my life.

[0:48:40] We don’t ban books in Britain.

[0:51:30] The lesson is that we can talk about it even if it is difficult.

[0:54:01] Gagging order of not talking about this.

[0:56:00] Stephen Fry was shaking with anger that this was going on. The Supreme court overturned the ban.

[0:57:10] They tightened the law. It concerns me that it me and it me took a team of A list celebrity and a team of some of the best lawyers in the world and time and effort to get a book about music and child abuse published.

[1:00:50] Studying psychology. Working in the city.

[1:01:50] Why aren’t you playing this professionally? Becoming a concert pianist.

[1:05:00] Did the music saved you?

[1:06:30] What do you think makes you a great pianist?

[1:10:10] Listen to this. Listen to Chopin.

[1:11:20] Running away from the past.

[1:15:30] If I have to I’ll pay for a doctor because the alternive is dying.

[1:17:16] The only thing that is more terrifying than waking up at 3 o’clock is waking up terrified and alone.

[1:18:00] Fear of being on stage.

[1:20:00] Being in the moment.

[1:21:10] I love to tour America.

[1:23:50] Do you worry about relapse.

[1:23:50] It’s normal to worry.

[1:24:44] More Americans went to a classical concert last year than went to a ball game.

[1:24:35] Playing at Carnegie Hall.

[1:25:30] They seem to be friendly in America.

[1:25:50] Success secrets.

[1:26:40] What makes you a good friend?

[1:28:14] Advice to the 20 year old James Rhodes.

[1:31:21] Competition playing in music colleges.

[1:31:04] Best advice ever received.

[1:35:00] It’s about the journey. Learning to enjoy performing.

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Adam LusiakLouise JonesConnie BachJohn RobinsonJimmy O'Connor Recent comment authors
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Adam Lusiak
Adam Lusiak

Very inspiring. Thank you

Louise Jones
Louise Jones

Wonderful, amazing honest, open interview .. What an amazing man you are James .. I soooo enjoyed this interview (although utterly heartbreaking in places), you are a wonderful heart centred , fabulous, strong man

Connie Bach
Connie Bach

Gut wrenching, sad, and uplifting story James! You’re my rock star! America will LOVE to see your performance! Just ordered your book – I must read! ps: Love your Bach sweat shirt! 😉

John Robinson

This is an incredible story. The court case particularly. The arguments against publishing the book are just so obviously flawed. If reading about it could cause “catastrophic” damage, then how much worse than catastrophic can it be to actually experience first hand? Lets ask: well, lets see; oh look, he became an author (in spite of so many trying to stop him), highly successful musician and much more. Very relieved to hear the judiciary came good in the end. Responsibility put back where it belongs! (The scenario he suggests; someone in Texas banning the documentary that “glamorizes drinking”. As James… Read more »

Jimmy O'Connor
Jimmy O'Connor

It’s refreshing to hear someone speak so honestly. I DJ’ed electronic music and studied music a bit. I love the message at the end of this podcast about it never being too late and not give up. Im not familiar with James’s music but I will defiantly be checking it out. He reminds me of some DJs I played with back in the day.

Susanne Jensen
Susanne Jensen

Wonderful interview. James is such a lovely and funny guy and I feel privileged that I have seen him a few times this year and read his beautifully written book. He made me fall in love with classical music again.

Sereni Tee
Sereni Tee

Wow many of jamess points resonate strongly with me. Myself personally have been through various experiences of trauma, and to hear how someone like james acts in the wake of adversity is truly amazing and an inspiration.


Many thanks for this interview to James, I have enjoyed it very much. I see how pure is his heart.

Mikael Henriksson

Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

Brian Rose

James is a fantastic and unique talent, I loved this conversation!