Category Archives: Interview Notes
A native of Liverpool, England, Joey Molland is the sole remaining member of the group Badfinger from their most successful period in the early 1970s. He shared lead guitar duties with Pete Ham, wrote songs, and sang. This is an in depth interview in two parts.
In part one he shares memories of his early years in Liverpool, seeing the Beatles at the Cavern Club, playing guitar on the street corner on Penny Lane, working the local clubs, and joining Badfinger and recording with George Harrison as the group’s producer. We also talk about slide guitar and various recordings.
In part two he shares memories of playing at Madison Square Garden on the Concert for Bangladesh, doing session work at John Lennon’s house on the Imagine album, and much more. We also preview his recent album Return To Memphis.
Mentioned by Joey, the Rollings Stones manager caught his band doing this song at the Blue Angel in Liverpool and brought them to London to record it. It did make the charts and the band played on the television program Ready, Steady, Go along with the Rolling Stones seen below in a very unusual clip.
Shortly after joining Badfinger Joey on an early television appearance, although this was recorded prior to his arrival in the band (notice he is holding a bass guitar.)
Joey’s song Sweet Tuesday Morning
Joey’s song Suitcase
Badfinger performing Take it All
Todd Rundgren revisits the same song (which he produced) four decades later.
Discussed in the interview Concert for Bangladesh
The perfect song for the final scenes of Breaking Bad
Eliot Lewis is a multi instrumentalist perhaps best known as the longest-serving member of the highly respected house band on the immensely popular web-series Live from Daryl’s House, which is also broadcast on television on the Palladia Network (owned by MTV.) On the show he generally handles the keyboard and backup vocal duties, but as a solo artist you are likely to find him on lead guitar.
For thirteen years prior to joining the Hall & Oates band he was a member of the legendary Average White Band, playing bass, guitar, keyboards, and singing.
Before joining the AWB he was a contract songwriter with Sony and later Warner Brothers. As a young man he learned the ropes and did session work with the highly successful producer Dan Hartman (who is known to the public as the bass player and rhythm guitar player for the Edgar Winter Group.) As you will hear in the interview he also had some extraordinary musical adventures as a teenager.
Here are some video clips of things we discussed during the interview.
Eliot on bass with the AWB
Eliot singing Walk on By with the AWB
Diane Birch on Live at Daryl’s House with the late T Bone Wolk on guitar
Eliot on guitar with Billy Gibbons
Daryl’s House on location in Hawaii with Todd Rundgren
Rod Melancon is a gifted young singer/songwriter from the Cajun lowlands of Louisiana. He is now based in Los Angeles and has just released his second album, “Parish Lines” which was produced by Brian Whelan (guitarist with the Dwight Yoakum band.)
If you have to put a label on it, Americana would probably be the best description. About the best way I could describe him would be a blending of Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, young Elvis, and the attitude of James Dean.
He has a remarkable talent for writing songs that convey the drama in the close-knit community where he was raised, and he has an uncanny knack for evoking honesty, tenderness, melancholy, and violent raw emotions with his voice.
Videos relating to the interview
Nebraska, Rod’s favorite album (mentioned in the interview)
Sammy Kershaw – Youre Still On MY Mind (home town hero of Kaplan LA)
Doug Kershaw – Louisiana man [Johnny Cash Show]
Music from the series Nashville
Suzanne Vega’s musical homage to Carson McCullers
Kaplan-Krewe CHIC-A-LA-PIE Parade 2012
Oz Noy is a NYC based guitarist who began his professional career in his native Israel at the age of thirteen. He emmigrated to the United States in the mid 1990s and has become a fixture in the NYC jazz scene, although he blurs the lines with jazz, blues, funk, and rock.
He’s just released a new album with a slew of great players, including special collaborations with Chic Corea, Allen Toussaint, Eric Johnson, Will Lee, Warren Haynes, Greg Leisz, and Dave Weckl. I caught up with him during his tour with Keith Carlock and Oteil Burbridge.
He’s a world-class drummer and a world-class keyboardist. For those of us who are guitar fans, Gary has literally lived the dream, he’s had a decades long working relationship with the legendary fusion guitarist Allan Holdsworth as his drummer, and for years now he has been touring and recording with the iconic John McLaughlin in his 4th Dimension formation (on keyboards and drums.) The list of guitarists he’s worked with is a veritable who’s who of electric guitar, in addition to Holdsworth and McLaughlin, there’s Wayne Krantz, Jimmy Herring, Mike Stern, Andy Summers, Gary Moore, Ray Russell, Robin Trower, Jeff Beck, Alex Machecek, Steve Hackett, Steve Topping, and Neil Taylor.
This is a rather in-depth interview with plenty of audio samples, so I’ve broken it up into 3 parts.
In part 1 we get into his formative years, he also speaks at length of Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce and Gary Moore, and we explore his solo piano recordings.
Part 2 is primarily about his album Dirty and Beautiful volumes 1 and 2 which is a real treat for progressive rock and jazz fusion guitar fans. He speaks at length about John McLaughlin and several of the musicians who appeared on this project: Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, and several of the guitarists mentioned above.
Part 3 focuses in on his latest project, the album NOW with Gary on piano and Alex Machacek on electric guitar, and we also discuss his work with the great Billy Cobham.
Syd Lawrence Orchestra featuring Gary Husband – Drumming Man –
The Things I See – Interpretations of the Music of Allan Holdsworth
Gary Husband – Dirty & Beautiful
Gary Husband – The Complete Diary Of A Plastic Box
W. John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension
W. Allan Holdsworth & Jimmy Johnson
To celebrate Jon Batiste & Stephen Colbert, All About Jazz is running my interview with Jon Batiste from late 2013 with my new introduction:
As is commonly known in jazz circles, talent doesn’t inevitably guarantee success. In my nearly nine year association with All About Jazz I have come across way too many struggling musicians with undeniable talent. If you’re an ardent jazz fan, it’s pretty much a given that you develop a deep admiration for people willing to follow their passion and dedicate themselves to the pursuit of a career in jazz. It’s wonderful when such a person achieves something extraordinary, and today is such a day. The countdown has started as we look forward to Jon Batiste joining Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, which premieres November 8th on CBS.
In early October, 2013 a public relations agency approached me about interviewing Jon Batiste, whose album Social Music was about to be released. After listening to the album I quickly said yes and agreed to interview him a couple of weeks later. As I prepared for the interview by delving into his lyrics, reading some of his previous interviews, and watching videos of this charismatic pied piper taking jazz to the streets, I began to develop an inkling that he might be destined for greater things.
This was reinforced after speaking with him. He had obviously thought deeply about the world and his place in it, and had reflected on the lives of legendary musicians who had left a mark on the world. He seemed like he might be a artist who could transcend music and transform lives, in any case he left me with no doubt that he is truly an exceptional young man.
In the year and a half since our interview it was great to see him constantly moving forward. That culminated when I saw his very memorable July 2014 appearance on The Colbert Report. During their interview he playfully needled Stephen Colbert in a way few others would have dared to do, but his charm was such that after the show Stephen Colbert joined the crowd on the street and openly danced as he followed Jon Batiste and his Stay Human Band. According to Batiste, he and Colbert remained in contact and obviously the sparks that flew during that show caught fire.
When Colbert was tapped as David Letterman’s replacement, it wasn’t an obvious choice, but after the fact it was clearly the right choice. That’s the nature of great ideas, they often evoke the question: Why didn’t I think of that? Colbert and Batiste, I don’t know who had the great idea to hire Colbert, but thank goodness Colbert had the great idea to pick Jon Batiste.
In light of this terrific news, it seems like an ideal time to revisit this interview from late 2013. As you listen to the wisdom, humanity, and music of this young man, I suspect you may agree that this is a time for us jazz fans to celebrate one of our own. Click play to listen, or download the file.
Videos related to the interview
On this episode I speak with guitarist Michael Lee Firkins, born in Omaha, Nebraska. He first gained attention as the “next big thing” in instrumental rock with his impressive guitar skills. On his just released album “YEP” on the Magna Carta label, he puts his singer/songwriter skills on display, backed up by the legendary Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Allman Brothers), and Matt Abts and Andy Hess of Govt. Mule.
This album draws on rock, blues, country, and even some heavy metal vituosity, and is impressive for a first vocal outing. We talk about his musical development, beginnings, the guitar (in the photo to the left) that he conceived, and his development as a singer and songwriter.
On this episode I speak with flutist Anne Drummond. Born and raised in Seattle, she attended the same high school as Qunicy Jones and Jimi Hendrix, and at age 18 she arrived in New York with a scholarship to study piano at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. She quickly made the transition to working musician when she brought her flute to class. Her piano instructor, the legendary Kenny Barron, quickly had her in the recording studio and recruited her for his band. She ended up out front on tour and played on several of his albums.
She also toured and recorded with the sensational vibraphonist Stehpon Harris. I first learned of her through her impressive work with Matthias Bublath, including the album on which the theme song of talking2musicians appears. She’s a lot of fun, and an impressive talent, so I hope you enjoy the interview, and her new album Revolving which we also preview.
Above two great clips of Garfield High School Jazz — this is where Anne, Jimi Hendrix, and Qunicy Jones went to school.
Anne’s buddy Lew Soloff @ Woodstock with Blood, Sweat & Tears
Yuself Lateef playing oboe blues
Herbie Mann with Cornell Dupree, Chuck Rainey, Bernard Purdee
Ray Russell is a session ace from London, who has just released his first album under the Abstract Logix label. Abstract Logix is of course known for high energy fusion with attitude, and as you’ll hear, Ray Russell fits that bill.
If you are the kind of music lover who studies album credits, you might know Ray from his work with Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Paul McCartney, and Robert Plant. Jazz fans might know him from the group RMS and his work with the great Gil Evans. If you’re a James Bond fan, he played on several soundtracks, from Live & Let Die to Thunderball and many others.