John Sebastian’s musical journey has taken him from Greenwich Village to The Lovin’ Spoonful to Woodstock to a notable solo career, with a lot of hit songs along the way including “Do You Believe in Magic”, “Daydream”, “Summer in the City”, and the theme song for “Welcome Back, Kotter”. A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer as the leader and primary songwriter for The Lovin’ Spoonful, Sebastian at 72 years young continues to write, record, and tour.
This interview was for Sebastian’s concert at SOhO in Santa Barbara on 10/12/16. It was done by phone on 10/4/16. (Photo from johnbsebastian.com)
The legendary singer Emmylou Harris nicely sums up her approach to music as follows: “For me, obviously, there’s a certain amount of ego, but it’s always about the song. You are the vessel through which the music comes. So it’s a sacred responsibility when you have that gift of being able to sing and being able to perform. I just think that that should be your priority.”
Emmylou first made waves singing, touring, and recording with country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons for the two years before his untimely death, including on his solo albums GP and Grievous Angel. She then launched an acclaimed solo career which has won her Grammy awards, Gold Records, and the hearts of fans for over four decades.
Mixed in was the smash hit Trio album with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, and her heavenly harmony vocals on recordings with artists such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Lucinda Williams, Leo Kottke, Steve Earle, and Guy Clark. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
This inteview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for Emmylou’s performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl on 7/8/16. It was done by phone on 7/5/16. (Mark Sliger photo)
Singer and stringed-instrument virtuoso David Bromberg has quite a musical resume. He got his start in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, accompanying artists like Tom Paxton, Richie Havens, and Jerry Jeff Walker. His breakthrough (and unbilled) solo performance at the Isle of Wight Music Festival led to a recording contract which produced much fine music in a range of styles during the 1970’s. During this time he was also an in-demand session musician, with contributions to recordings by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, The Eagles, and many, many more.
After a 22 year break from music, Bromberg returned to the stage and the studio. This interview was for a preview article for noozhawk.com for his 6/23/16 performance at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara. It was done by phone on 5/27/16.
Multi-instrumentalist Fred Tackett officially became a member of Little Feat in 1988, but he had worked as a session player on earlier albums by the band including the classic album Dixie Chicken.
But that was far from his only gig – Tackett has also recorded with an amazing collection of notable artists including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Jackson Browne, Glen Campbell, Neil Diamond, Kris Kristofferson, Barbra Streisand, Bonnie Raitt, Lionel Richie, Joan Baez, Jimmy Webb, The Allman Brothers Band, The Carpenters, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, Curtis Mayfield, Kenny Loggins, The 5th Dimension, Johnny Rivers, Van Dyke Parks, Bob Seger, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, and more.
This interview was for a preview article for a benefit concert for Safety Harbor Kids on 4/18/15 at the Lobero Theatre by Tackett and fellow Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere. It was done by phone on 3/26/15. (L. Paul Mann photo)
Arlo Guthrie is a beloved folk singer best known for his talking blues epic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” and his Top 40 hit “The City of New Orleans”. But this is just the cream of the crop from dozens of albums that he has released and songs he has performed over decades of touring since the late 1960’s. He also starred in the 1969 movie Alice’s Restaurant, and made a “far out” appearance in the Woodstock movie, which used his song “Coming Into Los Angeles” as accompaniment to footage of some serious reefer gladness.
Guthrie is also the son of folk music legend Woody Guthrie, who wrote hundreds of notable songs including “This Land Is Your Land”. The family’s musical legacy continues with Arlo’s children.
The following interview was for a preview article for Arlo’s concert at the Lobero Theatre on 4/15/13. He answered the questions by email, with answers received on 3/26/13.
Before Kinky Friedman became a best-selling author of mystery novels, or ran for the Governor of Texas as an Independent in 2006 (coming in fourth out of six candidates), he recorded some of the funniest country music ever committed to tape. His best known songs include “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore”, “Ride ‘Em Jewboy”, and “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed”, which aren’t exactly hymns to political correctness, but they probably will make you laugh, and might even make you think.
This interview was done by phone on 11/26/12, and was for a preview article for Friedman’s shows on 12/8/12 at the Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, California, and on 12/9/12 at Zoey’s Cafe in Ventura California. (Larry Pullen photo)
When the Jim Kweskin Jug Band formed in 1963, they breathed new life into the jug band music genre whose heyday had been several decades earlier. In the process, they inspired many bands including the Grateful Dead and the Lovin’ Spoonful, played several times at the Newport Folk Festival, and had a helluva lot of fun.
After the Jim Kweskin Jug Band broke up in the late 1960’s, Muldaur played with Paul Butterfield’s Better Days, and contributed to recordings for a number of notable artists. Both Kweskin and Muldaur have also released various solo albums over the years, and in recent years they have resumed performing together.
The following interviews were done for a preview article for the performance by Kweskin and Muldaur at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 8/25/12. These interviews were done separately by email, with Muldaur’s reply received on 8/2/12, and Kweskin’s on 8/3/12.
Steve Reich is a pioneering composer, who along with La Monte Young, Terry Riley, and Philip Glass is viewed as one of the most important figures in minimal music.
Reich’s early compositions “It’s Gonna Rain” (1965) and “Come Out” (1966) made use of tape loops which went out of phase with each other, an idea which he extended to live instrumentation with “Piano Phase” (1967) and “Violin Phase” (1967). He also explored the concept of “music as a gradual process” in pieces such as “Pendulum Music” (1968), in which microphones as pendula swing over a speaker, causing feedback.
His music took a new turn with “Drumming” (1971), inspired by a trip to Ghana. Steady pulse and rhythm became a dominant element of his compositions, including in the acclaimed “Music For 18 Musicians” (1976), widely viewed as one of his most important pieces.
Reich’s pieces began to incorporate themes from history and from his Jewish heritage with “Tehillim” (1981), which is the original Hebrew word for Psalms. Such themes continued with “Different Trains” (1988) which uses voices including those of Holocaust survivors, “The Cave” (1993) based on The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron which uses videos developed by his wife Beryl Korot, the opera “Three Tales” (1998-2002) about The Hindenberg, the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, and cloning, which also uses visuals by Korot, and “WTC 9/11” (2010) which uses voices related to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Reich’s compositions have been highly influential in the world of classical music, and he has been called “America’s greatest living composer.” In the rock music world, his influence has been cited for artists including Brian Eno, King Crimson, The Residents, and Tortoise. Reich is currently working on a piece based on the music of Radiohead.
This interview was conducted by phone on 3/28/12.
Review of Hale Milgrim’s Quips and Clips at the Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, 3/2/12.