Best of 2011: Interviews

Jack Casady – It’s funny how this one came about: in summer 2011 I saw that Jorma Kaukonen would be playing a November show at Asheville’s Grey Eagle, so I reached out to his publicist about an interview. “Great! Let’s set it up when the date gets closer,” she said. But in the meantime, did I want to interview Jorma’s Hot Tuna bandmate Jack Casady? Absolutely. One of my favorite interviews ever, as it turns out. (I never was able to schedule an interview with Jorma.)

Bill Wyman – I never expected this interview to materialize, but it did. Wyman was patient with me and willing to spend forty-five minutes talking about the new box set of his Rhythm Kings works. I planned to focus on that as opposed to peppering him with endless Rolling Stones questions. But he served up lots of Stones history nonetheless.

Ray Manzarek, Johnny Winter, Bootsy Collins, Ann Wilson, Carmine Appice – All of these artists were involved to some degree or another with the latest so-called “comeback” album from Sly Stone. I felt a bit like an investigative reporter on this project: Sly himself was nowhere to be found, always one step ahead. One of the strangest projects I’ve ever worked on, but a lot of fun.

Martin Newell – I champion Newell every chance I get. In a just world, the Cleaners From Venus pop singer/songwriter wold be hugely famous. But one gets the feeling Newell likes things the way they are just fine, thank you. A lively interview subject, he’s among the pithiest, wittiest interview subjects I’ve ever encountered.

Van Dyke Parks – No, this interview didn’t in fact have any connection to the late 2011 release of the mythical SMiLE box set. Parks doesn’t like to talk about that. But (a) he had lots of other interesting stuff to say during our in-person sit-down interview and (b) I coaxed him to speak briefly about SMiLE after all.

That wraps up my look at 2011.  Thanks – as always – for reading.

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