« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 676 - Peter Guralnick

2016-01-28 | 🔗
Peter Guralnick’s childhood love affair with the Blues led him on a life-long journey through the history of rock and roll. Peter shows Marc why he is considered one of American music’s preeminent writers and historians, dropping knowledge about some of his most famous subjects, from Sam Cooke to Elvis Presley to Sam Phillips, the man who fundamentally changed music in the United States.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
All right. Let's do this, how are you what the burghers, what the fuck bodies, what the fosters, what the fuck a ruse, what the fuck eurobonds eyes, maybe even how u hi mark marin here, welcome to the show, thank you for joining, happy to be here on punchy, I'm tired! shot all day marin season for in progress. It's happening first to episodes were tremendous d he tell you about that. I couldn't have we just did on on Monday night lynn children, who you ve heard on this show and seen her or many movies directed the first two spectacular when great, I think, in the middle of the middle of the last time I talk to you. The stories are good. Now this block
with the incomparable, bobcat gold way back on, sat with his hat and his interesting clothing choices and his art were vision and we're doing the thing. doing the show and bearded and frazzled and that's going well. I think you'll like em, it's it's fun, for I think I mention this before the fact that we're in a new area a reality, not like the one that I live necessarily has freed me up a bit having a bit more fun. Hope, that's, ok! My guest today is the honourable peter garral nick your garage nick, I don't love you know who he is, but he's one of them great music riders here an amazing books about music, the one first boom me away was searching for Robert Johnson
He went on to our right last trained memphis, the rise of Elvis presley, careless love, the unmaking of Elvis presley. He did dead dream buggy the triumph of sam cook, I read a little bit of I've read a little bit of all these books, but he's newest book is sam, philips, the man invented rock and roll, and I got to talk to him now. I am certainly no music nerd. I know what I know, but I dont know in detail, and I don't run too deep with some things. A few specific things. Maybe I know some stuff about- it's, not a nerd out on one specific artists are many. the civic artists with this guy's a historian and the people he chooses to talk about her are pretty fascinating people. This is a massive book ana on sam philips and sam phillips.
sun record studios. I mean they were all there man. This is where it all happened. This is where it all coalesced a black music country, music, ah mountain music and some gospel music and all of together and that's where johnny cash, elvis presley, injurie, louisen, howlin, wolf, molly came out there and some country I said I knew nobody, Charlie rich on prime did a year, a sun single back in the day Carl perkins, of course, added the vortex of all those different forms of music and personalities comes rock and roll pray. Maybe, depending on what you think the first rock and roll song is. I believe I discuss our peter grown. I did go to sun records. I stood out in front of it. Unfortunately, at the time that I went there when I was younger, I dont think was his into it. As I should have been, I did go. I wanted nashville went to Memphis, I did go to grace and I did
go out. There did not know Elvis met his uncle. I met. Uncle vernon, and there I bought a grace when com that was taken from me. By a woman who drove large cadillac with the leopard skin pattern see covers what Zack go. How does that work out? Well, went out to grace went, and I saw that the house- and I was I was- is surprised at how relatively humble it was and not too ostentatious, perhaps it was for the time there is a room with three tv's and that was sort of like a woo, a room with three tv. This guy was out of control.
well. I do remember the trophy hut outback that was really the most impressive there's, an entire sort of hangar just for gold records and stuff through his interesting anda, whose aecom acoustic that great joke god there was. What was that guy's name to that great joke of Elvis was so great? Was he buried in his bed? if the yard, like a gerbil, hamsters, the ah. If anyone knows who did that joke, please tell me as a good joke. One thing is rob schneider von think it was so cross the street. My memory from grace one was a strip mall. We by all kinds of things, elvis and burn impressively out there in front of one of those stores and he was Elvis his uncle and aid written his book just sit, not there in front of us or on his own sellen, this book about Elvis Verne impressively. So I bought a book and I bought a body as I brought a com and I bought some other knick knacks Elvis knick knacks, that night back
as for what had happened was is the rock and roll stories got nothing? Do rock and rose garden of undue with Elvis. Maybe it does but that night I met some duties on the roof made sold me, blow dryad little blow at some Elvis paraphernalia at uncle Vernon's book, I had nothing to do and I was all alone and I was drinking so I did a little blow I went to a club, I asked someone, maybe the concierge, the peabody. Where can I go to to do some club in because I was on little blow and ready to go in memphis tennessee. So I went to this place. Recommended in my memory. I walk into this large kind of one room club and there was oh buddy in it, but one crazy, looking woman dancing in the middle all by herself, just dancin look and crazy madam Mina derogatory way, just it all looked a little crazy. It look. I got you,
walked into a David wench situation and I dont know what, do I drink and I was doing some blow. This was the club I was that so I went out. Didn't you started kind of you, not dance with the lady wait. She got off the dance foreign as it. What's up she not much Indeed, some blow she yeah so do some blow, I you, why hang out or something what equivalent of that was then she goes. Okay. We go out. I as of have said this hotel, the cars, because I have a car we drove with jumped into the large catalogue, eldorado with leopard skin seats. It look like pretty well worn in car, and we drove back to the peabody we went up to my room and we did some blow and nothing happened, but she did die for some reason he goes. Can I have this Elvis comb and I go yeah. I guess- and she took my elvis comb and some of my chain
change and maybe some matches. I I gave her a lighter and the rest, my cigarettes and then she left so thou. not very rock n roll. I guess that's the point of that story, but nonetheless, in terms of Elvis presley, it's weird We saw this great songs when I was younger, but it took me seeing wrecked anko open for jerry garcia at the orpheum in Boston. Do me to retrain alone an acoustic guitar in a most beautiful, intense and was tricked out fast granted. I was on a little mushrooms, but that was my portal in two areas. Elvis somehow another was seeing the weight rigged anko just lose himself in mystery train anyway, That was quite ramble. I hope it tightened up and made. Some sense was at least compelling as we enter this conversation with her
och journalists, Peter growl, nick I spoke as I'm rock and roll man with her yeah. You know what it is jason in your whole life waiting. Wait now, so you like you, a real writer guy peter garage I've been seeing your name forever? and I have my own several of your books that this one, the new one I got for free, but I I read me to dream. Buggy I've had, I like going home, feel like going home forever searching for robert and was nice poetic, meditation on the nature and truth of Robert Johnson, double elvis slammer Two wager books that ada, how much you like a decade at least only eleven years. alas, during a memphis and careless who have the the quaint essential, seminal, elvis tomes? Well, you know well yeah, whatever
what do you tell you know, but the thing is it but did you set out originally a get? I I think you're. I think we want to do in college. I don't do a lot of research wages. I graduate boston, university young. I gradually from bosnia, diversity and even tottered plasma university in the classics to pipe and when I was twenty three twenty four twenty five classics on the classic kind of guy, but will ok so it's. But what's what's talk about that for a minute? So what does that mean? Classics at lap agree so you can read latin and greek. I you know I taught greek, but I really I was faking thy major greek and it was a good added latin. I was quite quite good happen and I you could re pretty well, but I taught a course in the ancient novel where we want european Well, written latin of api layers are pretty obvious. Now the european english, but we read stuff like last x, to bribe introduced last exit to brooklyn soundly v, tristram shandy, a whole range of things, which I saw as being parallel in various ways to the
These ancient works to the tragedies and ready at the narratives, the idea than dishonored as yet to this continent, a great harmony to code where everybody ends kind of shitty or any kind of goodness me right, Everybody I write it so when you, so you when you were a kid, you're were kind of what a language in order. No, no, not at all it was just in was an easy thing to major, because I went in high school. I got so much latin that I could declare a major and take no courses right that I could take it. I want to know I just will. All I ever wanted to be. Was a writer and a baseball player from the time of six or seven years? there is, but a writer cause. You did a couple of books out of the gate there that weren't necessarily o along the the journey that you took right now. Written ten novels and around my first from here comes the truth. Now I am, I didn't set out to write the only reason I published took
don't break my our appeal, you're, the guy. Don't tell me it with music writing, which is something you had to do for money. There was no money I mean I would never have done it if have money when the money with the object. This is not what I would have done, but I I know I I I published two collections of short story rang. I was twenty and twenty one, but I know I wrote about music. I wanted to be a writer, and, but I fell into blues when fifteen sixteen, how that have Well, if that's when I got it to me, you're older than me ray held, you ma am but fifty Fifty iheart? If inherit, it would appear the person on the exterior. The see is not the real me. I am seventy two, seventy one all right, so I'm fifty two but so yeah. I guess, then you were getting the blues and actually I would, as it was first first sort of popularity, introduced to rock fans well, but
that really well yeah yeah I mean it was just F of broader of random. I went to the newport folks ass. We items that it comes back here about you know. Is it with a couple of dozen albums and they could have been that they were selling at the folk festival guy and and they could they could have been. You know I like I just can't think of who would be in a hurry it may have been the you know. It it'll be Peter Paul and Mary, except that was before Peter Pyle married, but just all kinds of folk joan baez years before couple of blues guy, and he came back with a couple of blues white skip james nano. He muddy waters. Why, I'd, say more, like bilbil, bronzy, oilcake dorani begin, military anyway, this friend of Mine- and I just do It- eldon on and we heard these blue sundry. We just went crazy and we got. This is like nineteen, fifty nine nineteen sixty and we just it- became a lifeline. Certain issues turn me around and turn my life around it, and it led me to every other kind of music that I listen to every We think it is a year, your jewish guy, I'm a jewish guide me too,
So I'm not saying anything. I do talk about that. Sometimes, but you know: there's been a few fairly in spain, or jewish boys players in a lot of jewish kids. Like myself, four mildly enlightened. When we're younger gravitate towards blues, did think about that connection at all. I there's no, never, because I had no jewish background. Only. I m jewish ethnically. I know beyond the list when Donald trump draws up I know that's my identity yeah. Well, I feel kind of the same way. I had a little bit of jewish background. I mean I did you know I I It seek sort of idea, vacation through Jewishness. I'm point and not a religious main, but cultural jewish yeah. I know I didn't have any of that, but bedroom. I know ralph bass, for instance the chess records. You know he made this big connection between Jews and the blows and what he heard from the counters were growing up in the temples. It was exactly the same as the book, and I take that you know for his truths and I I don't dispute that
that was not the case with me. Now it was. It was something like an. I had never heard anything like this before and presented a raw slice when it was like last exit, brooklyn sense you I can see that it was just a whole introduced, a whole element and the sound and a, on adorned honesty that just knock me out and me, equally anvil, vocally, musicland vocally, both and you saved my room- another gardeners, phonograph, regular, green stamps from europe and sharp here and die, has one of these little portable, fairer, everyone's building, where the closing alpine area- and I would sit there in my room first at home then went off to college just listening to these records and studying them and trying to decipher them. I'd go to roxbury and you know go to these bars instead I could not or drink I mean I'd, get bloated and ginger ale. So there turkey or their black neighbour and roxbury matter, pan was was pre a black at that time to react in a jam. Jazz clubs were long, massa have both had adopted columbus and death, and there would be battles of the blue
stopping. This is no in early sixties, yeah, but the big but the big relation in my life when the name to that- and I don't want to answer the question about- why is tat a written? What music, but was when the social strata to come to town? And that was your answer- for one that double I'll day, which was first black stadia last and opened up and early bird was there and dumb, was a dj. He was a dj where he world Boston and I advise heat, moved a rat in washington d c I'm gonna have said. I life hell, so my first second wife came from her family. It's right outside of renton wa for some reason early, where it's at the future was in renton, which didn't turn out to be the case. That did not turn out the way she wanted a job at boeing at the time now. I think he hadn't he had a he m p in mind. For some reason, and what sort of front it a couple of shows, but that was about it
but so are we shall surely soul shows who were those touring? Anyone should go to the fresh air. I sat with the summer shower says in nineteen sixty four here and it was a solomon brick joe tax otis ready and show the palace at other times how man I am one of those philadelphia, great garrett, memes gone again at memes incredible, I ran into a girl that I had known before a grown up where she was going I was a low level mafia guy who had something to do with the with the you know putting on the shows she says to me. How would you like to assure the show- and I said, I jumped out. I scared scared that these are. These are all black audiences, I'm assuming we're all black audiences young. You were just this. Will weary kid who is sitting there taken it the house and they like this. He had used the idea and picture how our youngest project I find you buy, who buy. You are right. Well then, I started I share in the shows in you now and they don't worry, take it free tickets
that in ten or fifteen thousand not sure I was the worst asher in history and because the had, I should say, sure ashes to the bow. Without breaking it off the fire escape and everybody will be heading to the balcony. I'd be heading to the bathroom or something you know: it's not going to get involved or showing people. You know telling this nice looking couples nice couple to their seats and having these two hired guys with their arms crossed, saying what are you going to do, but all I'm going to have, as you don't find somebody to help, but I'd get backstage and I'd see Jackie wilson backstage and there was no connection other than observing and I would in a little russia would be out plain pm. passivity I'll right. You felt the the heat in the excitement of show business and these guys who were able to put out that type of sound this type of weapon at it, taught me that the blues
evincing. I mean, I know the blues with living thing, but it didn't exist in my life. I I'd see the light and hopkins was the first. Please see the sound moving through the generations of music. Well yeah I mean I just didn't. I didn't make make a distinction I want to see. It was just black music and eventually waylon jennings. I mean it led me to Whelan, but references I saw as southern staples thing is all ends with away. When I saw the staples thing is: coming up against the mighty mighty clouds of joy, and I saw a man of mighty clouds. A joy just gonna, destroy them, and I saw Mavis. Just command is again with an all black on his mistress, just pulverize the audience power of her voice and- and so it was that it was that kind of thing, so this stuff, just move due to the point where you couldn't sense of it with your brain and that was exciting at me. I wasn't looking for brain now we as now never I was I mean I was what I was writing my novels. I was just doing that. What what seeing the souls gonna soto seeing the social yeah? It was just
It is, then, I started seen muddy waters procedures. They were not anywhere near where I was not around the same time. I'd go to sea I drove on all night to new york to see out he and how to college, drove brought back to go to work in the morning. My system like I've, you might have in sixty four sixty five yo. He coming back from the american folk blues, s will in europe and we therefore banned wilful. And and and before his automobile accident, when he does not always a little walter who had an hour. I was james, cotton, ok, span and probably s p, Larry and drums. I can't remember exactly butter and it wasn't nobody. He had his arm of the automobile accidents and when he does get my mojo working, he does his djerba thing and I, while that's my that's is doing is doing now, but I mean the hope for the point was a showman. It had to come to life for me and that- and you know in that same time period within a couple of years. All these blues singers, like scripture,
His son has the mississippi John hurt. It became out of the they got a wild wherever they were yeah yeah. Now they were rediscovered in various places. I skip James man, I you know that sound is is so haunting and so amazing. I know like I read that it wasn't your book. I dunno why you didn't write it, but the debt? What is it the devil and skipped james was that was at the name, isn't even called the air and it was sort of ass to me that so many of these artists, certain just laid dormant for years in a way run, and then I kind of like avoid that there because of a new interest, they were kind of found while they, waiting to be found. They weren't. You know it's like. I forget what missus John heard was doing down novel on, but it was like herding, sheep or something that is in white away. I met a similar to that right and they weren't expecting a royal but but but saw the actor. The first Sorry, I ever wrote I am, and I did not set out right or music, but he also compelled by the power of skipped. James is music that I think round sixty five
I was twenty one that visa I saw. It out, I represented myself as as being from the magazine, blows unlimited. I called up dick waterman, whose become a great friend since then, and I saw him doing story for blues unlimited says that's funny. They just ran a seven hide series on skipjack at was, but I pursue. I continue as I as as blues world, I'm doing it for blues world blues magazine, but I mean I had to drag myself out of the car. I remember parking the car in because you're nervous, I was just so scared and I had a tape recorder with me. My father said real reporters, don't use tape recorders because he had been the editor of his college knows ray. I said man real reporters didn't have paper quotas. They went admin invented when you're right, but I won't, I believe, in the tape, recorder and car, because I just thought you was one more self conscious burden to carry on and skip was so gracious to me and I'm asking you but questions and I wasn't run for publication- I will I went to interview and because, in my mind, great greatness such as this will not pass my way and I felt com.
hell. I ll euros are two years earlier. I have sought out the english arthur Henry Green knows in england and he wrote clock back blindness living, loving donor, concluding great great writer. And I wrote to him- and he said well come visit me and nurse. If some fancy neighborhood where and I didn't spend about, four hours was missing. frankly afternoon, away here, and it was just so thrilling than I did, and I rode up everything eventually years later I wrote to say you know it and story native you kind of, but but really I had no business at all, except for the same reason skipped James Agnes such as this will do what it, but, but what we? What did you want to know from and what do you think you're gonna get it wasn't that I just to be around it and be in his presence. I wanted to hear what he had to say. I want to do you know in some way get a glimpse, get an insight into You know what it was, then that is, it do you know, created a representative and would you get what you find you walk away with. Where would they answer to that question?
I think the answer to that question- was around no answers which I know going on, but now for me, just it was enthralling end, and I would say there hasn't been a single I've. Never, about anybody or anything that I didn't love I mean it might be, let's say moral haggard to me as the pinnacle of american vernacular mused. One of the many pinnacles behalf is a pinnacle and stole out it s still added now it out. I like moral, but this is not somebody who was likely to be my best friend, sure and he's a difficult guy that doesn't diminish him at all. In my, I am interested him as a creative. I hang out for a couple hours until you annoyed him. Well, unity say: I've hung out form for just a few minutes and annoyed him, and I've hung out for a long time and you herring hang in there that you know unique, point is that I knew from the beginning. You could again you can imagine my body language, I'm a person he now I can talk and is a number of reasons I could then I could I couldn't
and I'm just like the others. Little indian, but you know I forced myself. I just you know forced myself. and with moral for what I was interested in it? I wasn't interest in the external I wasn't addressed in the person of its being put out. I was interested It was behind that and in talking umbrella, for instance, on the on the enhanced e book of last highway, where we are at a chapter merle, I included something like twenty one to twenty four minutes of moral talking about creativity but songwriting. That was what interested me. That was what I got from skip james, who talked about when his father got superannuated here, tired from the ministry yeah. I mean I just doug that that that, but what super superannuated me too old- I think at this point I may be so
granulated now know your your your jamun so like. Well, it's interesting how much of that music came from the church at some point I mean it and how it connected it was. The church came from the church and the cotton fields just end and the two mixed and- and it's one of the I mean the fire. Next time really speaks more than anything about the genius not of into individual people but of african american culture and the way in which every moment is prized and every moment has to be present by being thrown back on their own resources. African americans created a culture different and, some might say, superior gyratory and culture in which they lived, and that was a very I dunno an influential book, but I bet it's. It really is an exhortatory book that emmy to me it was an exotic, every book that I still a sign that to students in yemen which broken at the fire next time, no more water, the fire next time. True awards when air spoke
yeah we're seeing the fire right now but yeah. But I think like now, that's right, but I think now, like you know, with this new book, the man who invented rock and roll sam phillips about sun records is that this was a guy that intuitively harris had it is sort of. there is on the pulse of that in n, n n n was the first guy to really, I think, integrated and mainstream music. Now now total but I mean you ve got to understand. He had a vision of what the music was and would be in force who would have and the changes it would. You know, bring about he added it here in beginning long before he opened a studio. He saw me Turkey in some people, say I'm or wink at me. I love conquers out you said music congress island. In fact he would send music over to you know, stop wars. He believed that I mean he. He will. He believed metaphorically. The music had that power, but there with his magic. It is
it's literally magic but his vision. Here I mean this is the reason it entitled the management subtitle man who invented rock and roll should be read the way. Sam would say it would be the man who quota boat, inventive rock and roll mind you put that on, I should have a night, but I ve got our size, wider. I've got I've, got sam arguing against the title and for the title in the first any in the product. But the point is if he were the reason that I felt that it was a proposal in a sense was it he envisioned amused. He envisioned bringing african american music into the popular marketplace and he invented the invasion it conquering bringing down the walls of segregation, as I say before, he started recording it That was his will, and this is a guy. The grew up in the south who grew up in a sound he knew by you know he was, I would imagine rail if we rare and is in his views of houses, and he should be relatively rare in his family, who did not liked hearing and eight and nine year old kid talking about the racial disparities and inequities that existed. I mean he was working out in the field
father rented a farm. Three hundred and twenty three acre farm, which was really his vision of eden, lost the farm when the depression came and became a signal man on the bridge, but never lost his love of nature. But but I you know sam, I has rally from sam's generation spoke of em in san jose domain. Listen, I'm talking! I'm talking about an eight nine year old kid and what came to convince me that he was speaking espousing those views. I was talking to relatives who's, who were not at all. Who were not the other approving I'm not saying they will prejudice, but they will not altogether approving of the views that sam espoused when he was a small child and later on yeah he advocated making mile from a family, meek and mild. We asked to quote merle haggard. They sound like they were probably saying like we just keep getting these ideas. We was intuitive for him. He got his ideas from his head. He was interested right from the from the time he was born to the time he died. He was not interested in social acceptance, he said many times. He said you know.
you may not believe this, but I had no personalities. As a said, I had the personality of a green persimmon. You now hand his brow, judge who said said was the one with a personality airily charismatic he could draw any one to me, never met a stranger. Sam was an interest in that he was. He was. He was elected president of the junior class, which was last year in high school. Put his father died. You know he heat, but he he was elected president. He was a captain of the band, but he sighed, as as the outgrowth of his determination not of his charm, not of his and end. He wasn't. He was not addressed in social acceptance, it was an interesting because it you know you see, as he gets older, that sort of he takes on this. so this this personality of a prophetic purse. Have you ever seen that deserves respect as an elder?
tat a mythological character. Sam Philips is and well I hate that I am adamant. Seventy ninety out, he had done and he was doing no interviews he had done virtually. He till I thought that I was the first person would interviewed him outside of Memphis reporters and dumb and the trades. Ah, there were two or three hours. Which he had conveniently movie. I ever like he maintained this, the rights. I can manage himself while he was not it would do he wooes everything and in screw everything up at some point, not wild. It mean he had a terrible struggle starting out right, not only our internet, a you know, I'll timidly, he reckoned it from his perspective. There was no ragged. There was no more opportunity for the independent record label or or distributor, and that's why he really left music business. Sixty buddy Well, he held on and by the end of the decade ali and depend labels virtually all of them were gone, but he held onto the he such a song publishing any any continued in radio, which was his first love and he saw those
who viable ways to make a living as in an independent business, publishing in radio. Yes, well, yeah it kindness that was right at the time. Yeah publishing still released in and the family still owns the publishing, and now he was very canny person in that way. It wasn't as for his priority, but he, but his first priority was to to not to you know, put food on the table for his family, which included his at at at ama. Deaf mute, add emma in florence, his widowed mother until she died and fifty two or fifty one and his wife and two kids, and I he was determined not whatever happened. He he was not going to leave them. How to start on radio star on radio side. Is that understood the power at the outside of the vehicle for communication, and in fact, when ws andrea change, their transmitter in sixty one sam bought the transmitter into this day.
The family is pain revlon they live because he believed it was such an historic thing. It had reached so many people out in the morals it had brought so much in including the grand old opry, but not limited to the grand old opera to people all over the country who otherwise would never have the opportunity to hear or know these things so he bought it. He's treaty tried over the years to give it to the smithsonian Macedonia, and today country music. So I said I am now the Actually the transmitter will, but it's too big. Nobody would take a country music hall of famer, no one on this. They can't put it no, no, he couldn't find any takers, and I have announced at many places looking for somebody might come up, and you know so in a sense that you know that that SAM phillips ideal generally really laid down some of the foundation for what became You know the the. Point of view of music in the sixtys, the point, the idea,
music with some sort of binding force of all people in integrating force and broke down categories in not just racial, but alcohol categories, and he was you know and on a bad liberal as life and a label which many which few people claim anymore. where did you get it flak throughout his career from you? Because you know you think it is very easy to think that now outside like the or the earlier acts, but you know those guys, you original crew Harkin's louis presley than the guys that the they hit makers who me were were white acts. There is some sort of the idea that there may be. There was a red, Nicky kind of feel to it. Well, I know that there was redneck, you feel for them. Well, yeah I mean it. We went back, it varied. For instance, Elvis you know, samson was the most unprejudiced person he had ever met and Elvis, as sam sighed, fully embraced sam's ideal of breaking
You know those are conversations that were had no, they were not conversations, but he said Elvis was not the kind of person who would articulate that, and the big thing also about sam was what he got most of all. We were insults from the people in the industry and he was not inclined to insult four hanging around with that those people in latvia, black people, yeah as for for corrupting the youth. This is from people in the music industry and in nashville, most valsad itself against him that, for commercial reasons as much as anything else, they tried to get his records banned from the charts. You know the records by Elvis by jerry Lee Lewis, by Carl perkins and Paul Ackerman, who were, one of sam sam, had very few close friend the attic polychrome unduly philips brother in law Jimmy kindly but dumb at cabins, wilson hysteria day in a standard holiday and does, but but Paul ackerman roadie a an editorial denouncing the nashville establishment country music establishments, saying we're.
Be dictated to hear it pollack and was the editor of billboard. Now we're not going to be dictated to here we're going to record what sells, and this is undemocratic, and this is like registering muslims, and this is like you know. This is wrong. mrs against the tenets of the model, they were fighting a civil, civilised struggle because of the sort of categorization, the music. Has it that point. What you're telling me that most of this court on coalblack music was being played by these white performers. This was the issue. The issue was that the records that sam Phelps was putting out were cutting into country music, sale, but they had a big day how to draw a line, because what was the reason they couldn't say that they grew in of in terms of the nashville stout and country music, though
It was money out there losing and they would say that and they didn't slander him they didn't. They made us landed him as somebody who was violating the classic tenets of you know, country, music, country, music, yeah, and so you could say it had raised. But the point was sander encountered, direct and angry responses. You know calling him a you know a lover of people that he shouldn't be loving. right. So let's talk about those. The the first recordings in the black artists, because I'm a I'm, a big howell fan and we were the solomon, but that is how can you not be a female yeah? I got a picture of him right there. I love that picture. It's right over the desk, air of him on the four do anything in his in ASEAN is altered, is yeah yeah, so we even a weird, is sam eat out once you point, and once you do in radio, where does he star come in contact with the loved he doesn't exist? He can't. Why did you come to me to Memphis? He came to Memphis because at sixteen he insisted that he and his class may here yet,
Make your drive into a dallas for revival meeting. He insists that they go by beale street on the drive from florence doubt it. I don't think there was any also the carol wanted to go to beale street when they're on beale street. He says you know that his and this is you know, a probably less than what it actually was. He says, as he has his friends from high school were amused why the antics or whatever, because it feels free, was a it was an outdoor area. I've been there and it was there's a lot of music. There are a lot of bar lack America's main street. Ok, it was, you know it was it was. It was all black every type I mean at that time. What you see now, like a year. A movie sat me, I know what it is today were daughter. The urban renewal jesse at the exactly they video they what he colored urban them destruction when you're here but So he sixteen years old. He goes out to be illustrate, and he says this was most inspiring thing. I've ever seen. You know the old old black man sitting on the curb
being a drinking out of a paper bag, and this is something I can relate to with your experiences as an usher in having those moments so yeah yeah that that you know that you your mind is blown by a culture and a way of life that is outside of you and by a sound that you know can't be denied. While he said it really wasn't a music. He said I saw vision of freedom there, because every single person, the young hipsters, Delia, guys the people who saved up four months to come in from the country. Every single person was there because they wanted be there. They felt a sense of belonging, and I wish that everybody in america could have that could see that free division of freedom, but so at sixteen he decides I'm going to live in memphis someday and the reason he took the job, w are easy and malthus was not because he was at home. See and national, which was a much bigger station, but because at the age of a move to have his when he's twenty two, because he to be a mouthful, but let me ask you something: how much of this year in your encounters with him, which I imagine worldwide I mean how much because he seemed like a guy that, at some point, became very aware of the mythology around him.
any he seems like an earnest guy, but did you feel that, as you talked to him, that there were some myth building of the no no, there was a meeting with the building. He saw himself in the lee after I first Seventy now nine, he changed quite a bit. I tell you he never had done an interview before in his mind, with an old external source, you just but probably defending also why he does hate they didn't want to look back just start. Looking back was that he wanted to look ahead and he was he was where he was back in his first love radio net and he had lots to do every day, but he- and he was much more soft spoken in when I first met him. Then he way he created a public persona as he went out and started doing this, but the persona didn't have to do with a revisionist view of himself. Almost everything that he said can be found. correspondence back and fifty and fifty one enough in this public utterances in his championing, when Elvis made it and all of a sudden. He is nationally sam, where it came from.
Nationalism desires. The eight people ask me about what he does and he says well, man. You should have heard how and wolf you should have heard Walter what you should have heard. He always put them in the future You know, and india- and I wasn't revision- does what he saw himself as from the time act. The time from the time, I'm out of the creator persona to teach the teachings to preach the provisions, not someone not to glorify himself but to pray, the to preach the power and the use of freedom. The freedom and where did were out at him and wolf come together. He this is nineteen fifty one he had opened a studio and in nineteen fifties about a year and a half after he opened and who is the recording right out of the gate out of the gate. He had a rough time because he he didn't have outreach. He didn't have any way of reaching the black community. illustrate, is right. Behind the hotel people were those radio station was, but there was ducks I've seen the ducks yeah the ducks were. They were all even that near that I just stayed there. One night did that journey yeah, but but but you know bill:
it is like another world, even though it's just one street over and he went on bill Emmy was on bail, three bought record for the radio station, but basically it these are two different worlds: he's playing. We explain what they, I guess you could call it. What was it that he was plain black music on his work no, no, no, not at all now Dewey phillips. Was another one of his closest friends. Here yeah we had the red, hot and blue shown w h, b q, dewey phillips was playing black music and that's what tied them together and and, and he said to his brother and he supported supported dewey. When do he fell on hard times to the end of his life in nineteen sixty eight and then supported the I've afterwards, but but he now he's he's he's on a high class station in ARI c in the hotel peabody. Here he opened studio duty on second nineteen, fifty onion avenue? How does he get these great black artists of the south, for whom he opened a studio. He makes that statement can help radially this, as you know, to record as some of the great black performers who have
no other place to go. We see himself is sort of like our low mac. Now now not unaware of their ticket haven't. While we now, he saw himself totally SAM philadelphia and as somebody who who, whose emphasis was on sound right was emphasis was on creating a sound that reflected. reality. There was even more reeled and the reality around like ernest hemingway creating dialect. and I ll go unheard the time on her. It totally unheard. I mean he believed at once. It was heard. Bye. Bye stream audience there be won over and it and there would be no turning around, but the first way he started to get you know african where conformist come in was I had a guy named Joe hill. Louis was one man band who played on beale street just wandered in one day early on yeah, and he said what are you doing here and sam explained they were building a studio and Joe hill Louis, who seems to have been quite a chat. I never met him, but he's quite a charming guy. He says you know that's just what mt
needs a recording studio and he went out and he brought in people like walter, horton and jack Kelly. Some of the earliest people who came in word spread in the community and people would come out to see this little white guy. We didn't know what the hell he was doing and putting on record in rio but wolf. How did he get? How did he get to wealthy a friend of his He knows engineering over kwh yemen, west memphis, which had a very weak signal at that time, called him up and not entirely somewhat despair Actually, I would say you know I there's somebody on the station here- has a new show, selling farm implements and advertising his appearances. You know I he. He plays the kind of music that you like which to this guy was so SAM tuned in yeah- and he said it was a terrible signal in Iraq on pop and he, but he said through it all. He heard somebody he heard a voice and it it led him to say you know this is it. This is what for this is where the sole man never dies, then he cried That was just a wolf on acoustic guitar right now.
the body weight already well johnson and a great great guitarist emulation go out and add to their will. Each johnson collection to me pre, Hubert wavery he'll, be here repeal who Hubert saw wolf. They a parkins icon, perkins arkansas and was standing at the window, wolf, environment, romania's but say fifteen. Sixteen years old at the time, but baltica, so what so am invited gets in touch with wolf at the station. Here invites him to come by the studio here and here and doesn't want to put any pressure. It's not a recording session. He just going out on a meet and greet on her and da, but wolf comes in with this or willie johnson willie steel sets up and SAM says you gotta make yourself comfortable just and SAM, as in the control room doing you know, busying himself yeah yeah and he said all of a sudden. It's just he snaps too. It's just like a sound that is so Powell. I mean it's like he never heard anything, I'm one sided and anti comes.
into the yard and floor and he gets there any says for one of the few times in my life, or maybe I set for one of the few times He had no idea what to do. He d. Never. He had no and eat pretty, around with my placement trying to act like he's in charge. Pretty he just he's just and it s just so overwhelmed by the music, and that was set up for his recording wolf. Ah, I can't Why is it must have been just electric man, Ellen allison, Women sing about salmon ever saw wolf perform. I sent away a video videotape of that alan lomax thing devil got my woman, whereas wolf performing in this fo juke joint newport at the folk festival. That was it he had winter s insane and perform, because he said I had a great show my eye on earth in my studio justs watching. well sitting in a chair and watching the devastate come over him as he sang assign watching his total absorption, the out carried out, so I'll carry that would mean he's a day. A man to yeah he's about. Does six three, maybe
at that point, pointing probably weighed about two hundred and thirty five to newport. They built a like effect. You joined, Alex made this little movie and you have a drunken son house as wolfers singing and playing and was in wolf news. And how some way back and he waving his arms and talk in one houses. Pre wolf, pre woven and wealth assign you now sit on old man. Don't embarrass yourself on the paths paraphrase? What was it weird? I had a copy that video over it was showed done in germany, How can about what has actually american folk blues festival, I'm sure, and they set up all those environments in the area they are. They had like a young irish, isn't that it was actually kind of disturbing bootleg, J b you, and why was on there? I am, and I think a jolly hooker I saw there was a pretty amazing- cannot remember they know. Wolfe was the most powerful performer I've ever seen and Where are you said, a solid work and wolf from that Where did you see wolf as a wolf? I just saw him so many times as I'm in Chicago. I saw him in bosnia summit club, forty seven. That was probably the first I saw him at newport
he just I'm out, go I summoned remark. I would go over though anywhere to see wolf? And I would give up any I've affair the collector in any way. I know, but I bought a lot of records to listen to them and let's say I have seven thousand records I'd give every one of them optus, just for the opportunity to see wolf, one more time that it was just it just no but sam, using different times on with wolfman Emmy. You know you like, even when you listen to him like the this stuff necessarily that this sort of rolling blues that doesn't necessarily have a chorus or turn you know where you know he doesn't move through that rhythm and that that rhythm was always was completely his own and the vocal power of at all in the way it was making enough sounds like lions, harmonica tell em in area that divide it up in a wolf was born. I was determined the first time I saw him. I think, was a club, forty seven, which was in a cellar and add till they had these some post to hold up the roof and wolf got up and supposed me sad
This point is about three hundred pounds. Three hundred how really three pounds of heavenly joy near and he's is bang in away on the post. You know emphasise the thing in its own right: the samson delilah and if I had my way a tear this building down, I thought the roof was gonna come down and I heads that site and I just never ever got her, but I, but the point is with sam the air of all the people he recorded here. Wolfe was the first. He would bring up from sam's point of view from my point of view to Wolfe was the most profound. The artist that he ever recorded now. What has now you know, I'm Elvis might be the most care asthmatic jerry Lee Lewis was the most purely talented. I mean he had a surprise for everyone, he loved them, while johnny cash, he had a norms, but wolf was the most profound along with charlie rich, which is really interesting, because these are two almost opposites in terms of music. That's value, because when I find when I come to charlie rich, might my my knowledge of country, music is limited to sell. Charlie's trial is needed
they re appointment, country, music and now is the worst thing that ever happened to all those who think that made him a star. But you have I think my memory him and even after reading, like I read some tosh stuff to you, you two or the guys that I think I never show me some things in terms of your writing. But now we have different styles. Yes, you do have life and of writing. How would you distinguish this style, but it seems like you, you are a historian as well as a guy who has a very good historian. He has a more emphatic style. I I just I didn't mean to also he's he's gunning for the darkness. Well, he he next theme He has. There is no there there and every book says there is no there. There yeah and my theme, although I tend to believe that probably nick is right. My theme as I am looking for the light You know you're, not gonna say they make is by going
it by saying there's no there there that is a dark place, headed dynamic. I think nick would tell you that, even though I talked to me, I would sit like he would, he would admit, to proclaim the title of nihilist nea yeah, oh yeah, now, u n and andy you know I mean what could you top dino as far as we are aware that fuckin boycotts unbelievable, you can say fuck and unusual sure, because I had lots of things that I took. Around there, and you never said say it say it say it again with the name of the shows, what the fuck I know that, but I read the only see it as they would have a T. F. I didn't know you know: let's go see, light so charlie reached by the time I you know, I don't even have a charlie, rich record, and now you make me feel like a should, because apple country, and I in any way by the time, I'm a kid charlie, rich as big hits behind closed doors. Most beautiful girl gets on what you did lay piano in which didn't saw style but which sell millions of copies and I thought he was an original, sound artist. He was originally well yeah. He was on phillips, which is a subsidy of it, but remember what did stardom lead to for sir Charlie richard led to 'em burning the card that announced the
john Danvers entertainer, the earthy nationally telecast, our country music, best snapped, I hit it was his only exit from them from the life has only exit from the world, I mean you know I I it people wanted to say what's because he was stoned because he was drunk was users it really he he needed to he needed an escape. He was. yeah. I knocked not done with music, I mean I I made it. I am now album men just before his death call pictures and paintings in which he caught some the songs. You been around with all these years? Originals you know standards like I can't get started, which he played two or three times every week at these. I didn't even know this charlie rich and I really feel like. I need to know how to listen to I dunno, if you and if you have the the two cd set. Let me say in uganda and listened to hold an ex full b.
If that comes out. That comes out in in in collusion. Is that the word I want with the book that you can get the soundtrack of the book so to speak? Yeah? No! No! It's definitely where you should listen to that as you're reading the book, I dunno that you should do what you want, but now that I've done that when I, but usually, if I'm reading a book about one person, yeah I'll inundate myself with the meat like book about sam cook turn me onto you know that all his gospel stuff and that she had changed my life incredible, and then, when it, when you gotta, live at the young that el it at that mine. At fifty five concert you hear sam cooke, you've. Never you would never hear before, since he did not even live at the herald. You know who else who have sam cooke, that who I I just having her was herb alpert of where he worked. yeah, I know where your just like you to hear the hand lou adler work together at the end and they have the call right or wrong
I say: sam has the co right on wonderful world right and really it was a song they'd written as a little ditzy high school thing, korea and sam side of something else. I love those beautiful moments where we get like magic is you know the alchemy happens, and I think that's really. What you're talking about with tam with phillips in this book is that that that alchemy, that he somehow managed by dealing with these artists is really the beginning of of of rock and roll, and it's longer now now and when you think about how Elvis started- and you think about this, He d rocket eighty eight to cater irate before wolf, right and and why do you talk about in what you ve, given I mean he's, got signed by jimmy to bury where a telephone goes off in the metal, and he says you think I was gonna change. for some reason track without that that great sound in telephone no say in the air and you know he's he says you know it. He will. We will settle in there and drive down tracks were walking by down in florence and he says: look at that. That's where it's at
made? That's where its half an indian only just so he embraced with rockets. Eighty eight: what happens? I turn to show with his group, the kings rhythm rule renamed Jackie branson has dealt a cast by so much to you too. I turner's high dudgeon thea, because SAM mum gave jackie branched and the vulcan, like jackie brown, mobile, moraine ike, which did not hear well with I right. I did all right kind of how we did our enhance. I am ended up that france him in there. That was one of the artist. The same was clauses to in his last year's, but the boy was they show up at the studio which drive by three times, because it's a storefront, it looks like a barbershop dna and add they on their way on their weighed up from from clacks dale. They get stop several times for the crime of driving, while black
in an old story: yeah yeah. They also have a flat tire and when they take the tire out of the trunk booth tires were still in trunks. In those days they dropped the amplify, the guitar amp and when they get to the studio they find that the tube is shattered and that there's a buzz in the thing and they just did crestfallen because there isn't time to get another employer isn't, and they just figure that they've blown their big opportunity in sandals, two unease is now so that's original. We had that's, that's different. That's gonna, give you and I and own original sound on the reckoning. Get some paper from members miss taylor s neck. restaurant car stops it. You know in the ep, and you can hear it, as all the way through and that sam. it. Wasn't any what a planned it that way, but he was fully prepared to take advantage in you know: it's like jack Kerouac spontaneous buy up sure it's organic and to its authentic there, by virtue of the fact that you can see it as a problem or you can see, it is a gift and in like you know like he was intuitive enough to know. I get done sound, bad and
That's all right, of course, on a great it's a different eu. He blew up. The last session in reduced was too and john pride on an album that pink. I like that done. His sons, knox jerry, and on one on was saigon and sam- blew up the guitarists amp india echo chamber, because he wanted to create the sound of of frying flyin fragments of metal flying through. Where did he get it? He got it and then in John prying was so proud of that item that he's at first only time in his life first and last time he took the matter Cinnamon mastered out to electra asylum. I you know him, california, and and presented them in a listening session, and they just looked at him with a worried, look and they said well, John, that's, okay, but you're going to have to go back and re record. This whole thing you know, there's a buzz I'm through that things I was back to this is lacking. twenty nine years later after rocket eighty eight sam created thee, the escalation of an dumb john John brown, was so
but see like to me. That's the whole thing's fascinating. So I can Iraq rocket. Eighty eight for some people is the first rock n roll zone, a that date with some historians believe that you believe that none of them is a friend now come on Peter come on now he saw that nothing comes from nothing. Okay, frank, stokes, downtown blues, nineteen, twenty seven, the driving rhythm of that might as well just be the first Rock'N'Roll some may see as some of the big messieurs kind of he will be numbers just ok. So what differentiates then? Why do some may decide? Rock and roll is here that would just a branding thing. Yeah! Ok, I mean the point: is it was paul Ackerman? Probably it was the first one to and who is SAM's great champion and sounds great friend of a guy with phd in english literature. Maybe just net masters specialty was on the seventy george herbert, and I think the seventeenth century poet, english poet. No, it couldn't be from a greater just a greater difference background for yet but in a very scholarly area did very that guy who edited billboard. He I think he,
eluded rocket. Eighty at his first bridewell sighing after rock and roll had hit ourselves right, so it had to be rapidly. There was no rock and roll time, but saint, but SAM had his vision of I can well, he didn't know how is going to turn out exactly. He didn't know what, but he knew we're gonna be the music that rock and roll turned into a musical meat. Peter mass audio, give me believed he believed that rocket. Eighty eight, which saw two hundred thousand copies almost entirely on the black market, with a huge sale, Rita Hayworth. If there was going to cross over and was quoted in the paper saying that he told me and probably other people too, that howling wolf could have been as big as Elvis presley was white kids as wells with black. Now I Don't ask me how that could have been. I don't know how it could have been. I don't share that. I didn't as much as I shared sam's admiration and veneration for wolf, but that's that's what he believed when he put ulis the sum of the driving rhythm numbers that he does on wolf. He saw that as as reaching
audience that the the audience that it's weird, because it actually had to go to england and then come back before it actually became what blows, but he wasn't thinking of it as a blue. Now I get that basis, but it, but the point was he saw it as becoming the mainstream. I used to get a domain name. You would do doing what elvis and generally louisen, but in the aftermath of part of his vision, was when he realized he could never break that that race barrier with his eyes with little junior partner, who could be seen as the birth of rocket Billy right. You listen to love my baby widen this thing mega was with his little junior. Backpacker was black, but it has every element and he realized
at this point as he was going bankrupt, he realized the only way I can reach that mass audience. I wide audience is, if I can put a white face, find a white man with a negro sound but much more important, a negro feel and that that was when the audience would ruin once they respond to the music, then than the dude. The jewellers would open wide and that essentially, is the story of rock and roll. Once there was the acceptance of a few of these white, as Elvis first primarily than all these great black artists, like re charles fats, down a little richard chuck very bo deadly. They came through those doors. You know in a hundred miles an hour and they became not re stars, not iron, be stars. They became pop as and they you know who is and who went into the rock and roll hall of fame first right, but most of those guys still had a little bit of a chip on their shoulder about their treatment and end the while, as I shut him in railway live in america, may I I give you an spell america,
how do you know why I'm going to, and I leave it to listen so late, who, like talk a little bit about the you know in the time we have here, there's so much talk about any, and obviously I guess I'm I'm looking for that that poetic magic that happened in you know you're, so thorough, and I think you miss it, but you know I want to know you know that moment. Where do I get in my mind? He he writes and records y'all. These guys were. They knew each other, that you know wolf. You know and he was hanging out with Elvis and there were not so much the wolf or a little junior parker, especially were inspirations to Elvis among many others, but they never crossed paths they never. You know there was never a sort of a like sort of. Thank you or show me a lick. The world Elvis openly endorsed artists like Bobby bland, like little junior parker appeared in the papers, picture appeared in the paper then went down to the diego goodwill, reveal just like I went to the summer shower stars in the only
tightening in all black audience came out on stage. you know, put his arm around bb king and spoken and in the white newspapers and the mainstream newspapers of how great this music was and how great these people were so sure there was a crossover, but not not in the sense that they collaborate in the studio. Why didn't? and they were there at the same time. Years later. It wasn't years later this year later, let's get it yeah yeah I mean it was. It was an Was it we ve got a rubber. Was one man operation who I? Why did johnny cash leave sunny left it as much as anything because he was jealous of the attention that sam was given to generally Lois, who had it was. Who was the hot hand at that moment If you're one person operating a business in which you're selling millions of records you can't you be, it is pretty easy to spread yourself to salmon sam was not gonna. Do
and how what was the? What was the year span of when all this sort of happened, I mean how many years would I go from what to what was this sam SAM opened up and in january fifty by nineteen sixty he had pretty much extricated himself from the business. He no longer saw the future and in many different ways, but he wanted it. In a statement, while what I'm missing near know just say that that moment, where you know you can track, if we're not going to go, there's no there there I mean there was a moment, and I imagine it was the first Elvis hit that that all that came together and in sam was able to realise its vision. No, I think he realized vision with wealth and that I think that roof was the living in the living visualization of everything that he ever want and music, and had he been able to cross wolf over in the way that this is he one so was out of his hands. He thought that wolf was the guy and that you
what the culture did with it was out of his hands but internalized down under his own personal thing, but it. But if you want to say what weight it SAM turn it see you you said is: is it I think a marketing termer, something? What's rock and roll listened? Oh, that's all! What is it that makes that rock and roll it isn't it if you could call called folk music assurance system? That's your kind of I am putting the name rock and roll on was the way to sell that music and but, if you're, looking for what turned sam's, he label around turns out. It was a success. A blue swayed shows which he was able to not only our scissor perkins presents no. I was just covered it end and actually asked for and covered but made it a head again. My not really. Now we all down at eight p m and it was, it will mean, deploys everything else was put out. Old I hear that in the end, but now kind of how how perkins and sam put out carol perkins blue suede shoes at about us are almost exactly the same time that that our ca put out Elvis's for a single nrc, a heartbreak hotel, sam called a morbid mess. He added, I don't agree, but I and the public
was his. What was his reasoning? Have it was there? it was nihilistic, elastic, wasn't, sound and, and, and, and and and and message. so I don't know you know. I bet if, if nick had spoken, about whom I met a different view. How do you mean a british minister? I met you did not get whiten darkness you're right cried about, but the point the point was that the two of them blue, swayed shoes, started going up the church and made it to the top of the chairs of the iron, be country and plot which had never happened before and high break out. Hale did the same thing within weeks ass. He had given him last faith and Alice because of the explosive success of cow presence, but with success. who cooperate with endless was its on first I mean what was right, but Alice was a regional styron son, I know, but what was really did the relationship between SAM? I mean how many song it SAM do with Elvis before you lost, elvis we put our five singles and there are probably another It was at hand romania's, no, no, not at all, not only eight. When I say he was going
Well, he was on the verge of bankruptcy. When he sold Elvis's contract, he had been on the verge of bankruptcy ever since he started the label. You know the worst thing that can happen if not to a small business, certainly with small label. That time is is a hit in Elvis wanted to go and he needed the money so worked out. It wasn't, to do with Elvis. It was me what to do with what he needed Elvis wanted to go because of colonel parker, but it was better than that. Neither here nor there. The real thing was sam, not only would not have survived. In business. He would have lost the way he just would have lost the business altogether, not the business but his dream near and so with the thirty five thousand dollars that he got from his contract and with the five thousand dollars that he got or that Elvis got a year's pay out for his for the roy, these do, which sam kept scrupulous track of what he d, never money to pay an does. That was what and when Thirty five thousand dollars that he got. He was able to reconstitute the cut the company. He was able to promote and put everything
had behind blue sway, choosy and rca, called shortly after when blue switches hit the chair. It says the shells as yet and tat if we signed the wrong guy in terms of a year, thinking of Elvis, so no he he I mean people would say to him. Did you ever regret, or some people will say, that's the worst business decision in history which doesn't even rival lisa Marie selling Graceland for one hundred million dollars, but The point is that no sam, it was a great business decision and sam never had any regrets at all because it led to everything else. He did right so with that from there from boosie way, choose you get to you get to the jerry Lewis hits right yeah I mean you, they went on he johnny garage. I walked, align yeah, you johnny cash, and you had all these other I'm coming in from at from the beginning, you from the aid throughout the year. Fifty six all coming and because they have been so inspired actually buy,
Elvis is music, it had emanate summit, many of them size performed the originality. But I like this to what you said about it that it could be folk music because, like you, don't think, that's gives pounded through my brain in terms of what we're talking about your experience. beginning with the records you had and the idea talking about sam philips in the belief that there yeah there there's theirs, there's some sort of alchemy there's some sort of wild card that could happen red. Ron real that because like against dealt eighty eight, you ve got around the clock, which is an over produced, almost have band album. We are away, it was really western swing. Writer and then SAM didn't disregard it, but he felt there's not there's nothing fresh, there's nothing new! In raw raw, I mean you know, you've got people like like Elvis and you've got people like howling, wolf and you've got people like jerry Lewis, who couldn't help but be you know, being painfully alive and in the press, with their music look, there's a the spirit, that's right, but it end, and that was what sounds look when one cow perkins would record something- and you know
and he was a little tight while SAM would say this is yeah, that's great! That's it! You get the fields and cow perkins with them, and I'll just shortness with cow would say, but Mr Phillips has a mistake there I wanted, I could fix. It leads to another and SAM says now: you've got the Ellen and and cow was overdue, but I made a bad mistake. There were, and I made a mistake there and in San Jose. That's all right girl, that's where we are here at son with just one big inspired must what sort of public is like. Even looking at someone, I johnny cash in comparison to what area whatever johnny's from was with wood, jerry louis in terms of his success. The did did the difference between them there. their their songs in their style is at johnny was also in fully raw, because it was a different tone and totally original ibm saw him in some ways is analogous to Helen volcanic ash is nobody. He admired more than johnny cash, both for his singing, which was Unrepealed, I mean nobody annette.
Amicable and for is for his writing, but the other thing about johnny cash is. He comes in with two musicians who can barely play, particularly those pregnancy guitarist in every take they took was I didn't do splicing every take they took will be interrupted because luther perkins couldn't I couldn't make the note he could play one note at a time and he was and he was painfully shy and he and at one point John says johnny cash says let's do it with another guitarist and SAM says. No. This is your sound. This is what makes it different. This is what gives it distinction and it was not the fact that luther presence was incompetent and he was trying and so hide and he got there eventually, but the fact that this gave them and original sound because he put in always gotta listen idle notes had he known as that, which is the whole point of anything creative and that's what I try to do. However, mind. If I may be, I try to put everything I've got into every word. I really got more, that's the beauty of rock music, and I guess I d on their there's something that comes directly. You know
the blues and even the idea them the music that comes from africa previous to the blues, and is that you know it is a simplicity. Just completely few old I buy passion and in focus and an feeling. yeah nodded, and yet you for sam, because there were no genres, he could go out and see us each He reached the one of the few areas that he would go out equally mike ought to three times magazine. madison avenue and charlie's plain jazz, which was just charlie's. First love and to sam it was the action with which he played, even though it was not the genre which he would have chosen. So so I mean I feel like you can find it find it anywhere. You know you can find it and different people have different tastes them as ass, solomon, so different strokes, from folks, but those old guys so singers, like you know I did this am cook thing, is that you have what? What Talking about what we were talking about about feeling really about?
a unique voice that Iraq is. If you listen to the the gospel stuff, I mean there's He had a rawness as well, but he added an incredible sort of unique sense of melody and control of but you'll hear it one of the few times you her on record someplace, replacing just going all out in and throwing away that control, and that was the underpinning for a great many of the very control pop recordings he made right because it ultimately became fairly controlled singer. I know control papa Ass, not like you eat. The aim is the opposite of menace. you get most of the ear. The sun guys were menacing, went away in a good way, Well, I mean you, listen! The sunny burgess, I mean you, listen to the end of the red, headed woman, which is like a train, wet rack and again saudi, whose whose still performing today think he's eighty two eighty three and he's one of them. When a nice guys normally still rockin but sunny just begged sam to let them
We do it that did you not featured, perhaps the only rockerbilt, trumpet and history now, yes, growth Die banks ambulatory recorded in sam, said now that that had to feel that you do know and real equality. No, it doesn't matter what the mistakes were, doesn't matter, whether the telephones ringing that had the feel right so you know what I'm starting to see. You know even from a they did you ever listen, those those better proper johnson records, though where they lay there. There's a claim that his claim I've. Never I've talked to people and I've never know really with undue. Why don't I? What talking about exactly I mean you know that you're recorded at slightly the wrong speed they re issues were put out at at at at us and slightly higher speed. Which raised raw right right on suffice and korean tessie. I've never seen anything substantiated. but but I dont it's weird to listen to him, but he doesn't have slowed down. Yeah yeah, I was a variable, so the point was phonograph were variable speed and there was no true patches fires.
Bade went and rhino easy. I mean, I know it's been sorted discredited, but it is sort of fascinating to listen to it while it well he s and ended it tat I, and in some As you know, it could give you a sense of maybe what listening to rapid Johnson indifferent days could be, but this sort of thing You're chasing- and I think the thing that is it is not the defining rock n roll is rock n roll. But by this sort of this this kernel of what we will call it light through this this this, music that inspired you early on that through all of it. He does. It absolutely does and it took me that's why I say it took me to wail and giannis, and the reason I say waylon Jennings is because I, after feel like going home, came out in seventy one. I wrote at the end of it and unless you have a first edition, he won't see it phrased. In is quite quite way yeah. But I wrote that I was going to say my farewell. My you know to my brief. Now he's going to go back just to appreciating the music, I was going to discard the notebook in my hand, It is in my wits out my hand run out my my pocket ia and- and I were
back and for two years I've read about music because I went run roma, the novelty I felt like I was doing us out of love and I wondered retained appeal pretty I was right, I didn't realize then what you mentioned before. I was also in love with the shell business aspect of, and I didn't want to admit that really. So this is the first time you admitted that no, I admitted it back in nineteen. Seventy three not not saying since, but I'm willing to have affirm it on the air No, no, I mean as better again in june. Miller, who were added to the rolling stone illustrate history, rock and roll became the music at with real paper, and he said one or two right. waylon jennings and I hadn't listened to much, and that was when four honky tonk heroes came out. I listened to that and about ten other albums here and I went to see him for a week at the performance center. I think are in cambridge and it was like I realize this is the blows. It's a completely different format. It's a completely different approach. It's different changes, but the rawness of it just the direct impact of it.
The fact that it's just coming from his gut sam would always refer to gut bucket blows, and, and I mean so it wasn't. I wasn't trying to change it into blues, but it had the same appeal and that's what really led I knew contribute. I mean I'd. Listen to some country was good, listen to Hank Williams, I'd listen to jimmy rogers, but that, It's totally blew me away KEN Whelan whelan beautiful If the thing is that that sort of blew my mind and sort of got me going like I like to play blues like I play booze, but I don't listen to it as much as I like to play, I'm a big peter Greene fan right. I can't shut up about peter green. I love Peter greer yeah, but but the But what got me like, I spent a couple years just trying to sort of decode captain beef heart, It's all fuckin wolf man, it's all worthy like the first two I tol wolf. Now it's totally wealth, and I mean I and I appreciate that, but I think there's an abstraction there. Of course I should like white gap, but you know wrote about Peter green was Elvis. Costello is no book. I
Just talk to. I was gonna body that Peter Green inspired him to play guitar any. I see a weapon around. Your kind is heavy spirit man, so when within the eu, is in a car. A music is a party your bag. He I listened to a pretty wide variety of music. I mean I am influenced by jacon nina my daughter and asher in asylum. I listened to a j D might come from macpherson dynamic fierceness. he's great yeah. I listen to that makes sense for you. I listen to Dennis Brandon who's, a great singer, songwriter from Boston. I listen to Colin linden, who has a great new album, called rich and love. Another guy named Kevin, Gordon who's out of out of nashville, who is just the most astonishing storyteller. He just kind of a drone blues that isn't the blues
he was at the ilo writers workshop and gave it all up to become every rule you at the high level, their higher lyra. His staff has just amazing new albums incredible. I am telling you now that this is the same for us. We must kill. Our lawyers will should be amended to first. We must kill all the intellectual property laws, because there's no such thing as to evolve. Yeah, there's no such thing as originality. I mean it's good that you people endorse bob dylan music and they say well he's like a magpie, but basically in a single thing that anybody has ever appreciate her to listen to the doesn't come from. Something else was a thing like that got: about yes or of understanding dylan at different points, but certainly early dylan you, after reading his book and thence, in some and then seeing a rambling, jack's, daughters, doc on rambling. Wasn't that great as great but they're? No just that there had to be a couple of years where ram when jack was like fucking Dylan took my stick.
you know like there is like you know, he was sort of a dylan, was sort of a sponge and a cipher, and you know, and his self inventor over he have these different eras, but at the beginning, The charm in the wit was definitely when jack well yeah and I I wonder for amla jacqueline Solomon always said: bile will consume you and I don't see a rambling jack as a bilious kind of person, but but maybe maybe maybe you're right. It's just solomon burke said biol will consume you yeah he is was his though boy is his advice to both himself and me. Don't let bile consider the true right well to think of certain pop stars who have books out now, who spent the last forty years worrying about the injustice was done to them when they were twenty one. yeah yeah. I know I talked to John Fogarty. I was mentioning any names. You know yeah, he seems to have gotten back at least half of the publishing rights. He seems. Okay, married a nice woman kind of government in line in any seems pretty emotional about it. It's sad about the relationship with his family and his band, but but he seems like he, he got back
was it rightfully his I'm just saying we could do a whole show on all the ways in which I felt that I feel I was done wrong thereof minister. You are right in the blues Peter what had happened and what that is what the blues is about and when I was in the senses, perhaps ending up left of adrian your attitude. We write that the key to rise. It is as said, I might not annihilates an anecdote right. You know it's an antidote to saddle and struck, but you know it was like for me. The blues who was here they were poets like william kyler Williams, I mean so much to pay and it just beside me adjust its what it is, and and I get it, I think that what would nick it was like. I know, I'm not are you with an unknown or not, but I think that ultimately eat you nick. It is working for that that the heart of that dynastic thing and that yo his assumption is that it comes from AL content. It comes from darkness and rise era. It it is a fight against darkness, but it is not there it is not a moving towards the light
No, nobody are yet it is. But I am- and I don't have any quarrel him he's- got no, no, not read love music, but how many you could read: hellfire bye, bye network, which is a great book about red in not the sam I'm fellows bulgaria, but generally it's a completely different person, claiming that I'm right, but I'm just saying that a different perspectives, different angle of perspective and what? What is your take on jerry Lee in the light? His genius he's he's brilliant his insightful. He is he's aware of everything around him, except what would benefit jerry late man's got have as hobbes, so easy his eyes, his own worst enemy, he s body, but in terms of the meal if there has been no greater and in terms of you talked to generally about life in general. We are if he doesn't do now polygon on yours,
Well, yeah, the house I mean he's always been very nice to me since nineteen seventy. I am not claiming any great intimacy but we've, but the point is that he has his moods fear, but you talked to him about. I don't maybe don't talk about world events but the world around, him and he's very, very insightful. He had already aware he's very in a way that adding noble was ever given them credit for, and his music doesn't stem from just a purely wild ins and nec impulse. It stems from perception, it stems from you know our inspiration and it stems from just this is what I tried to write about. Elvis I mean everybody disarms upon mia and you know upon in the in the winds, and I wrote about them as a conscious, creative artist me as here If the dr, he knew what he he may not have been able to define what he was going for, but he knew what he wanted and I, in all, thanks for doing the work you do that this book, the sample of the man who invented rock and roll. I know we could talk a long time and- and I and I feel a little out of mia
am I league in talking about this stuff, but I think we do I can I would I what'd. I tell you what we should go back and aid. We should get it. We should go back, we should open up all the motherfuckers I left out. I mean I was being polite. I just nine priority and if you tell me, welcome too well what the fuck guy would have been, why laurie? I didn't. I didn't make it clear that you could do without our mother fucker you needed to hear, and I a lot bottled up fear. Thank you, I was I of deep music nerds I want to thank them Work on the music, for this show check them all out dj, hopefully at web puppy, forty five on twitter power back on Facebook but music and John montagnier did our theme music John maun dot tk. Jail when emma when dot com goaded area the part that combine duty of bad news gets him just copy the color debit. Here
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Transcript generated on 2022-09-09.