by Frisco Floyd Van Gogh
plus samples of the new album:
G: Right, (chuckles)
FF: Thank you for your time, and welcome to my phone line.
GT: Pleasure, San Francisco Bay Area. .. the giants, the giants man, the giants are doing it.
FF: Of course, they are a great team.
On to the interview . . .
FF: So this is your 20 year aniversary since your first release. What was the name of that first label?
GT: Rounder records. they were a blue grass label. They mostly featured bluegrass, kind of old time music. Some how we hooked up w/them,…
(On the track “Liven with the shades pulled down” – new album, you can hear George’s blue grass roots sort of creeping through.)
GT: ……we did a couple albums w/them, and then moved on to EMI American in 1982 and put out the “Bad to the Bone” album..
FF: Which is still an awesome album . . .
GT: Thank you, and now we’re doing this “Rockin’ My Life Away” thing.
FF: Yeah, it’s (the record) something else. You’ve had lots-o-road time, “pluggin the ol’album” scene?
GT: Well,…that’s what it’s all about, i mean stayin’ with it. That’s pretty much what the story has been about,.. uhmm perseverance
FF: Tell me about the “fifty days, fifty states”.
GT: Well that’s kind of interesting and humorous history of the “Destroyers”. There was this guy working with us on a tour, and he said, “Why don’t you play all fifty states?” . . . I said yeah that sounds like a good idea, so we lined it up as all fifty states in fifty nights with no time off. So we were like two days into it, and the guy says “Ya know I really admire you playing all these staes right in a row….every night,…
I went “Huh? . . .is that what you meant? . . . all in a row?…”
And Bill Grahm, God rest his soul, asked us if we would like to play at Madison Square Garden with the Stones (during that tour). I said no, we gotta play these fifty states, we’re comitted to that…. real wise management move on my part.
FF: You did later tour with the Stones, correct?
GT: Yeah, that was about as good as it gets.
FF: Hey, the new record/album – this is a very nice compilation of songs.
GT: Thank you.
FF: starting w/”Trouble every day”, great job mahhhn’. That was wonderful.
GT: Yeah, that’s a Frank Zappa classic, kind of a tribute to him.
FF: and “The Usual”, John Hiatt’s tune?
GT: that was actually done first by Bob Dylan of all people, that’s supposed to be a movie… but Hiatt is realy an exteme lyric writer. He’s out there, we picked up on the lyrics, and tried to make it into a rock song.
GT: Well you can thank our producer, Watty Watell for that. He put together all the music for that.
FF: and “Rock and Roll Man” is every bit as hot . .
GT: That’s us, thats the destroyers.
FF: So, that’s your tune.
GT: More or less a follow up to “get a haircut”.
FF: That was alright!
GT: You got it man.
FF: Then there was “Jail Bait”, the tune had me giggling.
GT: That idea was kind of a tongue in cheek wording there. Sometimes i’d say, “oh this one’s a little too serious for me….”, uh kind of a Randall Patrick McMurphy.
FF: Now you have said that the rock and roll of today, is not as fun as it once was. Sort of a Life and Death mood now vs. the “fun” of rock in years past.
GT: It might be that everything might have been more fun. The word fun comes from the word funny, and it’s seems to be kind of lost. Sometimes when you go to see a comedian, and you walk out feeling worse than you did when you walked into the place. So i say, lets get these people up on their feet, get ’em laughing and dancing for about ninety minutes or two hours. Let ’em know that there is still a good time to be had.
FF: Right on, was it you that said all of the good songs have been written?
GT: No, I didn’t think that i did (write all the good songs), . . . i was not talking about other artists. I’ve never fancied myself as any kind of song writer. When I made that statement, I was only talking about myself, in particular. I was not qualified to do that (write any more good songs). However, something must have rang true with that statement. I said that in 1978, and if you listen to rock classic radio, about 85% of the stuff they play, is all stuff that came out before 1980. So I must have had some kind of insight to that thing. I was only talking about myself….
FF: ..the 1-4-5 blues riff?
GT: Exactly, that’s what i do, and in that bag, most of the good songs have been done. The peple who are the qualified good writers,..MaCartney, Dillon, Niel Young, Paul Simon, even those people, the bulk of their stuff, all happened before their time.
FF: Now how was the three week’s w/ZZ top?
FF: Do you have any plans to come back through this way?
GT: Always, nothing firm, but when it is, you’ll be the first to know.
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