The 66-year-old musician, whose new Allman Brothers Archive series album 'Boston Common
Interviewed by John H. Richardson in Esquire
eople always lean toward who's the best guitar player, who's the best singer? I don't see it that way. They're all the best, you know? They've all gotten your attention, you've admired them, you've tried to sing like them. That makes them the best, each and every one of 'em.
There's wildness, and then there's pandemonium.
You gotta come across this barrier. So many people out there can probably sing very good -- all they need to do is just drop their inhibitions. That's why most people do their singing in the shower. And of course when you get drunk you don't give a shit. So find a way to say, I don't give a shit who's listening, and sing for the gods.
I've been to rehab fourteen times, but I didn't go fifteen. I kept trying. What matters is whether it succeeded.
Dr. John might sound like he's been gargling with razor blades, but it's very, very, very pleasing to my ear.
Womanizing? Well, that's a pretty strong accusation. I don't really want to go into it.
When we started playing music, rhythm 'n' blues was it. Otis Redding was king. And Ray the high priest. That was needy music, man. I mean, stuff that would make you move part of your body! And when you hear a band and you have to move, then man, you're on the right track.
A womanizer! When I was growing up, I got no conversations with anybody from the opposite six. Never. Then I bought this guitar. Whoa! Here they come! I'd get all kinda pussy! So what's a man gonna do? Why not two at once? Hey, why not three at once! Then you get this fuckin' epiphany. What the fuck is sacred, man? It sure as hell ain't this. So I went totally celibate for almost a year, and the next time I did it, I got married!
Pop just didn't have enough substance for me. All this nyah-nyah-nyah, you know, "Paper Tiger" and "Hold the Ladder, James" and "Crimson and Clover." That wasn't music!
But "womanizing"? I don't know about that. You know, somebody asked me one day about a hooker, and I said, "Ah, shit, I ain't never paid for it." And I thought, What am I sayin'? I been married six times, I reckon I have paid for it. Through the nose, baby!
Jimmy Smith had a song called "Flamingo." More kids have been conceived to that song... I mean, Oooh. This song will get her in the mood, baby. I played that record till it turned white.
My brother, he had more faith in us than I ever did. He would push me and push me. He would say, "No, man! We're better than all of them!" and I would say, "Fuck you, man! How can you sit here and say that? Every corner you turn, man, someone's gonna wipe your ass playing music." And he didn't seem to think that way.
You never know what it's like until you've been there. If you want the spiders to get off of ya, you gotta take a drink. That's some evil shit for people who are allergic to it.
Stage fright is not a thing about "Am I any good?" It's about "Am I gonna be good tonight?" It's a right-now thing. It helps me. If I went out there thinkin', Eh, we'll go slaughter 'em, I'm positive something would seriously go wrong.
I mostly keep my eyes shut when I sing.
I watched the rhythm 'n' blues awards the other night on TV. Bullshit. There wasn't a person on there doing rhythm 'n' blues! Rhythm 'n' blues is Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, Ray. Hank Ballard & the Midnighters for God's sakes! [sings] "There's a thrill upon the hill. Let's go, let's go, let's go."
Good god, we were bulletproof back then.
We had a bunch of damn pills, you know, ups, biphetamines, big black ones. They seemed to come into your possession somehow. There's always somebody there, "Hey, man, you need to wake up?" So I'd been up probably longer than two days slavin' over this song, and I sat down and Played it for my brother. And it was like no reaction. Then he said, "Well, I don't know how to tell you this, but what you have here is a new set of lyrics to an obscure Rolling Stones song." And that's discouraging as shit, right there. And just as I was about to say Fuck it, I wrote "Melissa."
Man, we're runnin' close to the show here.
Robert Altman's characteristically detached view of Music City is given the Criterion treatment.
by Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly
here the ABC drama Nashville tries to provide an insider's view of the country-music scene -- albeit one tumbling with more suds than an overloaded washing machine -- Robert Altman's '70s masterpiece of the same name has more of a tourist's eye. Nashville (1975, 2 hrs., 40 mins., R) never tries to explain its milieu to you. It's content just to watch it from a distance, examining the musical mecca with the same anthropological gaze Altman would later turn on Hollywood in The Player.
"Altmanesque" is one of those annoying adjectives (like "Kafkaesque") that rarely clarify anything. It's generically used to describe large, multifaceted narratives with ensemble casts like Magnolia, Crash, and even Love, Actually, a diffuse style of storytelling more akin to what we've come to expect from television, which is the medium where Altman cut his teeth. But that definition ignores the most crucial aspect of Altman's trademark: the atmosphere. Nashville, like much of the director's best work, has the texture and flow of reality, democratically overlapping multiple conversations into chatty soundscapes and following its army of characters as their paths entwine and intersect. There are moments that are tender (Lily Tomlin with her deaf children), heartbreaking (Keith Carradine singing the Oscar-winning "I'm Easy" to three different girls at once), and hilarious (Geraldine Chaplin as a BBC reporter with a perpetual case of foot-in-mouth disease). The film has now been given a Criterion release worthy of Altman's strongest work -- with extras that include an intriguing new documentary. This is a classic that's all Southern twang and ironic tang. A
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