As highlighted by your radio shows, you have an extensive knowledge and appreciation of music. What do you think of the present music scene? Any particular artists who interest you?
I listen to mainly old or dead people now – Fall, Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices, Billy Childish, Howe Gelb/Giant Sand, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Derek Bailey, all the Carthy/Waterson folkie family, Bob Dylan. You have to realise, I’m on my 3rd or 4th garage rock revival.
Bit of a clichéd question, but … ahem … who would you say are your major influences?
Ted Chippington, The Fall, William Blake, Giant Sand, Derek Bailey, Kevin MacAleer, John Coltrane, Johnny Vegas, Lenny Bruce, Greg Fleet, Mike Wilmot, Simon Munnery, Arthur Smith, Stan Lee.
“Once there was Louis Armstrong blowing his beautiful top in the muds of New Orleans; before him the mad musicians who had paraded on official days and broke up their Sousa marches into ragtime. Then there was swing, and Roy Eldridge, vigorous and virile, blasting the horn for everything it had in waves of power and subtlety—leaning to it with glittering eyes and a lovely smile and sending it out broadcast to rock the jazz world. Then had come Charlie Parker, a kid in his mother’s woodshed in Kansas City, blowing his taped-up alto among the logs, practicing on rainy days, coming out to watch the old swinging Basie and Benny Moten band that had Hot Lips Page and the rest Charlie Parker leaving home and coming to Harlem, and meeting mad Thelonious Monk and madder Gillespie—Charlie Parker in his early days when he was flipped and walked around in a circle while playing. Somewhat younger than Lester Young, also from KC, that gloomy, saintly goof in whom the history of jazz was wrapped; for when he held his horn high and horizontal from his mouth he blew the greatest; and as his hair grew longer and he got lazier and stretched-out, his horn came down halfway; till it finally fell all the way and today as he wears his thick-soled shoes so that he can’t feel the sidewalks of life his horn is held weakly against his chest, and he blows cool and easy getout phrases. Here were the children of the American bop night.”—Jack Kerouac, On the Road
“Right now, I just want to get away for awhile. I think I need a lot of things. One of them is time…time to study and finish some things I started a long time ago…I never seem to have time to work, study, and write. Everything becomes secondary to going to work every night and wondering how the band sounds and whether our appearances are okay.”—Sonny Rollins, 1958
“If you feel like tapping your feet, tap your feet. If you feel like clapping your hands, clap your hands. And if you feel like taking off your shoes, take off your shoes. We are here to have a ball. So we want you to leave your worldly troubles outside and come in here and swing.”—Art Blakey