Thursday, 14 May 2009

Rick McGrath Interview with Van 1971

It's Too Late To Stop Now

The Van Morrison Interview...

Vancouver, February, 1971
© Rick McGrath

Getting this interview wasn't easy. Van didn't like the press much -- remember, this was 1971, only a couple years after he was vilified for alleged drug use -- and his prior life as a top 40 hitman. It was set up at the Vancouver airport the morning after the show, and I think for all of us it was a different gig: I'd never interviewed a rock star over bacon and eggs, and I doubt if Van had much of a conception of The Georgia Straight and just how sympathetic an underground paper could be.... Anyway, he seemed to enjoy himself; we laughed a lot, and members of the band listened and made a few comments, as well.

Rick: To get things started. What were your feelings about the Vancouver show generally?

Van: I think it could have been better. Sound wise it wasn't too good because we weren't hearing each other. Stuff like that. And whoever was doing the lights didn't know what was happening because, you know, someone would take a solo and he would put the lights on the wrong cat, stuff like that. The guy with the lights didn't have an ear for music, and so that part of it was all - pshew - the lights were up in the air. The sound wasn't too good.

Rick: You usually travel with the Street Choir - Janet Planet, Martha Velez and Ellen Schroer. But they weren't here this time.

Van: They only come with us in situations where we can all travel comfortably. This one happens to be a haphazard tour.

Rick: I've heard albums by Martha Velez on her own. How did you pick up on her?

Van: The trumpet player, Keith Johnson, she's married to him. All I remember is just one night she was there, that's all I remember.

Rick: She's got a fine voice.

Van: Yeah.

Rick: You guys are a fine band. How did you get together?

John Platania (lead guitar): I just came in and played. 

Rick: This next question is sort of in response to the review of your show in the local dailies, both of which emphasized the point that your stage presence was less than exciting. I would like to know if you are self-conscious about your stage presence at all.

Van: Is this tape on?

Rick: Yes.

Van: You wouldn't know it (laughs). Go ahead.

Read the rest of the interview on Rick Mcgrath's site.  He's got other great interviews there like Captain Beefheart, Led Zeppelin and Pentangle.  Again, the purpose of this blog is not to steal other people's material but to point fans in the direction of the best Van stuff available online.  


No comments:

Post a Comment