Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Anyone Got a Good Van Story?

On one page of the massive Steve Hoffman Music Forums site Siegmund asked: Anyone got a 'good' Van story/experience to relate?   Here are some of those answers.  

let him run   -  Many years ago Van and I struck up this bit of a bargain, if he would put out great music, I would buy it. So far we have both lived up to our ends.  I made similar arrangements over the years with others, many of those promises remain unkept. 

Marke   -   As the late Farrah Fawcett, a big Van Morrison fan, was battling the cancer that would eventually take her life, Morrison heard that she would be unable to attend his concerts in Los Angeles because of her condition. So he had the shows filmed and sent her copies for at-home viewing. It was a mutual love affair – Farrah had been a fan of Van's music since the '70s, and Van himself was a fan of her film work, especially in The Apostle.

Culabula   -   Well, I saw him eating scrambled eggs once in the 90s. Finished the plate, thanked the waitress, didn't make any outlandish requests and left without having caused a fuss. 

Marke   -   Morrison apparently said of himself, "Hello darlin' I never said I was a nice guy''.

Mdekoning   -   When he played North Sea Jazz in 2012 the sound went down during most of Enlightenment. My dad and I feared that he would stop the show, since it took the engineers several minutes to fix it and some of the audience started booing. But he kept on playing and apologised to the audience when the song was over.

Onlyconnect   -   He's given me a great deal more than I have given him. Keep on keeping on Van!

Bill   -   He created the Moondance album, including all of the outtakes on the remarkable new 5 disc set that I can't get out of my player because it's so great. Plus, he records with Georgie Fame, who must like him. 

spice9   -   He gave the world a never-ending laugh with his outfit in The Last Waltz. How can you not love a guy who'd wear that?  

JayB   -   It would be nice if he was a bit more well liked but honestly I only care about his music. There are alot of music artists who are not the nicest people.

Jumpinjulian   -   A local radio DJ got the guts up to approach him at an after party once- Van was sitting in a chair and the DJ went up to him "Excuse me Mr Morrison, I just want to say how much I enjoy your music" his response? "#%^* off"

Same DJ said a friend of his was at a dinner party with Van and didn't know who he was "So what do you do?"
Van "I'm a singer"
Lady; "oh. Have you got a record out?"
Van; "yeah, a few"

Platterpus   -   I like Them, but don't care for any of Van Morrison's output after that.

Remurmur   -   In all seriousness, I've loved this guys music ever since I first heard the song Blue Money on an AM radio as a teenager. To say his music has "stoned me to my soul" on many occasions would not be an understatement. Van has near spiritual soul in him and at it's best, his music can be as close to transcendental as we non trained humans can get.

Hey Vinyl Man   -   About his outfit in The Last Waltz... What's really astounding is that he was reportedly supposed to perform much earlier in the show, but postponed his performance because he didn't like what he was wearing. In light of the outfit he did opt for, one has to wonder just how ugly the original one must have been!

Maggie   -   Besides all the pleasure and comfort his music has given people over the years, he seems to go out of his way to support his daughter's career (lately, anyway). That's a positive. He's had an excellent working relationship with David Hayes (his bass player) for decades. 

serge   - Years ago I bought a copy of hard nose the highway on LP from a dollar bin... about a year or two ago I realised he had autographed it.

mando_dan   -   When he made it big, he was living in California. He brought his parents over and set his Father up with a little record store. The man had been a great music lover and introduced Van to much of the Blues and other Great music. His Dad has worked as a labourer his whole life and made very little money. That must have made his last years very pleasant. 

Trixie Jones   -  I once saw him in a book store and said hi to him very nervously. He said hi back and was genuinely nice about it.

mkolesa   - I actually had a close encounter of the Van kind myself some years ago... It was in the late 90's and I got invited to a movie premiere in Dublin. Afterwards there was a reception in a big historic building with many large rooms and people walking back and forth. I didn't really know anyone and I remember just wandering around... At one point I was standing, looking into the next room, and someone passed me from behind wearing a bolero hat. They took about ten steps past me, stopped, and then turned and looked right at me. It was Van! We looked at each other for several seconds, and then he turned and walked off. 

nosticker   - I have never met Van, but I have worked with someone in his band on a song of my own. After recording the song with me, he showed a rough mix of it to Van. What he said amounted to something positive but curt. I had zero idea that showing my song to Van was something even possible, much less that it occurred. This was told to me right before a terrible NYC gig I played in the 90's. Of course, I was over the moon about the news and called it The Day Van Morrison Listened To Me. That is my positive Van story!

BurgerKing   -   Many, many years ago we saw Van at the Circle Star Theater, which was one of those in-the-round setups. During the last part of the show he invited a section of the audience up onstage to sit at his feet as he finished the show. Sounds odd in the telling, I know, but it was very cool. I've never heard of another performer doing it before or since.

BKarloff   -  Here's an extract from the diary of John "Rabbit" Bundrick (ex-Free, Back Street Crawler, Who etc) and his one and only encounter with Van the Man. This entry was posted on his website, along with his other diary musings, but then mysteriously "disappeared" a few years ago.

I suppose the only really odd thing that happened this month was when me, Terry, and Tony got asked by Van Morrison to join him for an audition to play in his band.

The rehearsal-audition took place at a dump called the Cabin, in London. I was reluctant to do it in the first place because I'd always heard what a dick Van was, and how hard he was to work for, and he wasn't my favourite artist of all time anyway, but decided to do it for Terry and Tony's sake. I'd thought, "I'll go with the flow, for their sakes, and see what happens".

Well, just as I expected, nothing much did happen. There the three of us were in this horrible dank room, perched behind our instruments, and in walks Van the Man. He was just an arrogant fellow. Pushy, stark, to the point, rough and rude. We played for awhile, and decided to have a break. We'd join up in 30 minutes after some lunch.

Well, Van should have never taken that break, cause that was my way out! He left the room and I said to the guys, "He's a complete jerk! If ya'll want to work with him go ahead, but I'm not. He's too arrogant for me. I'm going to the pub across the street. Ya'll decide for yourselves what you want to do, but if I ain't back in 30 minutes, then I ain't coming back at all".

30 minutes later, when Van returned to the rehearsal room, he got his answer as to whether we wanted to be in his band or not. He returned to an empty room. We were nowhere to be found. I just stayed in the pub, got drunk, and said "F*ck it!, I'm off home". The guys said, "Aren't you gonna even go back and tell him your not interested"? I said, "Nope!, I'm so 'not' interested, I can't even be bothered to tell him so".

Whether they went back out of politeness or not, I don't know, but I went home and forgot about it all.

3rd Uncle Bob   -   For all of Van's supposed spiritual enlightenment then why is he such a bitter mean-spirited man?

Sneaky Pete   -   Maybe mean-spirited bitterness is an "enlightened" state. Seriously, he never says he is enlightened. His lyrics are "Enlightenment don't what it is." He is sings about being a seeker of of truth and enlightenment. I don't think he has claimed to be any kind of wise man. I think the songs are usually about questions and struggles, not about knowing all the answers.

jeffmo789   -   I actually heard the song Hungry For Your Love recently for the first time and it is indeed a great, great song. I also discovered one of his more recent tunes called When The Leaves Come Falling Down and it hit me the same way many of his more spiritual/mystical songs do. Check it out if you haven't heard it.

rrbbkk   - I've long heard he's a right bastard but Van's performance at the Austin City Limits festival a few years ago left me practically in tears. 

Picca   - There was this guy, Red Ronnie, a popular Italian TV host who had a program called Roxy Bar where he interviewed stars and rock people. Once he aired a Van Morrison interview. The Belfast Cowboy looked like he was going to have a colonoscopy or something. Ronnie began his interview with 'I love your work, you are one of my favourite songwriters. This is your new album, No Guru No Method No Teacher. What do you mean with No Guru, No Method, No Teacher? Do you mean that we shouldn't follow masters? And Van replied 'That's a sentence from one of the songs. It's a title, my record company people pay me for giving titles to my records'. So Ronnie continues 'Yes but I was intrigued...' and Van goes away. That's it. End of the chat. Ronnie looks a little uncomfortable. In the background we see some of the entourage people trying to convince Van to carry on. So, after some minutes of embarrassment (live on TV) Van sits down again and tries to put on a friendly face. Ronnie begins again: 'Van this new album of yours' ...and Van goes away.

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