In Part 2 of our fantastic John & Bob interview, thoughts turn to the forthcoming tour. Read Part 1 - More about Guns and Politics and World Without End, here.
Paul Hawkins: You have a busy time ahead of you, tell me about the tour, where are you playing ?
John: It begins with us leaving San Francisco on May 3rd and getting to Kilkenny, Ireland on the 4th. Our first couple of dates are at a festival there. The rest span the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Germany, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It looks like a lot of fucking driving, Paul. I don't drive well.
Bob: John doesn't drive well?? He drives me insane. I guess John will have to drive in the morning and I'll smoke hash in the afternoon and take a nap. I sorta feel like I'm going back to Vietnam. Twelve hours on a plane going to a place where I don't know anyone.
Jesus, is he THAT bad............Better not forget your seatbelt Bob, or your medicinal supply............Who are you taking on the road with you, band wise ?
Bob: This time, just me and John.
John: It's just me, Bob, and the version of Bob that gets mad at me for stupid shit like losing his house painting supplies (I have repeatedly apologized).
Ok, so a pared back sound, it will be good to hear those songs breathe with that arrangement. What guitar set up do you have for this tour ?
Bob: A small acoustic parlor body Martin, with a Fishman pickup.
John: A '69 Fender Telecaster with a p-94 in the neck and a Lil '59 in the bridge and a Bigsby, a newer Les Paul special with p-90's, a Blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb, some weird old vintage pedals, and a Guild acoustic.
You have quite a few dates on the shores of the United Kingdom, what comes to mind when you think of the English, as a race of people ?
Bob: The fact that my first album after a thirty year layoff, was A Little Gest of Robin Hood. It's a 600 year old English ballad, the oldest Robin Hood song in existence, and the longest. It lasts an hour and a half. I got it all on one CD. Barely. I took the old Middle English and turned it into modern English, and then set it to some guitar picking, and sing it like a talking blues. Oxford dons love it. They say with my Southern accent, I sound more like Middle English than a modern Englishman does. That's what I mainly think about when I think about England nowadays. We sing a lot of outlaw ballads on World Without End, and the Gest is the granddaddy of them all. Check it out. The same language pops up in these newly written songs.... it becomes a tradition.
John: I like 'em. They've always liked the South, too. As a race of people though: damn if y'all didn't start this fucked up colonialism shit. Little man syndrome? Just kidding (sort of). Y'all really did a number on the Scottish and the Irish, too. Cut it out, kids....
Yeah, guilty as charged on the Colonialist trip, been paying for it ever since. Not so sure we started it though.............. If you do the Robin Hood number, thats going to be a long set boys. Now, what do you know about the game of cricket ?
Bob: It's like baseball, but they use a flat bat, like a paddle. I think. I don't know shit about cricket.
John: You mean like for baiting hooks? Fishing?
Lets get back towards home, whats your favourite brand of coffee ?
Bob: Max Blend. From a coffee shop in Oakland.
John: I don't drink coffee. Also, I think that Fair Trade shit is a fucking ridiculous hoax. Somebody gets an extra goat once a year? Yippee!
John, interesting you should say that about Fair Trade goods, I am very interested in examining the hollow construction of the genre of World Music, what do you understand by it ?
Bob: I guess it means music from all over the world, or music that is an organic soup of all the music from all over the world. Or music that is soupy and falls in your lap.
John: Jesus I hate that phrase. "World Music". I think it can be translated to mean "music for white people made by people who aren't white for white people to vulturize culturally".
I know where you`re coming from there, literature is included within constructions of culture too, indelibly, who is your favourite (s) author ?
Bob: August Wilson.
John: Graham Greene (so damn underrated), William Faulkner, Albert Camus, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Dostoevsky.
Thats a good mixture there, maybe next time we will discuss literature and its different genres. Ok, moving on to God. Have you any spiritual beliefs ?
Bob: Yes, many. They have to do with the nature of reality and the evolution of consciousness, are related directly to behavior.
John: I'm a Roman Catholic. Don't laugh. I'm not kidding. And no, I wasn't raised as one.
I am not laughing, I was bought up a Catholic too, try not to feel too guilty about it John. Talking of good healthy Catholic guilt, the devil.........is he all bad ?
Bob: No worse than the mind conceiving him.
John: Not so much. Kinda a kinky fella. Chuck Prophet knows him real well, says he has a great singing voice and plays soccer like a mother fucker. I mean, where would we be without the guy? Does anyone really want to die, go to heaven, and praise God endlessly. The devil doesn't ask for that kind of grandiosity.
Really ? I must check out the Papal team in the Italian League. What are your views on the death penalty ?
Bob: I think it is self-contradictory. The penalty is the same as the crime. If it's such a terrible thing to kill somebody, why is it okay for the state to do it?
John: I don't think "the state" has the the right to determine who lives or dies. It's equally absurd, if not more so, to kill people to show others not to kill. I'm not a pacifist, though. Fuck with my family or the people I love, that's another thing not involving the state at all.
Bob, I agree, its a walking contradiction, just happens to be a popular walking contradiction, like so many things in the world. How do you relax ?
Bob: Different ways. Stretching helps a lot. But as far as truly deep relaxation, I have to meditate.
John: I argue with people.
No you dont John. You do not. Who is your rock`n`roll hero ?
Bob: Jim Dickinson.
John: Jim Dickinson
Do you have any other projects planned ?
John: We already recorded it.
Bob: We recorded a bunch of tunes I wrote after I got back from Vietnam. It's kinda a southern white boy soul thing, The ladies will love it, it's some very pretty music. We got the same musicians on it, so we got that same good solid feel to it.
Ok, just one more, given Dan Stuart`s involvement in an Enviromental Think Tank he told me about, are you offsetting any contribution towards Global Warming that you may make on your coming tour ?
Bob: Not that I know of.
John: We're riding with another band, so they'll be seven of us in the fucking thing. I think that counts.
Yes, it does count John, you may even be able to claim some kind of tax break on that, check it out........
Bob Frank and John Murry`s album, World Without End is out on Decor Records (DECOR011CD) May 7th at all reputable music outlets, and selected disreputable ones too.
Contact Chris @ Decor Records
Catch Bob and John on tour across Europe. Tour starts at Ryans, Friary Street, Kilkenny, Ireland and ends up at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Find a gig and go to it on their tour and read more on their Website
Photo from their Bob and John's website, by Diana Elliot (www.dianaephoto.com)
Paul Hawkins has been interested in popular culture and music, protest and survival for as long as we can remember. He began writing about things, making music and other noise at an early age. Paul has interviewed musicians, writers, poets, protestors and artists.
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