Nels & Marc: Pink Floyd vs Allman Brothers

Recently had a great chat with Marc Ribot and Nels Cline. It’s the cover story of this month’s DownBeat magazine. We discussed composing to a piece of film, working in the pop realm, and dream projects. I also asked about the weirdest thing they’ve ever seen from the stage. It’s a fun read. A sizable chunk of the Q&A was edited for space reasons, but below is one slashed exchange that I wanted to put out there. I’ll try to post some more extra passages in the next few days. You know Nels is Wilco’ing at the Solid Sound Festival, right? And Marc is playing solo in the burbs  and the Undead JazzFest, and dueting with Henry Grimes at the Vision Festival.

JM: What’s the better guitar freak-out: “Interstellar Overdrive” or “Whipping Post”?

Nels: Oh well, “Interstellar Overdrive.” I love the Allman Brothers, but I don’t think “Whipping Post” is a freak-out. I think Syd Barrett is one of the most underrated guitarists in rock, ever.

Marc: I prefer the guitar interactions on “Careful With that Axe, Eugene.” More subtle, but still gorgeous.

JM: Okay, better melody, Ventures’ “Telstar” or Lonnie Mack’s “Wham”?

Nels: Wow, “Telstar” is pretty great.

Marc: I have to confess my ignorance. I don’t know that Lonnie Mack tune. But I love the Ventures. One of my bands did “Walk, Don’t Run.” I liked the Shadows, too.

Nels: One of the first songs someone tried to teach me was “Penetration.” In California in the 60s you could see the guitars hanging in a rack display at the Thrifty drug store. You could stand there and touch them. They seemed magical. On Saturday afternoons they’d have concerts of cover bands on a flatbed. Big Fender Dual Showman amps. No mics on the amp. Beautiful.

Marc: Outdoors? I’m picturing real surf in the background. Venice Beach.

Nels: More like Culver City in front of a supermarket. But the sound was so exciting. Not punishing. That was start of my sound fixation. That and the radio.


JM: Kermit Driscoll says he has great photo of him and Bill Frisell wearing uniforms while playing in a funk band during the mid-70s in New England.

Marc: That’s brings us into another kind of conversation. Bands we did for bread.

Nels: I have to opt out on that on. I just worked in record stores and played music no one came to listen to.

Marc: That’s an honorable choice.

Nels: It didn’t seem honorable at the time. It seemed weak.

Marc: This is one of the dirty secrets of jazz in the metropolitan area. A lot of the people who tried to play bebop in fact supported themselves by playing weddings. It doesn’t make it into many interviews.

JM: And still do. Not at your age or your level, but many do.

Ribot: Knock on wood, my brother.

2 responses to “Nels & Marc: Pink Floyd vs Allman Brothers

  1. Pingback: 5 Cool Quotes: The Wit and Wisdom of Derek Bailey | Lament For A Straight Line

  2. Pingback: Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy: Dissonance, Schmissonance | Lament For A Straight Line

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s