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29th July 2017

Q: Danny Kortchmar, successful producer, writer, performer and first call session player. I wouldn’t dare ask you your favourite role but I would like to ask you which is the most challenging.


DK: They are all kind of the same I that they all require the same attention, they all require love. Right now I enjoy playing live more than anything else. I spent many years in the studio – many, many years – and as you know the music business is kind of moribund at this point, it’s not the same at all so really now my pleasure is playing live.


Q: Taking each one of those elements one-by-one: production - what makes you decide you’re going to spend a few months locked in a studio?


DK: It’s changed in many ways. One of the things that is definitely true is that we all used to get in a room together. All those albums we did with James Taylor, we were all in a room together playing at the same time. Peter Asher was mostly producing those and we were always supposed to play great on every take and the one he chose was the one James sounded the best on. James was singing live – everything was live so that aspect of recording has completely changed. Most records now are made piecemeal, one part at a time, then they are put on Pro Tools and then corrected to within an inch of their which is why a lot of music is bloodless and soulless at this point which I’m sure you would agree.


Q: I do.


DK: Well one of the reasons why is because you don’t have that interplay between musicians. Also, sonically, whenever you are in a room together, there is another ‘thing’ that happens. Everyone bleeds together and plays off of each other which now we don’t see practically at all.


Q: Secondly, song writing. Does it become easier or harder with experience?


DK: That’s an interesting question…I’m not sure because basically, when I sit down and write my tunes, I don’t sit down and say ‘I’m going to write a song’, it just comes to me. I get an idea, sit down and start fleshing it out. Sometimes I just write lyrics and come up with the music later and sometimes I will write music and wait for a lyric to appear. There are all sorts of different ways but I rarely sit down and think ‘Now I’m going to write a song’. I get a feeling or an idea or a hook and just start going. Some of them get finished very quickly. For All She Wants To Do Is Dance, I wrote the track at night, created the groove of it and the next morning wrote the lyrics in about twenty minutes. Then there are other tunes where I’ve written them and then go back a year later and re-write it, change stuff around. At this point, since nothing is carved in stone, I can go back and change them and I like that. Change them, improve them, update them as it were.


Q: Next as a performer. How relaxed are you on stage and is there a big difference in your actual performance between you fronting a band as you are here and playing alongside say Carol and James on the Troubadour Reunion Tour?


DK: There’s a huge difference! Getting on stage with Carol King and James Taylor is a no-brainer. There’s nothing to do at all as it’s their show so it becomes very easy and I don’t get stage fright at all playing with them. Playing by myself, when I’m on it, the guy doing the singing it’s more daunting and something I haven’t had as much experience doing but I have a great band, great musicians and that helps a lot so I don’t have to worry about how it’s going to sound. They are always going to cut it.


Q: It’s a terrific band. How did you put them together?


DK: I know a lot of great players and all of these guys are just great musicians and I choose whoever is around. Steve Postell (g,v) is a friend I’ve been playing with for a few years now; great musician, great singer. Bob Glaub (b) I’ve been playing with for forty years and he’s one of the best ever. All of these guys work a lot so for this gig I just chose whoever was available. We rehearse, everybody knows what to do and we go!


Q: It’s very interesting for me that around the world there seem to be pockets of places that produce a wealth of music. You’re from Martha’s Vineyard…


DK: Well I’m not from Martha’s Vineyard but I went there every summer so I did a lot of growing up there.


Q: My mistake but even so, it’s a small place and yourself and James Taylor – Livingstone as well of course -  came out of there…


DK: Well you’re talking about a loooooong time ago. When James and I got together, Martha’s Vineyard is not like it is now. Now it’s like The Hamptons but back then it was a rural, un-crowded and nobody had ever heard of it. There was a big Folk scene up there but I wouldn’t call it a music scene. James and I were basically ‘the music scene.’ (laughs) We just happened to be there together and that’s where we did a lot of playing together and grew up together.


Q: Lastly, do you think there still a potential career for young musicians as session player?


DK: Less and less. Like I said before, the music business is really moribund – it’s dead. There is very little happening. There used to be recording studios all over Los Angeles and now there is only a handful so being a session musician at this point, well there’s just not enough work to go around. There are a few guys that work every day and work all the time but very few. I would say if you are a young musician, you need to learn how to read and you need to have more than the skill of your instrument. You need to read, be able to use Pro Tools, be able to play a few other instruments and you also need to be able to fit in. In fact I would say mostly think about going on the road and being hired as a sideman to back well known people. That will be an easier way to make a living rather than as a session musician.


Q: If you don’t mind, I’ve cherry picked a few examples - some of my favourites of yours - and I’d like to hear from you the stories behind them.


DK: Sure – I’ll try.


Q: Don Henley – Not Enough Love In The World which was also done by Cher. Just a great Pop song.


DK: Really? Cher did it?


Q: Yes she did.


DK: I had no idea. That song came a lot from Henley. I think he had just broken up with his girlfriend so those lyrics have a lot of heartbreak in them and then we came up with the groove which is R&B. All of us are very much influenced by Soul and Rhythm & Blues and even though it’s a Pop tune, it does have kind of an R&B feel to it. That was laid down very quickly with myself, Ben Tench and Tim Drummond on bass


Q: Yvonne Elliman – In A Stranger’s Arms,


DK: Yvonne Elliman covered that song? (laughs)


Q: Yeah… Disco/Dance version.


DK: Oh boy…I’ll have to check that out. That tune was originally done by The Attitudes which was on Dark Horse Records which was George Harrison’s label. It was myself, Jim Keltner, David Foster and Paul Stallworth. I had written the song at home, I don’t really remember writing it but it came very quickly. I started with the guitar riff, built up from there, created the lyric. I mainly start with a groove, a guitar feel.


Q: there must be a lot of your songs you don’t know have been covered.


DK: That’s true.


Q: Jackson Browne – Shaky Town, Country/Blues.


DK: We were doing two tours right in a row. We did a tour with James Taylor for his J.T. album which had just come out and then two weeks later we went on the road and did Jackson’s Running On Empty. So we were on the road most of the time and I kind of wrote that tune as an amalgam of Rock musician, truck driver…everybody that was on the road all the time. It again came very quickly and I don’t even remember writing it; just suddenly it was there. I had a thing on guitar which actually I stole from James, a rhythm that he was playing and this tune just came out. Now I don’t even use that rhythm anymore; I play it a different way.


Q: Nilsson – Moonshine Bandit.


DK: Which one?


Q: Moonshine Bandit.


DK: (Looks questionably at me) I don’t remember that. I remember a tune called Thursday Is Such A Lazy Cray Day…


Q: I’m sure you’re credited as the writer…maybe you just played on it.*


DK: Yeah maybe. I played of three of his albums. Harry was a flat-out genius and one of the smartest and talented people I ever met. I miss him.


Q: How was that voice of his in the studio?


DK: Well if you listen to his early albums, he had the most pristine voice you could imagine but when he started hanging out with John Lennon, John was screaming and hollering at the top of his lungs as it when he was doing his Rock ‘n’ Roll album and I think Harry felt he was under the thrall of Lennon but you know, Lennon could sing Rock ‘n’ Roll, Harry was more of a Pop singer so when Harry started doing that style of screaming, his voice changed. He kind of blew his voice out but he was still great. A phenomenal man and talent.


Q: Did you meet John?


DK: Yeah! We did an album called Pussy Cats which was produced by John and Harry. It was me and Jesse Ed Davis and a bunch of other guys – a big band in the studio. John was nothing like as reported at that time. He was very friendly, a very open guy, very accessible, easy to talk to and no attitude at all.


Q: Was this his supposedly ‘Lost Weekend’ era?


DK: I guess that was a little bit before. I don’t remember any bad behavior from him at all and I saw him every day for three weeks when we were doing this album. Later he called me to play on a song he had written for Ringo and again, just the loveliest guy imaginable. Those stories about the lost weekend, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t at the Troubadour when that scene went down.


Q: Danny, thank you very much. It’s great that you’ve put these shows together for us and what can we expect?


DK: It’s a lot of original tunes that I wrote or collaborated on with Jackson, James or Henley and then there are some tunes by my band. They will sing a couple each.


Q: We’re looking forward to it. Thanks very much.


DK: Thank you.



*Danny is indeed credited as co-writer on the track with Nilsson. Whether or not he actually wrote part of it or whether Nilsson gave him a credit and forgot to tell him is lost in history.

ダニー・コーチマー インタビュー2017












DK:面白い質問だな。分からないな。曲を書く時には、腰を据えて「さあ、書くぞ」なんて意気込まないからね。ふっとアイデアが浮かぶんだ。そして座ってそのアイデアを膨らませるんだ。時には、詞を書いているとメロディまで浮かぶことがあるよ。逆にメロディを考えていると、詞が浮かぶこともある。いろいろな場合があるんだ。でも「さあ、曲を書くぞ」なんてやったことは一度もないよ。何かアイデアやヒントが浮かべば、一気に没頭するって感じかな。すごく早く出来上がる時もあるよ。「For All She Wants To Do Is Dance」は夜に書いていて、凄いグルーヴを感じたんだ。そして翌朝には20分で詞が出来上がった。他の曲では書き始めてから一年が経って、またやり直して当初とは違うものになったものもある。何も浮かばない時には、最初に戻ってやり直すんだ。そういうのも楽しいよ。最初のアイデアを変化させて、改良して、一番自然な形に仕上げていくんだ。




















Q:ドン・ヘンリーの「 Not Enough Love In The World」は、シェールもカバーしています。名曲ですよね。






Q:イヴォンヌ・エリマンの「 In A Stranger’s Arms」。









Q:では、ジャクソン・ブラウンの「Shaky Town, Country/Blues」。

DK:僕たちは立て続けに2つのツアーをこなした。まずジェームズ・テイラーのリリースされたばかりのアルバム『J.T.』のプロモーション・ツアーをやった。その2週間後にジャクソンの『Running On Empty』のプロモーション・ツアーに出たんだ。ほとんどツアーに出ぱなしで、あの曲はロック・ミュージシャンやトラック運転手の息抜きに口ずさめればいいなと思って書いたんだ。いつもツアーに出ている人たちのためにね。この曲もすぐに仕上がった。よく憶えていないけど、気がついたらもう出来上がっていたんだ。ギターでよくジェームズが弾いていたリズムを拝借してね。するとすぐに出来上がったんだ。今ではまた違うリズムでプレイしているよ。


Q:ニルソンの「Moonshine Bandit」。



Q:「Moonshine Bandit」です。

DK:(私の顔を不思議そうに見ながら)その曲は憶えていないよ。「Thursday Is Such A Lazy Cray Day」という曲は憶えているけど・・・






DK:彼の初期のアルバムを聴けば、凄くピュアな声をしている。でもジョン・レノンとつるみ始めた時から変わってしまったんだ。ジョンは思いっ切りシャウトするだろう?ジョンがアルバム『Rock ‘n’ Roll』を作っている時にハリーはレノンの影響をもろに受けたんだな。ジョンはロックンロールを歌えるけど、ハリーはもっとポップス寄りなんだ。だからシャウト式のボーカル・スタイルにした時に彼の声が変わってしまった。声を枯らしてしまったんだ。それでも素敵な声には変わりなかったけどね。素晴らしい人物だったし、凄い才能を持っていたよ。



DK:あるとも!『Pussy Cats』というアルバムを一緒に作ったからね。ジョンとハリーがプロデュースしたんだ。僕やジェシ・エド・デイヴィス、いろいろな人がいたね。スタジオに人が溢れていたよ。ジョンは当時、報じられていたような人物ではなかった。とても親しみがあって、寛容で話しやすい人だった。全然傲慢なところはなかったよ。












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