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5th June 2017

Q: A quick thank you. Everyone has a starting point for any kind of music they life and for me, my starting point for the Blues was all you guys – The Blues Brothers. I spider-webbed from there.


LM: You know when we started, there were critics who panned us for supposedly taking advantage of the Blues players or they had some harsh criticism of us. I remember Muddy Waters, talking to him when I ran into him at a gig in New York and he said that they were all so happy about The Blues Brothers movie because it Blues to a much wider audience.


Q: I was into Glam and Punk before that.


LM: I auditioned for David Bowie one time but I didn't get the gig.


Q: On what grounds?


LM: I don’t know but now I think about it I wish I had. He was an amazing cat.


Q: Did you see the exhibition?


LM: No I read something about that recently before we left New York. I didn't know where it was but it’s travelling around the world. That's one of the advantages of our line of work - the traveling that we do. I've been to museums all over the world, not just once but many times. I'm educated myself about art so I can walk into a museum and identify a painting. There's a great satisfaction in that and discovering new things. Last month we were in Moscow and St.Petersburg and I was looking forward to going to the Hermitage but we only had one day and then we were delayed and then when we got to our hotel we are like an hour late and the Hermitage was a half an hour away which meant I would only get a half hour visit and it was pouring with rain so I didn’t get there. Then two days ago we had a day off and we went to the Mori Museum here and the exhibition was eighty-five works from the Hermitage Museum so I got to see them in Japan.


The Blues Brothers


Q: No one could have envisioned back in the seventies the success of the album and movie and the ongoing legacy. What has it meant to you over your illustrious career?


LM: I say this all the time but it's really true: it's the world's greatest part time job. All of us are busy and are not able to commit to being the Blues Brothers Band full time but because of the cult nature of our band we can play. There are thirteen of us and we don't carry a sound system, we don't have backdrops, we're not like Sting where you have to be in a big place to play so we end up playing festivals in the South of France or somewhere. Over the years we played over a hundred concerts in Italy, France, Germany, Norway and every year we add a new country. This summer we are going to Latvia for the first time so there's that part of it, being able to explore new places but also our fans are really great. It's not like crazy fans for people like Rhianna who are just bonkers, it's usually full-fledged thinking people who like our music and like hearing alive band full of real energy. It's been a great gift really and had anybody told me all those years ago that I would still be doing this now, I would have said they were crazy. We have lost comrades along the way and that's been painful but the mystery is that we can go for months without playing together and then we'll jump on a plane, fly somewhere, go to the sound check start playing and it's all there.


Q:  Do you rehearse?


LM: Hardly. We had a little bit of rehearsal here because we haven't been doing a couple of tunes in a while and then we doing one new tune from our new CD so we had I think forty minutes rehearsal and then we played them all that night the first night here in Tokyo. It's just to make sure we have them in our head.


Q: 9th Sep 1978, A Briefcase Full Of Blues is recorded live and goes Double Platinum. Was that the only show with Steve Martin that was recorded or are others collecting dust in a vault somewhere?


LM: I'm sure there's a lot more music. We were there for ten nights and I don't think there was just one night of recording. I may be wrong about that - Steve might know you can ask him. When we first started rehearsing we just thought it was going to be a one-off. Danny and John used to come up and sit-in with the band and play a tune before the show (Saturday Night Live) so the audience would get a little treat. and then one night we were short of material so we were asked to do it and it got such a big response that a couple of weeks later we did a full-fledged Blues Brothers thing. Then the season ended and a couple of weeks or a month after that I got a phone call saying we were going to do 10 nights at the Universal Amphitheater opening for Steve Martin. We thought it was going to be some nice bread and fun but that was such an unusual band because you had Matt Murphy coming solely from the Blues: Alan Rubin was Julliard gradate in the Philharmonic, Tom Malone and I are both Jazzers; Steve and Duck from Memphis. The whole band was coming from different directions. About the second or third night of rehearsals we were playing and there were lots of celebrities in the audience. I remember Mick Jagger came by and a few other people and everybody was going crazy and we all looked at each other and thought  yeah… this is pretty cool. I have a great memory on one of the nights at the amphitheater and we were playing B-movie Boxcar Blues and I looked over in the first row and Jack Nicholson was sitting there. I looked at him and I caught his eye and he lifted up his sunglasses and mimed ‘wow’ and lowered his sunglasses. That was pretty cool.


Q: Did you enjoy acting?


LM: I think all of us had an anxiety about it but the fact was that Akroyd just wrote us to be ourselves so no matter what you did you couldn't really screw it up.


Q: You are immortalized forever on top of Aretha’s Soul Food Restaurant counter.


LM: I tell you that was weird because we rehearsed that in a dance studio and I learned to play my solo while I was dancing because one thing that always used to drive me nuts when I saw movies and you see a sax player playing but there's no music and then he moves his sax away from his house the music kicks in. That counter was about chest high and once I got up there, it was only about this so wide (indicates 50cm) and then there are the stoves and pots and pans so it was a little bit nerve-racking. Al Rubin stole the show from all of us because he's a natural and in fact Bernie Brillstein the producer sounded Alan about staying in LA I told him he could probably get him some acting work but he preferred to go back to New York and continue his studio career


Q: Given that you had Dan and John and a group of musicians all together for a certain amount of time, it must have been a very happy shoot. Where there a few impromptu jams and parties or did everyone take it all very seriously?


LM: Oh yeah. That was always spontaneous stuff. Duck was one of those guys that was very inventive and the custom continues today. Steve will start playing something and pretty soon the whole band will be in and we think ‘oh yeah we should do something with this’ but then the tour ends and you’re gone but the pot is always simmering.


Blue Lou


Q: Most professional musicians focus on playing one or two different styles. You are very comfortable and adept in Jazz, Rock, Soul, Blues, Classical and probably Hip-Hop for all I know. Is this something that comes natural to you or have you had to study and work at all the different genres?


LM: When I was at school I was a bit of a jazz snob. My Dad was very open-minded, he loved the Jazz but he loved Big Bands more but at school us young guys preferred Jazz. I remember playing for playing with for Les Elgart on a show with Homer and Jethro who were a comedy country act and we started jamming afterwards and I don't remember which one of Homer or Jethro was the mandolin player but whichever one it was he sat in and played with us and he played better than any of us. He sounded beautiful and then that night we heard Flatt and Scruggs and they're opening tune was one of those super fast Bluegrass tunes and they was so relaxed playing the violin so fast. That sort of opened by head up and then learning more about classical music and of course studying the clarinet, it just all open my mind. One thing I've tried to do is honor the genre you're playing and try to find a way to put your own personal stamp what on it when you are playing. I like it though. I've always liked the challenge of it and part of that comes from working in the studios for so many years. You know you would start at 10 in the morning playing flutes like Mozart for a Rolex jingle or something and then an hour later you're in another studio playing a New Orleans-style tenor saxophone solo. There was a great pride in the company of musicians in New York that I was part of. That was a busy time in the studios but it was the tail end of an era that lasted 30 years old from the 50s, 60s and 70s. When I first got in the studios in the early 70s the older guys who had been playing through the 50s and 60s told me they used to go from 9 in the morning until 10 at night and they would doing big orchestras with 50 or 60 musicians, live TV shows and live radio shows. That was a golden era but I am happy and proud to have been a part of it. It was a great thing because you were part of an inner mingling group of guys. For one producer you would be his first call and another producer you be his second or third call but if he called his first guy and he was busy playing for your producer so you would be called to play so there so there was a connstant mingling. You'd find yourself sitting with Mike Brecker on one side and David Sanborn on the other.


Q: There’s a lot of history there.


LM: Last year when we were here Randy and I realized we met over fifty years ago at the Stan Kenton Jazz Clinics when we were sixteen years old and David Sanborn was my roommate. Keith Jarret was there and Don Grolnick was there; Peter Erskine was there as a seven-year-old.


Q: You find yourself at Blue Note with two bands this time: The Original Blues Brothers for a week or so and then another week with The John Tropea band – John of course is also playing with The Blues Brothers – I know you guys go back a long way, where did you first meet?


LM: I think I'm on everyone of John’s albums. We met in the early seventies and we've been close friends for a long time.


Q: With your permission I’ll quote your website; ‘you’re accomplished on soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes, piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute and clarinet’. How much do musicians of your caliber practice?


LM: When I'm at home I practice 3 or 4 hours a day I'd like to practice more – I should practice more. Lou Tubax the great saxophone player used to say the difference between the guys we call geniuses and the rest of us is that they practice 8 and 10 hours a day. It's like Sonny Rollins; he practiced 8 hours a day. I make sure I spend at least an hour and a half on the flute every day and then a couple of hours of the saxophone and at this point in my life it's more like meditation. My aim is to try and add things of my own, generated by me. There's nothing new - everything comes from something else - but you when you play something, like if I’m feel working on a certain chord or a chord change, then something which is your own way of doing it comes out. For instance, you can play a Joe Henderson phrase on a minor 9th chord and it's cool but then that sound in your head gets modified. You hear it but your own characteristic pattern emerges from it spontaneously sometimes. When that happens I always write it down immediately so I don't forget it and then I practice it right then through all 12 keys, slowly, so I can start getting it immediately where it is subsumed into my vocabulary. When you’re doing that, time goes by quickly. You'll be focused and suddenly an hour has gone by so it doesn't seem like practice in the sense like kids have the idea of practice. It's like some kind of onerous thing and actually it's more like exploring when you do it right. The discipline is fortunate and unfortunate because the only way to do it is to discipline your body and you have to do that by repetition.


Q: I’m ok with guitars. I know when I pick one up if the bits of wood work together or not but have absolutely no idea what differentiates between a good sax and a bad one.


LM: Same thing with saxophones. I have some nice ones and I've been playing with James Taylor these saxophones made by a friend of mine Italy. They are called Lupifaro. I was in London playing another beautiful saxophone of mine and old King gold plated Super 20 when one of the keys popped off during the last tune of the first set making the sax unplayable - I sang my part into the mic. (laughs) Then a friend of mine in London sent down a horn in to replace it so I could play the second set and the next day I ended up in this great shop called The Saxophone Shop where you can try pretty much any sax that you want to. They brought me six or seven horns for me to try whilst they were repairing mine and I was drawn to this immediately because it was beautiful. It's a pale yellow lacquer, a throwback to the horns from the 1920s and I kept coming back to it. I tried all the other saxophones and then I ended up meeting the guy. He was coming through New York from trying to break into the market in China which apparently is super difficult and he gave me a tenor to play and now I'm playing four of his horns on tour with James Taylor. There are specific horns to that you can try. A Mark 6 Selmer saxophone which is what I'm playing on stage now which is from 1971 I think. You can play horns from around that area and they are strikingly different. Modern companies especially companies like Yamaha, their control is much better so the horns play very equally but what you gain in quality in that way is what you lose in personality.


Q: You played on Ringo’s Lady Gaye. We’re doing a book called ‘Have You Ever Met A Beatle?’ Do you have any particular story you can share with us about meeting Ringo or any other Beatle?


LM: Yeah I met Ringo. Aretha Martin had written a chart and Lou Delgatto was the other saxophone on black. Lou and I totally modified the chart. We really thought it was arranged by us but we didn't get the credit for it (laughs) but Ringo was super cool and charming and my appreciation of The Beatles has increased over the years. Those guys were a one-time coming together and the music is so joyous. Then there was the time in New York, I am a friend of the Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivan Lins and I was backstage at the Blue Note in New York waiting to see Ivan and there was this guy beside me and I turned to him and said to him are you waiting to see Ivan and it was Paul McCartney! He was also a fan of Ivan. It was pretty cool. Apparently Paul goes to see a lot of music as does Ringo I think. I'd love to play that All Star Band of Ringo's someday, that would be fun.


Q: Blue Lou, I’d love to go on but we are out of time. A real pleasure and thank you.


LM: You’re welcome. I’m sure you’re going to dig the show.

ルー・マリーニ インタビュー





















Q:1978年9月9日、ライブアルバム『A Briefcase Full Of Blues』がレコーディングされました。そしてダブル・プラチナを獲得しました。あれが、スティーヴ・マーティンとやった唯一のコンサートでしたか、それとも他にもレコーディングしていたのでしょうか?

LM:もっとあったと思うよ。あそこには10日間出演したし、一晩だけレコーディングしたということじゃなかったと思う。間違っているかもしれないけどね。スティーヴ自身が知っているだろうから、彼に訊いてみれば?最初にリハーサルをした時には、このバンドは一回限りのものなんだろうな、と思ったんだ。ダニーとジョンはコンサート以前にバンドと演奏したことはあったから(サタデー・ナイト・ライブで)、オーディエンスは受け入れてくれた。ある晩、レパートリーが足りなくなったところでブルース・ブラザーズのナンバーをやったら大受けしたんだ。それで数週間後にはフルでブルース・ブラザーズのコンサートをやったのさ。ツアーが終わって数週間後か1ヶ月後に電話が来て、ユニバーサル・アンフィシアターでのスティーヴ・マーティンの10夜連続コンサートのサポートをやらないか、ということだった。面白そうだと思ったけど、バンドメンバーが揃うかどうか不安だった。マット・マーフィはブルース・ミュージシャンだし、アラン・ルービンはジュリアード音楽院卒業、トム・マローンと僕はジャズ畑、スティーヴとダックはメンフィス出身、ということでね。バンド・メンバーはみんなバックグラウンドがバラバラだったんだ。リハーサルを始めてから2晩か3晩目に、オーディエンスの中に有名人がたくさん居たんだよ。ミック・ジャガーが観に来たのを憶えているよ。メンバーで顔を見合わせて、「これって、凄いことだよね?」なんてね。アンフィシアターのことはいい思い出だよ。B級映画の「Boxcar Blues」なんかも演奏したしね。最前列を見たら、ジャック・ニコルソンが座ってたんだ。彼と目を合わすと、かけていたサングラスを持ち上げて、「ワォ!」って口真似して、それからまたサングラスをかけたんだ。かっこよかったね。


























Q:あなたはリンゴの「Lady Gaye」で吹いていますよね。「ビートルズのメンバーに会ったことはありますか?」というコーナーなんですが、リンゴか他のビートルズのメンバーに会った時のエピソードはありますか?





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