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Bernie MARSDEN - Interview June 25th 2009

(c) Copyright Bernie Marsden Affiche Blues en Bourgogne

  1. You are here today for a gig at the Blues en Bourgogne in Le Creusot. What do you think of this festival ?
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    It's a very nice area, it's a very nice venue, it's very very beautiful and the people are very helpful, and I'm having a good time, it's very nice to be here.

  3. Can you sum up the history of your career as a musician in a few words ?
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    (laughing) One word : long ! I've been very fortunate, you know, everybody works hard, some work harder than others; it's still amazing to me that I am being asked to play and travel the world still, in fact, even more than ten years, twenty years ago. It's great, I really enjoy myself. When I don't enjoy playing, then I'll stop playing, so that's it.

  5. You played with Whitesnake , what is your best memory ?
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    My best memory with Whitesnake ? I think the whole thing is a good memory, you know. Of course, there were some things not so good, and things which were very very good, very very bad, but nothing so terrible. It's a long time ago. I look back to it like very fondly, it's like a child, growing up, you have problems and then you reach a certain level where you can speak and talk to people and understand each other, and I look back on Whitesnake as part of my career that was very very good for me. I enjoyed it and I look back on it with great love.

    AM : Do you have a funny anecdote ?

    There were lots of funny anecdotes, we can do a whole interview about what was funny. We were playing in Hammersmith Odeon and David fell into the orchestra area, which was very bad, it was unfortunate, we all laughed because it was funny and I laughed so much that I fell into the orchestra, and it's a kind of crazy but there are other things, that's a different story.

  7. And the worst one ?
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    The worst one was the first time we went to Japan. We had a very cheapskate manager, and he sent us to Japan the longest way possible. We went all around the world, because it was a cheap thing. We went from England to Rome, back to Paris to Rome, then we went to the Middle East, then we went to India and then we went to Alaska and on and on, and finally, almost a day later we got to Japan, and then we found out that the manager had flown direct, three days before. So, this was the bad thing really, but we were all on the plane together...

  9. You are here today in the Blues Festival for a celebration of Rory Gallagher music. Can you say why you have chosen to play the songs of this great Irish rock blues guitarist ?
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    I just like to play the music, Rory was a great musician. He played great rhythm'n'blues and blues, rock music, and he was a very very lovely man, and I was a big fan of his when I was very young, and then fortunately for me, I became friends with him and the more I knew him as a man the more I liked him as a musician. He was a great guy and I wanted to do something different this year, and I thought, well, how about can be for me to play 90 minutes of Rory's music. So I play Rory Gallagher's music the way I play and sing. There's always going to be a little bit of Rory Gallagher, but I don't try to be, nobody could be Rory Gallagher, and it's a way of thanking him really, it's a celebration of his music and people seem to like it very much.

  11. You have released a CD.
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    Yes, this is the CD ladies and gentlemen available from my website at, that's advertising. This is a collection of songs from the 'Taste', from his solo's stuff and this features the guys in the band, David Levy, and Richard Newman who played with Rory for the last four years of his life, and with Jim Kirkpatrick , our new guitar player, there are two guitar players on this, so it's obvious I'm not trying to copy Rory songs, nobody can copy Rory Gallagher, nobody, but it's a good rhythm'n'blues band, very good.

    AM : And it's called 'Bernie Plays Rory'

    'Bernie Plays Rory', a very difficult title ! But you know this is the initial release, they may change a little bit, this may become very collectable, I don't know, by the time I sign with the record company maybe it's gonna change a little bit, but at the moment people come to shows, they go home with this, which is very great.

  13. I read that you tried your hand at acting ?
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    (laughing) I was in two productions in London at the National theatre which is the première theatre in London, and both productions were Shakespeare, and on one production I was on stage, yes, acting, yeah, a little bit. And then I also did a film in Germany, a six part thing...Where I was well, I was acting but everybody said that I was just being myself, I was acting myself, so that kind of thing, that was good, it was very interesting. I did some music for both of the productions, I was tricked into the TV movie in Germany because the guy, I thought he wanted me just to write the music and he flew me into Munich and he said : 'No I want you to be in the film'. I said : 'You never told me that'. he said : 'If I'd told you that, would you come ? I said : 'No', so he said will you do it ? I said yeah. And that was it, and they dubbed me into German so well, that when I play in Germany everybody thinks I speak fluent German, but I do not, I'm still trying to do that.

  15. Have you also made soundtracks for movies ?
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    Yes, I've done quite a few over the years. I do a lot of incidental music for HBO in America, I've down stuff on the Wire, the Shield and some music you have heard in TV shows, Ren & Stimpy, there is quite a lot of things I've done, stuff in America.

  17. You were a hard rocker, now you're a blues man...What kind of music do you prefer, and why ?
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    I still listen to anything from the Beatles to Jimmy Smith, to Leadbelly to Rory, to Steely Dan, all the people, you know. I have two teenage girls at home, so I'm fully aware of modern music. I went to see Beyoncé, just three weeks ago, it was fantastic, and the music was great and I think I probably had the best time, she is a good looking girl, you know and she sings well. So, I listen to lots of different stuff all the time.

  19. What are your hobbies apart from the music ?
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    I like, I have a small music shop in England and old vinyl, and I collect blues and jazz, I guess that's the kind of thing I like to do outside, but it's still music. I like to watch football, that's about it..

  21. I have this beautiful book called 'Party in the Paddock 3'
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    This book is a beautiful thing ' Party in the Paddock ' is a charity thing that me and my wife, and two other people do. We do it kind of every two years, and we raise money for cancer research and for the kidney Foundation in England, I don't know what you call it in France, but we've done three shows and we've raised almost one hundred thousand pounds. My good friend Jerôme Milliet made this book for me with last year photographs. Roger Daltrey was the headliner last year, and Zak Starkey and we had Robbie McIntosh and we had Marillion , it was just a wonderful evening and everybody gives the money, we have an auction, we raise money and everybody plays twenty-five, thirty minutes and it's great. We do it every two years, I guess we will try to do it next year as well, and try to break that hundred thousand pounds barrier, but it's a lovely thing, there is a website for it called This book is very new, I can show you this one, can you see this ? There it is, 'Party in the Paddock', recommended, recommended, check it on my website.

    AM : Okay. That's it, thank you Bernie.

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(c) Copyright Bernie Marsden Affiche Blues en Bourgogne