Taste - Interview - June 26th 2010 Blues Festival LE CREUSOT
Nice to meet you, you are in France today for the Blues en Bourgogne Festival.
What are your impressions as you already did your gig ?
John : Fabulous audience, the audience were just beautiful. The venue is fabulous,
sound terrific, great. It was just a wonderful gig, lovely. We were in Bordeaux
last night at a biker gig which was completely different because it was live rock music,
strippers, pole dancers and tonight it was music. I prefer tonight.
Albert : Yeah and we thought it was fantastic, it was a lovely venue.
What we do is the interaction of the crowd when we do that at a really low, slow blues
as we say in Northern Ireland, we would have heard a pin drop, say listen,
appreciate it and loved it and when we get back vibes from the crowd, we play even better.
Sam : Yes, it's great when we play that the crowd appreciates the music as we
play normally for people to get up and dance and that's not as good as tonight when
people actually sitting, listening to the music and appreciate what you are doing, that's good.
John, you have been the drummer of Taste since 1968.
John : 1967.
AM : Sorry to be wrong about that I read 1968... So, John can you sum up this long band history ?
Taste started even earlier. Rory started Taste back in 1966, something like that,
and he had 2 musicians from Cork in Ireland, Norman Damery and Eric Kitteringham,
who never get any mention in the Rory Gallagher literature, but they were the first
bass player and drummer that Rory had. And myself and Richard McCracken took over
the gig in Belfast in 1967 and then in 68 we moved permanently to England and signed
with Polydor records and the rest is history but Taste split as everyone knows and Rory
went on to pursue his career as Rory Blues musician and myself and Richard McCracken go
off and pursue our careers as musicians and the current Taste was started, in the year 2000,
because lots of fans, all over the world were writing in and saying please can we hear some
of the Taste music, lots of bands were playing
music, Rory Gallagher tribute
bands but they were playing Rory's later material, but nobody was playing the old Taste
material, so we got together Charlie Richard and myself decided we would do this thing but
getting a guitar player would be very difficult, because only an idiot would want to play
in a band that Rory Gallagher played in.
Sam : I'm the idiot ! There...
John : but Sam and myself played together for many years and he was the obvious choice,
so that's what we did and Charlie Richard McCracken is now retired from music and Albert
came in, we are old friends, we've played in bands together and Taste is now continuing,
as you have seen tonight, we play some of Rory's music, his old music from Taste,
but we play modern Taste music that we've written and lots of other music in between, we just have fun.
What is your best memory with Rory Gallagher ?
My best memory with Rory would probably be more intimate times, not playing on stage.
Playing on stage was always great, but times when we were just maybe messing around,
having fun with music and they were good times, just experimenting and having fun,
he was a nice guy, Rory, a nice guy !
Sam, you are the guitarist and singer in the band.
Sam : That's right.
AM : Since 2006.
Albert : Well before that ! (laughing)
Sam : Yeah all right (laughing)
AM : What was your path career before Taste ?
Sam : Path before Taste. I worked in recording studios, I have a recording
studio back in Belfast, so I did a lot of work recording in studio and played
in a few bands, just little clubs and circuits and that, and then John and
I formed the Belfast Blues Band and we toured the Europe, with the Belfast Blues
Band and it got me thinking, so I decided to close the studio and concentrate on
playing. We did a lot of gigs in Europe as well and then the band decided to
reform and they ask me will I take the job and to be honest with you I really had
to think long and hard, it was a big space to fill. So I just tape the music of
Rory Gallagher wrote and I try to play it really well, and I hope people appreciate
and like what I do with Rory's music.
Albert : Yeah.
AM : In 2009 you replaced the historical bass player of Taste, Richard McCracken,
how did the fans react and welcome you ?
I find...Well this is the third tour of France and we played Greece, and I think if you
play the music and play the music well as a musician, and what comes across with this band
is we have been great friends for lots of years and we've come together in Ireland as friends
and a band, Taste, and you've seen yourself tonight with the audience tonight that the fans
will welcome you if you play well and enjoy your music, and the most important thing is that
you have good friends in the band and you enjoy the music that you play because then that
comes through everything that you play. I've known John a long long time and Sam for
a long time but I've never
had the opportunity to play with Sam, but lots of bands played with John with people,
and I just love it. Getting on stage...I get a buzz again playing the music and we are
writing again, we are writing new material all the time and we believe that the fans
want to hear new material, anybody can go on and do a "take on" of Taste and Rory.
What we do is we write and the fans appreciate that. It's just that buzz.
When we see the 3 of you on stage, there is a real union.
John : We just have fun, we don't rehearse, we don't like rehearsing. So we know the music
that we want to play, it's just like jazz musicians and last night was completely
different show than tonight, because different audience, different reaction and we
play music for the audience and we just have fun and we were lucky tonight because
who came to play sometimes, it was great. It was good fun !
Albert : It's rare, it's very rare in the music industry to get a trio that thinks
on stage and has the vibes on stage when it plays. You have it for Taste,
the original Taste, and we have of course, the enjoyment, we all have to think,
we all play for this point of view that... just call ing on stage, the musicians,
the fans, just get this buzz to go on, a sound plays that we could match for
each other, and it works, and it's a pleasure to play in a band like that.
In 2009 you have released an album called "Wall to Wall".
John : Yes.
AM : can you speak about it ?
John : Well, Wall to Wall was a concept that Sam and myself initially started to write.
Some of the songs that are on Wall to Wall will be in a forthcoming musical about
the people who travelled from Ireland to emigrate to America, and Lucy May
is based on some people who travelled on the Titanic, so there is a musical
coming out and two songs are going to be featured. Big Ship which is on Wall
to Wall and Lucy May, we are going to do in the musical and you will notice
we didn't do those songs tonight but the other material on wall to wall we do play,
The Drifter and a lot of other things. So it was just a vehicule for us to put
music down and let people hear what we do, but it's not enough in our case,
they must see, experienced the band live, they can listen to the music at home
and have a drink and yeah it's nice, but seeing a band live, that's what it is all about.
If I had my way we would just record every night and have a recording of tonight,
people can get.
Albert : It's fun.
John : And then tomorrow have a different recording, it would be great, but yeah Wall to Wall was on the go for a number of years in our heads.
Sam : It was based on a lot of songs that John and I would have done when we were touring in various bands, but we haven't yet had a chance to have a rehearsal,
John and I had a sense that we had an album, and Wall to Wall is the accumulative effect of that.
Albert : We have a new album we are recorded, we did some music tonight from the new album, and it would be ready by September, October.
AM : Thank you very much for your time.
All of them : You're very welcome, thank you.
AM : We are so happy to have you on our website.
Albert : And we look forward to looking at rock-interviews.com (all smiling)