Interview Manu Lanvin, Neil Black
Friday 13th September 2013
"Satellit Café" (Roanne)
Hello Neal and Manu. We are happy to welcome you on rock-interviews.com. Neal, where are you from?
Neal : Hello. I am from San Antonio, Texas.
AM : And you, Manu?
I am from Paris. I am French.
AM : That's why you speak English!
Manu : (smiling) Yes, there are many mysteries about me, you know!.
What musicians influenced you when you were teenagers?
Neal : For me it was such a giant spectrum of influences because in America
at that time on the radio you would hear something like
and the next song you hear would be
and the next song would be Sly Stone, and the next song
It's so hard to think of all the influences,
but that's how american radio was back in the sixties in the United States.
Manu : I had the opportunity to meet guys like
you know him, I'm sure,
who was the lead singer of
When I met these guys I was a teenager,
I was trying to play the guitar and they said to me if you want to know this instrument
you have to know your classics. So I started to make my own research and I found guys
like Jimi Hendrix,
all these guitar heroes and wonderful guitar players.
They were my first influences. Later, maybe ten or fifteen years ago, I thought,
these guys, maybe steal the music or songs done by others, so I started to listen
to old Delta singers, artists of Mississippi, Louisiana.
AM : That's why you have this tattoo on your arm.
Manu : Oh yeah, the
It's a real symbol for me. This is the cradle
of american music, not only Louisiana because Route 61 goes to the North,
and musicians like
from Saint Louis,
from Duluth. I have a lot of respect for them. when I was a kid one
of my dreams was to go there one day.
Why have you chosen to play the guitar and not another instrument?
Neal : I wanted to be a drummer but the drums was too expensive.
The guitar was half the price, so my parents said if you want to play
some music you can get the guitar, plus they thought the drums would be
too loud in the house, so I had the guitar without amplifier and it was
fine for my parents.
Manu : I wanted to be a drummer as well, but the drums was too loud for my
mum and after a week she said, you know what, you should take the acoustic
guitar which is in the living-room. My father had it from one movie he did called
Marche à l'Ombre.
They gave him the guitar at the end of the shooting.
So she said you should take this guitar. What is nice with the guitar
is that you can travel with it. My parents were travellers you know, they
are artists so we were moving from one city to another every year,
we were not staying at the same place more than a year.
I said okay the guitar can follow me.
Neal : Yeah, exactly. It's a lot easier than carrying drums around.
Now I am glad I am not a drummer because I see all the things they
have to take every time they play.
Manu : Yes, it's a nightmare.
Recently, each of you have released an album. Could you please talk about
it and explain why you have chosen these titles?
Manu : For my part, this is my latest album, Mauvais Casting on Veryrecords label.
It tells a lot about my life. it's a new beginning for me.
I had an amazing experience with
another great artist from Texas who is somewhere else now.
He helped me to lose this complex of being a French and white musician.
I am fond of Blues, this kind of music. When you are white,
I admit this is not my real culture, I haven't been educated in a middle
of a cotton field, I grew up in the suburb of Paris. Calvin said yes,
but you have something, you have to go on, you have to believe in what
you are doing, so this album is a new beginning, it's full of what
I always wanted to do, the music I am playing on stage, the music I do with Neal,
this is, in fact, my culture because since I was a kid, I've been listening
to all these great artists we were talking about before.
This is the only music I am capable of playing.
AM : Why this title?
Manu : Mauvais Casting, bad casting?
Neal : Yeah.
Manu : This title because everybody is keeping an eye on me, being the son
of another great artist,
that everybody knows in France.
Some people would expect me to do some dance music, this kind of very stupid
and useless music. I don't know why because it is not the culture of my father,
who is a real rocker, he has also something. That's why, I wanted to make
fun of the people who didn't believe in me.
Neal : They are expecting something different.
Manu : Yeah.
Your mum is a singer.
Manu : Yes, she was a great singer, not very famous but yes she was a singer.
My parents have listened to a lot of music since I was born.
I was listening to music 24 hours a day in our house, even when I was sleeping,
I remember they were doing crazy parties with lots of musicians,
for instance, all these musicians were coming to our house in Boulogne-Billancourt.
I remember waking up at four o'clock in the morning, my mother was dancing
with my father on loud rock'n'roll music, so after it's in your blood!
Let's speak, now, about your collaboration. When, how, why, did you both meet?
Neal : I knew about Manu's music before I met him. I had no idea who his father was,
so for me it was just the thing that he had worked with Calvin and I've seen
some stuff he's done on Youtube. There was a fusion of Blues and Electro.
I really like that a lot. We worked on an album together in the studio for a
female american guitarist named
We started talking a little bit,
we got to know each other more, we talked about the possibility of making some
concerts together. it's working out good.
Manu : Because we are crazy for Lanvin Chocolate! Just like the advertisement.
It's a funny thing I wanted to do. A music studio has to be a place where you
feel secure, you know what I mean, something warm. I want the people who come
to my studio to feel at home, just as it was their own place, and chocolate
is always something you keep in memory when you are a kid.
Je voulais quelque chose de ludique!
Neal and Manu you are not from the same generation.
Neal : Really?
Manu : I think so, did I show you my ID?
AM : What are the advantages to work together?
Neal : Because of our age difference? We said it everytime in interviews.
Manu brings Blues and Blues Rock and what I always try to do with Blues Rock
is to keep the young people interested in this kind of music.
Even though there is age difference between us, we are both trying to keep things,
you know slightly more progressive and more innovative with less tradition and
I think more creative than a lot of Blues artists, this is one thing we have
in common about working together.
Manu : For me it's a real honour to play with Neal. I have always a lot of respect
for older people than me, because I still need to learn a lot, and for his experience
because Neal has played with great artists. He did more shows of course than me,
so it's always a pleasure for me to see how an artist like him works on stage and
makes his music. I've learnt a lot with Calvin Russell, in the way we are singing,
and with Neal on stage, and Mike Lattrell, for me it's a great opportunity,
being a French artist and to play with those guys, it's gold.
Neal : The learning is mutual. There are a lot of things that he does that I can do,
but when I watch him doing them, I say okay, I get an idea for this, you know what I mean.
It's not even about the age thing because we come from different places and we have
different ideas so it's really timeless, it becomes all about music.
AM : And Are there some drawbacks?
Neal : Not really. Being on stage and playing is easy. It's everything else, it's six or
eight hours on the road, 3 hours of sleep, those are the drawbacks. The easiest part,
the shortest thing we do is to spend ninety minutes on stage and everything else for
the day is the drawback.
AM : But everything is forgotten on stage.
Neal : Yeah.
You are doing a tour which is called Paris-Texas. Can you develop?
Manu : For me it was the perfect link, this is what we are doing, you know I come from Paris.
Neal : You work with other Texas guys.
Manu : It was this idea of making the trip, just like this one, we are travelling
and we want the audience to make the trip with us during ninety minutes.
AM : There is not only the two of you on stage, you work with other musicians.
Manu : Of course.
AM : Could you please introduce them?
Manu : There is
on Piano. He is an unbelievable pianist.
He plays with Neal, when he is with his own band, he also tour with Popa Chubby,
so it's the musician that Neal brings with us on the tour. I bring my two guys too,
Gaby Santossuosso, the upright bass player, and
who plays the drums.
Manu, I read that you are going to Memphis?
Manu : Yeah.
Neal : Congratulations for that.
Manu : It was unexpected because I really not going to say I should be involved
in this competition. I am not a competitor, because for me the best, in our job,
does not exist. Everybody is different, everybody is coming with their own universe.
But yes I am happy to go back to Memphis because I've been there twice. it's a very
nice surprise for me, I didn't expect it. They called me and said you are going to
Memphis for the
International Blues Challenge.
They want you to represent France, so it's an honour.
AM : Thank you very much Neal and Manu for your time, have a great gig tonight at
the Satellit Café in Roanne, France.