DM: Yeah‚ Keith has a five-string guitar‚ so that's how he's done it over the years. He hasn't been messed up by a low-E string. It's important you know.
MM: Yeah‚ keep the twang.
DM: All these freakin' guys: "I've got a six-string bass." It's like‚ "Dude‚ less strings are better." When you have two of the greatest musicians ever‚ Keith Richards and Mark Sandman‚ who used less strings than most people…
MM: What was Sandman‚ two-string?
DM: Yeah‚ two strings. Two strings slide bass. Less strings and one point of contact. I mean‚ fuck man‚ that's really the best in a way. I mean‚ to me‚ Morphine is kind of the ultimate band. Just no bullshit. No extraneous shit at all. Fucking cocktail drum‚ saxophone and two-string bass. Fuck it. What more do you need?
MM: Yeah‚ totally.
DM: I would love to have a trio like that. I don't remember who said it-it might have been Stewart Copeland or Andy Summers‚ maybe even Sting-but they were talking about a band. A great band should be able to fit in a taxi cab. That should be how you determine the size of your band. Or something like that. I heard that quote so long ago. Your gear and your band‚ and if you can't do that you're fucked. If you can't make good music and fit in a taxi‚ then you should fucking stay at home. I agree with that in a way. I like the idea of less‚ even less stuff. I love gear but…
MM: Sure. I was just talking with someone about the wall of sound. Talking about just being excessive. Sometimes that's great‚ too‚ but to keep it simple…
DM: There's the whole thing about throwing it over the top with fucking one string. (laughter) How sick would that be? Imagine if a guy shows up on the scene with‚ like‚ one string and he blows everybody away. You know?
MM: Sure.
DM: There's fucking keyboards and two guitar players and all that shit and a big light show and here's the one guy‚ but he's so bad‚ such a badass motherfucker‚ you know? (laughter) That would be the ultimate thing to see. I saw this guy‚ Airto (Moreira)‚ a percussion player. I saw him play this jazz fest in the '80s in Syracuse. I was probably like 16. A bit too young too realize I was seeing something incredible. I wish I could see it now‚ knowing what I know now about music. Airto came out and he's like "I'm going to do a tambourine solo." And he fucking does this tambourine solo and it was the most memorable musical moment of the whole fucking day. It was like B.B. King. He's the kind of guy that can play one note and that's totally cool.
MM: Sure‚ yeah.
DM: I love that shit. Just one fucking note. You listen to Ed Hammel (Hammel on Trial)?
MM: Yeah‚ a little bit.
DM: He's six strings‚ but he's one guy who has one hell of a fucking sound. He's like a fucking train wreck coming through town. (laughter) It's just fucking powerful. It's pretty sick. If you ever get a chance to see him‚ definitely go.
MM: You know‚ I haven't seen him live yet‚ but I've heard stories about how I need to.
DM: You do. I saw him open for Ani DiFranco at the Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady‚ and he was one guy up there banging away on this old '30s Gibson. He fucking had the house going nuts and he just fucking blew the place away. I don't even know how Ani DiFranco could even come onstage after that. It definitely should have been the other way around.
MM: Sure.
DM: We used to be friends with him when he lived in Albany‚ and I played a gig with him here a few years ago‚ and he was like‚ "Even when I wasn't playing out‚ I still thought of myself as a musician and I was going to be a rock star." (laughter) He kept this idealized image in his head of who he was‚ and he is still that. He wrote through the hard times‚ created this whole new thing and he's fucking on fire. He doesn't run out of fuel. That's sick. Totally sick. He's the closest thing to the one string guy ripping it up. I guess that's like my own version of string theory. (laughter) One man onstage with a bare white light bulb and a one-string guitar ripping it up. Speaking of that‚ what is going on in the jam band world these days?
MM: It's weird. I don't really know. It's basically about the bands that have lasted‚ and that's pretty much it.
DM: Is there anybody coming up? Is there a growth medium happening at all?
MM: No. It's really going through‚ you know‚ a transition. Well‚ I guess it's always done that.
DM: Yeah‚ that's true.
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