MB: And you lived in New Orleans for a time‚ right?
Yeah‚ I think the voodoo artifacts in the Voodoo Lounge are pretty much authentic.
MB: Authentic to New Orleans?
Yeah‚ it's a nice collection there‚ once you get around in there you eventually start seeing more and more with stuff hanging all over the walls completely surrounding you.
MB: Do you ever go back to New Orleans?
I haven't been back for quite awhile‚ '86 I think‚ is the last time I was there. I go to Austin‚ Texas but that's as far as I go.
MB: To play a gig?
Yeah‚ I've been thinking about going to hang out there a bit this winter if it gets too foggy. When it starts raining up from the ground‚ that's when I get nervous.
NJ: It seems like one of Portland's sister cities; it just has a lot of similarities and a lot of similar-minded folks.
I know a bunch of people there; it's easy living. They have a lot of opportunities to get gigs. Where in Vermont do you live?
MB: I live in Winooski right now. I lived in Burlington for a while but I just recently moved to Winooski.
There used to be this place in Winooski‚ oh what's it called‚ used to be a sign there that said‚ "Internationally Famous‚" and this old couple Phil and Julie ran it. It was an old mill building‚ a long brink building that went across this long yard.
MB: Next to the river?
Right by the river.
MB: The Champlain Mill maybe?
That's probably what it's called now. We used to have great fun getting gigs there.
MB: It was a restaurant?
It was a bar. The bar was always open‚ a bunch of old people staring at a beer all day long. You can walk in there at any time and just walk through the bar and through this big empty room behind it‚ and at the end where the stage was there was a piano. We'd just go in there and start playing the piano. At first it was very easy until it started to catch on with a lot of people and then there were little competitions to get a show there‚ but it was a cool bar and a great place to play.
If you had a band and you packed the place‚ they never hired more people to tend bar. So they didn't sell a whole lot more beer there with a hundred people in there dying of thirst. Phil and Julie were rather old and they had a little tray of beer and they would be pattering around the bar‚ all these people were lined up packed against the bar‚ "I want a Budweiser!"
MB: How did you end up recording Watertower with Dan Archer?
Well‚ I'd known him for years. He actually lived near me out in the hills in a chicken coop for a while in the dead of winter in six feet of snow. There's a channel he dug through the snow…. I guess it was pretty well insulated where the chicken coop was buried; it had pipes sticking out of it through the woods. His partner he played music with lived with him‚ so occasionally I would go down and visit them. I lived in a house nearby and I'd just go and hang out with them‚ as you would do in Vermont. There weren't that many people you could hang out with‚ so I had to hang out with them. That's how I got to know him. Eventually he moved to Burlington and he started a recording studio; he probably still has one now.
MB: Yeah he probably does‚ I see him occasionally playing gigs.
They had a duo called Ham and Chi; it was Zoot Wilson and Dan Archer. It was a very good duo.