I think they did it in a place similar to the Great American Music Hall, somewhere in California. They haven't done it too often, but they've done it maybe four or five times. It's a great idea, since good music is timeless, it's never going to be out of date for you to follow up on your original inspiration there.
Well, I think doing that album live with the Persuasions and Payne and everybody like that could make for a pretty big, old-style, sort of Bonnie Raitt-themed party.
Oh, absolutely, because the music, even on the recording, takes precedence over the personalities. You hear how good it sounds and then you can look and go "Oh, that's the Persuasions, it makes sense it sounds good." It doesn't always sound good when there are a lot of guests on somebody else's project, so you got something else unique going on there.
It's funny you mention that because one of the criticisms I've had from some of the music business people, they like the record, it's not that their criticizing the record itself, but they're criticizing my music business acumen, because the people that I chose as guests on my record aren't the stars, they aren't the frontmen. I picked really good sidemen. [laughs]
You did. You get an "A" for that.
I didn't do the Santana Supernatural thing and get Rob Thomas.
Well thank you for that. I mean, I understand what they're talking about, but I also disagree vehemently with what they're trying to say.
Well, it ain't art.
It will look fine for a press release but that's about it. I had the same reaction this spring when I went to the Allman Brothers show. They were recording it because it's their anniversary and it was supposed to be a tribute to Duane Allman. Some of the guests they had like Boz Scaggs and Eric Clapton made perfect sense. But when I saw Bruce Willis and Sheryl Crow walk out on stage, I thought Duane would turn around and yell them off the stage, they have nothing to do the Allman Brothers as far as I'm concerned, but it'll look good for the press release for the DVD when and if it comes out.
Well, I could see Sheryl having something to contribute, given all her poppiness I think she's got some talent, but Willis, he's an actor! [laughs]
One thing that piqued my curiosity when I read about it was The Ghosts of Electricity, how did that project come about, playing all the Dylan stuff with Robin Sylvester and those guys?
You know, it's really funny, we've gotten so much response to it, it's almost kind of frustrating because we didn't get nearly as much response when we decided to put out something we've put a lot of energy into. We've been asked a lot "What's the story with the Ghosts of Electricity?" And there's nothing to it. I actually got a call from a mutual friend, Stu Allen, who's a singer/guitar player around the Bay Area these days--I think he originally came Missouri or something--and he does kind of a Dead-based thing around the Bay Area and had some sort of a gig in place where he had a non-disclosure thing and he couldn't advertise another one close to it. So, the Ghosts of Electricity is really his gig that he called Robin and myself and Greg Anton and Mookie Siegel to participate in. I don't know if we're going to rehearse or anything, I think it's really just a matter of "Hey, let's call these interesting musicians and throw a show and see what happens" and the concept of the show is we'll play Dylan songs. We're not going to rehearse, I don't know what tunes we're going to do, and it's really bizarre how excited people are about this off-the-cuff thing.
Well, Dylan and his work is such a great source of fascination, I can see that. I can also see that for the musicians involved, on the one hand it might be a really simple thing to do because you probably know a lot of tunes by Dylan anyway…
I normally do only two or three, because he's such a great writer, but he's also such a wordy writer.
That's what I wanted to ask about, who's going to have to do the homework and have to learn the lyrics or who's prepping the teleprompter?
There won't be a teleprompter because it's just not in that budget category, otherwise there would be [laughs]. I can't speak for Stu or Mookie, but I'll tell you right now I'll have a music stand in front of me and there will be lyric sheets on it.
I was going to say, if anyone's brave enough to try "Visions of Johanna" or "Desolation Row" they really got a challenge ahead of them.
Yeah, unless they're Bob Weir [laughs].
Well, that's true, Bobby seems to love him.
He manages to remember every single verse to "Desolation Row" every time we do it. It blows my mind.