Interview: Corky Laing (Mountain, West Bruce & Laing, “Playing God” rock opera)

- Advertisement -

HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: September 2013. We had the great honour to talk with a legendary drummer: Corky Laing. Corky has been a member of Mountain and West, Bruce & Laing (with Jack Bruce of Cream) and he has also played with Memory Thieves (another band Corky has), Bo Diddley, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople singer), Mick Ronson (David Bowie guitarist), Meat Loaf, Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones, John Lennon saxophone player), Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush and many others. He just released the amazing rock opera, “Playing God”, performed by The Perfct Child, a very talented ensemble of musicians and singers. Read below the very interesting thing he told us:


The rock opera “Playing God” has just been released by you and The Perfct Child. How the feedback has been so far?

- Advertisement -

I have to say that the feedback has been brilliant. I’m very surprised because it is not an American, western kind of accessible recording. It was recorded with the purpose of the content of the show. No, we did not have any kind of superb sound and fidelity. In other words, it’s pretty cut and dry. It is not what we do in the American way. The reviews had been focused on the content and the uniqueness of the show. The CD it’s a whole show, it’s different and I’m surprised that people liked it.


You are the only rock ’n’ roll drummer who could make a concept album with two internationally acclaimed philosophy professors (Prof. Matti Häyry and Dr. Tuija Takala)!! How did it happen?

When we were touring with the Memory Thieves in Manchester in 2003 or 2004 and we apparently had the professors in the audience who loved Mountain. So, we talked, it was nice and then they found out that I was also lecturing in different universities in Canada as a guest lecturer talking about music business and the lifestyle. They heard about it on their website or however the universities work and they invited me in guest lecturing in Manchester, UK and also in Finland where they taught also. So, over a year or two ago we played a show on a boat, in Copenhagen and then in Helsinki. Then they would come on the boat we would hang out and they asked me if I wanted to do more guest lecturing over in Finland and I said “I would love it”. So, our relationship grew and then one night we were sitting drinking and they said “By the way, as a result we are writing a book called Playing God”. This is an academic, philosophical, bioethical book and I knew nothing about it. I have no idea about philosophy etc specifically and they did the writing for an opera and I said “Oh, that’s kind of cool”. And they said “Would you like maybe to write a song or two?”. So, I said “Yes”, they were friends and I began writing the song “Luke’s Blues”, who is one of the characters that participated in an experiment in the opera. From there we continued to get together monthly: I would commute from New York to Helsinki once or twice a month over a couple of years and we developed the opera music for “Playing God” and we recorded it and one of the label owners in UK would like to release it. He came to the rehearsal and he said “I like to release it on Voice Print Records” and that’s the story. In other words, we kept working on it and it was a lot of fun because I had a great deal of freedom. I had the freedom to write whatever I wanted to write using the ideas for the book.


- Advertisement -

Was it a big challenge for you to do lead vocals on “Playing God” album?

Yes, as a matter of fact, initially I sent the vocals as a guy to the characters that would eventually come in and sing it for the record. So, I did all the demos with the vocals. As it turned out we did bring in people from Germany and Switzerland. But Matti and Tuija, the professors, thought my version was better. I didn’t necessarily agree, I’m a little bit sensitive about my voice but then I came back and I played it for my wife, Taffi (ed:Rosen, photographer), and she loved it. And I said “If Taffi loves it, we do it” and we decided to stay with my vocals and yes it was very challenging. I loved to sing but I ‘m very surprised that other people loved my singing too (laughs). I used to sing to guys: Jack Bruce (Cream bassist/ vocalist) or Leslie West (Mountain guitarist/ vocalist) when I wrote a melody with Mountain or West, Bruce & Laing. I used to sing the guy vocals and then Leslie and Jack Bruce would do the final vocals. So, I was used to doing it that way.


Can you tell us a few things about the concept of “Playing God” album?

- Advertisement -

Ok, so here is the situation: You have a small town, there is a scientist, some guy who sells these ideas of genetic manipulation, where he would be able to do genetic manoeuvers, so he can perfect certain people: their hearing, their age, he would able to clown. This is a little futuristic, but basically there is a guy named Doctor Mr. C, who is going in this town and manipulate different characters and it’s a secret, nobody knows what he is doing. No.1: The first person that he manipulates is an old blues musician who is addicted to drugs and doesn’t have any money, so he agrees with Mr. C to do this experiment. He is aimed to be part of this experiment and he gets paid. The experiment by chance extends his life for 50 more years. Now, here’s the deal: He didn’t want to live longer, he’s miserable, he’s a blues musician addict, all these bad things and he has to live another 50 years. So, the opening of the show, in “Luke’s Blues”,  he’s saying “I don’t want to live anymore” and he shoots himself or he takes pills. I think he takes pills and he ends up going to the gates of.. whatever, to the God.

And the God says: “Wait a second, what’s going on? You’re early, we have a schedule for people on earth” and they send him back. They send him back to this town to find out what’s going on in this town. There’s something going on, they are doing genetically what the God uses to do: extending life and the God gets pissed off with Mr. C because he is doing godly things. So, there are characters: there’s a love affair with a woman, there are clowns, the brothers Alex and Tony and they are created by Mr. C. But Mr. C uses his firm to create these people. It’s a pretty involved situation. It’s very ambitious, you have to read the whole story. He uses his firm to do genetic manoeuvres but he didn’t tell anybody and he makes more money. It’s about greed, it’s about perfection. You know, aspiring to perfection. Everybody wants to be perfect, everybody wants a perfect life. And that’s we call the play “Playing God and the Perfct Child” and if you look at the spelling of “Perfct”, it’s not right. We leave out “e”, which just symbolically implies that perfect is not perfect. And as a creative musician you always try to get as perfect as possible but you never can be perfect. That’s not what life is about. Life is not about perfection, it’s about aspiring to perfection. In other words: Being the very best you could be. The album, the story is about creative people. The philosophy of going ahead and doing your very best as an artist, as a person. And aspiring perfection is the basis of the story, except one thing: This one Mr. C is the evil part of the whole show. He’s the one that lies, he cheats and at the end of the show the town finds out what he’s doing and they make him pay about all his lies and all the secrets. And ultimately, he gets killed by light which really is the God who takes his revenge for trying to take his place. I don’t know if I explained it well (laughs). The people that I played the CD for, they responded beautifully but they still scratch their head. They are like “Wow, it’s pretty involved”. Yes, it was a challenge to make the CD, but it was a wonderful challenge.


Will you tour for “Playing God” album?

We just did that. I just came back from Basel, Switzerland where we did a “workshop”. We had musicians playing the part of different characters and we had minimal staging. The production was very minimal. I played drums, I played the different characters, I mean I sang the different characters, I play guitar and we had female singers come and do the part of the female characters. We had a vocal group from Basel who played the God. Yes, we will try to take this on the road. But here’s the different, Theo: It’s going to be used as a tool for the universities around the world. Hopefully, I say hopefully, as a tool for the Philosophy department around the world to be discussed as debated the ethical research they do. We did a PowerPoint presentation in Paris, before we did the Basel show, for the professors. We wanted to introduce the opera to the professors and make Philosophy more interesting as a subject and -I don’t know if it’s the correct word- more accessible. Give it a little bit more life because in general I think people sometimes yawn when they hear about philosophy. The opera it’s just a staging of these different conflicts and the different situations for philosophy interpretation. The response from the Philosophy professors was outstanding. They loved this from Hungary to Israel, to Germany.. We had all these professors come in Paris for their own philosophical consortium, I don’t know how they call it but we performed a PowerPoint for them during that conference. And then we had another conference in Basel, Switzerland where we actually played it, we had musicians who played it. Again the response was very very positive and we try to get this opera on the road to the different universities in the Philosophy department and perform it. And the students, the professors will have a question-answering time dedicated to discussion over a period of time. Again I don’t know if the general public will get it but is directed to Philosophy department in different countries. We are looking now for 2014 to perform it in a couple of universities in America but we have terrific responses again in Finland and elsewhere. We see what happens. It’s still in the beginning process. . .


By the way, which are your favourite concept albums?

I’m not a big fan of concept albums. The ones that always had an effect on me, of course are “Sgt. Pepper’s” (The Beatles, 1967) and “Tommy” (The Who, 1969). I’m sure there are a lot more, but I can’t remember them right now. We didn’t try to copy any other concept record; we did more an opera for a story. It wasn’t meant to be a pop record for the public.


Are you planning to do more things with the Memory Thieves in the future?

Yes, this time was pre-occupied. We just finished a long opera. I’d love to have another chance to be on the road with the Memory Thieves with Denny Colt (guitar/vocals/keyboards) and Bonnie Parker (bass/vocals) who by the way are the girls in Perfct Child, they are the girl singers. We are gonna be rehearsing and getting back on the road at the end of the year and in 2014. We are pretty much together now. It depends, Theo, on how many offers we will get to do the opera. If we get a lot of offers for the opera, then Denny Colt and Bonnie Parker, the girls in the opera, will come on the road to do the opera. If we get the chance to do a lot of shows with the Memory Thieves, we will do it. I think it depends on which comes first. The answer is “Yes”. We will be on the road one way or the other.


Are you proud of the classic status that Mountain’s “Climbing!” album has until today?

Yes. I don’t know how I can’t be anything else than proud. I’m very proud of that. If there is regret is that we didn’t do a lot more. In that point, everyone was really very pre-occupied with other things in those days. I don’t think we focused as much as we could on new material. That’s just, you know, the past. But, yes I’m very proud.


How important was the role of Felix Pappalardi (bassist/producer) in Mountain?

Oh, it was huge. He was the conductor, we was the entire director for the band. He was very strong in terms of organization, he was a wonderful leader. He was also the producer of the band, not only a band member and that was evident when he had too much point on what he thought was the best. That was the only problem. But as long he was in charge of Mountain, he was the leader, he was the guy.


You joined Mountain just after Woodstock Festival. Do you wish you were at Woodstock?

(Laughs) Here’s the thing: At the time there really wasn’t a band called Mountain at Woodstock. It was Leslie West who had a record called “Mountain”. What happened is that right after Woodstock, when Felix called me and Steve Knight and said “Let’s do a band”. At that point it was Leslie’s solo record that was me, playing at Woodstock. It was Leslie West and the name of the album. So, actually the band was formed, the proper Mountain band was formed on “Mountain Climbing!”. Mountain is the band and the name of the album is “Mountain Climbing!”. To clarify that, no I didn’t play at Woodstock but the songs that I wrote were put on the Woodstock album. So, I received a gold record for it. I wrote songs for the Woodstock album. That’s why a lot of people think that I was there.


Did you enjoy the West, Bruce & Laing period of your career?

Absolutely. It was a very learning period for me. I learned a great deal. The three years that we played together we did three albums. We were very prolific. I don’t think we had a day off during that time. It was just record-tour-record-tour and then Jack started getting tired, he didn’t want to do it anymore. So, he decided to go out by his own. But generally speaking, the years with Jack and Leslie were wonderful.


Did you get on well with Jack Bruce (Cream bassist/singer)? Ginger Baker has said that he’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of person!

(Laughs) Yeah, he’s Scottish (mad laughs)! I thought I got along with him very well. I never had a problem with him. I think he was a genius. If he got crazy, he didn’t bother me. There are musicians that are eccentric, and if you feel he is worth the patience for the benefit of learning more, you do that. And that’s what I did. I knew that I had a lot to learn. I made his attitude towards me of my attitude toward him getting in a way of learning what I want to learn about music. And Jack is brilliant and so it feels. And feeling is extremely important for Jack. He has a PhD on feeling as a multi-instrumental musician. You would be very lucky person to fit in a band with those people and I was very lucky. I was lucky to be there for all the recordings we did and all the live performing. So, I have nothing but wonderful things to say about that era. Playing with people that constantly challenge you and feed you this wonderful information inspire you to execute this idealistic, whatever it is, drumming. Keep in mind: Jack, Felix and Leslie had so much rhythm in them. So, as a drummer I didn’t really have to do anything. They didn’t need a drummer, it was just a drummer we used. I was able to perform as a percussionist and embellish their time. I can’t think about any better musicians to be with. It was very important at this time to have a relationship like that.


Last year, a dear friend of yours and a hero of mine, Levon Helm (The Band drummer/vocalist) passed away. What do you remember the most of Levon Helm?

The relationship with Levon was in a different orbit. Levon was very unique. So, he wasn’t only a great drummer but he was a great human being, a great musician, a great singer. He was my idea of a great man. A great human being. He satisfied all the attributes of the finest of the finest and here’s the thing: Only when you get familiar with people, with friends, it leads to pretence. And one thing I have to say: I knew well Levon, I spent a lot of time with him, we hang out a great deal during certain time during the last 30, 40 years; I had never lost any respect on any kind of him. He remains a very major influence every day. I don’t know what more to have to say about it. People that knew him, know what I’m talking about. Levon was a legend, he was mystical, he was fabulous but he was so down to earth.


When and how did you get the chance to play with John Lennon?

Oh, that was weird!! What happened is that John Lennon owed a record to Allen Klein, his manager. It was a contractual commitment.  He had to record a record and he didn’t want to give away what he was writing. So, he did a record called “Rock N’ Roll”, he just went in the studio covering old favourite rock ’n’ roll songs like “You Can’t Catch Me” (Chuck Berry) and “Do You Wanna Dance?” (Bobby Freeman) and he had friends around the studio, at the Record Plant at that time, come in and sing background vocals and that was what I did. May Pang, his girlfriend at that time (ed:“Lost Weekend” period), invited more people to come and sing background vocals. I think Alice Cooper was there, there were people around the Record Plant in New York, who were recording and hanging around. I have been recording with Leslie and she invited me in and I did the background for “Do You Wanna Dance?” and I sang the background for “Stand By Me”.



I can’t say that I actually jammed with John because Jim Keltner was the drummer, he was a good friend and we sat around the three of us and it was fun. It was a great time. You know, it took only an afternoon to do it but it was wonderful.


I just asked because I have read on a Leslie West interview that he had a birthday party and a guy from the record company brought him John Lennon as a present.

Oh, yes!! That’s right! It’s an old story. What happened is that I was recording with Leslie and he invited Mick Jagger down in the studio. And it was Leslie’s 30th birthday (ed: in 1975) week and I asked Mick Jagger to come to the party. I was putting together a surprise party for Leslie. Leslie knew nothing about it and he was gonna have the party at the manager’s house. So, I asked Mick if he would like to come and said “Yes, if I will be around, I will do that” and then asked Mick if he can bring any other celebrities. He looked at me like “I’m not good enough?”. No, he was very cool and I was just looking for some guy to act as a surprise. He said “Tell Leslie at the night of his surprise birthday party after everybody shows up, tell him to answer the door at midnight. He has to answer the door himself”. We had the party and Charlie Watts (ed: Rolling Stones drummer) was there, and Mick was there and we were having a good time and at midnight someone knocked that door and I told Leslie to open the door. Leslie said: “I’m not the doorman. You have to answer the door”. I said “You have to answer it, it’s the surprise”. So, he goes to the door and he opens the door and John Lennon is suit up in a Zorro outfit and when he opens, he says: “Someone ordered a celebrity?” That’s how John Lennon entered the party. It was a lot of fun.


In 1993-4, Noel Redding (bassist of The Jimi Hendrix Experience) was member of Mountain. How was having Noel Redding as a bandmate?

I have to say that Leslie didn’t get along with Noel. I was in the middle. I loved Noel, I thought Noel was a terrific guy. From the very start, he had a big chip on his shoulder. So, we would drink a lot, and then he would mumble, and he would smoke a lot of pot, he would get very stoned and very loose. And Leslie didn’t appreciate that, it was a hard time. We did a couple of shows and Leslie showed tremendous disrespect for Noel, although Noel the way he behaved he didn’t deserve so much respect. He was very messy. But when he played the bass, most of the time he was alright, every now and then he would play a brilliant gig and the other times he was all over the place. I think Noel was legitimately looking for a gig with Leslie, I think Noel wanted to play with Leslie but Leslie didn’t go for it. Noel wasn’t playing great and Leslie wasn’t happy with it. It was awkward, it was very awkward. I loved Noel and we said “Let’s make a band” and we made that band Cork with Eric Schenkman (Spin Doctors guitarist/vocalist) . We had a great time and we did a couple of albums. I have to say that Eric played a lot of bass, just as Jimi Hendrix played a lot of bass on his records.


You tried to form a supergroup with Leslie West, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company singer), Mick Ralphs (Bad Company, Mott the Hoople guitarist) and Overend Watts (Mott the Hoople bassist). Why it didn’t happen?

Oh, you ‘ve done your research (laughs)!! We were at Island Records in London as Free has broken up, Mott the Hopple has broken up and actually Mountain has sort of broken up as Felix didn’t want to play anymore that much. So, a guy named Chris from Island Records, put together this session and he asked Paul Rodgers to come down, Overend Watts, Mick Ralphs, Leslie, myself -Simon Kirke (Free, Bad Company drummer) didn’t show up, I don’t know what happened. So, we started to play at Island Records and we were jamming on a song named “Sail On”. Paul Rodgers was singing and we were recording. It was actually a pretty great song, it was 25 metres long, it was played as a jam. And right after that session, Leslie and I were very excited, but then we had a call from Jack Bruce. He said “Hey guys, I heard that you are in town, would you like to get together and jam?” So, we did the exact same thing a few days later at Island Studios with Jack Bruce. And Leslie and I, we looked each other and he said “We had a choice. Do you want to play with Jack as a trio or do you want to come back and play with the other guys and make a band with Paul Rodgers etc?” . And we chose Jack because of the simplicity of the whole thing. But what happened as a result of that jam session with Paul, he started playing with Mick Ralphs as a guitar player. I think Paul Kossoff (Free guitarist) had died. Basically as a result of this jam session, with Leslie and myself, Bad Company were formed. . .


Do you have any tapes from the jam session with Paul Rodgers?

I have that song, “Sail On”. I have that! At one point, I talked to Paul later and we discussed about releasing it. I think he was working on a song for Bad Company that was of the same kind of changing. Paul had released it (ed: with Free) and so we decided not to release that song.


You knew Keith Moon (The Who drummer) quite well and he was a big influence for you. How was Keith on stage and off stage?

I think everybody loves Keith. There was no different Keith when he was onstage and when he was off. Keith was very eccentric, he was a very high-end piece of energy and very warm guy. He was a very good friend of mine and quite frankly I didn’t really know why. Although I didn’t know his family, we became close friends. When he played at Madison Square Garden with The Who for 4-5 dates, he invited me to come up and sit right behind him onstage. They had a table set up, with various things on the table behind the amp, and I sat there watching him. I watched everything he did. I learned very much from Keith Moon, I wanted to imitate his playing but although I was sitting there for 4-5 dates I still haven’t an idea what he was playing.. And I asked him later “What are you doing?” and he said “I have no idea, mate, what I do”. So, he just played from the heart. He didn’t play stylish, his playing was totally spontaneous. And that’s the way he lived, he lived spontaneously. I don’t think he knew from one minute to another what he was going to do. But he was going to do something.


Some months ago you played on John Bonham’s (Led Zeppelin) drum kit for Bonzo Bash concerts. How was that experience?

That was wonderful. Let’s just put it this way: Imagine sitting around with 50 of your favourite guitar players. I just hanged up for three days (ed: with drummers). It was very unique situation. To be able to celebrate along with peers. Peers that you totally respect. Just talking about anything and everything and play. Play the drums, play songs that everybody knew and watch. And the comradery  was just wonderful. It wasn’t competitive, it wasn’t about egos. It was about each drummer putting his own thing and there were company. I don’t know what Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Beck Bogert & Appice) was doing but I watched him and sat close to him or Simon Kirke or whoever. It was a very unique experience, it was an exchange full of electricity, full of feeling and dynamic. Everybody played with John Bonham in mind. So, that was the bar, the bar that everybody has to reach. Personally speaking, I don’t think that I reached the bar because I never had the chance to play Led Zeppelin songs because the band that I was in, in the early days was more of a keyboard band. We just didn’t have a star guitar player. We didn’t play a lot of that stuff, we played pop songs in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. Only when I started playing with Leslie, we did start playing heavier songs. And Leslie just didn’t play like Jimmy Page. Leslie played a different kind of guitar. I really wasn’t an expert at the Zeppelin field but I did the best I could.


Which Led Zeppelin song did you play there?

I played “D’yer Mak’er” (ed: he’s singing the tune). Basically, I have a reggae beat (laughs). They had a singer who sang all the songs and a house band. It was great.


Do you remember any interesting or unknown story from the recordings of Bo Diddley’s “The 20th Anniversary of Rock ’n’ Roll”?

That was fun, because what happened is: I was in New York, at the Record Plant and Bo Diddley was there back and forth. They had a producer and he said: “Do you want to play?” The Bo Diddley beat is a classic beat (ed: he sings the beat “Baamb-Bo-Dam/Baamb-Bo-Dam”). So, you were given the freedom to play whatever song you wanted to play. What I remember about it, is that the band was so cool. It was so cool as I walked in. It was an honour to be part of that record. You know from the interviews you did with the other drummers that drummers hang around with musicians. You have to be lucky to be in a place and a time when there is a kind of a band and fill in there because usually the drum set is occupied. The idea to try find an unoccupied drum set with a bunch of great musicians, takes a great deal of luck. From late ‘60s until the late ‘70s, everybody was in the loose, whether it was Hendrix or Janis Joplin. There was a circus that everybody hangs out.


Everybody was friends between them: Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Pete Townshend.

Yes, I think so!! What happened is Eric’s manager, used to be West, Bruce & Laing’s tour manager, Roger Forrester. This is confidential: Roger Forrester was gay. When he was road managing Jack Bruce, myself and Leslie West, they used to really tease him about being gay. I did not. I didn’t care about that but Jack and Leslie may disrespect him because as a tour manager and they used to say him: “Do this! Do this!” I was the only one that really didn’t bother with him. So, Eric Clapton came to Atlanta, Georgia to do a gig and he dropped by the studio. This happened years and years ago, he played and it did absolutely great. Here’s the trick Theo: He could play at a lot of records but his manager won’t let these records to come out. He loved to play everything.


And he played with West, Bruce & Laing?

No, he never played with West, Bruce & Laing. He played on my solo album. He came down to play on my solo record and it was wonderful. And then of course they would go to the record company and they have to get clearance from Eric’s manager. But the manager didn’t even know what Eric was doing until someone would ask him: “By the way, Eric played on my record. I need permission”. And he would say “No, I don’t give permission. Eric is doing it all the time, we have to stop it”. Here’s is the case: Roger Forrester remembered that I didn’t tease him and I was the only one from that era that I didn’t have any problem to get that permission to use the Eric’s tracks. You can remember that he did a lot of guest appearances. He played on my solo record “Makin’ It On the Street” and eventually “Secret Sessions”. “Secret Sessions” is coming out again in Europe. You can find it online, it’s available on Amazon. I played there with Ian Hunter (Moot the Hoople) and Mick Ronson (David Bowie guitarist). Mick Ronson is one of my favourite guitar players.


Have you ever rejected an interesting work offer?

If you look at the opera, there are 24 pieces. That was a lot of work to write and record, especially trying to do it first division. I did that. I have some more material to record, but I’m very careful now which direction to go. Right now, I’m doing a show on my own called “The Best Seat in the House”, where I tell story from my point of view. So, I do that show and it goes very well. I can’t believe it, I go there and I tell stories about the best seat in the house. The best seat it the house is the drum seat. Basically, I sat on my ass, on the drum seat and I travelled all over the world with those bands and these musicians. So, I tell the stories about how my particular point of view is from the drum seat, being on stage, watching musicians play, playing with musicians. In fact, I can’t get a better seat in the house observing everything and being part of everything. You set the beat, and everybody jumps in: the band, the audience. It’s an amazing circus to be in. That’s the show “The Best Seat in the House”. I have the opera and I’m very surprised with the reaction we got so far. And as a result, I’m talking to you. Then I have the band, The Memory Thieves and let’s put it this way: That’s a lot of work for me, but I can’t think it‘s work. I think it‘s play. I don’t think I worked a day in my life, but I have done a lot of playing.


What kind of music are you listening to this period?

Right now, I’m listening back to a lot of classic and big band jazz like Buddy Rich. The thickness, the substance of big bands is so wonderful. We can’t hear now many big bands because financially it’s not very easy to be. I admire the amazing trumpet players. I really appreciate the big band jazz because the arrangements are amazing. That is what I’m listening to currently but I go through a lot of changes like everybody.


Are you surprised that you are still alive?

All I can say is “Yes”. Yes, I’m totally surprised. If someone enjoys life and can get it, he’s very lucky. There’s a four-letter word: luck. I think I treated myself in an unhealthy way, I did many stupid things but people do stupid things all the time. Right now I love life like a 6-year-old kid and I have a great time and probably I’m busier that I have never been. I just do what I love to do. Yes, I ‘m totally in shock that I can speak on phone with you (laughs).


Who is the most talented guy that you’ve seen in your life? You met everyone, you knew everyone, you watched everybody live..

I think that one guy that inspired me in my life is Levon Helm. Because of his great character, because of his soul. That’s the one guy that inspired my playing and my life. I have never met Paul McCartney but after I ‘m listening to his music for the last half of the century, I have to say that the guy is amazing musically. Leslie and I were about to play at a Ringo All-Starr (ed: Ringo Starr, The Beatles drummer) show in California in 1998. We both came to play “With a Little Help from My Friends” but Leslie before we went to play had a diabetic crisis. He fainted and we didn’t play.


A huge “THANK YOU” to Corky Laing.

Please check out .

Buy “Playing God” album from .

More Interviews