HIT CHANNEL EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: June 2013. We had the great honour to talk with a legendary guitarist: Robin Trower. Robin has a very successful solo career since the ‘70s, he was member of Procol Harum and has also collaborated with Jack Bruce (Cream) and Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music). His latest solo album, the amazing “Roots and Branches”, is the pure evidence of his outstanding talent. Read below the very interesting things he told us:
Are you satisfied with the feedback you got so far from fans and press for “Roots and Branches” album?
Yes, I’m very-very satisfied and I’m very thankful for that.
Was it a difficult process to do the arrangements for the covers you included in “Roots and Branches” album?
No, not really. Not that much. I brought them closer to what I do.
Was it a challenge for you to try to overcome the popular versions of songs like “Hound Dog” and “Born Under A Bad Sign”?
Yes, very big challenge. Everybody knows the classic versions of these songs. I tried to add some things on my own and I think I made them a little bit different, with the chord progression, you know… I wouldn’t have put them in the album if I didn’t add something on my own to them.
You did vocals on “Roots and Branches” album after many years. Did it happen spontaneously or it was a conscious decision?
I hadn’t thought of doing vocals in the beginning. When I prepared the material in the studio, I was enjoying it and I thought to give it a try. If I was happy with it, I put it in the album. With some I was happy with and with some I wasn’t.
Is there any basic idea behind the original songs of “Roots and Branches”?
I had some of those ideas from way back. There were always in my head. I ‘m also interested in painting and I did the design of the cover of the album.
How close is your next studio album?
I’m in the studio at the moment. I was in the studio a couple of weeks ago and I will be again in the studio in two weeks. I’m currently working on it.
Are you proud of the classic status that “Bridge of Sighs” (1974) album has?
Yeah, I’m very proud of it! Definitely! I don’t like everything that I’ve done, but I’m absolutely happy with this album.
How important was the contribution of James Dewar (singer and bassist in RT’s 70s albums) to your solo career?
Oh, very-very big! He was poet, he was singer, he was bass player. Most of people couldn’t do this.
Did you have a good time working with Jack Bruce (Cream)? Ginger Baker says that he’s a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde kind of person.
(Laughs) I know very well Jack. We had a ball making “Seven Moons”.
Is it possible to work again with Jack Bruce?
Yes, definitely. I would like to work again with Jack. It’s like being in a rocket when you tour with Jack. If we have a good material, like we did in “Seven Moons”, it would be a nice idea to do something together.
You had the strange experience to give guitar lessons to Robert Fripp (King Crimson)!! How was Robert Fripp as a student?
He was very good. He wanted to know how to bring some blues phrasing in his music. But I ‘m not sure how much he used these techniques. He has his own unique style.
On 8th August 1976, you played in Kansas City, along with Jethro Tull, Rory Gallagher and the great Roy Buchanan. I think you were the headliner. Do you have any memories from that night?
No, I’m sorry, I don’t (laughs). I have done so many shows to jump into this right now.
How much “space” for experimentation there still is in blues rock music? Some say that everything has already been played.
Yes, I think that there is still some room for new music here. I think some new stuff can be created by some talented musicians nowadays.
What made you to stick to Fender Stratocaster guitar?
I used to play with Gibson, but when I started playing with Strat I was getting mad. I have my own Stratocaster signature model now. I think that’s the perfect guitar for me.
Do you remember any funny/unknown/ unexpected story from the countless hours you spent recording at the legendary Olympic Studios?
You speak about something that happened 35 years ago. I didn’t remember anything particularly interesting story. I recorded there with Procol Harum and I think I did some songs for my solo albums, but that’s all really. I haven’t been so much time there.
Did you expect the tremendous success of Procul Harum’s song, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” in 1967?
No. Not really. It was a surprise. I didn’t expect that a song so different, with a so unusual form, would be so successful among the fans.
What was your first reaction when you learned that John Lennon was a huge fan of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”?
Well, I didn’t know that then. That song didn’t really mean anything to me when we recorded it. I enjoyed it after we made it.
Can you describe us your feelings when you played with Procol Harum at The Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 in front of 500.000 people?
I think we enjoyed it then. There was a great line up there (ed: The Doors, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Free) but we had to leave shortly after our show, so I didn’t get to see anything else there.
Have you ever rejected, for any reason, an interesting work offer?
No, I hadn’t get offers at that point that I would like to accept them and it didn’t happen. There are one or two people that I would have played with them but nothing, nothing really…
Are you happy with the triumphant return of the vinyl as format?
Yes, I definitely like that analog sound is back again. I love it. This is a good thing!
Could we say that in general the music that was created in the ‘60s and ‘70s was more original than today’s music?
Yes, the music that was created in the ‘60s was definitely more adventurous and innovative than today’s music. I think the ‘60s was the best decade for the music.
Where you do feel more comfortable: on stage or in the studio?
I am comfortable in both situations, even though they are very different. I feel very creative in the studio when I work on a new album and of course I feel very nice playing live in front of an audience and make them having fun.
Which is the best concert you’ve been as a fan? Who impressed you the most?
Ah, James Brown! I saw him live in London in 1965.
Is there anyone that you would like to play with and hasn’t happened yet?
I would like to play with James Brown but it ain’t gonna happen now.
With any living musician? Maybe with Jeff Beck?
(Pause) I’m not really interested in playing with other guitar players. I always liked Jeff Beck but we have two completely different styles of playing.
What kind of music are you listening to at the moment?
For my own pleasure, I am mostly listening to music from the ‘30s.
Is it possible to see you soon in Greece?
I hope so. I would love to come.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Mr Robin Trower for his time and to David Maida for his valuable help.
Robin Trower Official Website: http://www.trowerpower.com
Robin Trower Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RobinTrower
Buy “Roots and Branches” on Amazon