MARTIN CARR (LIVE HIGHLIGHTS)

BACK IN FEBRUARY MARTIN CARR HEADLINED A SHOWCASE FOR THE MOUTH MAGAZINE. ALONGSIDE AN INTERVIEW ABOUT RECENT ALBUM NEW SHAPES OF LIFE, IN THIS NEW EDITION OF THE MOUTHCAST WE’RE PROUD TO PRESENT A SELECTION OF HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GIG – WITH SOMETHING OF A TWIST…
In the very near future, through his Sonny Boy label in association with The Mouth Magazine, Martin will be releasing a live album ‘based on’ the performance – having spent the last few weeks working with our recording of the evening as a canvas on which to paint ‘new shapes of sound’… A few songs presented here – and the full album available soon exclusively through Bandcamp (here).

Photo : Martin Carr in soundcheck
Original Performance : Friday 16th February 2018 at Café Indiependent (Scunthorpe)  //  for The Mouth Magazine
In Concert Live Engineer : Parks Of Bathgate
Additional Studio Work : Martin Carr (February / March 2018)

 

LEON HENDRIX

LEON HENDRIX, YOUNGER BROTHER OF INCENDIARY GUITARIST AND COUNTER-CULTURAL ICON JIMI, IS ABOUT TO PLAY A RUN OF DATES IN THE UK. IN THIS NEW INTERVIEW WITH THE MOUTH MAGAZINE LEON LOOKS BACK AT JIMI’S LIFE AND LEGACY…

 

YOU’RE ABOUT TO PLAY A RUN OF UK DATES AT WHICH YOU’LL PERFORM SONGS BY YOUR OLDER BROTHER JIMI… I SUPPOSE THESE GIGS, AND PLAYING THESE SONGS, GIVE YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECONNECT WITH HIM.
Yeah. I play some of my own music too, but I do enjoy playing Jimi’s songs. Music is a very powerful thing and Jimi’s music is real unique, and so I’m still trippin’…

ARE THERE PARTICULAR SONGS OF HIS THAT ‘GET YOU’…
They call ’em all out sometimes from the audience, which is good. Every day there’s somethin’ new. But myself I like VOODOO CHILE and HEY JOE, and I like CASTLES MADE OF SAND. But I really like ANGEL – which was a song for our mother, who died early in our childhood…

THAT WAS IN 1958. LEGEND HAS IT YOUR DAD DIDN’T ALLOW YOU TO GO THE FUNERAL, TO ‘TOUGHEN YOU UP’…
No. The legend’s not right, man. My Dad was alcoholic, and he got drunk, and we couldn’t find the funeral. That’s it, y’know..?

AS I UNDERSTAND IT, FROM THE LEGEND AGAIN… IT WASN’T A PARTICULARLY EASY CHILDHOOD FOR EITHER OF YOU. SO I’VE ALWAYS HAD THIS PERCEPTION THAT JIMI MAYBE FOCUSED EVERYTHING HE’D GOT INTO THE GUITAR… AND MAYBE THE GUITAR WAS ALWAYS A KIND OF RETREAT – A COMFORT THING…
Well, hey… We all looking for comfortable things in our life, aren’t we? We all look for comfort. Our childhood wasn’t really that bad. My Dad, yes, was alcoholic. But he did the best he could. Jimi and I had a lot of fun when we were kids. He was in charge of me. He had to babysit me while our Dad worked. My Dad said “Don’t let nuthin’ happen to him,” to Jimi, and so I had to go everywhere with Jimi. I remember every moment. I remember when he first got started on the guitar, and I remember his band practices and I remember his first gigs. I used to go backstage. I went backstage when I was 12 and Jimi was playing for Ray Charles, when Ray Charles lived in Seattle. That was Jimi’s first real gig.

WOW, THAT MUST HAVE BEEN GREAT!
Well, I was 12 or somethin’ and so I didn’t realise at that age that when you met a famous musician you were supposed to be excited about it. I met Little Richard, I met… just about everybody. To me they were just regular people – and I think they liked to be treated as regular people anyway… I just had fun hangin’ with Jimi and it was, like, the music was a natural thing. And so ‘cos of Jimi I thought music was what it is. What it’s all about. I still do. I had a ball and I’m still havin’ a ball…

IT’S WIDELY ACCEPTED WISDOM THAT JIMI WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST GUITARISTS THE WORLD HAS SEEN THUS FAR (IF NOT THE GREATEST)… DO YOU REMEMBER HOW HE FELT ABOUT THAT? I SUPPOSE WHAT I’M ASKING IS: DID JIMI REALISE HOW GOOD HE WAS?
I don’t think so, no… I don’t actually think he did. I think he realised it was sorta second-nature to him, and he knew that if he played guitar he’d always have money, always have a job…

HE BECAME AN ICON – AND A PART OF THAT IS THIS ‘WILD MAN OF ROCK’ THING… BUT I’M NOT SURE THAT’S RIGHT. I’VE ALWAYS FELT HE WAS A GENTLE SOUL – NOT NECESSARILY FRAGILE, BUT GENTLE…
He was. Yeah, that’s right. He was extrovert on the stage but off stage he was introvert. He got to express himself on stage through his music. That was his only real outlet, his only platform, to feel things and say things. He loved it. I could see it in his eyes when he’d be playin’…

I SUPPOSE WE’RE SAYING HE WAS QUITE SHY…
Yeah, we are. As a child Jimi was very quiet. I was the opposite. I was always hyper, and Jimi was always in deep thought. I was runnin’ round and he was always thinkin’… He was always in thought. He was occupied with somethin’ – but he just didn’t know what it was yet.

DID HE HAVE TO RESCUE YOU FROM TROUBLE?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. But remember, he was in charge – so it was his fault I got in trouble! We’d go out, we’d walk for miles out in the country. We’d explore and do stuff. I got in danger a couple of times but he saved me. He was a boy scout, and I was a cub scout. We played sports. He was on Little League and I was on Pee Wee. We went all over playin’. Life was fun. It was exciting. But it was just a normal life, y’know?

JIMI WENT INTO THE ARMY IN 1961. 
I did, too.

I GUESS, IF YOU WERE THE HYPER ONE AND JIMI WAS THE QUIET ONE, THE ARMY WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU THAN IT WAS FOR HIM…
No, it was fun. Remember, whatever Jimi did I’d do too. So, he got in trouble and the Judge said he’d drop the charges if he went in the army. The same thing happened to me. And it was like boy scouts with real guns. That’s all it was, ha ha ha…

AFTER THE ARMY JIMI BECAME A MEMBER OF THE ISLEY BROTHERS BACK-UP BAND AND, AS WE SAID EARLIER, HE WORKED WITH OTHER PEOPLE INCLUDING LITTLE RICHARD… SO QUITE EARLY ON JIMI GOT A VERY SOLID GROUNDING IN WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A WORKING MUSICIAN…
He did, yeah. And Jimi was the best guitar player around at that time, so he played with everybody… Ike and Tina Turner, Al Green, Wilson Pickett. If you can name it, he played it. Come on! These people would steal him. They’d hear about this kid who could play guitar real good, and they’d go see him in someone else’s band and offer him more money to go with them. So he’d be with one band for a couple of months then someone would come along and steal him. They’d give him more money, and so he’d be gone… He didn’t like to hang around too long anyway, with stuff. He always wanted to move on.

THAT SUGGESTS AN INTERESTED MIND – I SUPPOSE, AS YOU’VE SAID, JIMI WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING…
Exactly, man. Even in his music… He was so disappointed with the way his management treated him, ‘cos he wanted to make more music. He got tired of playing PURPLE HAZE and FOXY LADY. It caused the band to disrupt, and he wanted some different players. He wanted to make different music. He wanted to write more songs, he wanted to write for symphonies, he wanted to conduct orchestras. He wanted to evolve his music – but they wouldn’t let him, because they were makin’ so much money off of it, y’know? The management were holdin’ him back. He wanted to move on.

THE BAND WAS, OF COURSE, THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, WHICH BECAME VERY VERY WELL-KNOWN, AND JIMI’S ABILITIES CAUGHT EVERYONE’S ATTENTION… THERE WERE THOSE EXTRAORDINARY RECORDS – ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?, AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE AND ELECTRIC LADYLAND… THIS WOULD BE LATE 1966 THROUGH TO 1969… WERE YOU IN TOUCH WITH HIM MUCH AT THIS POINT?
Yeah, I went on tour with him. Listen, I was in the army and he came on the radio, and it said he was comin’ to town. So I got a pass. When I met him at the airport he said “Leon, I came to get you. Go on tour with me,” and I just said “Okay”… I kind of forgot I was in the army. So I was AWOL for the entire time I was on tour with Jimi, and I ended up going to jail for that. I was just AWOL, that’s all – but they tried to make it that I was a deserter. But Jimi and my Dad got some lawyers. They fixed it up.

DO YOU REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT HOW JIMI WAS COPING WITH THE HUGE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION THAT WAS COMING HIS WAY AT THAT TIME..?
Yeah. He’d rather just play his music. I remember him calling me from New York. He had a job, he played the Café Wha? and he played around New York. He made a hundred dollars a week, and he had a girlfriend and he had a car – and he was happy, man. He was happy. He was a musician, pure and simple. He didn’t like the fame as a thing over that – and the more he got famous the less happy he became. People were demanding too much of him.

HE WAS AMBITIOUS BUT BECAME HEMMED IN BY THE BUSINESS…
He was ambitious but not in that way. He just wanted to play his music and his ambition was to evolve that. Really, he had the music machine going on in his head. He always did. At an early age he was hearing stuff in his head. Until he found the guitar, the instrument to bring this stuff to the Earth, he didn’t know what it was that he was hearing and he couldn’t be on his way. Once he got the guitar he was on his way. But all his life he was hearing music. He was kinda bluetoothin’ with God.

THERE WERE PROBLEMS WITH DRINK AND DRUGS WHICH, SOMEHOW, LED TO JIMI’S DEATH…
Well, if you would have read the autopsy report from the Doctor he didn’t have any drugs in him. There were some strange circumstance goin’ on about that, but I don’t wanna go into that… Of course, we all had our problems with drink and druggin’. I remember when I was on tour with him, I learned to do that. That was the first time I ever got introduced to marijuana and cocaine and alcohol.

DO YOU REMEMBER FINDING OUT ABOUT JIMI’S DEATH?
Yeah.

WHAT WAS THAT MOMENT LIKE?
I was in prison. I was doing my time for the AWOL. When we split up Jimi said he had to go to Hawaii, and we had plans to meet up later in New York and start a new company. His contract was up pretty soon and he’d finally be free. I went to Seattle and the Military Police were waiting for me at my Dad’s house. Jimi went to New York and found out I was goin’ to jail, and he wanted to come and play a concert for me at the prison. But they said “No, you’ve already been in enough trouble with the law and that’d be bad for your image,” and all this kind of stuff. So instead, he sent me money to start up a record club, ha ha…

IT WAS MID-SEPTEMBER WHEN JIMI DIED…
September 18th.

DID SOMEBODY COME AND TELL YOU, OR DID YOU HEAR IT ON THE RADIO OR SOMETHING?
It was on the radio in the prison, early in the morning. Everybody was up, doin’ their thing. And it was on the radio, and all of a sudden it got real quiet. The whole place got real quiet. My number was called over the loudspeaker, and I was told to report to the Chaplain. So I knew it was true. My Dad was on the ‘phone and he was cryin’, and I was cryin’ and all that.

DID YOU GET TO GO TO JIMI’S FUNERAL?
Yeah, I got to go to the funeral – escorted by US Marshalls and stuff. They were alright. They just said “Go ahead and we’ll see you after”… Whatever, y’know?

JIMI WAS – AND IS – FAMOUS ALL OVER THE WORLD. BUT THERE SEEMED TO BE A BIT OF A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UK…
Oh yeah. Definitely…

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WAS?
He loved England ‘cos it was like Seattle. It was like home. It was the same climate, y’know? And this is where all the music was. This is where all of his friends were – Eric Clapton, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, everybody… After people played they all went and jammed together. Like, when Jimi played a concert that was only the warm-up… After the concert he was out and about lookin’ for somebody to play with and somebody’s studio to jam at. They’d just be jammin’ all night ’til, like, seven or eight in the morning. It was awesome.

OBVIOUSLY JIMI CASTS A LONG SHADOW IN PUBLIC LIFE – AS A WONDERFUL MUSICIAN AND AS AN ICON… BUT YOU WERE FLESH AND BLOOD WITH HIM, SO IT UNDOUBTEDLY ALL MEANS SOMETHING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FOR YOU…
Well, Jimi has a legacy and it’s his legacy. Jimi’s legacy is so great. As long as human beings can hear music, he’ll be there. It’s sorta like being immortal… I’m not really trying to carry it on – because who can? Who needs to carry it on? It carries itself on, and it sorta speaks for itself. I’m on my own journey.

YOU’VE HAD A COUPLE OF YOUR OWN ALBUMS…
Yeah. I write stuff, I play, I have a coupla albums I’ve done, on iTunes and stuff like that. Every day somebody calls me up and wants to do some project or something’… and that’s cool. They come to me, I don’t have to go ask them. I’ve been round the world, like, ten times. My life is what it is. It’s my own journey. I’m having a ball. I’m livin’ it. I’m lovin’ it. So, this is my experience now and I’m thankful for it. It’s quite an experience, dude. It’s like Jimi’s still takin’ care of me. Thankyou Jimi…

 

Sat 02 June    Central Theatre   CHATHAM
Sun 03 Jun   Princess Theatre   HUNSTANTON
Weds 06 Jun   The Grove Theatre   DUNSTABLE
Fri 08 Jun   The Brindley   RUNCORN
Tues 12 Jun   Queens Theatre   BARNSTABLE
Weds 13 Jun   Playhouse Theatre   WETSON-SUPER-MARE
Thurs 14 Jun   Concorde Club   EASTLEIGH
Fri 15 Jun   Leisure & Arts Centre   STEVENAGE
Sat 16 Jun   Playhouse   HARLOW
Sun 17 Jun   Floral Pavilion Theatre   NEW BRIGHTON