Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Interview: Singer/Guitarist Robert Cray

Daood interviews the legendary singer/guitarist Robert Cray who will be performing at the Grove in Anaheim. The podcast and a transcript of the interview after the jump!

Podcast of Robert Cray Interview:

Click here to Download 9.5 MB

Interview Transcript:

DAOOD: Good morning, good morning! The legendary guitarist/singer Robert Cray is my very special guest. Robert Cray's first debut album "Whose Been Talking" is definitely a collector's item and his musical journey has continued decade after decade with his 2008 latest release "Live at the BBC". Robert Cray has shared the stage with other legendary blues singers such as John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Muddy Waters and others. Robert Cray is here with us to talk and discuss his amazing career. It is an honor and privilege to speak with you today Robert Cray.

ROBERT CRAY: Thank you.

DAOOD: Thank you sir. Let's get things started. With over a dozen albums, your last two recordings have been "Live From Across The Pond" in 2006 [and] your 2008 album "Live From the BBC". Share with us your decision to record Live....

ROBERT CRAY: Well, with "Live From Across Pond" at that particular point, we have never released a live cd, that was something we always wanted to do. Except we never really found anything we wanted to release because every time we did record, it was a one shot deal, we had one night and it seems to me we always wound up being too tight and too concerned about the process of being recorded live, so when we did record "Live From Across the Pond", we were on tour with Eric Clapton and we performed 7 nights at the World Albert Hall Theatre in London. So we had 7 nights to record, just get good material. We weren't concern about the recording process because we were the opening act. We were more concerned about the performance and we did some great performances on those 7 nights.

DAOOD: Yes sir, "Live From Across the Pond" was recorded on your recording label Nozzle Records. If I'm correct, "Live At the BBC" was recorded on Island/Mercury Records.


DAOOD: How come "Live at the BBC" is not recorded on your record label?

ROBERT CRAY: Because the Island/Mercury recordings were culled from years of recordings that was done and owned by Mercury/Polygram at the time we were under contract with them. So that album was released post Robert Cray Band being on that label.

DAOOD: Okay, so is Nozzle Records still in existence?

ROBERT CRAY: Yes it is, as a matter of fact, we are recording a new record now. We are in the process of mixing and that'll be our first studio record since 2005.

DAOOD: "Live at the BBC" has a number of great compositions from various albums. How did you determine the selection of songs that would be included?

ROBERT CRAY: Well, what I did was I looked for performance, because although we did change up the shows on a nightly basis, we did a lot of the same songs on some of the nights as well. What I looked for was performance, every night with the same song, we changed the tempo, the solos were different, different fields and different approaches on a nightly basis. That was difficult of 7 nights. We got a lot of good stuff, but yeah just looking for the grooves.

DAOOD: Okay, okay I'm sure like most artists you thoroughly enjoy something you create, what songs from "Live at the BBC" when you performed them take you to a particular place in time where the emotional state of a relationship that took a nose dive into a dark place where you never want to return?

ROBERT CRAY: There's a few songs - "Bad Influence" - that was written from a personal point of view, then there's the song "20" which is about the war in Iraq which is about a dark place for all of us.

DAOOD: Exactly.

ROBERT CRAY: None of us never want to go back to a situation like that.

DAOOD: Yes, sir.

ROBERT CRAY: So there's a few here and there.

DAOOD: Currently you are on tour you performed in New York over the weekend, so far into this tour has there been any highlighted moments from your fans?

ROBERT CRAY: Yes, there's been some. We're getting some good responses from the audience, so far a lot of that is attributed to personnel changes over the winter and we have back with us, once again, on bass Richard Cousins. He and I started the band in 1974. Richard is back after leaving in 1991 or 92. We are also working with drummer Tony Bronical who is a fantastic drummer, he's been around a long time, he's performed with a lot of different artists, and together that makes our new quartet, I think, very strong. We're also sneaking in some of the new stuff we've just recorded. The audiences is responding in a positive way to same of that as well.

DAOOD: Beautiful! You just earlier spoke about recording, so there will an new album coming soon?

ROBERT CRAY: Yes, if everything works out right, we hope to have the album out by July.

DAOOD: Is there any artists you would like to work with currently on the horizon?

ROBERT CRAY: Right off the top I don't know. I've been the type of guy who just takes them as they come.

DAOOD: The reason I ask is because, you've have performed with great historical music legends such as John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. I was wondering are there any artist that have touched you, actually say "that's an artist I want to perform with"?

ROBERT CRAY: We've been lucky working with a lot of people more recently. We've been doing a lot of shows with Kev Moe, he's a great song writer and doing a lot of shows together and will continue to do so. That's been a good combination for us.

DAOOD: Yes Sir. When you're not recording and touring what artist do you take pleasure in listening to?

ROBERT CRAY: I'm the kind of person who likes to go back in the catalog. I listen to a lot of different music Jamaican music, my favorite blues Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jazz Theolonious Monk, Clifford Brown. I'm all over the place.

DAOOD: Okay, beautiful, I'm going to quote someone you know and who is very dear to you... "that's funky". Do you know who said that?

ROBERT CRAY: "That's funky", that sounds like my son Winston.

DAOOD: Exactly, I was talking with your road manager he said he heard a composition he said "that's funky".

ROBERT CRAY: He heard my wife say that about something. He's only 20-21 months old. My wife put on some new material that we've been working on the new record. It was one of the songs written by Keyboard player Jim Pugh. He turned around to Sue my wife, and said "that's funky".

DAOOD: That's so funny! Does he seem to be on the path of his father?

ROBERT CRAY: You know, Jim our keyboard player, says he bobs up and down to the music. But when Jim was over one time he said there's more to him [than] bobbing up and down to the music...Jim says he's turned his head to the side as if to say "do you hear that"? He thinks that Winston may become a drummer.

DAOOD: April 9th, you'll be at the Grove in Anaheim, this will be my first time seeing you perform. My final question, will you only be performing songs from your latest album or will you go to your glorious past? Will you give us songs such as the "When the Welfare Turns Its Back?"

ROBERT CRAY: We do go back to the "Bad Influence" records. We play cuts from then onwards. Yes, we do dip into the books, we get a wide variety of songs and plus we are sneaking in some of stuff that has not been released yet.

DAOOD: Robert, I want to thank you for this opportunity and to have the pleasure of interviewing you. I'll tell you, it took a lot of courage for me to actually go through with this interview. I've looked at your career, the people you've shared the stage with, and you're truly a music legend!

ROBERT CRAY: Thank you very much.

Robert Cray Band performs at the Grove of Anaheim on Thursday, April 9th at 8pm. Check out for more information.

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