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John Mayall: I work simply (interview)

Photo by Cristina Arrigoni

JOHN MAYALL, the blues legend, is 83 and still touring. He will play Prague's Archa Theatre (March 3, 2017) as part of his Livin´& Lovin´The Blues 2017 tour. How does he do it? We asked.
 
Your music has been loved even by people who are primarily fans of other genres. What is it that makes your music so universally accessible?
 
I try to express my feelings and thoughts about what goes on in the world around us and personal ideas are always great material to put into words and music.  Traditionally that’s what the blues is all about.
 
It is sometimes straining to tour, even for people who are 20 years old. What do you do that keeps you in good form? How do you combat the lasck of sleep that (probably) comes with it?
I love touring because we enjoy playing for audiences and creating fresh music every night.  We travel light and don’t have huge productions involved and unlike most bands we have enough material to play a different set list every night.  If you work simply like we do, we always get  plenty of sleep.
 
What do you do when you are home and can rest? Do you drink tea? Do you like books, or are youmore of a people person?
 
I’m always busy at home enjoying family, movies and doing what most people do in their spare time.  I don’t drink tea but enjoy coffee and eat plenty of meat.
 
You will play Prague in March, 2017. Do you have any special memories of the Czech Republic or Prague itself? Your 80 birthday gig in Archa Theatre was received so well and the reviewers were extatic. 
 
It’s always nice to hear that audiences were full of praise and in equal measure we enjoy playing for people and making sure we give of our best.
 
What can we expect at the gig that shall happen in March, do you feel the inclination to make any new music or is your array of songs so wide that you don't?
 
Like I say, I make up a different set list every night but it always is designed to give as much variety as possible and includes selections that cover my long career.
 
You have been active since the 1950s. To what extent you think the music scene has changed, and the music business became different? 
 
I don’t see any difference really.  People follow artistes whose music has always pleased them and I in turn try and give people honest and exciting shows to reflect the best in what I do.
 
Everyone who likes music has probably heard of you but you havent reeived any Grammys or such things. DO you have a theory why?
I have no idea but luckily it doesn’t seem to have interfered with what I do.
 
Do you have any recording plans for the foreseebale future?
The new album Talk About That should be coming out next month and it is already getting rave reviews.  It also features guest guitarist Joe Walsh who lays down some very bluesy licks.  As for future releases I anticipate recording a live album of the current trio figuration of Greg Rzab (bass guitar), Jay Davenport (drums) and me on everything else.  Should be an exciting record for everyone.
 


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