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DISTORSIONI - Italian webzine - "Interview with Rob K" (English Version)

  • INTERVIEW WITH ROB KENNEDY  (The Jam Messengers, Workdogs)



    Adalberto Correale (Distorsioni) - Where does your passion for music come from?

    Rob Kennedy - Apparently it's an addiction I have no control over. When I got to Hawaii in '99 and discovered there was NO rocknroll here I thought I was done with it. But no music turned out to be really depressing and started fucking up my life. 



    What's your favorite gig ever you've attended?

    Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at Radio City Music Hall 1997 is #1. He was less than 2 months from passing and still played the greatest show I've ever seen.
    2) Tammy Wynette - Bottom Line 1989 - not a dry eye in the house
    3) MC5/Stooges - NY Pavilion 1969 - changed my life
    4) Doors/Who - Singer Bowl 1968 – ditto



    What are you listening to right now?

    I'm listening to a lot of doo wop kinda old school rocknroll - Orlons, Dovells, Joey Dee and the Starlighters. I'm trying to figure out a style of background vocals for the latest Jam Messenger recording so this is research. I tend to binge on stuff - especially live stuff on youtube. Lately I've been watching a lot of Bon Scott AC/DC.




    Among all the artists you have worked with for your records, is there anyone with whom you have had a particular musical feeling?
    I've had the pleasure of jamming with a lot of really talented rockers and also a few visionaries. The visionaries can be tougher to work with but at the end of the day I knew I had done something special with them. I'd include Jon Spencer, Eugene Chadbourne, Jad and David Fair and probably a few others in that group. Of course I got a super special thing going with Marco - that goes without saying.



    You live in Hawaii and Marco in Brazil, how often and where do you try?

    We're always talking about touring. We've been to Brazil 3 times, Europe twice and around the Eastern US twice as well. It IS really hard to coordinate because both of us are pretty far away from the gigs. But right now I'm working on trying to get us back to Europe to support our new record, Kick Out!



    How long did it take to record kick out?

    We recorded most of it during our down time on the last Brazil tour. Luis from Caffeine Studio is a good friend and he lets us do our thing when there's holes in his schedule. I guess we did the rhythm tracks over a couple days. I figured out the words and did the vocals over the next couple days as I remember. 



    Is there a track in kick out that you love most?

    My wife likes Wake Up In Make Up but I don't play favorites among my songs.



    Especially in tower of babel it appears clear to me the influence of hip hop and i've found very original the brazilian rap part. tell us something about how you create this track

    We built Tower Of Babble like a hip hop song. Fat live beats - loop those - find some rhythm spice and add that. Tower of Babble took as long to record as all the other songs on the record added together. It was driving Lu and Marco nuts! We were supposed to be recording it with a guy from Racionais MCs who are kinda like the Public Enemy of Brazil. He couldn't make it but Cleverson did a great job. Both Marco and I like hip hop in general and Brazil's hip hop in particular. It's often very minimal musically and very political.



    You played in lots of places, which one did you like most and which place you haven't been to you would like to play?

    I like Scotland and Portugal. We get MAD fuckin audiences in both places so they are easy to enjoy. Cold Rice in Birmingham, UK is one of my favorite places to gig. For this coming tour I want to get to places I liked as a hippie tourist in 1976 - Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome. I've been trying to get to Japan forever.



    You're live performance are very exciting, in your private life which kind of sport do you practice to keep yourself in such a good shape?

    Fucking, drinking, pot smoking and yoga



    How do you see the future of The Jam Messengers?

    We have a really cool record we're working on. Looking forward to finishing that. As far as touring, I'm 59 this year. I'm in good shape - I teach yoga and all that - but my ability to enjoy doing headstands and really bring the physical show is finite. But meanwhile I do REALLY enjoy the gigs so you never know. Nusrat was kicking it right up to the end.



    Is there any bands currently in circulation that you like and consider interesting?

    I usually listen to a lot of my friend's stuff. Right now that includes Drifting Mines, Chicken Snake, Chrome Cranks, Spidercake, Slate Dump. From what I've heard I'll probably like the new Blues Explosion when Jon ever gets around to sending me a copy.


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