Latest News

Charles Lloyd is not into ‘ageism.’ The musician still loves touring at 80.

Update: The concert has been postponed because of the winter storm. A new date will be announced.

Charles Lloyd has no desire to stop recording and touring. Who can blame him? The venerable jazz musician, calling from Los Angeles, has enjoyed a successful solo career and has performed with an array of icons.

Lloyd, 80, who will appear Monday at the Carolina Theatre with the Marvels and Lucinda Williams, waxes about his latest album, “Vanished Gardens,” his friendship with Jimi Hendrix and reveals Bob Dylan’s wild prediction, which fortunately didn’t come true.

Q: Not many octogenarians are as busy as you are. How do you manage such a rigorous schedule when many of your peers are taking it easy?

A: I am not wired into “ageism.” I don’t focus on that. I have had a love for this music all my life and it sustains me to go forward.

Q: You seem so connected to Lucinda Williams. What was it like when you met her?

A: When I met her backstage, there was an instant recognition of understanding and simpatico. I felt it was a Southern crossroads connection without the taint of racism. She is a great poet and a deep soul with a singular voice. Later, I came to find out that we both love Howlin’ Wolf, who I used to work with as a teenager in Memphis.

Q: How much fun is it working with someone, who crafts a different style of music, like Williams and what do you think of her “Unsuffer Me?”

A: I don’t think about the differences, but of the commonality of experience that brings us together. We had a great time in the studio discovering the junipers and magnolias in each other’s songs. “Unsuffer Me” is rough! When the instruments took over at the end, we tried to release her from her pain. It got wild in there.

CL_BN_7.jpg
Charles Lloyd and The Marvels will play at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. D. Darr

Q: What prompted the amazing reimagined cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “Angel?”

A: As we were finishing the session, Lu said, “I wanted to sing ‘Angel.’” I said “alright,” and put a mic in the middle of the floor. We sat around it and did one take. My friend, Jimi, was smiling on us.

Q: What was it like being around Hendrix and what was it like when you heard “Are You Experienced” the first time?

A: I used to hear him in a club down the street from my loft in the Village. He was stirring it up. We had both come through the Chitlin’ Circuit and were dreamers in search of another kind of freedom. We became friends and had planned to do something together — but time ran out. When I heard “Are You Experienced” I was in England. I said to myself, “He’s opened up Pandora’s box.” The elixirs were flying.

Q: What was the impact of playing with Howlin’ Wolf and BB King?

A: We played little school houses and juke joints with Wolf and he would shake the rafters off. Women were pulling at his pant legs. I was a little boy and for me, it was strange, powerful and full of mystery. It was a great and deep lesson in communication. BB was also an important experience. He had a radio show in Memphis on WDIA — that was called Blues Boy On the Air. His sponsor was Pepticon, a patent medicine to cure all your ills. He was fixing the suffering with the music and the medicine. So he was a medicine man. I also played with Bobby “Blue” Bland who had that honey dripping voice. And Johnny Ace would sing the blues so slow, you could figure out calculus between the beats as I was dreaming of Bird.

Q: You were always tight with Dylan. What is he like?

A: Bob was a neighbor of mine in the Village — we hung together and talked about music and life. One day while I was visiting Robbie Robertson in Woodstock, he took me over to Bob’s who was working on “John Wesley Harding” at the time. Bob played some of the tracks and asked me to record on it. After hearing what he had done, I said “You don’t need me on this album. It’s great as it is.” When he learned I was moving to the West Coast in 1969, Bob cautioned me from doing so because it was going to fall into the ocean. I said, “So be it.” A year later, when I was walking on the beach in front of my house, I ran into Robbie and the rest of the band taking a promo photo on the beach. They had all moved out to California with Bob.

Q: So many of your peers self destructed. But you’re still here. How did you live through everything?

A: I withdrew entirely from touring and the music business when I moved to California. First to Malibu and then Big Sur. I knew that if I did not do so, I was going to implode. My life and music were falling apart and I needed to heal and regain my spiritual compass. This was a life-saving decision. I stayed away for a decade.

Q: What advice do you have for young musicians?

A: Make music because you love it. To our work we have a right; the fruits may or may not come. Go forward in love.

Details

Who: Charles Lloyd and the Marvels with special guest Lucinda Williams

When: Monday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m.

Where: Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan Street, Durham

Tickets: $55, $65 and $75

More information: 919-560-3030, www.carolinatheatre.org

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

  Comments