Monday, 16 September 2013

Greek interview with Corky Laing

: September 2013. We had the great honour to talk with a legendary drummer: Corky Laing. Corky has been a member of Mountain and West, Bruce & Laing (with Jack Bruce of Cream) and he has also played with Memory Thieves (another band Corky has), Bo Diddley, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople singer), Mick Ronson (David Bowie guitarist), Meat Loaf, Bobby Keys (Rolling Stones, John Lennon saxophone player), Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush and many others. He just released the amazing rock opera, “Playing God”, performed by The Perfct Child, a very talented ensemble of musicians and singers. Read below the very interesting thing he told us:

corky9The rock opera “Playing God” has just been released by you and The Perfct Child. How the feedback has been so far?
I have to say that the feedback has been brilliant. I’m very surprised because it is not an American, western kind of accessible recording. It was recorded with the purpose of the content of the show. No, we did not have any kind of superb sound and fidelity. In other words, it’s pretty cut and dry. It is not what we do in the American way. The reviews had been focused on the content and the uniqueness of the show. The CD it’s a whole show, it’s different and I’m surprised that people liked it.

You are the only rock ’n’ roll drummer who could make a concept album with two internationally acclaimed philosophy professors (Prof. Matti Häyry and Dr. Tuija Takala)!! How did it happen?
When we were touring with the Memory Thieves in Manchester in 2003 or 2004 and we apparently had the professors in the audience who loved Mountain. So, we talked, it was nice and then they found out that I was also lecturing in different universities in Canada as a guest lecturer talking about music business and the lifestyle. They heard about it on their website or however the universities work and they invited me in guest lecturing in Manchester, UK and also in Finland where they taught also. So, over a year or two ago we played a show on a boat, in Copenhagen and then in Helsinki. Then they would come on the boat we would hang out and they asked me if I wanted to do more guest lecturing over in Finland and I said “I would love it”. So, our relationship grew and then one night we were sitting drinking and they said “By the way, as a result we are writing a book called Playing God”. This is an academic, philosophical, bioethical book and I knew nothing about it. I have no idea about philosophy etc specifically and they did the writing for an opera and I said “Oh, that’s kind of cool”. And they said “Would you like maybe to write a song or two?”. So, I said “Yes”, they were friends and I began writing the song “Luke’s Blues”, who is one of the characters that participated in an experiment in the opera. From there we continued to get together monthly: I would commute from New York to Helsinki once or twice a month over a couple of years and we developed the opera music for “Playing God” and we recorded it and one of the label owners in UK would like to release it. He came to the rehearsal and he said “I like to release it on Voice Print Records” and that’s the story. In other words, we kept working on it and it was a lot of fun because I had a great deal of freedom. I had the freedom to write whatever I wanted to write using the ideas for the book.

Was it a big challenge for you to do lead vocals on “Playing God” album?
Yes, as a matter of fact, initially I sent the vocals as a guy to the characters that would eventually come in and sing it for the record. So, I did all the demos with the vocals. As it turned out we did bring in people from Germany and Switzerland. But Matti and Tuija, the professors, thought my version was better. I didn’t necessarily agree, I’m a little bit sensitive about my voice but then I came back and I played it for my wife, Taffi (ed:Rosen, photographer), and she loved it. And I said “If Taffi loves it, we do it” and we decided to stay with my vocals and yes it was very challenging. I loved to sing but I ‘m very surprised that other people loved my singing too (laughs). I used to sing to guys: Jack Bruce (Cream bassist/ vocalist) or Leslie West (Mountain guitarist/ vocalist) when I wrote a melody with Mountain or West, Bruce & Laing. I used to sing the guy vocals and then Leslie and Jack Bruce would do the final vocals. So, I was used to doing it that way.
corky2Can you tell us a few things about the concept of “Playing God” album?
Ok, so here is the situation: You have a small town, there is a scientist, some guy who sells these ideas of genetic manipulation, where he would be able to do genetic manoeuvers, so he can perfect certain people: their hearing, their age, he would able to clown. This is a little futuristic, but basically there is a guy named Doctor Mr. C, who is going in this town and manipulate different characters and it’s a secret, nobody knows what he is doing. No.1: The first person that he manipulates is an old blues musician who is addicted to drugs and doesn’t have any money, so he agrees with Mr. C to do this experiment. He is aimed to be part of this experiment and he gets paid. The experiment by chance extends his life for 50 more years. Now, here’s the deal: He didn’t want to live longer, he’s miserable, he’s a blues musician addict, all these bad things and he has to live another 50 years. So, the opening of the show, in “Luke’s Blues”, he’s saying “I don’t want to live anymore” and he shoots himself or he takes pills. I think he takes pills and he ends up going to the gates of.. whatever, to the God.
Playing God
CD - £9.99

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