Tuesday, March 10, 2009

FBO: 'Astral Week: How the Van Morrison Interview Happened'

Last week we discussed Van Morrison's diss of failed (and non-failed) bands that had the tenacity to form in the years following 1966. We asked for an apology.

Tonight, by sheer coincidence -- a benefit from being semi-permanently based in New York City -- we met the author of the piece, The New Yorker's Ben Greenman, and asked him about how the piece was made, whether Van was a jerky as he sounded.

Greenman, who just finished a novel on a fictionalized version of Sly Stone (out in May), knows a bit of music. His favorite Stone song is an 'out of the way' 45-second piece that's 'not really a song' -- it's scary, about Sly floating or falling and looking to himself. Have to hear that.

He says that when Morrison's people contacted the New Yorker to have some sort of profile, the weekly rejected any idea of a Q&A type piece. 'Well, because we're the New Yorker, we could do that.' He and his editor came up with the idea of having him meet up at an East Village bar called Lakeside Lounge with a huge jukebox filled with 50s and 60s R&B songs -- the jukebox is on their website. Greenman picked the songs in advance -- songs he thought would get some comments from Van -- and they met.

Van's people had mentioned that they'd be documenting the whole thing -- that they are making a sort of 'short documentary' on the publicity campaign. 'At first we refused, then we let them because it wasn't that contentious of an interview.'

Greenman said he had about sixty or seventy quotes from him, but had to boil it down to a few for the 800-word piece. That he wasn't trying to diss the Beatles per se, and that he's not seeing new bands, but that 'not many 65-year-olds are watching many new bands.'

'The one about the Beatles being meaningless is the one that's gotten the most comments.'

We still want an apology.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

1 comment:

Scott said...

I happened to read this article in The New Yorker. I think the point--albeit, made dramatically--was that The Beatles fit into to a longer lineage of rock'n'roll...that rock'n'roll didn't just fall out of the sky when The Beatles hit the Ed Sullivan Show.

Twitter: @scottporad
Blog: I Need More Ears