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Interviews

November 20th, 2002

The Legendary Al Kooper talked to us about the new Super Session Fillmore East Live CD that is being released next month.

FE: Thanks for joining us today. Your collaborations with Mike Bloomfield are  legendary, and we understand that you've unearthed some lost treasures, tapes of your Dec 27-28 , 1968 shows with Mike at the Fillmore East. 

AK: Actually these are from December 13, 1968. They were lost in the filing system for 33 years. 

FE: How did  you find these?

AK: When I was working on my last release RARE & WELL DONE, out they popped to my happiness & surprise.

FE: What is the release date and the label?

AK:  I spent a year working on them  and they will be released the third week in January 2003 on SONY-Legacy

FE: What do you remember about the shows and playing at the Fillmore East?

AK: We did a brief tour at that time. Part of the tour was recorded at Fillmore WEST and is has been in release since 1969 - it's an album called LIVE  ADVENTURES. On the upcoming one, Bloomfield's playing easily eclipses that older album. We rehearsed for about 3 days. The band is so-so, but Bloomfield's  playing warrants this show's release.

FE: Any Bill Graham stories to share from the Fillmore East gig?

AK:  Mike  grabs the mic outa Bill Grahams hands and introduces the
band  himself! 

FE: What was it like for you to listen to these tapes after all these years?

AK:  Strange. As I said, the band is so-so. But Bloomfield fans will REALLY enjoy his playing.

FE: For anyone who hasn't read your book, "BACKSTAGE PASSES and BACKSTABBING  BASTARDS", can you tell us about the first time you met Bloomfield and how  your relationship grew?

AK: We met on the Dylan Highway 61 Revisited sessions and got along instantly.  We were both in bluesbands (Blues Project-Butterfield) We both quit those bands to start our own hornbands (BS&T-Electric Flag) And we both got
kicked  outa the bands we started. So our careers were amazingly parallel and it was  logical for us to join in the recording studio.

FE: The Fillmore East was known for it's exceptional sound system and  acoustics. There are  rumors that every show at the Fillmore was secretly taped, were you aware of  this?

AK: all Fillmore East shows were VIDEOED in b&w from the box seats that  overlooked the stage. I've seen The Band Of Gypsies one of Hendrix from New  Years Eve 1970.(*note, this DVD is now available from amazon.com)

FE: How did you and Mike wind up being subjects for a Norman Rockwell  painting?

AK: With 40 rolls of film shot from the Fillmore West shows, we still had no  cover. Bob Cato, the art director at Columbia Records told me awhile back  that he could get Norman Rockwell if I ever needed that for anything. How  could I pass THAT cover up? For the Fillmore East CD, I had top illustrator  Drew Friedman draw Mike & I standing in front of The Fillmore East. That's  the new cover.

FE: What was it like working with Mike Bloomfield, from a strictly artistic  viewpoint as well as humanistic?

AK: To provide backup for an artist of that caliber is thrilling. Sometimes I  feel the same way when I'm playing behind Jimmy Vivino today. Bloomfield was  a unique humorous person as well. So is Vivino.

FE: I understand you are also working on a Mike Bloomfield boxed set with  Mike's brother Allen Bloomfield, for release sometime next year. Can you  give us a heads up on that?

AK: We;re just starting now. 3 CDs, realistic pricepoint.

FE: Your career is still going strong, you have not one, but two excellent  bands you've been performing live with, the Rekooperators and The Funky  Faculty. You recently released 'Rare & Well Done', a double CD retrospective  and your SOUL OF A MAN double CD is a must have for any of your fans as well as fans of the Blues Project and BS&T. What's in the future for Al Kooper in  2003 and beyond? 

AK: I'm soon to be mixing 5.1 Surround Sound SACD's of Super Session & Child Is  Father To The Man. Wish me luck....... no release dates on those yet. Also  trying to get out and play live more than I have before. Really enjoy that
more than anything

 

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