Hello all! I hope all is good for you and yours!
So after the period of time I expressed my respect for the great Jon Lord I feel bound to update you all.
The last few months have been very hectic, the UK tour dates were a revelation, almost all sold out and all were great evenings - know that from the emails I have received. The band was cooking, all played their hearts out and I am very thankful for that.
There was also the great spectacle of the band and I playing at the premiere of “Rock of Ages” in London - the new movie starring Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Mary J. Blige and a host of new young actors and actresses. “Here I Go Again” is strongly featured in the movie and I am constantly thankful for this song. It was also the lead song in a great movie last year “The Fighter” with Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg. In Rock of Ages, no less than Tom Cruise, Mary J Blige (sighs), Paul Giamatti and the young and upcoming actors sing a brand new version of the song, and it is a terrific version as well. The soundtrack is top ten in the USA and doing very well in Europe, the unmissable film will be out on DVD in October and Tom Cruise is superb in the role of the classic rock singer and is a revelation vocally! I met Tom at the premiere who is a very decent, polite man and normal in height, so unless you have met him don’t believe all that you read! He was very nice to me and my family and took time to have photos taken with them, and all his waiting fans in Leicester Square. We played on the balcony of the Empire, I have never played a gig like it in my entire professional career, but it was great. As Tom was leaving he saw me across the hall, left his bodyguards to say goodbye to me one to one, shook my hand and said “See you Bernie” - I hope so!
A short time after I was invited to the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”, the new Batman film, and I surprised my friend Morgan Freeman by tapping him on the shoulder and saying hello, he was very surprised, after all the last time we were together was at his house in Mississippi - some difference! Morgan is another great man and a lover of the blues so we get on rather well!
My documentary film “A Day in the Delta” is almost finished. I have a little more editing to do and possibly add some more music, I am very pleased with it so far and I have to thank my co-producers Adrian Garner and Jim Singleton for their help, especially Jim down there in the Mississippi heat! Cheers guys.
I plan to visit David Coverdale in September; he has invited me to his house in Nevada, so I look forward to that very much.
Musically I have finally got the live blues CD ready, artwork being done and I am very happy with it. To me, it sounds like a 1960s’ recording from a small club, great audience and some fine playing by the band - watch for a release date.
I also plan a limited edition of the Green and Blues sessions from 1995. I have found some original rough mixes before horns and guests were added and I also have some great live stuff from the Notodden Blues Festival in Norway 1996. The sessions feature Tony Ashton, David Levy, Henry Spinetti and Snowy White, plus a great bonus of a very good and amusing radio interview with Peter Green himself and some pictures from the weekend and also completely new sleeve notes. I plan to call it “Waiting for the Mayallman”, an overdue tribute to all the guitar players that the legendary John Mayall managed to find in the 1960’s: Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor along with original photographs from the period as well. It will be a double album, limited edition and all signed and numbered by me and it should be available to buy this coming autumn only on the website. The CD finally puts together all of those great sessions recorded in 1995 at Battery Studios in London.
So this brings me to the last few weeks. I was asked to play “Guitar En Scene” in France; I took the acoustic band out there. The backstage area, in the words of my guitarist friend Jim Kirkpatrick, was like “a walking guitar magazine from the late 90s”. On the bill were Keb Mo, Seasick Steve, Chris Spedding, Wayne Kramer, Steve Morse, Joe Satriani, John Paul Jones, Steve Vai and bringing the weekend to a close no less than ZZ Top! I have been associated with this great festival for three years now and last year I was made the patron of the weekend and have since had the honour of being made a patron for life The past gigs have included Joe Bonamassa, Motorhead, Alvin Lee, Gilberto Gill, Steve Lukather, and yours truly. This is the gig I first played with Joe Bonamassa - a very fine festival indeed.
I had a great night a few weeks before in London after my good friend Warren Haynes called me to say that his band Gov’t Mule were going to be in London and invited me to the gig. In case you weren’t aware, Warren is the guitar player with The Allman Brothers, a truly wonderful guitarist, out of this world slide player, the real deal, and a gifted singer and writer, other than that... As both Warren and I are PRS artists, we hooked up last year at the Paul Reed Smith Experience in Maryland. We had first met twenty years ago at a Hard Rock party where I was MD’ing for the ATP tennis guys John McEnroe, Pat Cash and many others. So knowing that Warren and the great Billy Gibbons were friends I asked Warren to set me up with the great ZZ Top guitarist, one of my all time heroes. I expected a few minutes with Billy, but heck, he knew more about me than I did! Unknown to me, Warren and Joe Bonamassa had e-mailed him to make sure I got to meet him one to one! It was a one of the greatest afternoons of my career, talking about guitars and blues with The Reverend Willy G in person. He was familiar with Whitesnake, pointed out that I had written a US number one, which he had not! “Co-written” I added to which the Rev replied with, “don’t make no difference”. I have many more stories to tell you all about the Rev but I reckon I should save for them all for the book! Seasick Steve was on the bill and did a great show with a fantastic drummer and the added attraction of John Paul Jones on bass and mandolin. Later on in the evening there was a jam session after ZZ Top where I got to play with JPJ - what a player! He asked why we had not played together before, “My thoughts exactly” I said, he was a lovely man.
I managed to hook up with my old mate Steve Morse who was taking time away from Deep Purple with his great three piece show – he took me back to our great jam sessions with Deep Purple over the last few years. Later on I listened to Joe Satriani again with his wonderful smooth and melodic playing. I then caught the one off that is Steve Vai, astonishing guitar stuff, G3 in a four hour show, phew I am glad I had to play acoustic guitar that night! I also had a few minutes with Dusty Hill and what a true southern gentleman he was! I never got to see Frank Beard until the gig which was a fantastic set. Billy Gibbons gave me a gift, and a gift for Peter Green, next update I will tell you what it was, and it is worth the wait believe me!
I am excited to be starting a new album this autumn which is all going to be original songs with some co-writes with these fantastic people I have had the pleasure to share a stage with over the last five years.
What on Earth was I doing before all this!
See you out there (for Henry)
Bernie M August 2012
Dino McGartland has had a petition up and running for just over a year now to get Rory Gallagher inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame. It has already had great support from fans and musicians around the world including Rory's brother, Donal.
If you would like to sign the petition, you can find it at: