Thursday, January 12, 2012

Excerpts from Barry Melton Interview (... TimeMazine #6 - Autumn 2011)

Hey! Please do enjoy some excerpts from Barry "The Fish" Melton Interview, taken from Issue 6 of out psychedelic Fanzine "TimeMazine". It is a 10page(!) interview with lots of Q's & A's dressed with many photos. If you wish to have an actual printed copy of the Zine, just drop a line, a mail, or whatever.......TimeLord Michalis

E: You met Joe at the Jabberwock?
B: No. Joe actually called me up on the phone and said “my name is Joe McDonald and I’m making a recording of a couple of songs and I called up Dan Paik who says he knows you and Dan said that you would be more appropriate to do this recording with me than he is. He said you’re a better guitar player and I should call you up”. We met and went down to Campbell Coe’s music store in Berkeley because one of the tunes was supposed to be an electric song.  The song was called ‘Superbird’ and it ended up on this little EP that we made that was supposed to be a talking issue for a magazine... Rag Baby... put out by Joe and Ed Denson. In any event we made it at Chris Strachwitz’s house. We had 2 songs... one was an electric song. We actually rehearsed for this recording. We went down to Campbell Coe’s... where People’s Park is now... and rented an electric guitar and an amplifier... we rehearsed the song ‘Superbird’ and the ‘Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die’ rag was with this jug band that included a guy named Carl Schrager on washtub bass and a guy named Mike Beardslee was singing along with him and Joe played guitar and I played guitar. Bill Steel, another old Berkeley jug band guy played too.

E: So how did you get the Fish thing?
B: Well how did Joe get the Country Joe thing? Neither of us identified ourselves by those names at that time. That was just a joke name that Ed Denson had come up with and this is an era when people are having weird band names and we thought we’d have one too. Ultimately speaking at some point in time I think those names crystallised to become identified with Joe as Country Joe and Barry as the Fish but that of course was over years of changing bands, of going through different permutations and the only constant was Joe McDonald and Barry Melton so we must be CJ & F because the only constant thing about CJ & F were these two guys. 

E: How much of a place did psychedelics play?  You guys used to play tripping out on acid.
B: As I pointed out and it’s true from a musicological point of view the drugs were entirely incidental from what was going on which was a transition of folk music into a more improvisational form that melded jazz idioms and other things into an instrumental form. CJ & F to this very day and Barry Melton as a musician to this very day is nothing more than a folk musician who melded jazz improvisational themes into folk music and somehow carved it into a new musical idiom in the ‘60s. This idea that drugs made it happen or that drugs make anything happen is a magical idea. What I mean is that it’s magical thinking. It’s not true. 

E: When you went over to England were there times you clashed?
B: I don’t think we really clashed. I think we just sort of fell apart. It’s one of those relationships for whatever reason didn’t sustain itself. I think our close relationship ended probably in 1969 or 1968. Everything after that can be explained by how much we got paid. You know once we made a lot of money we were all little ‘Hitlers’ in among ourselves. What money does to young people is that it makes them assholes!

03. BARRY ‘the Fish’ MELTON – The Butcher’s Boy (Live 2005) [9:13] UNRELEASED
“The Butcher’s Boy” is a traditional song arranged by Barry Melton (Copyright 2005 Seafood Music BMI), recorded live and taped by Rich Selleseth on May 20, 2005 at the E Street Plaza, Davis, California. Barry is on guitar and vocals,  Steve Ashman on bass, Banana (The Youngbloods) on keyboards and Roy Blumenfeld (The Blues Project) on drums.

The Butcher's Boy is taken from the CD comp of TimeMazine Issue 6 
(Thanks chr111777 for making this video...)

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