Monday, January 13, 2014

INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Cyril Jordan (The Flamin' Groovies)

(photo by Ken K)

The "lost" interview!  I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Cyril at his hotel the night before the Flamin' Groovies' triumphant return to NYC.  Due to a technical error (and some human stupidity on my part), I hadn't had the opportunity to get it online until now.  My apologies to Cyril, his "guy" Barry Simons, and all the Groovies fans out there.  With the release of the first Cyril Jordan/Chris Wilson in 32 years last month, and this week's release of Chris's new solo album, it's gettin' pretty Groovy!  Enjoy...

Hey man, thanks for chatting with me – I am excited that the Groovies are back together!  I understand that other than the drums, this is the Sire line-up that’s together.  How did that come about?

Well I hadn’t seen Chris (Wilson) in about 32 years, and I had gone to London a couple of years ago with Roy Loney to do a Flamin’ Groovies bash and Chris came backstage.  The instant we saw each other, we hugged and made up.  That was it.  Word got out that we were back together and we just started getting offers, starting in November of last year.  The offers were so good that we decided to put the band back together. We’ve been back together now about 17 weeks.

You’ve toured Japan and Australia together and now you are hitting the states.

Yeah, we went to Japan and Australia, and we hooked up with my friends in Blue Oyster Cult in Australia.  That was a gas, I hadn’t seen those guys since 1978 in Paris.

Did you play the Hoodoo Gurus’ fest down there?

Yeah, we did the Dig It Up festival.  Dave Faulkner is an old, old friend.  The Gurus requested us and their promoter contacted me and then we added the Japanese dates.  It was the best tour I ever did…they are really organized down there. 

And how has the vibe been with the guys back on the road?

It’s a lot more fun for me.  I mean, I have Chris Wilson on guitar and I have always wanted that.  I had to kind of talk him into it last year, but it’s really working out great.

That’s awesome.  Are there plans for new music or is this simply a tentative “dipping your toes in the water” to see if it works?

Well, we’re trying really hard not make it just a retro thing.  We went into the studio after Australia and put down a couple tracks, and we’re going back into the studio after this trek in a week or two and hope to finish about half an album. Because I figured, if anyone from a label approaches us we better have something new in the can. 

And you’ll obviously own the masters?

Oh yeah, it’s all paid for by me…as usual [laughs]

[Laughs]  I bet!  Now is this new material or unreleased stuff from that period?

Well, right now we’re doing the catalog, which we’ve never done.  When we toured in the 70s, it was all the material that we’re currently recording.  For instance, by 1975 we didn’t have “Slow Death” or “You Tore Me Down” or “Married Woman” in the set.  This time around, we are doing our whole catalog.

How about the new stuff you’re working on?

I’m really excited about it!  It’s very close to the style that we’ve always been known for.  In London, we hooked up with the keyboard player from Procul Harem, Matthew Fisher, and he did two shows with us, and that was just a gas, so we will probably feature him on the album.

Do you have a production team in place for the album?

Yes, we do.  I’m working with my partner Joel Jaffe, who owns a studio in Sausalito called Studio D.  He’s on the road with us right now doing our sound. We’ve known each other for 30 years and he begged me to come along because he needed a vacation [laughter]

Very cool, man.  Have you given thought to what happens after this little run of the States is over?

It looks like we’ll probably be coming back to the East Coast sometime in October and we’re probably going to do Europe again. This thing just keeps snowballing.  When we were in Australia, we got an email from this guy from Live Nation in Europe and he got us a slot opening for Bruce Springsteen at Olympic Park and he set up a show where we headlined in London at The Scala, which used to be Brian Epstein’s old theatre. It just seems to be running on its own steam.  If it wasn’t for the Groovies fans….they really got this thing off the ground.  When the Gurus called us up and wanted us for the Australian thing, I mean, everything has just been falling into place and Groovies fans are coming out of the woodwork.  It’s really a community effort.

How has the reaction been by the fans so far?

It’s pretty exciting.  The band keeps getting better and better.  Matthew Fisher actually pointed that out to me after the third rehearsal.  It’s pretty strange – we’re evolving pretty quickly.

That’s great to hear! So anything else going on in your life as a creative person right now, or is the Groovies your main outlet for the time being?

I put my other band, Magic Christian, on the shelf for the time being. I’m going to devote all of my time to the Groovies thing this year.

Thanks for chatting, Cyril…best of luck!

No problem, Jason…glad we got to connect, man!

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