Directions and Influences - chapter 12
New Orleans, The Meters, Dr John, The Neville Brothers

New Orleans has been such melting pot of great styles of music forever. Many important artists in the history of American music have come from this region such as Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair, The Meters and Dr. John. I first heard Dr. John when Charlie Whisker introduced me to the 'Gris Gris' album. I loved the haunting voodoo atmosphere of the album not to mention the smokey grooves. Soon after I discovered 'The Meters.' I loved the raw spontaneity of the Meters, it was like they were jamming on their records and would kick up such an exciting feeling which is not always that easy to do in a recording session. Bass player George Porter and Drummer Zigaboo Modeliste sound like they are joined at the hip and they rattle those syncopated grooves like an dirty old diesel engine.

Another drummer I have been most impressed with is Willie Green from the Neville Brothers. I was able to spend some time with Willie when I supported the Neville Brothers on one of their Australian tours. Willie is a dynamo of rhythm, he just doesn’t let up. After one of the shows and a night of subsequent jamming with him around town at several clubs he was still firing and we went back to my house and at 6.00am, Willie cooking us up a Cajun breakfast was showing no sign of letting up. I later went to New Orleans for the Heritage Festival.

This will give you an example of a 'Mean Willie Green' day. Willie picked me up around midday, we went to the festival site hung out for a while, he did a quick line check and then a show with Cyril Neville's 'Uptown Allstars', a great band lots of reggae, funk and Afro grooves. Daniel Lanois was there side stage trying to talk Willie into doing a tour with him. Then back to Willie's place where he whipped up some delicious Cajun style Chicken. Then on to Tipitina's where he played a gig with a Klezmer band his wife manages. And finally a great gig again at Tipitina's with the mighty Neville Brothers. What a day!!! It was interesting hearing second line drumming in Klezmer music, it actually fitted very well. Tipitina's of course is the best place to see the Nevilles; it is their own turf. Stage right even has 'The Mean Green Pit' where Willie seats his guests.

Next: Chapter 13 - Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian