Morgan intervjuar Zoot Horn Rollo
This is a transcript of a telephone interview made by Morgan Ågren on August 7, 1999.


M: Just like the new 5 CD box, it's a lot of tapes… I mean regular tapes, not always very HI-FI.
Z: All the tapes of Dons piano playing, and all of that stuff… a full large suitcase… they are all buried in some dump somewhere.

M: Will you get paid this time, for the CD Box?
Z: When they contacted us about the box, Dean Blackwood called me and wanted me to do the linear notes for it, and I said I'm writing a book right now, and I know Mr John French could probably use a little cash, so why don´t you let him write it! And that was the right choice, because John had been in and out of the band for so long, he knew a better linear history of the band then I did. And he did a real good job. Have you read it ?

M: Just maybe half of it yet. I just got it.
Z: He did a good job as far as that goes. He was like me, he could have been a little bit more brutally honest about Don, but he was very nice to him, and upon the release of the box set, the primary members I guess got 1000 dollars checks, and for every 10 thousand sold we get about 2500 bucks

M: It read in the linear notes that there was one ex-member that nobody could find...was that Jeff Cotton?
Z: No, we couldn´t get a hold of Mark Boston

M: Okey, so he will not get paid then?
Z: Well, Mark Boston called me yesterday!

M: He did !?
Z: He ran into my brother at a barbecue (laughs), so we're gonna get him some money!

M: Do you like the box?

Z: I have only heard the first part of it. I will listen to it. I have been frantically busy myself. I listened to the first few songs, cause they were songs that I had reel to reel tapes of as a 15 year old kid, and I learned every note they played, just like a fan, so it's funny hearing those old Obeah Man and these original tunes they played, but I haven't got in to the Trout Mask stuff without the vocals and that stuff. I've already kind of heard that, you know.

M: Some people might think that the box is pretty expensive, but if the money goes to the members, then it's just great, it's about time… There is one really strange part on it, were an aeroplane is passing in stereo for like 2 minutes with nothing else happening… That is strange, like a bugged FBI recording!
Z: (laughs)

M: But I of course liked a lot of it, especially the stuff on disc 3 and 5, and the CD-rom for sure! The song "Odd Jobs" with Denny Walley was cool, I wasn't even aware of that song. AND, the linear notes with all the pictures and stuff... just that alone makes it worthwhile. How is your own book doing ?
Z: It's going okay, I didn't make a bunch of money on it. There is a few thousands sold, and they just released it in Japan, so maybe a few there. I didn't expect a lot of sales, but it's doing okay.

M: Is it less then 10 000 ?
Z: Yeah, if I got 10 000 units sold, it would have been a success for me. There's another box set coming out next week from Rhino, which we don't get paid for, but the 5 CD box, my book, just all the more information about this band, creates a situation for me to where now I can go into my bedroom where I have my recording stuff, and start to put out CD's, and actually think that I can make a little money doing that. I am not trying to get richer, but if I'm gonna do music I have to get paid for it, a certain amount to afford my time to do it. With the internet and the book, it's creating a good situation for me, that's how I figured about the book, advertising my future.

M: Do you have a favorite Beefheart album ?
Z: I go between Lick My Decals Off and Clear Spot.

M: Hmm! So not Trout Mask?

Z: Trout Mask I leave as a separate thing. I like Decals for 2 reasons. The Trout Mask just boiled me over and I was so inside it, I couldn't even… I could hear it, but it took too much for me to do it. Decals, I knew every note everybody was playing. I was the guy who went through all the parts, rehearsed them with everybody. I knew what was going on and I thought it had… not a refinement but it was a good next extension of what Trout Mask was, I really liked it for that, and Clear Spot I like, not all of it…Too Much Time I could do with out for sure, and a couple of the other ones, but as far as the simplistic groove type stuff and actually the only album that was ever recorded decently that we did. I like elements of that too 'cause it showed the other side of the Beefheart Band, having the blues roots and stuff.

M: I actually really enjoyed that the tracks on the Decals album were cut that short! 2,30 -3 min versions! Really cool, a song sets off, you get blown away, then suddenly, fade… It's like, what happened?? You can't get tired of it. And the fades are quick as well! Like a Beach Boys fade!
Z: Yeah! Well, the album you did, the Beefheart cover album, was really good!

M: Thanks a lot!!!
Z: It just blew my mind when I heard it, I couldn't believe it! And the singer… having the guts to even try to cover up Beefheart… more power to him, that was really good. I think the covers were done very well.

M: Well, it sure means a lot to me to hear that from you, thank you… I will send you some other stuff with Freddie Wadling also (the guy who did the vocals on our Beef cover CD), were he is doing his own projects. Freddie is a cult person here in Sweden, for sure. He has been around since late 70´s. Me and Freddie met in a band called Flesh Quartet where we were members. But, yeah! Freddie is amazing. I wish you could see him live!!! Anyhow, I know we are running out of time, so next question; Do you like Frank as a guitarist?
Z: Hmm, that´s a really good question, you probably would not like my answer! Early on when I was in the band listening to him, I though -wow, this guy is really good! Stylistically I like other types of players. I think he did real well with a limited amount of scale knowledge, mostly pentatonic type stuff you know, he could play real quick and mental, he was a very cerebral, "non sexual player", and I like more "deep down underneath blues funky dirty stuff," Muddy Waters, give me Muddy Waters! Funky shit under there, and Frank didn't have that.

M: Do you think that Don would ever put on Trout Mask today just for the joy of it?
Z:…..Good question… I'd say yes!

M: What would happen in his mind listening to it? Would he be proud, or?
Z: I don't know. To me, again this is my opinion, that was the statement (Trout Mask) that he never recreated, even though the later two albums with the later bands had those elements, and were executed well, I think that was the burst of creativity that kind of set sail for him. If he was to listen to it I think there might be, not necessarily going back and reminiscing, but I just think he would maybe acknowledge to himself the power of the statement.

M: Okey, my last question is a funny one. I want you to say maximum 3 things about the following people, the first things that came in your mind, 3 words, or less, understand ?
Z: Yeah!

Z: Creative

Z: Hmm… Humor

Z: …..Trying

M: MU ?

Z: No comment, I cant even remember what they sounded like

M: YNGWIE MALMSTEEN ?,- if you know who he is!

Z: Yeah, I do.., chops, soulless

Z: Nice fellows

Z: Why does he play like that?

Z: Kung Fu

Z: Don Van Vliet

Z: Not Funky

Z: Control freak

Z: Didn´t notice

Z: Same Birthday

Z: I'm to old

Z: Occationally funky


Z: Incredible player

M: And finally,- SWEDEN ?
Z: Morgan! -How do you say Agren?

M:( In swedish pronounciation:) "Ågren"
Z: Right, that's my answer

M: Laughs!! I expected you to say, haven't been there… or have you?

Z: No

M: All right, I am sure I missed some questions, but
Z: The only thing I would say is, I don't like busting certain musicians, but if you ask me about Ralph Towner, if you ask me John Coltrane…

M: Okey, so Name 5 guys that you really like
Z: John Coltrane, Ralph Towner, Gonzolo Rubalcaba (Cuban Pianist)

M: Is that someone from the stuff Ry Cooder released?
Z: No, no, no, no. That´s pop music, simple jazz. Gonzolo will give you a hair cut when you listen to him! This is some serious fuckin' jazz laughs! As good as it gets. Do I have one more choice?

M: Yeah yeah!! As many as you like
Z: Let me think…. Bartok

M: Hmm! …I should also ask you about your future projects, your coming CD! And how to do in order to get it.
Z: Yeah, when I have it ready, all they have to do is, go to internet: -I'll have it announced on there.

M: If you gonna do it all by yourself, but would need to get some kind of distribution thing going here in Sweden, I know which ones to talk to. Just tell me, I am sure they will do it
Z: Right now my time is so booked, and I´m so frasiled about trying to get Music done. I'm just trying to focus on the music, once I have the music, the business I think will take care of it self. And I'll be more than happy to to send you a copy, you can tell me what you think, and if you wanna help me out I appreciate it! Maybe at a later date we can play together

M: YES!!!! That would be something, I would love that!
Z: I have had an offer from a drummer in New York City, to play some, and this guy is… he is in your league! (Laughs)

M: Who is it?
Z: Gregg Bendian, I don't know if you heard of him?

M: No
Z: You should check him out, he does all the stuff on his own, he did a free 4 CD set thing with Pat Metheny, Derek Bailey and Paul Wertico. Serious Jazz, but he likes free outside stuff. He was in Cecil Taylors band when he was 20!

M: Cool!
Z: yeah,… So, Morgan I got to run…

M: Yes, I know!
Z: Did we do a good enough job here do you think?

M: YES! Definitely, I am sure, I haven´t interviewed anyone before though! I just went with the flow
Z: From my point of view, I just wanted to say hello to you anyway

M: That´s what I wanted to say too, and It felt strange to start to "how did you bla, bla, bla, bla, bla"
Z: Oh, I know, but that´s fine, it gave you a good excuse to get something out of it, but for me, just being able to talk to you, because I do respect your music ability, obviously a very good player. Sometime if I can get over to Sweden, there is a chance, cause I'd like to visit Thomas. You are in Stockholm?

M: Yes
Z: I will mail you, and try to get together

M: Great!

Z: Okey, and say hello to your friend Mats

M: Yes, Thank you so much !!!
Z: Talk to you soon.

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Morgan Ågren free drumsolo, France July 2010 (part 1)
Morgan Ågren free drumsolo, France July 2010 (part 2)