Checking in with Van Morrison
Few singer/songwriters have had a greater impact on music than Van Morrison.
Morrison has written some of the most important songs and albums of the 20th century. Ever the recluse, Morrison gives few interviews and rarely interacts with audiences at concerts. Instead, he lets the music speak for itself.
For Morrison, music isn't real unless it can be played live. He looks with disdain on some of his biggest hits, such as "Brown Eyed Girl," which he has called a "throwaway." Due to bad contracts, he didn't gain control of his career until the late '70s, he has said.
Tonight, the 64-year-old Irishman will perform at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (you can buy tickets here). Here is an e-mail interview with Morrison ...
Answer: I GUIDE IT - THAT IS THE ONLY WAY IT CAN BE DONE
What's it like to be in the moment, when you're performing and nothing's on your mind, and it's just you and the music?
ITS ALL ABOUT FOCUS - NOT THINKING OR PRECONCEIVING -- BEING IN THE PRSENT TIME IS THE ONLY WAY TO DO WHAT I DO ...
With time, has it become easier for you to get your feelings and emotions across in your singing? Or does the challenge remain the same?
ITS NEVER THE SAME - ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW - EACH DELIVERY IS DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON THE AUDIENCE THE SCENE ---
You've said Leadbelly, Rory McEwan, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker were a few musicians who you got into right off the bat. These guys had soul, which is almost impossible to describe. But when you think of these artists and some of your other favorite singers, what qualities in their voices and performances drew you to them?
EACH HAS TO HAVE A QUALITY OF TRANSCNDENCE TO GET MY ATTENTION - THOSE THAT DO CAN HOLD MY ATTENTION...
What goes through your mind when you hear one of your own albums, like "Into the Music?" Are you critical of yourself? Can you step back and enjoy it? Or do you ever go back into your own catalog at all, just to sit and listen?
BASICALLY I ONLY RE LISTEN IF I AM THINKING OF REWORKING MATERIAL FOR A LIVE SETI AM NOT PARTICULARLY CRITICAL OF IT BECAUSE I PUT OUT WHAT I WANT THE WAY I WANT IT - AT *THAT TIME* - I MAY LISTEN TO REWORK SOMETHING OR TRY SOMETHING ELSE LIVE BUT THERE IS NO NEED TO BE CRITICAL OF A WORK THAT WAS PUT OUT THE WAY I PROBABLY WANTED IT AT THE TIME FOR WHATEVER REASON...
Do the saxophone, guitar and piano appeal to you in different ways? Can you discover things on one that you wouldn't have found on another?
EACH INSTRUMENT IS ITS OWN PERSONALITY WITH ITS OWN VOICE SO OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE DIFFERENT APPEALS - ONE DOES THINGS THE OTHER DOESN'T ONE CONVEYS AN EMOTION OR A MOOD THE OTHER MAY NOT DO IN THE SAME WAY- DEPENDS ON WHAT THE COMPOSITION IS
I'm sure it can be hard to answer a question like this objectively, but how have you grown as a songwriter and a singer in the past couple decades?
THE ANSWER TO THAT IS WITH THE BEHOLDER - WHAT DO YOU THINK ?