Forty years of living life to its fullest has supplied John Martyn his fair share of both high and low points - the past 12 months alone have seen the singer/songwriter recieve a wealth of awards and also contract pneumonia. But with an array of remasters and a new studio album in the pipeline, the future looks positively rosy for the evergreen star.
Hellraiser John Martyn has played with the best and influenced them all, but a lifetime achievement award still came as a shock. He talks to Pierre Perrone.
John Martyn speaks about his Folk Award win, how he felt about the reception he got at the event, and the influences that have led to his enduring popularity.
Danny wants his mate back.
After four decades of raising hell, folk guitar master and genre-bending troubadour John Martyn is still in fine form.
Words Ciarán Tracey
The interview was shot at The Jerpoint Inn (Thomastown), conducted by Bryan Kolupski and edited to a 7 minute film with musical intermezzos. The subtitles come in pretty handy in spite of the occasional mistake.
John's early inspiration
I listened to a guy called Davey Graham, he still remains one of my heroes. He was a real mover when it came to guitar playing. I think bohemians have a strange way of playing, they really do... Listen to a guy called George Spence; very very erratic and strange but very organized which is great. It has to do with the vocal phrasing and the guitar phrasing, being right behind each other. Anyway, that's no more than you need to know, I suppose, really...
What influences John's music
John Martyn is a folk singer and experimental guitarist, best known for his influential 1973 album Solid Air. He has worked with Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Eric Clapton and David Gilmour. His body has suffered years of alcohol abuse and he recently had a leg amputated after a cyst burst. He is touring the country from Sunday, finishing at London's Roundhouse on February 3, performing the Solid Air album each night.
In this archive feature from Uncut's November 2006 issue (Take 114), Martyn talks us through the cream of his crop of exceptional albums, including Solid Air, One World and Grace And Danger. "It's about that need to be disconnected, to get somewhere else. The source of the sauce, if you like…"
Interview: Paul Moody
The drinking, the drug taking, the divorces, the bankruptcy, the broken neck, the affairs and the loss of his leg. But John Martyn's lurid personal life is still leaving room for some sublime music...
He may have left behind the wilder excesses of his hellraising days, but John Martyn still counts a Bloody Mary as breakfast.