Cosmic John Martyn at the Dominion a fortnight ago was the first time I'd seen this beer-swilling beat hippy since I snuck in the back of the Victoria Theatre as a schoolboy in 1975 and watched him workout with double bassist Danny Thompson and jazz drummer John Stevens.
[The interview took place at Keele University]
R. The new album marks your return to Island Records, uses Linn Drums and you credit it thanks to Robert Palmer - but he doesn't play on it.
Long hailed as one of our finest acoustic guitarists, John Martyn has changed over to all-electric instruments. We set out to find why. Photos by Geoff Dann. Words by Max Kay.
Editor's note: The indented text are the Dutch comments during the interview, 'H' meaning 'host'.
H1: Vanavond in Moondogs, John Martyn. En we gaan een hele poos terug, naar zijn allereerste plaat, die verscheen [in 1968].
INTERVISTA ESCLUSIVA CON JOHN MARTYN
Consideratissimo dai critici, sregolato nella vita («bevo troppo, so che non dovrei, ma oramai è tardi per cambiare...»), Martyn è uscito con un Lp con cui rilancia la chitarra elettrica dopo anni di esperimento sull'acustica.
JOHN MARTYN's well-kept secrets unlocked by HUGH FIELDER
"SO SOUNDS think I'm an old hippy do they?" muses John Martyn as we stand in the hotel lobby waiting for the limo (the manager's estate car actually) to whisk us nearly 100 yards to the gig at Durham University 1. Well, it's raining and he'll get his track suit wet otherwise. "Nooo, that was all too wishy washy. I always wanted to be a beatnik. That seemed to have much more sparkle about it."
IT WAS Sandy Roberton, John's manager, producer, adviser and umbilical chord to the trends of the Eighties, who finally put my suspicions in focus.
Dopo anni di circuiti più o meno limitati John Martyn sta per avere una grande rivincita in special modo dopo il sodalizio artistico con Phil Collins.
Host: Neben mir, John Martyn...
H: Not from England, from Scotland...
JM: Scotland, Scotland.
H: Die Schotten legen ja immer sehr viel Wert darauf daß man also 'Schotland' sagt und nicht 'England', it's very important that we always have to say 'Scotland' instead of...
John, in Glasgow geboren, aufgewachsen Ende der sechziger Jahre, sixty-eight, you started with folk music, hast du mit Folkmusik begonnen. Dann, in the mid seventies, Mitte der siebziger, bist du umgestiegen auf Rock. Warum, why?
If the publicity machine has not yet made him a Rod Stewart or a Gerry Rafferty, then a loyal following around the world has certainly made a cult figure of John Martyn.
John who? It is still a fair question in his own native city of Glasgow, where the former Shawlands Academy boy is perhaps less of a name than he is in London, Vienna or New York.