01 Jul 1986
RD: Can you tell anything on the tunings Nick Drake used?
JM: Do you know, I can't. Nick was extraordinarily secret about all that. I could probably work them out for you. He used seconds quite a lot, very strange tunings, diminshed as well, so when you applied just two fingers you'd change the thing in a very radical way. I remember his fingering here, he'd the most beautiful fingers when he played, and they were made even more beautiful by the fact that the shapes that he'd play were not those you would normally see when other people play, very interesting little shapes. It wasn't very difficult at all, it was all very simple. It sounds complicated but it wasn't. That's a thing I should make a mental note of, to work out a couple of his tunings. I just never asked him you see. I was too bust toddling off doing my own stuff. He's a much under-rated guitar player.
RD: Do you think you acted as a catalyst in each others careers?
JM: No, to be honest there was always a slight element of rivalry. That's something I've never confirmed to anyone else before, but I really believe that. He never felt comfortable in front of an audience, it was embarrassing to go and see him, because he was obviously in such utter discomfort, he just didn't like going on and playing. He primarily played for his own amusement. Heaven knows how Joe Boyd discovered him, because I know for a fact that he didn't play in public. And one of the things that added to his utter detestation of the whole thing was that he was once booked to play a Coventry Apprentices Christmas ball. In those days, let me see, Purple Haze was 'in', and there he was singing Fruit Tree and all these gentle breezy little ballads, and I can just imagine them swigging back the Carlsberg Special and totally giving him an awful hard time. I know that that gig lived forever in his mind, he'd talk about it quite regularly. I'd hate to be effected that badly by one social experience. Dreadfully sensitive fellow, dreadfully sensitive.
[Later in the interview, after having talked about a Paul Kossoff memorial concert.]
RD: It must get a bit morbid at times.
JM: That's right. Especially in America. It's awful, you get these dreadful people with spaced eyes going, "Hey, wanna talk about Nick?" The first couple of times you feel sorry for them, but after four or five of them you go, "Not another nutter. He's dead you fool, dead, dead! You're alive, rejoice, rejoice!"