Jeff Green, whose album Jessica is reviewed here kindly gave his time to this interview....why not play these demo versions of songs from the album currently under construction - Elder Creek - while you read it? I particularly recommend Mnemosyne...
Elder Creek Demos by Jeff Green
Hi Jeff, nice to be able to interview you. Tell us a bit about your background and your influences.
Hey Roger, Thanks for taking the time to interview me. Much appreciated mate!
Well, I started off as a recorder player after hearing “Billy Don’t Be a Hero” back in ’74 while living in and going to school in England. I eventually graduated to the clarinet a few years later before the guitar “bug” grabbed me after hearing David Gilmour’s “Money” solo from the “Dark Side of the Moon” Eventually, Rick Wakeman became a big influence after seeing him at the Hammersmith Odeon back in 1976.
My first exposure to your music was the album Jessica, an intensely personal work, describing the joy of impending parenthood, the trauma arising from the subsequent still birth of your daughter, and the celebration of her spirit. A creative person in any field of the arts has an advantage over the rest of us in that they can use their art as catharsis. Was this your main intention behind the making of Jessica?
Thanks for that Roger, but I must say that I believe that every human being on this planet is “creative” I truly believe that we are all born with an equal potential for artistry… It is simply down to each individual to develop it.
Of course there was a huge degree of catharsis appertaining to this album. To be perfectly honest, that was the original purpose, but then it grew much bigger than me, or anything I could ever conceive of – it kind of took on a life of its own.
Do you hope that Jessica may be of help to others who find themselves in that same awful place?
You know, this is a thing that no human being should ever have to go through. It really hurts, but we deal with it and as “survivors” we make the most of a tragic situation… I truly believe that Jessica is out there and with us weaving her “magic”!
Did you find your perspective on those events changing over the 11 years it took to complete the album, and is that reflected in the songs on the album, as it all seems amazingly seamless to me?
That is a very good question and to a degree it did change during that time as more acceptance began to settle in. However, I did my best to keep the story and original message intact and keep the whole project as smooth as possible.
The proceeds from the album sale are going to Southend General Hospital towards the creation of a Bereavement Room. How is that project progressing?
Well, during that eleven year period a bereavement room has been built. So the proceeds from this album will be going to maintain the room, provide facilities and generally keep the room as comfortable as possible for those who unfortunately have to use it.
How's the new album "Elder Creek" coming along, and when do you think it will be ready?
It’s going very well. I’ve just about completed the writing process and 5 tracks already have the final drum and bass parts recorded. I’m aiming for a late Summer release.
Who are the other musicians involved in Elder Creek?
Pete Riley and Mike Stobbie who performed drums and keyboards respectively, are both on it. I have an excellent bass player named Andy Staples who came highly recommended by Pete, Garreth Hicklin from the Illegal Eagles will be contributing vocals as will (fingers crossed!) Alan Reed ex-Pallas.
One of the samples of Elder Creek on Soundcloud is Mnemosyne, a good old fashioned 20 minute prog epic, For those of you old enough, that's one side of a vinyl record, and the proper length for an epic in my opinion. Calliope would be proud! Will this be the start of a "one epic per album" trend, he says hopefully?
It certainly will for me! I’ve always hated the time constraints that have been arbitrarily imposed by record labels and radio formats. Some songs simply need time to develop and create a mood in order to get the message across. Many of my main influences have come from side long tracks!
This is a bit of a naff question I know, a bit like "what's your favourite colour" (you can tell us if you want!), but, what's your favourite "epic" piece of music of all time?
Ha ha, Blue I spose… Seriously, It would have to be “Close to the Edge” by Yes. It is such an intense and beautiful piece of music – an absolute masterpiece and I truly believe that is the standard by which all epics should be measured.
Old codgers like me sometimes despair of modern listening preferences, particularly the obsession with mp3. Epic stuff like Mnemosyne deserves to be listened to on proper hi-fi systems I reckon. I suppose the modern musician has to make sonic compromises in order to get their music across to a wider audience. What's your stance on the download phenomenon, and is it the only way a musician outside of the mainstream can get a return for his or her efforts?
I completely agree with you, in fact I still lament the days of vinyl, where not only was the sound quality superior, but you had a cover that you could actually read and in many cases some incredible artwork – a complete package. I have to say that I despise the MP3/download culture. The sound quality is vastly inferior and the whole download phenomena has “Cheapened” music in my opinion making it very disposable. Having said that, it has made it easier for independent artists like myself to distribute music to people who would never have otherwise heard it. That I’m afraid is the compromise. Or perhaps I’m just a grumpy old man!!
As an American living in Ireland via the UK, why Arsenal FC, and who is the best comedy goalkeeper, Almunia or Gomes? (bet you say Gomes!)
I became an Arsenal fan when I was living in England as a schoolboy simply because all my friends were, much to the dismay of my family who were all devout Spurs supporters. As for Almunia and Gomes, they have both provided me with many laughs, if I wasn’t an Arsenal supporter it would have to be Almunia!!
Thanks for your time Jeff, good luck with Elder Creek, it's been a pleasure...
The pleasure is all mine Roger, many thanks for the interview!
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