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Archive for April, 2012

One of the first tours I did with the Supersuckers was probably one of the most memorable because Zeke was also on the bill. This was around 2001.  I knew Zeke from my times in Los Angeles but I didn’t really know Zeke until one specific

show in Hoboken, NJ at a place called Maxwell’s.  I remember during sound check, Marky breaking out Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption as if it were as easy as frying an egg.  I was floored.  I just couldn’t believe that this band with its own sound and super charged power was making its way through a sound check at Maxwells with the attitude that it was playing Giant Stadium.  Imagine if every band had that bravado…but it does say in their bio “rock like this might be the last show ever”.  

The last time I saw Zeke was when they were on the bill during the Supersuckers 20th Anniversary Show in Seattle, WA. in 2008. And they played that night like it might be their last too.

Here’s a Q&A with Marky from Zeke.  I wanna thank Brian Kasnyik aka Kaz for helping me pull this off and for the photo’s included.  And I wanna thank the readers for reading…

Q: Zeke is going to celebrate their 20th anniversary here soon.  What can we expect?

A:  Wow, that long, huh? ridiculous, really!  We haven’t got anything planned per se.  But the last time we tried to do an anniversary show in Seattle it was pure bloody chaos.  We could barely play.  And half the band was stone cold sober! Someone tried to ram a mic down my throat and chipped my tooth…again!  Amps  falling over…  I don’t know if it was piss or beer or puke all over the floor but it was impossible to remain standing for the last part of the set.  Maybe that’s why we haven’t planned anything as of yet.

Q:  Marky you’re an awesome guitar player.  I heard you liked my Redd Volkaert interview and that you dig Roy Buchanan.  What other guitar players do you like and are there any stories you care to share?  

A:  Thanks. I’ve been playing since I was 9 yrs. old so I better be able to play halfway decent.  Volkaert  is a master of the instrument.  I didn’t know about Buchanan until Brian turned me onto him.  Now I know where Page got everything.  Mostly the old guys; Clapton, Beck, Hendrix.  I grew up in a small town in Arkansas and you have to be pretty quick if you want to hang with other musicians there.  I’ve picked up country and blues styles there.  I went through kind of an obsession with Michael Schenker and Ulrich Roth.  So you might hear a little of that. Obviously I’m a bit limited doing the kind of music Zeke writes. So I was happy with Death Alley.  There were a couple of places where you might get a taste of what I can do when I cut loose a little.  I honestly slacked off on Til The Livin End but I just wanted to lay back and give Jeff some room to be what he is… a badass.  I’m pretty sure there will be some of my best guitar work on the new Zeke stuff if we can just get it recorded. I guess Chris isn’t that bad either.

Q: Til The Livin End is my favorite Zeke album; Chinatown, 383, and Hold Tight are Rock-N-Roll masterpieces… What’s your favorite Zeke record and why?

 

A:  Thanks, brother.  It’s funny.  Those tunes were written just a couple days before we went in and recorded it.  A lot of  those songs were actually written for other projects and I’d play one of those riffs and Donny or Jeff would be like, ” Let’s play that!” And so when Relapse wanted a Zeke record…well, It may not have been what they were expecting.  They probably wanted another Death Alley which was written in about a month. I was obsessed with that whole concept, really.  It just came out right. But the truth is that the Zeke fans at Relapse said they thought Til The Living End was a rock and roll masterpiece. I guess if we’ve got their vote and your vote.. I guess I’m happiest with Flat Tracker. The tones are all there. It rocks like hell but is still in control. I like what we did on the European split with Peter Pan Speedrock.  We may try to make those recordings more available at a later date.  The last single we did for Relapse, that’s kind of the direction we’re heading in. Jack Endino and I work well together.  I’m very critical of him and he could really care less.  If I listened to some of his suggestions we’d make better records!

Q:  There’s gotta be a favorite tour story from the road…please share.

A: Well, I should really just write a bloody book!  There’s just a lot of frightening stuff that happened in and around us all through the experience of doing this band.  Much of it is probably pretty funny in a weird way.  But often people got

Zeke Aftermath

Zeke Aftermath

hurt, it wasn’t a good deal.  I remember we used to stop in the middle of 302 and just start hurling pounder glasses at audience members. You can imagine: the pounder glasses break when they hit folks’ skulls!  A-cars would show up.  Glad I don’t have to live that way anymore.

Q: If you could sit in and play with any band past or present who would it be?

A: Well I think I could probably have been the third guitarist for Derek and the Dominoes, you know…

Q: Can you suggest a few good books to read and songs to hear?

A:  I’m reading Larry Niven stuff right now. Some Heinlein. Of course I’m a huge Lovecraft fan. The Illuminatus trilogy is pretty hilarious. I guess I really love Electric Wizards’ Dunwich. 1st track on the Blind Faith LP  David Allan Coe’s Family Album and whatever the name of the LP he did when he hung out in Key West…Spectrum IV  I think. Anything by the Byrds, Marshall Tucker Band,Blue Oyster Cult, Edgar Broughton Band. etc. So many books, So much music….

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In 2008 Willie Nelson released a 4 CD Box set entitled “One Hell Of A Ride”.  It’s a great historical perspective of Willie Nelson’s writing, choice of covers, recording career, etc…  Mickey Raphael can be heard on a lot of it and contributed to the liner notes.  He’s played with Willie Nelson for 39 years.  Personally I love his playing and I always look forward to hearing him whenever a Willie Nelson album comes out.

In this Rockonomics Interview, I’m thrilled to be able to feature a Q & A with Mickey…

Q:  Michael Bloomfield said something like “even if Paul Butterfield was a tuna fish sandwich he could still play the blues”…   In other words, it didn’t matter what color he was or what his background was, Butterfield was a blues player.  I’m a huge fan of those early Paul Butterfield albums…  Growing up, what player knocked your socks off and is there a story that goes with it?

A: I always loved Paul Butterfield. His tone and phrasing were like nobody I’ve ever heard. In the mid 80s I was spending a lot of time in LA and Leon Russell took me to see Paul play at the Roxy. Paul was doing a gig with Gary Busey and Rick Danko. 

He was amazing and I finally got to meet one of my idols.

A year or so after that I was in new York and Paul called me up and wanted me to come downtown and hang out. I ended up taking him to Miles Davis’s 60th birthday party and after we just cruised the streets of New York jamming on the harmonica with the notes just bouncing off the tall buildings till wee hours of the night.

Q:  You’re heard on Motley Crue’s “Smoking In The Boys Room” and you’ve played with artists like Neil Young, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Emmylou Harris, just to name a few.  Is there anyone living or dead that you’d like to collaborate with?

A:  I’d love to do something with Paul Simon. I played a couple of songs with him at the Ryman in Nashville last June. It was an amazing experience and we have kept in touch since then.

Q:  What was the most challenging album you recorded with Willie Nelson?

A:  We recorded Teatro with Daniel Lanois and he said everyone pick an instrument that’s not your main one. I used the bass harmonica which I dont play all the time so it was a challenge.

Q:  What’s the secret to playing with Willie Nelson this long?

A:  Can’t hit a moving target

Q:  I know your schedule keeps you busy, but it’s been years since you released a solo album…  Do you plan to release another one sometime soon and who have you been recording with lately? 

A:  I’ve been writing a little with Joey Burns from Calexico. We have 5 tunes half finished. I carry the hard drive with me on the road and when I run into muso friends I have them play on it. Bill Evans who played soprano with miles just played on one tune.

Q:  You seem very involved with the Willie Nelson Catalog.  Your efforts on the box set and your involvement with the Naked Willie album, where you “unproduced” some of the early RCA recordings from the

late 60’s are two recent examples…  What other projects might fans hear?

A:  We are searching for live recordings of the Highwaymen  which might turn into a future project.

Q:  Do you have any Bob Dylan stories from the Willie Nelson / Bob Dylan Ballpark tour?  

I’m such a fan of Bob and his harp playing. While we were on tour he loaned me a bunch of DVDs of some of the old blues greats. Little Walter, sonny boy Williamson  , howling wolf and a copy of the tv game show ” to tell the truth” with Paul Butterfield as a guest.

Bob was also a great inspiration for me.

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