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Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Neal Photography’

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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The Field Recordings was a brilliant idea that any band should consider.  Why not make your live shows available for sale.  The overhead is low, and bands really have to separate themselves from the ordinary.  Let’s face it, anyone can make a record these days.   Unfortunately this gives the music fan more choices of crap but by the same token it gives the great bands, like the Supersuckers the ability to get heard.

The short lived “Supersuckers Field Recordings” captured a snapshot in the bands history, these CD’s were priced right, packaged well, sounded awesome, and each cover reflected the contents found inside.  The few Field Recordings released captured the band around that golden era of 2004 and 2005.  It’s important to mention that shows exist from the 90’s and early 2000’s but for some reason they remain unreleased.  Also noteworthy is that Mike Musburger was the drummer on all 3 of these recordings.  My wife, Stephanie, provided most of the photo’s along with Wilbur, the old tour manager, who provided some as well.  Tim Gabor did the art and Eddie would write the liner notes.

Supersuckers Live at the Tractor Tavern

Obviously, I loved the idea of the band releasing these Field Recordings  because it captured that Supersuckers raw energy that often eluded their studio releases.   Eddie’s stage banter and Ron’s ability to improvise a ferocious lead is always fun to revisit.  In fact, Live in Ferndale just might be one of my favorite live records of all time.

My theory was, if it was a great show, then it made sense to offer it to the fans.  While I understand a lot of bands are apprehensive about releasing live albums, I’ve never understood why.  If it sounds good, captures the moment, and provides the fans with a special quality then by all means don’t let it sit in on a shelf.

The Digital Download series would also provide the band another outlet for releasing music and providing fans with a glimpse into their incredible talents and history. I’m pretty sure the Supersuckers were one of the first bands to offer digital downloads as well.  We saw the future early and embraced it.

Between the Fan Club, Digital Downloads and Field Recordings, we were able to use the music as a community builder.  More fans, more people at the shows, equals more opportunities.

BTW it looks like Rontrose is going to put a few nuggets on this iPod that I’m giving away, so donate now to get a chance to win it… drawing is 12/31/10

Below are some specifics that Eddie wrote regarding 2 of the releases that I thought everyone would enjoy… Kinda cool right!

Chris Neal of Midway UT

“Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 1: Live at The Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA”

***Welcome to ‘suckers country***

Picking up where 2002’s Must’ve Been Live left off, this EP is the second live country offering from the Supersuckers. Featuring songs that have never been heard in a live setting before, this is anything but a “retread” of their last live country record. If you enjoyed Must’ve Been Live, then you’ve gotta add this to your collection. Recorded on a rainy night in Seattle at the end of a long rock tour, the boys were inspired and tired enough to let it loose and do some oddball country stuff. A bootleg? You bet. Good? Damn good!

This set features country recordings of:

1. Creepy Jackalope Eye

2. Doublewide

3. Sail On

4. Pretty Fucked Up

5. Killer Weed

6. Born With A Tail

7. Alabama, Louisiana Or Maybe Tennessee

(okay, we released this one before, but this version really smokes!)

“Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 2: Live at The Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI”

***We’re The Supersuckers, we’ve come to rock the house!***

After years of trying and countless failed attempts, The Supersuckers have finally been captured for their first ever live rock CD. Recorded in beautiful Ferndale, MI on a glorious Tuesday night, “Mid-Fi Field Recordings Vol. 2: Live at The Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI” is here at last. Hear the ‘Suckers tear through 20+ killer songs spanning 15 years of ass kicking like it’s a Saturday night at the Enormo-Dome, because that’s what they do, every night is Saturday night and every morning is Sunday morning coming down for these rock-n-roll die-hards. So go get it, grab it and see how the rock show oughtta be done. If only all bands could be this good.

Supersuckers Live in Ferndale

1. Rock-N-Roll Records

2. Rock Your Ass

3. Bad, Bad, Bad

4. The Evil Powers Of Rock-N-Roll

5. Creepy Jackalope Eye

6. Bruises To Prove It

7. Supersucker Drive-By Blues

8. I Want The Drugs

9. Bubblegum & Beer

10. My Victim

11. Luck

12. Dirt Roads, Dead Ends And Dust

13. Fisticuffs

14. Gone Gamblin’

15. How To Maximize Your Kill Count

16. Goodbye

17. Pretty Fucked Up

18. That Is Rock-N-Roll

19. Jailbreak

20. Born With A Tail

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Q:  Tim you’re very well known among the Supersuckers fans for creating most of the art work for their Mid-Fi Recordings catalog.  Is there a particular cover you feel proudest ofand why?

A: All the covers are special to me but the one that stands out the most is Must’ve Been Live.  I especially liked the artwork on the back of the LP. Originally, the artwork for the back of the LP featured the band members as “Playing Cards”.  Each member was their own card.  Bolton was a 6 of Clubs, Dancing Eagle was a 6 of Hearts, Rontrose was a 6 of Spades, and Eddie was a 2 of hearts.  When I sent the art over to Eddie he immediately called me and said “NUMBER 2” ?!?!  I want to be the King of Hearts.

I thought having Eddie as the 2 of Hearts was funny.  It’s the Supersuckers so you wouldn’t have 4 of a Kind.

And I really liked Devil’s Food and Motherfuckers Be Trippin’.  I had so much freedom with those two covers.  With Motherfuckers Be Trippin’ I was able to make up the whole story inside insert where there’s the picture of Dancing Eagle pouring a glass of wine over Eddie and the caption reads “(AP Presow “Motherfuckers” and the aftermath  (inset).  City officials have no explanation for the events that led up to the horrifying “drama.”

And with the glow in the dark Devils Food LP I come up with the sticker “Made with Real Suckers Blood”.  The freedom I had as their art director really allowed me to be creative.

Q:  Is there a favorite Supersuckers story you’d like to share?

A: I remember this roof top party at Studio Litho which belonged to Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, and I showed up with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Paper bag full of those old M100 Firecrackers.  These M100’s were so old I wasn’t even sure if they would light.  And of course Eddie grabs one right out of my hand, lights it, and tosses it off the roof.   I remember thinking if Eddie blows his hand off it’s going to my fault that the Supersuckers  aren’t around anymore.  Danny Bland, Brian Kasnyik, and David Fisher were also at this party.

Q:  How did you first meet the Supersuckers

A: Jeff Kleinsmith over at Sub Pop asked me to do the poster for the Must’ve Been High release.   I didn’t do the CD or LP art for that album but I did do the promotional poster that was mailed out to stores.  The theme of the poster is almost like a poker game gone crazy.  Lot’s of smoke and guns.

Q:  How did you get inspired to create?

A: I listen to the music over and over and over again.  I try and beat the music into my brain.  With the Supersuckers, I always loved them live.  So I wanted Must’ve Been Live to look and feel real active.  In fact some of that smoke on the cover was inspired from the Kiss Alive album.  It’s all discovery along the way.  I try things over and over until I really like it.  It’s almost like fine art where those unplanned accidents bring me to discovery…

Q:  You’ve worked with artists ranging from the Foo Fighters to Anthrax.  Was there every a time you wanted to work with the same artist again because you felt like you grew so much and wanted to prove it.

A: The Foo Fighters.  I really wanted to do another record for Dave Grohl.    Back in 1993 I’d hang out with Dave and a bunch of us would go bowling and party.  In fact one time at one of his birthday party’s I showed up with an old slot car track and set it up.  Back in 1993, I did that cover for their first release.  I just always felt like I wanted to do another one because I had grown and developed so much as an artist since 1993 or 94.  I did hear from him years ago but for some reason we never connected.  So Dave call me sometime.  My number is below.

Tim. in closing I want to say thanks…  Working with you was an honor and a lot of fun.

I particularly loved the concept for the Mid Fi Field Recording.  I love my wife’s photo of Dan Bolton playing that Black Les Paul that was used for “Live at the Tractor Tavern”.  Most people don’t know why Dan was playing that Black Les Paul that I believe  belonged to the opening band, but it was because he had forgotten his Gold Top at home.  That photo is worth way more than 1000 words.  It’s one of my favorites.

All the photo’s on the cover of this record were taken by Stephanie Neal at House of Blues in Souther California.

Your commitment and vision to what we did was something that I’ll always admire.  I know the Supersuckers fans and everyone else will appreciate what you’ve shared.  Thanks again!

Everyone please see this video Tim Gabor provided that shows cover of Must’ve Been Live from start to finish…

Anyone interested in getting a hold of Tim can email him or visit his site.

Tim Gabor
www.TimGabor.com

PO Box 27288
Seattle, Wash. 98165
Studio: (206) 906-9993

And I have a few posters left on eBay if interested. Thanks!!!

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