Dave Mason: Living witness to rock history

Try to remember exactly what you were doing 50 years ago. Playing big black flat circular play devices called albums, that’s what. If you are old enough to have actually memories a half-century old, that is, and if you are, opportunities are good you don’t have actually those records anymore. Yet Dave Mason, one of the original members of the folksy, bluesy and jazzy British experimental rock band Traffic, can easily remember very well … well enough to go on touring to maintain the flame of those seminal years of rock’n’roll alive, and he’s stuck about long enough for those old LPs to become fashionable again.
He is one of those few people still on the circuit along with direct connections to the British Invasion and classic rock. Various other compared to his early Traffic years, he played along with Jimi Hendrix on the “Electric Ladyland” sessions, jammed along with the Rolling Stones on the “Beggar’s Banquet” album, and was on hand for George Harrison’s bountiful “All Points Ought to Pass” triple-decker record. In the 1990s, he was yet one more member of a reformed Fleetwood Mac. He was even along with Derek and the Dominoes originally, playing at the band’s initial gig featuring Eric Clapton, Yet left prior to “Layla” had scorched the radio landscape in 1972.
And at the age of 68, he’s still working in the guitar-rock tradition. For example, he released a brand-new album this year, “Future’s Past,” which kicks off along with a version of the Traffic hit “Dear Mr. Fantasy” that includes a brand-new set of chords, moving it from a minor to a major key, along with Mason singing the lead rather than Steve Winwood, along with vigor.
He says his current act, Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam, a fully electric rock show, follows the long trail of his career. That journey began along with the early inspirational days as soon as Traffic retreated in to a cottage in the Berkshires of England in 1967 to make material for exactly what would certainly become “Mr. Fantasy.” After that, a long string of solo albums throughout the 1970s, as soon as he was one of the darlings of album-oriented rock radio on the FM dial along with such songs as “Only You Know and I Know,” “Shouldn’t have actually Took a lot more compared to You Gave” and a a lot more mid-tempo ballad recorded by several others, “We Merely Disagree.”
Traffic, inducted in to the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, was constantly a sort of evolving entity along with a revolving door, in terms of the players, Mason recalls.
“I was there for the beginning of the initial two bands,” he says of the early incarnations of Traffic. “So Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam is a journey of my musical history from then to now.”
And he makes sure the interviewer knows that you can’t trust that musical history by reading Wikipedia.org.
“The stuff regarding me on the Wikipedia page is … I don’t go in for it much,” he says.
For example, Mason says it’s true he met Steve Winwood while working as a roadie for little 15-year-old Stevie’s band, The Spencer Davis Group. And it’s true Mason and Jim Capaldi, a long-time member of Traffic that gave the band its name while standing on a street corner, were friends in a band called the Hellions prior to that. And it’s likewise true that Mason was a frequent on-again, off-again member of the band, a lot more a member of its 1967-1970 heyday compared to of the band that would certainly later reach the height of its popularity along with such extended jazz-folk-rock adventures as “John Barleycorn Ought to Die” and “The reasonable Spark of Higher Heeled Boys,” which was likewise notable for its die-cut cover in 1971.
Indeed, Mason, even as the band’s most prolific songwriter, was a mercurial element in the group that launched your man professionally Merely as much as he launched it.
“After the initial album, I was so young, 19 years old, and joining the band was too much to deal with,” he says. “The second time I went in to the studio (along with Traffic), I wrote half that album,” including the song “Feelin’ Alright,” one of the a lot more regularly covered songs of the era, including a version by Three Canine Night, and then, Joe Cocker, that made hits from it as well. Does Mason remember the inspiration for that one?
“I don’t know,” he laughs. “It’s probably Merely one more failed partnership song.”
One a lot more note on the Wikipedia history: It’s for good untrue that as soon as Mason, a sought-out studio musician as a solo artist, played acoustic guitar on Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower,” he did not reason 27 takes to get hold of it right.
“We went in to the studio and we did a few takes,” he says. “I don’t believe we had to do it 27 times, Yet sometimes you will certainly spend a whole day in the studio on one song.” Did he have actually a sense of premonition that “All Along the Watchtower,” which he still plays live today, would certainly become a monument in rock history? “It was already an vital (Bob Dylan) song as soon as we recorded it,” he responds.
And exactly how did it feel to have actually others make hits in the U.S. of his early Traffic songs? Mason says he loved it. It only seemed fair.
“We took every little thing we could discover from America and made it our own: jazz, gospel, the blues,” he says. “I Merely drank it in.”
The Dave Mason of 2014 is reverential of those minutes of Traffic as soon as he was there, as opposed to as soon as he was not. The set list for the Traffic Jam shows includes “Feelin’ Alright,” “40,000 Headmen,” “You can easily All Join In,” as well as a reconfigured “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” Added to that are several songs from a prolific solo career, a period that could be remembered as the fantastic age of the vinyl album, beginning along with his 1970s release, “Alone Together,” which he says could have actually fairly easily fit in as material for a Traffic album, “Yet that’s the method it is.”
To this day, Mason remains a believer in the AOR rock ethos, keeping tight along with his musical origins as well as social triggers and charities, including job for organizations that offer music appreciation instruction for children.
“I truly don’t follow what’s going on in music too much,” he says. “I’m so busy along with my own stuff, and I’m truly not paying attention. There are still talented people out there, Yet I don’t believe albums truly matter any more. It has actually gone spine to singles, which is the method it was as soon as we got started. In that way, every little thing has actually changed. There’s no genuine FM radio anymore. Yet otherwise, it’s the same as always. You reason a song and you reason a performance.”

Leave a Reply