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Thursday, 16 February 2017




The 7th of December Moscow audience will see a virtuoso, a pioneer of bass sound and Chapman Stick instrument, Tony Levin. Tony is going to present the program LEVITATION together with the project Goatika Creative Lab. The band now is in the process of making the second album in Aprelevka (Moscow region). Thats where Tony talked about his current work, participation in King Crimson and the phenomenon of Jimi Hendrix. You worked with many legendary musicians. Could you tell something about the collaboration with them? For example Alice Cooper?

Tony: Actually the decision was made by the producer, he picked the musicians for recording. He often invited me to play on different albums. I met Alice himself only a couple of times, he was playing golf. He is very nice, quiet guy. Hes too different from the image he created on stage. But speaking about the recording process, I participated in it so far. I was glad to work with him, but didnt go on tour with the band. Was the work with Pink Floyd special for you?

Tony: Oh yes, Im the big fan of them. It was a very easy and pleasant job. Easy?

Tony: Yes, because we all know how Pink Floyd sounds, its a classic. So, since I played with a lot of people, I wasnt nervous. And David Gilmore is not only a great musician, but also a nice person. He was easy to work with. By the way, the album was produced by the same person as Coopers album I was playing at. Lots of rumors going around your participation or non-participation in King Crimson.

Tony: Yes, I know. I played with them from 1981 to 1999. Then I couldnt go with them on tour, then on another oneIm still the part of the band, although not playing with them on stage. From time to time we get together and play in studio. I think that in 2008 well record something together, rehearsals show will it be old or new compositions and in 2009 still hope that well go on tour. But I can not say for sure. As far as I know, youve just returned from South Africa where you performed together with Peter Gabriel.

Tony: Yes, it was a special show that we played on the World AIDS Day. I can show you the pictures on my laptop, I was going to put them on my website. I love to make pictures from stage so the audience could share my feelings. Actually I prefer to update the site immediately upon returning to my hotel. (Shows pictures). There is Nelson Mandela standing. Were you lucky to talk to him?

Tony: No. I couldnt come close to him. I would be happy just to shake his hand, but alas! So what you are busy with now?

Tony: I find it difficult to answer this question. Im not doing anything extraordinary. Practicing a lot, released an album recently, and maybe will shoot a video soon. Actually, as always, Im recording much with other musicians. So, mostly, you are busy with session work?

Tony: Yes. How do you choose with whom to work and with whom not?

Tony: It depends on whether I like the band or artists music or not. And the performers popularity doesnt matter at all. People even send me recordings in Internet. Now you have described your work as a routine, but youre experimenting with the sound also?

Tony: Its odd, but I rarely asked such a question. I would not call my work a routine, its special anyways. Im glad I can play good music. But, of course, Im searching for the new approaches to my playing. I was just usual musician who loved his work much. I was lucky to become King Crimson member musicians always tried to make something different from other bands, to play in a special way, like no others. This had a huge impact on me, so I began to perceive the search as a normal process. And of course, the cooperation with Gabriel played an important role, his music was also different from all the other. What are you going to record with Goatika? What will it be?

Tony: We just started to play today. I played in two compositions on different basses. I also think we will write a composition from scratch. It will be fun and very exciting. But there is nothing unusual for me in this work. And I still dont know what we will play at the concert. By the way, I like live performances more than working on records. When good musicians get together this always turns out something good, even if its not going smoothly, even if they dont understand each other well. Its much harder to make the performance interesting if youre playing the same things during long time. Having this experience can you tell what is the difference between a talented musician, a professional and a genius?

Tony: A genius is a person who plays with his soul, not an instrument. In my entire career I met five or six musicians of the kind. Its almost magic. Take Jimi Hendrix its not his guitar playing, he plays, himself. I dont know how it happens.                                                  

 5.12.2007 Anna Nikitina

Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 February 2017 )

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