- Musique

Interview with Elliott Murphy

Marie Torres - 4 mars 2022
Almost 50 years after his first album « Aquashow », Elliott Murphy, singer-songwriter, is still very present in the world of music but also literature with « Live in Bilbao » and « Tinnitus Journals ».

Micmag.net: Your latest album is a live recorded in Bilbao, tell us about this concert.

Elliott Murphy: I have been playing in Bilbao for the last 25 year every January and unfortunately 2021 was the first year we were not performing there because of the Covid pandemic. The memorable concert that is captured on the Live in Bilbao CD is from 2015 and was a particularly good night for Olivier and I musically for many reasons. First of all, the show was sold out weeks in advance so there was tremendous energy and excitement in the public and we could feel it the moment we walked on stage. Also we knew were being filmed as portions of the show were included in the documentary The Second Act of Elliott Murphy so we were very focused because we knew whatever we did would be forever captured on film. Also it was the last show of our Spanish tour so we were very tight in terms of guitar parts and also I think it was an especially good choice of songs for the set which included both classics and new ones from Intime the EP I had just released. But most of all, some nights are magic for unknonwn reasons and this was sone of them.

M.: … your complicity with Olivier Durand...

E.M.: Olivier Durand has been my guitarist and musical partner for over 25 years now, we’ve played over thousand shows together and written dozens of songs so I think we’ve gotten to the point where we can read each other’s minds when we are onstage together. Sometimes when I listen back to our concerts like Live in Bilbao I’m amazed how in synch we are both rhythmically and emotionally. I think that only comes from all the years we’ve been together and how dedicated we both continue to be at playing our absolutely best every night we go onstage. It’s really such a privilege to have the faithful public we’ve been blessed with and we try to never let them down.

M.: You cover You Never Know What You're in For  by Night Lighits which, for me, is one of your best albums, are you happy to reinterpret your old songs?

E.M.: Certain American Indian tribes believe that if you want to keep the memory of someone you love alive after they’ve passed away then you must keep singing their name out loud and in my own spiritual beliefs the same goes for my rather large family of songs. Each and every night I stand before my microphone and sing Last of the Rock Stars – which was the first song from my very first album Aquashow – I can still feel the same excitement when I wrote that song at 22 years old and was just beginning my adventures in the Rock ‘n Roll kingdom. Some songs die and then come back to life but others are always with me such as You never know what you’re in for and On Elvis Presley’s birthday and I can always reconnect to the place and time I was when I wrote it. It's almost a way to travel back in time!

M.: And, regarding the editing, the mastering of this album, I think you are very proud of the work of Gaspard, your son.

E.M.:I remember when I bought Gaspard his first electric guitar when he was 12 years old: we were walking down Blvd Beaumarchais in Paris and we passed the Paul Beuscher musical instrument store and there was a black Telecaster in the window and Gaspard was just staring at it until he finally turned and asked if he could have that guitar. It wasn’t his birthday or Christmas but I felt it was a special moment for him and so we walked right into that store and came out with that guitar. That was the first step of his musical life and he’s come a long way, working with French artists such as Claire Laffut, Gauvain Sers and Carla Bruni as a producer as well as working on the road with Incubus and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Whenever Gaspard works on a project with me or anyone he gives his absolutely best. I also know he understands what I need and I like to joke that Elliott Murphy music to Gaspard is like snow to an eskimo – it’s always been in his life from the day he was born.

M.: Rock Dreams, this book is for you a cult book, when did you discover it? What does it evoke for you?

E.M.: If you’re talking about the amazing book by Guy Peellaert and Nik Cohn, I first discovered it when it came out in 1973 and it was like every image was in the brain already. I always looked upon rock ‘n roll as pure mythology and Rock Dreams was the first time that a great artist and writer was able to convey that timeless quality. Just by looking at those pictures you have an understanding of the music those artists gave to the world. I always wanted Guy Peellaert to design one of my covers but unfortunately he passed away before I could meet him in Paris. I’m still waiting for the next rock ‘n roll Delacroix to come along …

M.: And, this book has such an influence on your self, that you say you make Rock Dreams. You dream of the musicians you admire. Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles, Bob Dylan... Can you tell us about one of those dreams, the one with Tom Petty, for example?

E.M.: I’ve only started writing down my rock dreams and making them available to readers on Facebook but unfortunately most of them have been lost in the sands of time because I didn’t write them down as soon as I woke up. But I still I almost dream about rock stars every night. I’ve had a few dreams about Tom Petty but in the latest one he was trying to teach me a song and his tour bus was burning. Perhaps when I have enough of my personal rock dreams I’ll put them all together in a book and have some great artist illustrate them.

M.: And besides, you publish your journal, Tinnitus Journals, which takes us into your inner life. That of a musician living in Paris. A very well illustrated book that traces more than fifty years of career... Can you tell us a bit about it?

E.M.: Since my early twenties, I’ve always kept small notebooks where I write down my thoughts but only recently did I start to think about putting them together in a book like Tinnitus Journals and mixing in some lyrics, poetry and photos as well. The title comes from the medical term for the ringing in my ears that I always hear, a result of playing music for over 50 years. There’s a price to pay for everything.

M.: Two days ago, on February 28, Brian Jones would have turned 80. I know he “inspired” you. Can you say a few words about him, what he meant to you?

E.M.: Well first of all he had blond hair like me … or like I use to once have and he was a dandy like I once wanted to be. I loved Elvis Presley who was kind of a southern rockabilly dandy but I couldn't relate to him because he was from a different generation and culture. But I loved Brian and like him, I enjoy playing any instrument I can get my hands on. I don't know if I ever dreamed about Brian but I did mention him in my song A Touch of Mercy (Lost Generation 1974) where I sang: “I was walking down Main Street just the other day thinking about Brian Jones and the final getaway.” But luckily I’m not as self-destructive as Brian turned out to be – I watched him destroy himself and maybe that saved me.

Elliott Murphy – Just A Story From America

French version, here


Propos recueillis par Marie Torres pour www.micmag.net/ Photos Michel Jolyot
Live In Bilbao
Elliott Murphy
Available on all streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) and we have pressed a limited number of CDs for those fans who still prefer that format. All of these CDs will be numbered and signed and exclusively available through https://elliottmurphy.com/

Tinnitus Journals - Volume 1
available through https://elliottmurphy.com/
Tour Dates
March 2022
March 10 - Band Show -Spirit of 66 -Verviers, Belgium
March 18 - Band Show - New Morning - BIRTHDAY SHOW! -Paris, France
March 19 - Band Show - New Morning - BIRTHDAY SHOW! - Paris, France

May 2022
May 14 - Band Show - Château de Quenet -Le Val-Doré, France

June 2022
June 23 - Band Show - Blacksheep Festival - Heilbronn, Germany
June 25 - Band Show - Weingut Müller-Catoir - Neustadt, Germany

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