Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"A hanging out situation"

These two quotes you see below were lifted from the No. 20 issue (June, 1999) of Wavelength, the popular Van Morrison fanzine that Simon Gee edited for roughly 15 years. The words were spoken by guitarist Mick Cox, a one-time Van Morrison collaborator. Cox linked up with Morrison in 1967; the latter had just returned to Belfast following the recording of his debut album.

Cox touches upon the creative process for Astral Weeks, including how Morrison was tweaking and tinkering with its songs during the spring and summer months he spent in Belfast—nearly a year and a half before he recorded them in New York City. Check it out:
It was a hanging out situation and doing these gigs to keep the money coming in because the promoters would give you cash at the end of the night and that was it! So he came to Limestone [Road] and I went over to his folks place, and we started to work on stuff. He wanted to find out what I actually knew. I had flown over and straight into a gig—I knew all the changes for "Gloria" and the other material just from listening to it. But he wanted a much more comprehensive approach to music because he had so many more influences than the blues stuff. Then I started to realize exactly what the story was, and how much he is and always has been such an incredible force in music ...

Went up to see Van, and he was doing the tracks that were to become Astral Weeks. I stayed up for two or three days and recorded some stuff with him—just fantastic music. And he said that he would like me to join the band and play on the tracks. But I couldn't—they had paid for me to come over—and it was a choice of Hendrix or Van, but what swung it was the fact that the guys had paid for me, and they'd be completely lost—they couldn't find another guitarist.

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