November 20th, 2002
The Legendary Al Kooper talked to us about the new Super Session
Fillmore East Live CD that is being released next month.
FE: Thanks for joining us today. Your collaborations with
Mike Bloomfield are legendary, and we understand that you've unearthed
some lost treasures, tapes of your Dec 27-28 , 1968 shows with Mike at the
AK: Actually these are from December 13, 1968. They were lost in
the filing system for 33 years.
FE: How did you find these?
AK: When I was working on my last release RARE & WELL DONE,
out they popped to my happiness & surprise.
FE: What is the release date and the label?
AK: I spent a year working on them and they will be released the
third week in January 2003 on SONY-Legacy
FE: What do you remember about the shows and playing at the Fillmore East?
AK: We did a brief tour at that time. Part of the tour was recorded at Fillmore
WEST and is has been in release since 1969 - it's an album called LIVE
ADVENTURES. On the upcoming one, Bloomfield's playing easily eclipses that older
album. We rehearsed for about 3 days. The band is so-so, but Bloomfield's
playing warrants this show's release.
FE: Any Bill Graham stories to share from the Fillmore East gig?
AK: Mike grabs the mic outa Bill Grahams hands and introduces the
FE: What was it like for you to listen to these tapes after all these years?
AK: Strange. As I said, the band is so-so. But Bloomfield fans will REALLY
enjoy his playing.
FE: For anyone who hasn't read your book, "BACKSTAGE PASSES and
BACKSTABBING BASTARDS", can you tell us about the first time you met
Bloomfield and how your relationship grew?
AK: We met on the Dylan Highway 61 Revisited sessions and got along instantly.
We were both in bluesbands (Blues Project-Butterfield) We both quit those bands
to start our own hornbands (BS&T-Electric Flag) And we both got
kicked outa the bands we started. So our careers were amazingly parallel
and it was logical for us to join in the recording studio.
FE: The Fillmore East was known for it's exceptional sound system and
acoustics. There are rumors that every show at the Fillmore was secretly
taped, were you aware of this?
AK: all Fillmore East shows were VIDEOED in b&w from the box seats that
overlooked the stage. I've seen The Band Of Gypsies one of Hendrix from New
Years Eve 1970.(*note, this DVD is now available from amazon.com)
FE: How did you and Mike wind up being subjects for a Norman Rockwell
AK: With 40 rolls of film shot from the Fillmore West shows, we still had no
cover. Bob Cato, the art director at Columbia Records told me awhile back
that he could get Norman Rockwell if I ever needed that for anything. How
could I pass THAT cover up? For the Fillmore East CD, I had top illustrator
Drew Friedman draw Mike & I standing in front of The Fillmore East. That's
the new cover.
FE: What was it like working with Mike Bloomfield, from a strictly artistic
viewpoint as well as humanistic?
AK: To provide backup for an artist of that caliber is thrilling. Sometimes I
feel the same way when I'm playing behind Jimmy Vivino today. Bloomfield was
a unique humorous person as well. So is Vivino.
FE: I understand you are also working on a Mike Bloomfield boxed set with
Mike's brother Allen Bloomfield, for release sometime next year. Can you
give us a heads up on that?
AK: We;re just starting now. 3 CDs, realistic pricepoint.
FE: Your career is still going strong, you have not one, but two excellent
bands you've been performing live with, the Rekooperators and The Funky
Faculty. You recently released 'Rare & Well Done', a double CD retrospective
and your SOUL OF A MAN double CD is a must have for any of your fans as well as
fans of the Blues Project and BS&T. What's in the future for Al Kooper in
2003 and beyond?
AK: I'm soon to be mixing 5.1 Surround Sound SACD's of Super Session & Child
Is Father To The Man. Wish me luck....... no release dates on those yet.
Also trying to get out and play live more than I have before. Really enjoy
more than anything