the interview was in number 17 of the CROSSROADS
: Jean Do Bernard :
beginning the year with an interwiew of Ric Lee,
TYA’s drummer, it is absolutely jubilant
known some less glorious new year’s beginnings… So
speaking with Ric Lee in his country house in Great
Britan and me in
my Aveyronnaises mountains (South of France) is
comforting. We spoke about the present and a bit about
de Jean Do Bernard :
by Patrick Bellier and David Willey)
You started the year off being very busy : a live
album and a studio CD
coming out soon, when will
The album will be ready very soon, we still have some
details to go over and
improve on. We’ll spend the entire month of
January working together in the studio, because we’d
like the CD to be ready and in the stores by March. I
also would like to point out that this CD contains all
new material with none of our old songs.
The new live recording is your first with new
guitarist Joe Gooch, this guy is particularly good,
isn’t he ?
(laughing) He is fantastic ! He is very young, he
is only 26. Last year we’ve written new songs and
Joe has improved the old ones. We began the tour after
this live CD was recorded in a little German town
called Twist in February 2003, and “Big Black 45”
was recorded in Italy in march 03.
Where did you find this fantastic guitarist
Well, when it was a fact that Alvin wouldn’t play
with us anymore, and as Chick, Leo and I wanted to
play together again, we had to find a new guitarist.
wasn’t an easy thing to do because we had to find a
guitarist as good as Alvin who could play the old
songs, but with enough personality to do something
else than just imitate him.
tried two : one
was English, the other Italian, both were really very
good but they didn’t see exactly what we wanted. One
day, Leo’s son Tom who knew Joe because they
attended the same school together said to us he was an
extraordinary guistarist. Leo asked me : what do
you think about him? I answered, let’s give it a
now lives in Nashville, so I contacted Joe and asked
him to send me a CD with the song “I’m Going
Home” on it. When I got the CD, I was stunned
because it was the first time I heard somebody playing
like that. He also added
a version of the Jimi Hendrix song “Red
House” which was stunning too! I took my car
and travelled accross the country to hear him play.
When I went back
home, I phoned Leo and I told him
“He’s the man we need” and Joe sings very
arrival gave us something fresh and that’s a fact,
he leads us in very interesting directions, as he is
very young it keeps things new and innovative in a
positive way, Joe keeps pushing us forward.
Isn’t it boring to play the same old songs every
Not at all, for Joe all the songs are new, and now we
song every night in a different way, and you know, if
we didn’t play those songs, the crowd could be
disappointed. It’s not very easy for us and we
don’t want to look like an old band “on the
return,” who can only play songs from their old
success. It’s the reason why we play many new songs
at our gigs.
In this live CD we’re really surprised that Joe
plays so very well, as good as Alvin, but Alvin played
Jazzy in an easy way, where Joe is always playing in a
rock and blues style.
Yes, but I think it is because they are not of the
same generation. Alvin’s guitar heroes came from the
50's and 60’s like Scotty Moore, but Joe’s
favourites are Steve Vai, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray
Do you have any time to listen to other music, and if
do you prefer?
(laughing) I can listen when I’m
touring, I take with me some CD’s I like
jazz, some Coltrane, or Santana.
Nothing quite new!
The problem is I like some new stuff but I can’t
remember their names, there are so many new bands and
CD’s, my wife bought the “white stripes” CD that
everybody likes now.
And do you like it ?
Yes, but I prefer a band like the “Manic Street
Is it difficult on your family and for you personally
to be so far away from your home while touring?
It’s my job you know, and we like the new Ten Years
After, it’s a new adventure, a new challenge. It is
very exciting for each of us and it’s different now
than in the 60’s / 70 ‘s. before we were on the
road sometimes for 3 months, but now the dates are
much closer together. You’re on the road 15 days or
3 weeks and then you’re back home again, so I can
have time with my family, and I can find some time to
have a little rest.
Do you use free time to do a second solo album ?
No not really, but I do I have some projects in the
back of my mind, things that I’d like to do but
really my priority is and always has been with Ten
Years After. The problem now is I’m a sort of
manager, I’m also looking after tour dates, taking
care of contracts, and if it goes on like this I’ll
have to drive the truck too. I figure if have some
time left over, I’ll play the drums (laughs)
What do you think about that stupid little war coming
from the “pro Alvin” side on the web,
reproaching Ten Years After for still using the Ten
Years After name?
Nothing, because it’s not much of a concern for us,
only four or five fans, not more, who were angry that
we’d go on playing without Alvin. We spoke with
Alvin about the fact that we’d like to continue with
the Ten Years After adventure, he wasn’t at all
interested as he felt too tired to be on the road
again with the band.
Was the phenomenal success that you had after
Yes and no………..
this festival things were different, that’s correct,
but in fact the effect of Woodstock
was quite delayed because right after
the festival went back home to Great Britan.
became different in fact when the single “Love
Like a Man” came out and became a very big hit and
success for us, the press, and the TV began to explode
with interest and we couldn’t avoid them. Every time
there photographs being taken of us, journalists for
interviews, and it was almost impossible to have any
kind of a private life. During this time my children
were young, and it was very difficult, because I
didn’t want photographs of us to come out and they
wanted to take photos of us and of our house. Of
course, we were proud of that “Circus”
but we had to take care to stay just like we were
before our success, it was a question of equilibrium
and trying to keep it all in balance and in a proper
Today, does the Ten Years After’s public live in old
folks homes? What is the typical age group that you
see at your concerts?
(he laughs) it depends on where we are at the time, in
Germany, and in Holland, we meet people at our gigs
who were the same age as us. We had a gig in December
2003 In Nancy, France and there the audience was a
total mix of every age group, there were people fifty
years and older and also many young people who love
this musical style and it is very pleasant to see all
those people of different ages dancing
to our music.
Years After are planning an exceptionnal gig on 3th
february 2004 at the “New Morning” in Paris,France