Dave Embarks on "Traffic Jam" Tour
Dave Mason's latest tour is a 'Traffic Jam'
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2014 12:15 am | Updated: 9:19 am, Thu Jan 2, 2014.
By MARTY FRANZEN Correspondent The Intelligencer
Dave Mason has been making music since the 1960s, first in the band Traffic (which earned him a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), then as a solo artist, followed by a brief stint in Fleetwood Mac.
But he is back again doing his solo thing, this time performing a “Traffic Jam,” as he has labeled his latest tour. New and old fans can catch up with him Friday at the Revel Casino at 500 Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
For new fans, Mason is the guy who wrote “Feelin’ Alright,” “We Just Disagree,” “You Can All Join In” and “Hole in My Shoe” and also sang some Miller beer commercials. Today, he gets most of his radio airplay for “Only You Know and I Know” and his cover of Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
Old fans remember Mason for his guitar work on the Rolling Stones’ “Beggar’s Banquet,” George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” Paul McCartney’s “Listen to What the Man Said” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” (that’s his acoustic guitar on the opening).
According to his website, Mason is releasing a new album early this year titled “Mixed Bag.” It will feature some new songs plus reworkings of old ones.
For the Revel show, expect an overview of his career, including the aforementioned Traffic songs, his solo hits and some new tunes.
Show time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $45 to $65. Information: 855-348-0500.
Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 6:36 pm New Jersey Hills
By PHIL GARBER, Staff Writer | 0 comments
‘Traffic Jam’ takes fans back to golden years of rock
The audience will be "Feeling Alright" at the "Traffic Jam" that is likely to crowd the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts in Morristown at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11.
Performing before the sold out crowd will be Dave Mason, one of the founders of the seminal group, "Traffic."
Traffic disbanded in 1969 amid personal and musical differences and since then Mason, 67, has remained in the music scene while his former band mate, Stevie Winwood, has had a number of hit songs.
In 2004, Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Traffic.
In years after Traffic, Mason has played with the likes of Delaney and Bonnie, the late Cass Elliot and Fleetwood Mac. Mason has recorded a number of solo albums including his newest, "Futures Past," with some new songs and a new version of the Traffic hits, "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "You Can All Join In."
Mason's guitar work can be heard on landmark albums and songs such as the Rolling Stones' “Beggar's Banquet,” George Harrison's “All Things Must Pass,” Paul McCartney's “Listen To What The Man Said” and Jimi Hendrix's “Electric Ladyland.”
Hendrix's rock standard "All Along The Watchtower" features Mason on acoustic guitars before Hendrix's soaring performance.
Mason lives in California and while he said he's never been to Morristown, he has visited a friend's home in Peapack-Gladstone.
Traffic was still not very well known when the band did its first U.S. tour in 1968. The band was mostly known for the song, "Feelin' Alright" after it was recorded and turned into a major hit by Joe Cocker.
"People were aware of Traffic but it wasn't a big band by any stretch," Mason said.
Mason said the members of Traffic wrote and recorded "great songs" and that he thinks he should continue to play the old hits.
"I find it offensive when people don't want to play the great stuff," Mason said.
Mason has had some success in the years since Traffic disbanded. He has continued performing because of his love of the music even if he hasn't matched the popularity and fame of Traffic.
"I never got in this to become a star and I'm not a rock star," Mason said. "I got into it to make some money and meet some chicks. Being a star came along with the territory."
Back in the day Traffic and the Beatles were soaring alongside Martha and the Vandellas and James Brown. But the business has changed and there are no longer stations that carry a variety of sounds. And that has limited musicians like Mason.
He said he doesn't listen to the radio or current music very much and that his audience remains mostly his peers, in their 40s to their 70s. The music, however, remains powerful and Mason said younger fans should try it out.
"Music has become wallpaper to sell stuff," he said. "There is no real outlet for musicians like me. If the young kids turn up, they are blown away."
Mason said his early influences included bands like Hank Marvin and the Shadows, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly. He then began to blend his interest in the blues and jazz with the budding rock and roll sounds.
Mason's band includes a drummer, keyboard player and bass player, a singer and the newest member, guitarist Jason Roller.
"He plays his ass off on the guitar, mandolin, violin and banjo," Mason said.
Traffic included Mason, Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Wood and Capaldi have both died and Mason said a reunion with Winwood is unlikely.
"He (Winwood) doesn't want to get together with me," Mason said, without further explanation.
Mason said the four musicians who joined to become Traffic were just teenagers but each added something unique to come up with the sound. It was similar, he said, to the Beatles with Paul McCartney the honey and John Lennon the vinegar. Mason often wrote his own music and lyrics while Capaldi and Winwood more often collaborated.
Mason has been doing much more than music in the four decades since Traffic split.
Six years ago, Mason and two friends, John Nikresh and Ted Knapp, formed "Work Vessels for Vets," a non-profit that helps veterans to start companies. The idea came from Nikresh, a lobster fisherman from Mystic, Conn., who approached his friend, Mason, to help buy an old boat for a veteran friend.
The organization has provided lap tops to new businesses, helped buy land and machinery for a bluebery farm in Florida and backed an start-up, office cleaning company in St. Louis, Mo.
"We don't have to be asked twice to support a person who defended our way of life," Mason said.
He's also on the board of "Little Kids Rock," a San Francisco-based non-profit that provides instruments for kids in need.
The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St., Morristown. For more information, visit www.mayoarts.org.
January 15. 2014 8:52PM
Dave Mason chats about touring highlights, along with a few bumps in the road during several-decade journey
By EMILY REILY Special to the Union Leader
The illustrated poster for songwriter and guitarist Dave Mason's new tour, Traffic Jam, is a step back in time. Psychedelic, almost neon shades of deep blue cover the background and contrasts with a design of fiery orange, along with magenta text. In the center, Mason poses with his 12-string.
"It's pretty cool, isn't it?" Mason, 67, said of the image.
Those who line up to see his show Sunday at the Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center in Plymouth are sure to get a trip down memory lane and a chance to relive the glory days of rock.
Who's Who of Rock
Mason's success spans decades. His 12-string acoustic-guitar intro on Jimi Hendrix' "All Along the Watchtower" is an enduring riff in music history. He's worked with a who's-who of rock 'n' roll, collaborating with Fleetwood Mac, as well as with the Rolling Stones' on "Beggars Banquet." He also played on guitarist George Harrison's solo debut, and is credited for his contributions to Derek and the Dominoes, Eric Clapton's early vehicle.
Mason's work with others always has been largely organic, never stemming from a "have my people get with your people" mentality. He was already friends with Hendrix before he played on "All Along the Watchtower" and sang on Hendrix' "Crosstown Traffic" for "Electric Ladyland." He met up with Paul McCartney and Wings in New Orleans during a tour, and that's how he ended up playing on "Listen to What the Man Said."
"... I was there and it was like, 'Hey Dave, why don't you play on this?' Mason said of that serendipitous meeting.
"It was great times. I've been fortunate and played with a lot of great artists and had a ... number of really good artists perform on my records," he said. "And there's always something to be taken from both of them — all of them."
Those accomplishments notwithstanding, Mason, originally of Worcester, England, is a success in his own right. He is most well-known for his role co-founding the influential prog-rock psychedelic band Traffic, which formed in 1967. The group first gained success with its debut "Paper Sun" and the 1970 album "John Barleycorn Must Die." "Feelin' Alright" (the song made universally famous by singer Joe Cocker in 1969) is credited to Mason and was the first single off Traffic's second album.
But all good things must pass. The interpersonal relationships between Mason and band members Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood bottomed out, and Mason bowed out after the second album.
"Well, I basically left Traffic because musically what I was doing, for some reason, the other three didn't want, so there was really no place for me there," he said. "My contribution was no longer a fit for what they thought Traffic should be."
His departure from the band has left some sting. Mason said he had begun working on a new CD with Capaldi just before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Wood died in 1983 and Capaldi in 2005. His relationship with the remaining former Traffic member is nonexistent.
"Steve Winwood and I do not have any communication," said Mason.
Mason has regrets, but simply chalks it up to missed opportunities and an ill fit. He knows there is still a strong fan base for Traffic and had hoped for a reunion of sorts a few years back.
"It's a shame we didn't do something together after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction (in 2004). I know that there's a large number of people out there that would have loved to have seen that."
After he left Traffic, Mason struck out on his own. The meat of his solo work was released in the 1970s; his first was "Alone Together" — its biggest single was "Only You Know and I Know." Mason went on to release 18 albums, including live albums.
Mason also talked with NH Weekend about his upcoming EP, "Futures Past." (Singer Graham Nash created the CD's cover.) Like his tour, the project will give a nod to the past while pointing toward a new era in Mason's career. The nine-song album contains reworkings of his former songs, as well as music from Traffic, a Robert Johnson tune and a new song called "That's Freedom."
Looking at his solo career, group collaborations or work with Traffic, Mason can't pinpoint any part as being his favorite.
"I can't really pick any one out. They're all great. Working with all those people, forming Traffic, my solo career — they've all been great, all of them. We're still having them," he said, laughing.
"It's had its ups and downs, as in most people's lives," he said of his success. "But you know, I'm lucky, I'm fortunate. I get to do what I've wanted to do since I was 15 years old, and I'm 67, and I'm still doing it. A great gig."
His world tour, Dave Mason's Traffic Jam, will hit New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and New Hampshire, with European dates to be announced. Tickets to Sunday's Plymouth show are $39 and $45 at 536-2551 or www.flyingmonkeynh.com.
I ran the first ever Dave Mason website.
I wish I could care about this tour.
I don't see how it's anything different from anything else he's done since 1979.
On and on it will always be, the rhythm, rhyme, and harmony.
https://www.facebook.com/Espy.Hopkins ; @espyhop)
a) he really should move on from that back catalogue
b) he should have been a "bigger" name that he is
Cleveland Plain Dealer by Chuck Yarborough, February 1, 2014
Dave Mason's 'Traffic Jam' parks an appreciative Ohio Theatre back in time (Review)
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- “If you remember the ’60s, you weren’t there.”
It’s an old saw, and in some cases, true. But the good thing is that the MUSIC was there, and it’s still here today.
That’s what came back Friday night at PlayhouseSquare’s Ohio Theatre, when Traffic co-founder Dave Mason and his current band took us aboard the Wayback Machine and let us all relive – and remember – those days courtesy of his "Traffic Jam Tour.''
The good thing about reminiscing is that almost everything looks better in the soft-focus reflection of your mind’s rearview mirror. You can’t smell unwashed hair or jeans that haven’t seen a laundry in six weeks. The horrors of the Vietnam War become plot devices in “Forest Gump.’’ “The Generation Gap’’ exists only as a paragraph in a history book.
But what survives, what lives even today, is the music. It’s especially wonderful when it’s brought back to life by the people who first GAVE it life, like Mason.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mason – he and Traffic were inducted in 2004 -- will be 68 this year, so he, his music and his stories are to be cherished even more. I mean, how much longer will he be here to share them with us in person?
Friday night, it was a packed Ohio Theatre’s turn to thank him for the memories, even as he opened up to us.
“We Just Disagree,’’ “Feeling Alright,’’ “Medicated Goo,’’ “Dear Mr. Fantasy’’ and “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys’’ aren’t just songs. They’re sonic scrapbooks of days gone by.
Of course, none of this would work if Mason had lost his chops, and that definitely has not happened. He and his Dave Mason Band – Alvino Bennett on drums, Jason Roller on guitar and mandolin and especially Tony Patler on keys (and through them, the bass) – and their airtight harmonies made it seem as though we were all just months away from the real Summer of Love instead of light years removed.
For two hours – with a 15-minute break between sets – Mason and his friends took us back in time, both with the music and tales. And the guy has a million tales. He didn’t just play with Jimi Hendrix; they were friends. He played with Fleetwood Mac. George Harrison gave him his first sitar (“I don’t play sitar now, because there’s no way I could SIT like that anymore!’’). He and Eric Clapton were buddies, too. So were he and Bob Dylan, hence his hit on a cover of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.’’ Oh, and his Dylan impression is spot-on, “only when I sing it, you can understand the words.’’
But a favorite story of mine, which he shared amid Friday, night has to be about the boys of Traffic – Mason, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood – taking up residence in a house in the middle of nowhere in England. It had no heat and no running water. They even had to “chop down the outdoor bathroom for firewood.’’
“But we were kids, we didn’t care,’’ he told the crowd at the Ohio. Musicians from all over England would come to jam (I DO wish he’d revealed how they powered the amps and PA’s, but that’s a nit I’ll leave unpicked).
The story is cute, sure. But more than that, it showed just how much the music mattered. I’m not sure it does to that extent today. I’m not denigrating any artist, and I know everybody who’s in the field makes sacrifices to “make it.’’ But I’m not 100 percent sold on the idea that “making it’’ in 2014 means making music instead of money.
Not that Mason is against a few bucks. After all, he noted that “Feeling Alright,’’ which Joe Cocker turned into a huge hit, has been the goose that laid the golden egg. It’s been used in a slew of commercials, for example, and that means cha-ching royalties.
Most recently, he said, Bank of America has paid him to use the song in its commercials.
“I love it!’’ he said to an appreciative and laughing crowd. “A bank is paying ME!’’
Not enough, Dave. Not NEARLY enough. Memories are priceless.
Something Else! Interview: Dave Mason on Traffic, Fleetwood Mac and going his own way
February 12, 2014 by Nick DeRiso
For those who’ve forgotten his important, though admittedly brief, early contributions to Traffic, Dave Mason’s new Jam On tour works as a free-associative reminder. He’s playing the old music, but often times in a new way.
There’s also plenty of material from beyond the guitarist’s seminal tenure through Traffic’s first two albums, 1967′s Mr. Fantasy and their self-titled 1968 follow up. Mason is delving into subsequent solo music, notably his No. 12 solo 1977 hit “We Just Disagree,” and even tracks from the post-Mason years in Traffic like “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”
Truth be told, there’s a treasure trove of songs, connections and amazing musical moments from which to choose: Mason could play “All Along the Watchtower,” in honor of his collaboration with Jimi Hendrix on from 1968′s Electric Ladyland. Or “Street Fighting Man,” which found Mason dropping by for 1968′s Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones. He played on “Plug Me In,” from George Harrison’s All Thing Must Pass in 1970, and on 1975′s “Listen to What the Man Said,” with Paul McCartney and Wings. Michael Jackson sang on Mason’s 1980 solo track “Save Me,” while Jim Gordon memorably drummed on “Only You Know and I Know” from 1970′s Alone Together.
All along, he’s kept to the road: “I’ve never stopped touring, really,” Mason tells us, in an exclusive SER Sitdown. “Sometimes it’s been under the radar, so to speak.” That would include a stretch between 1987′s Some Assembly Required and Mason’s joining Fleetwood Mac for 1995′s Time. “I went through a long period of just performing with me and Jim Krueger [who wrote "We Just Disagree"], just acoustic. I was doing unplugged before there was an ‘unplugged.’”
In an exclusive SER Sitdown, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer discusses these amazing career intersections, from Traffic to Fleetwood Mac, and his well-received new shows …
NICK DERISO: In the new concerts, you’re doing both songs you had a hand in with Traffic, like “You Can All Join In,” but also “Low Spark” which happened after your departure. How did you build the setlist?
DAVE MASON: I approach them in the best way that it works for me, frankly. Most of the stuff we’re doing is pretty close to the originals. With “Mr. Fantasy,” I rewrote the chords for it. But “Low Spark” is absolutely nothing like the original recording. I do it as a slow blues. Even if it’s my stuff, or whatever it is, I try to find the songs that are fun to do. When it comes to the show, if I’ve got to play those songs three, four, five nights a week, they have to be fun to do. And it is. That’s the most important part. This is a great band with great guys. It’s just a small unit, a four-piece band. It just works really well.
NICK DERISO: You’ve got a new EP on the way, as well — and the promised song selection there shows, once again, the kind of versatility that I’m guessing led to your departure from Traffic. I remember the earliest Traffic sides had you on sitar. You’ve always been hard to pin down.
DAVE MASON: (Laughs.) Yeah, it seemed to have been a problem with my career. To me, though, I don’t see it that way. I mean, mostly I start from a song. So, when I’m writing the song, or when I have a song I’m doing, it tends to suggest a certain style. I draw from a lot different sources. It depends on what the songs going to be. You know, I play blues — but I’m not really a blues player. I play rock, but I’m not a rock ‘n’ roll guy. I do ballads, but I’m not a balladeer. But I like that variation. To play one style would just be boring for me.
NICK DERISO: That brings me to Jimi Hendrix, who was always so much more than a blues artist.
DAVE MASON: He was extremely innovative, both playing wise and what he did in the studio.
NICK DERISO: Performing with him on Electric Ladyland must have been both exhilarating and terribly daunting. How difficult was it to return to your instrument after that? Did you feel like giving up?
DAVE MASON: I figured I should find a different thing to play! (Laughs.)
NICK DERISO: Your penchant for great pop led you to appear on Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Listen to What the Man Said,” one of their biggest hits in the 1970s. How did that happen?
DAVE MASON: Actually, they were recording in New Orleans, and I was doing a show there. A couple of the guys from Wings came by to the see the show, and we had a day off the next day. They said: “Why don’t you come down to the studio?” I’m sure Paul would love to see you. So, I just stopped by, and they happened to be cutting “Listen to What the Man Said.” Paul was, like: “Hey, c’mon, you should sit in with us.” (Laughs.)
NICK DERISO: It’s intriguing. Coincidence seemed to play along the way in your career. There was Michael Jackson performing on your song “Save Me” and, earlier, you’re appearing on the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man.” Both happened because you were working in nearby studios.
DAVE MASON: I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it, to be honest — unless I’m doing an interview. But, yeah, I’ve been fortunate enough to be in some pretty interesting places at the right time, I guess. Certainly, to have made music with them, either on my album or on theirs, was special — because they are very significant artists. But, at the time, it’s just sort of what’s happening, so you don’t really register it that way. Looking back over it all, it was pretty significant, though.
NICK DERISO: To be honest, that’s why it didn’t surprise me all that much when you suddenly showed up with Fleetwood Mac.
DAVE MASON: He was putting a band together, and asked me: “How would you feel about being part of it?” I was, like: “Well, yeah, OK. Why not? Let’s try it, and see what happens.”
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Most drive-by fans think Fleetwood Mac never shined without Peter Green, Lindsey Buckingham or Stevie Nicks. Think again. We dug up five terrific examples.]
NICK DERISO: Do you feel like that period has been treated unfairly by critics who focused solely on a return of Buckingham Nicks? After all, it’s a band that’s had several lineups, going back to the Peter Green days.
DAVE MASON: Oh, yeah, it’s had a number of incarnations. I could understand, from some people’s point of view, because the Rumours album obviously sold so many copies. It was so huge that that sort of overshadowed everything else. We did the album, and Warner Bros. didn’t really bother with it, frankly. So, it sort of just came out and died a death. And that was that. But we spent six or eight months making that record, on and off. It wasn’t just slapped together. The problem was that [long-time Fleetwood Mac contributor] Christine [McVie] was on the album, but she wouldn’t go on the road. That probably would have lent more credence to it. By the time we got on the road, all you had was [band founders] Mick [Fleetwood] and John McVie. So, it got to be classified as a Fleetwood Mac cover band.
NICK DERISO: “We Just Disagree” must always bring you back to your old collaborator Jim Krueger? Do you see it as a kind of tribute to him now?
DAVE MASON: Oh, yeah, absolutely. He was a great guitar player, really good. A really good guitar player. And the combination of [1970s-era organist] Mike Finnigan and Jim Krueger was a great vocal blend.
[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Dave Mason joined other acolytes to discuss the sweeping influence that Jimi Hendrix had on their lives and careers - and music, in general - in the 'Guitar Hero' film.]
NICK DERISO: What’s your reaction to the way people, after Joe Cocker’s cover version became a hit, so often misunderstand the true meaning of “Feelin’ Alright”? Do you just want to yell: There was originally a question mark at the end?
DAVE MASON: Well, yeah — the song is about not feeling too good myself! That’s what’s the song’s about. It’s not really about feeling alright, at all. (Laughs.) But, that being said, without Joe’s version, it would never have gotten the enormous amount of attention it got. So, you know, it’s open to interpretation.
Who Is Seeing Dave Mason's Traffic Jam Tour?
Vip Prices Include
-Personal Picture With Dave
$125 Per Person Plus Price of Platinum Ticket
The Newark Advocate, April 28, 2014
Dave Mason: On the road, reviving Traffic days
NEWARK — Pop quiz: What Rock and Roll Hall of Famer cofounded Traffic, played on Jimi Hendrix’s apocalyptic blowout of “All Along the Watchtower” and even joined Fleetwood Mac for a brief stint in the mid-’90s?
Answer: Dave Mason, and he’s coming to Newark to perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Midland Theatre.
Originally from Worcester, England, Mason formed Traffic with multi-instrumentalist and singer Steve Winwood, percussionist Jim Capaldi, and flutist and saxophonist Chris Wood in 1967. That lineup was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 in a ceremony in New York. Mason said he has visited the Hall of Fame in Cleveland “two or three times,” adding: “It’s nice that they recognized Traffic and the contributions.”
Now 67, Mason recently spoke with The Advocate via telephone from his California home during a break in touring. His Traffic Jam tour will continue into next year, with two other Ohio stops also planned for this week: Clark State Performing Arts Center in Springfield on Friday, and the Kent Stage in Kent on Saturday. Venues range from 350-seat clubs to 1,200-seat theaters and festivals.
“It’s too late to change jobs now,” Mason said. “I love playing, so why not keep doing it while I can?”
Tour stops can showcase live renditions of “Feelin’ Alright,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” “Forty Thousand Headmen,” “Medicated Goo” and “Rock and Roll Stew” from the Traffic days, he said, as well as Bob Dylan’s “Watchtower.” Yes, Joe Cocker had a huge international hit with a cover of “Feelin’ Alright,” but Mason wrote it while with Traffic and continues to perform it live these days.
The second half of the upcoming concert will focus on solo work, Mason said. That repertoire includes his hits “Only You Know and I Know,” “Show Me Some Affection” and “We Just Disagree.” He’ll also showcase songs from his upcoming CD, “Future’s Past,” which features a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen,” a reworking of “World in Changes” and his latest single, “How Do I Get to Heaven?”
“Future’s Past” began as updates of older songs but expanded to include the brand-new “Freedom.” The disc is available for pre-order now through davemasonmusic.com, with a free digital download of a 1978 concert at Belmont Park offered as a bonus.
Through the years, Mason has played and recorded with many of rock and roll’s greats on some of their best-known work: He performed on George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass,” the Rolling Stones’ “Beggars’ Banquet” and Joe Walsh’s “You Can’t Argue With a Sick Mind.” He’s recorded with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Phoebe Snow and Mama Cass Elliot. He joined Fleetwood Mac for two years in the mid-’90s, performing on the 1995 release, “Time.”
When Hendrix recorded his turbulent version of “All Along the Watchtower” in 1968 on “Electric Ladyland,” Mason played the acoustic 12-string guitar. The two had heard Dylan’s acoustic recording of the song a few nights earlier at a friend’s apartment, Mason recalled. When Mason performs the song onstage now, he goes electric.
Mason said his music is frequently blues-based, featuring timeless themes, but not bound by any one style.
“I’m song-driven,” he said. “I’m not style-driven. I like all kinds of music. I do what the song suggests. You can’t pin a stylistic label on me, which bothers some people.”
This is what he played at the one I saw.
* 40,000 Headman
* Here's A Little Song (you can all join in on)
* Pearly Queen
* Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring
* Heaven Is In Your Mind
* Low Spark Of High Heel Boys - Absolutely Incredible Performance!!!
* Medicated Goo
* Rock & Roll Stew
* Dear Mr. Fantasy
* We Just Disagree
* World In Changes
* How Do I Get To Heaven (new)
* Good To You
* Only You Know And I Know
* Shouldn't Have Took More Then You Gave
* Feelin' Alright
* All Along The Watchtower
He has a new album coming out soon.
Dear Mr. Fantasy: Entertainment Tell Interviews Dave Mason
by Howard Whitman on May 21, 2014 at 9:57 am
“Feeling alright? I’m not feeling too good myself …”
Many a musical jam has cooked along to those words, and the absolutely classic song that goes with them. That’s the work of Dave Mason, the legendary English guitarist/singer/songwriter who began his professional career with the band Traffic in 1966 but went on to a successful solo career in the 1970s.
In 2014, Mason is looking back on his Traffic and solo days with his Traffic Jam tour—as well as looking forward with a new CD, Future’s Past.
When we spoke to Mason (who was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Traffic in 2004), he was resting up after his first swing of Traffic Jam shows, and prepping for the release of the new album (funded in part by his fans online).
In the following interview, Mason discusses these projects, as well as his celebrity-created album art, future plans, his feelings on new tech, and his little-known stint as a member of Fleetwood Mac.
Howard Whitman: I listened to a download of your new album Future’s Past, which was sent to me. Very good work—I really enjoyed it.
Dave Mason: Thank you.
Whitman: Tell me about the content behind this album—it sounds like a mix between old and new, some Traffic stuff …
Mason: Yeah, well, there was no real specific plan to put a CD out or put one together, frankly, since something I put out about seven years ago. But I started doing this Traffic Jam tour this year and revisiting that stuff, and I suppose along with it there are just things that I have in my own studio. And since I was doing Traffic, I wanted to do something that kind of embraced some of my older material, but do it in a slightly different way. For instance, “Sad And Deep As You” to me turned out to be such a beautiful piece—in fact, to me, just heads and tails better than the original off Alone Together. I just thought, “This is a great piece of music. I want to include this.” The other thing about a lot of my stuff is that most of my things are written about timeless themes, so to me they become somewhat timeless songs.
For “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” I rewrote the chords, put them in a minor key and put more chords to it, an adaptation of it. So they’re more or less timeless themes a lot of my songs so I think they’re adaptable. “You Can All Join In”—it’s a live version that we blew out in a couple of takes in the studio. It sounded really good, so I kept it, which is great and it’s timely because we’re doing the Traffic stuff. And then there’s stuff on there that’s frankly from an album I did about seven or eight years ago that really didn’t get a lot of exposure, and they were great songs so I included those. Really, the only brand new thing on there—“World In Changes” of course is from Alone Together and that was me really playing around with some of my songs and its about 180 degrees from what the original was, but it was kind of cool—and then the only new thing in there is “That’s Freedom.”
Whitman: I see that Graham Nash did the cover art for the album. How did that come about?
Mason: Well, Graham has his art show that he does—he does some art, and he’s been doing this in photography and then transforming it into artwork. And he’s been doing an exhibition, he sent me some of his stuff, and he happened to have this in there, and it was like “Oh my God, it’s a picture of me in his house in Kuwai in 1977!” It’s a photograph, but he does it as his art. I saw the picture and I was like, “Oh, this is cool, man. You know what, can I use this?” And he was “Yeah, absolutely, go ahead.” And then it was a question of trying to fit in something … originally I had a title, it was the only thing I could come up with, from the movie I was going to call it Back to the Future. And then it just hit me, I just shrunk it down to Future’s Past because it’s all part of the thing. It’s saying these songs are just as good now as they were then, in my opinion. Not everybody’s going to like it. But that’s what makes a horse race—everybody’s got their take.
But there’s still a collection of very cool little tracks on there, plus my history with music is that … one of the problems is that the media or press can’t pigeonhole it. “There’s a new blues album by Dave Mason” … or a new rock album. I kind of incorporate it all, because mostly I’m more about the song, so I always approach it as … I’d like to hear this song done in this flavor, either it was a rock thing or a blues thing or whatever. But I try to approach the song in a way that will bring the song to life.
Whitman: So you didn’t set out to say, “I’m going to do an album of Traffic stuff, or older compositions?” Just making some music?
Mason: Yeah, exactly. That’s what this piece is. I’m already working on something for maybe later in the year, which will be all-new, brand-new original stuff.
Whitman: The Traffic Jam tour, tell me about that show. Is it a good deal of Traffic material that you’re revisiting?
Mason: It’s a two-part show. It runs about two hours with a little break in the middle. Most of the stuff, of course, we take from my time with them, which was basically the original two albums, so most of it’s from that era, although I have included a version of “The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” because it’s just a classic Traffic thing even though I wasn’t there [when it was recorded]. But the way I’m doing it is nothing like they did it.
Whitman: Sounds really interesting. Different feel to that?
Mason: I’ve kind of turned that into a blues song. It lends itself [to that], it works well.
Whitman: So a lot of guitar exploration on that one?
Mason: (Laughs) Yeah. Yeah, we’re playing.
Whitman: What kind of band do you have on this run?
Mason: We’re four-piece. My keyboard player is playing keyboards and organ and also he’s playing bass, except we play it on keyboards …
Whitman: A pedal bass thing?
Mason: No, no—left hand. He’s really good.
Whitman: Doors-style, right?
Mason: Even better than that. You’ve got real bass sounds to work with, as opposed to back then, when one just used the low end of the keyboard. Now you’ve got real basses to trigger, so even though there’s nobody up there playing a bass guitar, there’s bass. And Alvino Bennett’s on drums, and John Sambatero, who just got back with the band—he played with me on and off for a long time—is the other guitar player and singer. There are four of us.
Whitman: Four of you—and you’re making a lot of sound, right?
Mason: We are, yeah.
Whitman: So besides the Traffic material, what other kind of things are you doing?
Mason: Well, the first half is the Traffic stuff, take a break, and then we come back and do Dave. I do Dave.
Whitman: There’s plenty of Dave to play!
Mason: So you get a bit of everything. And on my thing, there are a couple of the new songs off the new CD, and pieces off my other albums.
Whitman: Very cool! You’re hitting “Feeling Alright?” and songs like that?
Mason: Oh yeah, we do “Feeling Alright?,” absolutely.
Whitman: “We Just Disagree,” I’m sure?
Whitman: Your other solo hits as well?
Mason: “Let It Go, Let It Flow.” Then we do “World In Changes,” “Just A Song” … I mix it up with my set, what I’m doing for my stuff. All Along The Watchtower”—we have to do “All Along The Watchtower,” otherwise they won’t let us out of the building.
Whitman: One interesting chapter in your history that I haven’t heard much about and was curious about was … you were in Fleetwood Mac for a time?
Mason: For two years.
Whitman: How did that come about, and how was that experience for you?
Mason: Well, they weren’t together. Mick was calling me one day and said, “Hey man, can we meet? I want to talk to you about something.” He asked me, would I be interested in being part of reforming Fleetwood Mac? It was in a period where I was still working solo but I was free enough to say, “Well yeah, OK. Let’s give it a shot.” And we did an album called Time (1995), which unfortunately never really got promoted by Warner Bros. at all, they let it sort of die. And it lasted two years and it was over. They went back to the original lineup … well, not the original lineup.
Whitman: But the one everybody knows (with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham). Not the Peter Green version.
Whitman: But I thought it was very cool when you were in the band, what you brought to it was very interesting.
Mason: Well, yeah. It had the potential to be there. It was a little hard, because Christine (McVie) did the album, but she wouldn’t go on the road, so it was like “OK.” And you’ve got three or four different managers, everybody’s got a manager … that part was a little [difficult]. But otherwise, we did some touring, we went to Europe—and it was fun while it lasted, but it just sort of ended very abruptly.
Whitman: So that was that. Another one I wanted to ask you, someone asked me to put this one to you on Facebook … there’s a rumor that you actually sang backup on Frampton Comes Alive!. Is there any truth to that?
Mason: No. I’m not on that album. That’s the kind of nonsense that comes from Wikipedia.
Whitman: Right. People believe that stuff …
Mason: I wish people knew, with Wikipedia, what’s really going on there.
Whitman: Anybody can write that, right?
Mason: Yeah! I mean, I’ve got people who’ve gone in my stuff about Alone Together—there are people[listed as] playing on Alone Together that I’ve never heard of, and Eric Clapton is [supposedly] playing the solo on “Look at You, Look at Me.” I mean, it’s ridiculous.
Whitman: What’s the craziest rumor you’ve heard about yourself?
Mason: You know what? Frankly, I don’t really plug into that kind of thing or pay attention to it, so, nothing really, other than the usual stuff.
Whitman: Probably a good plan. … Dave, what is next for you? You mentioned that you’re looking to do an album of all-new material?
Mason: Yeah. Well, I’m pretty much working on stuff constantly when I’m home, but yeah, the next thing probably will be all-new, original material.
Whitman: These days, people are making albums in their hotel rooms with laptops, things like that. Are you of that mind, or do you like getting into the studio?
Mason: Well, I have my own little studio here at home. All the tools are available.
Whitman: How do you feel about how the modern technology has influenced how music gets made, and how you make it?
Mason: I do it no differently from how I did it when it was just two-track. It’s the same principle; it’s just that there’s more stuff there, which is nice, but it’s still basically the same thing as it’s always been: It’s about the song. The song, the song, the song—and the performance. And the only thing is that the new technology—it’s allowed people to do stuff that they probably could never pull off live. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know.
Whitman: Do you still record live in the studio, just set it up and go?
Mason: No, no, no … I do that, but sometimes I program stuff. That’s the only other thing—the ability it’s given me to do that. For basically drums, and then the other stuff I can do—I’m still playing.
Whitman: So you build tracks, you’re putting down different parts?
Whitman: Any of that on this current CD, or is it more of a band project?
Mason: Well, yeah, “Dear Mr. Fantasy” is built that way. So is “That’s Freedom.” “Good 2 U” was recorded as a track with a drummer. “You Can All Join In” is live. “El Toro” was built from a live track. But “That’s Freedom,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy” … those are definitely built up in the studio.
Whitman: Very cool. How is the tour going so far? How has the response been to the Traffic Jam set?
Mason: It’s been great. It’s been very good, better than I expected. And we were out from the third of January for about five to six weeks, and I’ve been off for most of (March) and we start again in April.
Whitman: Great! So another good swing is coming up?
Mason: Yes! We’ll be out even though a lot of the dates are not posted, we’re pretty much booked through December. And we also have—just so that your readers know—if they want to go to Pledgemusic.com, we have a pledge program going on there. Since I’m really financing the album and making that myself—there’s no label involved—people can go there and if they want to do something, help us promote the album, they can help with their pledges to promote the album.
Whitman: We’ll definitely send people there. (Check out Dave’s PledgeMusic page here.) Do you see doing any kind of live recording—DVD or CD set—from this current tour?
Mason: Yes, at some point I think it would be good to do that, probably later in the year—and hopefully we can attract some other guest stars to join us in Traffic Jam. It would be cool.
Whitman: Any guests you have in mind?
Mason: Yeah, there’s a list, but the question is, are they going to do it or not?
Lexgo Kentucky.com 11/6/2014 by Walter Tunis
Dave Mason steers back into the Bluegrass for Traffic-themed solo show
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/06/3...#storylink=cpy
At the heart of the near 50-year career of Dave Mason — a remarkable run that has included collaborations with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac, in addition to a successful and extensive solo career — sits the sound of Traffic.
It was with the legendary British band that Mason's musical teeth were cut. It was with that troupe, alongside fellow members Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and the late Chris Wood that Mason was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. And it is the music of Traffic that the singer, guitarist and songsmith returned to this year for a concert program called Dave Mason's Traffic Jam.
That tour brings Mason back to Central Kentucky for his first performance here since a 1978 show at the University of Kentucky's Memorial Coliseum when he plays Friday at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort.
"I look back on Traffic and regard it as one of the original alternative bands," Mason says. "I didn't start writing until Traffic started. There were a lot of diverse tastes in that band, which in the end led to me having to go solo. But during the time of it, I was 19 or 20 years old. When you're that
age, there is nothing really you can't do."
Mason cut two psychedelic albums with Traffic before the band initially disintegrated in 1969. A critically acclaimed 1970 solo album, Alone Together, followed, interspersed with guest guitar work on such landmark records as Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, the Stones' Beggar's Banquet and Harrison's All Thing Must Pass. Mason reteamed with Winwood for a handful of 1971 concerts (chronicled on the live album Welcome to the Canteen), but quickly parted ways again to resume a solo career that would eventually yield the hit 1977 album, Let it Flow.
"The show is, I guess, kind of a condensed history of my music from Traffic all the way up to today." Mason says. "It's just a travelogue of my career.
"The show is in two parts. The Traffic set has a cool, reworked Dear Mr. Fantasy, (the title tune to Traffic' 1967 debut album). You Can All Join In and Pearly Queen (the first two songs from the band's self-titled 1968 sophomore recording) are in there. Then there are things like Medicated Goo (a December 1968 single that wound up on the 1969 compilation Last Exit). Mostly I'm sticking to stuff that was done when I was with the band, but I also worked up my own arrangement of The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (from the 1972 album of the same name), even though that was not part of my time with Traffic. Usually, we take a break after that and come back to do stuff from Alone Together, Let It Flow (which included the radio hit We Just Disagree) and then some new stuff."
The "new stuff" leans to Future's Past, a 2014 recording fashioned very much along the lines of the Traffic Jam shows. There are new tunes (including Good 2 U and How Do I Get to Heaven) along with retooled Traffic and Alone Together songs.
"It's more a collection of what I considered to be really cool sounding tracks," Mason says. "I put them together in the hopes that people would enjoy it, obviously. But it's also for people who maybe have never heard anything by me before. To a lot of them, all this music is going to be new.
"But to other audiences, there is a whole different scenario going on. I am part of the soundtrack of their lives. So a certain song will trigger certain memories for them on where they were, what they were doing. There are a lot of ways the music touches people on a very deep level that, to me, is very interesting."
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/06/3...#storylink=cpy
Dave Mason plays nostalgic concert at Bijou Theatre
By Hannah Hausman on November 12, 2014, Tennessee Journalist
On Sunday Nov. 9, Dave Mason brought the crowd to their feet at the Bijou Theatre. While Mason’s solo career included collaborations with a plethora of artists including Fleetwood Mac and Paul McCartney, he is remembered mostly for his involvement in the band Traffic. In fact, his current world tour is entitled “Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam.”
Throughout the concert Mason performed 70′s Traffic hits such as “Feelin’ Alright”, “All Along the Watch Tower” and “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”. The audience was predominantly made of Baby Boomers who were fans of Traffic as they were growing up.
Berry and Scherri Resnick had a memorable experience at the concert.
“We ran into some old friends in line who just happened to have extra front row seats,” said Scherri. “And I got to hear music that I had not heard in 30 or 40 years.”
Berry was a huge fan of Mason and Traffic growing up, but this was the first time he ever heard him play live.
“All Along The Watch Tower was my favorite song of the night,” said Berry. “I [have known] that song forever, and he did such a great job performing it.”
Glen Palmer Sr. has been a fan of Mason’s since the 70′s, and his son Glen Palmer Jr. shares his taste in music. The two live in Knoxville and frequently attend concerts together at the Bijou Theatre.
“It was a great show and we really enjoyed it,” said Palmer Sr. “It was a great time for bonding.”
A Special VIP package was offered for true fans of Mason’s. This includes backstage passes, photos and one on one time with Mason. His performance was also followed by a free autograph session for everyone in attendance.
South Coast Today, January 3, 2014
Dave Mason, former member of the rock band Traffic, to perform at Zeiterion
NEW BEDFORD - Whether it’s a photo album or a music album, we bask in our nostalgia.
And when Dave Mason performs Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford, he will be entertaining both musically and visually. While he and his bandmates roll through Mason’s vast catalog of music — including his days with the classic rock giants Traffic — they will be backed by a sizeable video screen that will take the audience on a visual voyage to compliment the visual one.
The video screen provides audiences on an optical version of Mason’s vast career, at the same time taking them back to their own youthful heydays.
“There are a lot of people who can relate to what Dave Mason is singing about,” says Brad Martin, afternoon drive-time personality on classic hits station Cool 102 in Hyannis. “Everyone’s been in that moment, and that relationship. He’s part of a fabric that makes up rock and roll.”
The show will be part of “The Traffic Jam” tour. Tickets are $45.50, $37.50, and $29.50.
Mason’s resume is one of the most impressive in rock. Aside from Traffic and his individual music he has performed and recorded with The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Fleetwood Mac.
“It’s an honor to be in Dave Mason’s presence with the history he’s lived and when he brings to the stage,” Martin says. “He’ll take you down a musical voyage he has travelled so well, including a reminder of how great Traffic was. Audience members will be surprised at how much great rock and roll Dave Mason has been a part of.”
Mason remains productive. In 2014 he released “Future’s Past,” a collection of reworked classics and new material.
But for Mason, the inspiration doesn’t end musically. A portion of the proceeds from his concerts goes to the organization Work Vessels for Veterans, a group that he’s co-founded and focuses on assisting veterans returning from the Iraq and Afganistan wars. Work Vessels for Veterans aims to help soldiers restart their lives after returning from military duty, providing start-up funding, farm land, agricultural opportunities, tools, equipment, vehicles, and electronic products. They also assist veterans with cars, boats and sporting equipment.
“When I came to America from England in 1968 I was ashamed at the way the veteran soldiers were treated,” Mason says. “I had a personal interest — my father and my brother were in the military and I witnessed the bombed-out buildings from World War II. To combine that with the spirit of the 60’s has been a great influence on me.”
And while much of Mason’s music will be a celebration of the past, one of his charities is very progressive. In November, Work Vessels for Veterans teamed energies with WeedHire, an organization devoted to assisting veterans in finding jobs in the developing industry of legal cannabis, or marijuana. The plant is being used for medical and recreational use, and it is expected to provide increasing access to jobs for many veterans.
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