A Fireside Chat With John Medeski
AAJ: So MMW is cool with hipping the youth to Sun Ra or John Zorn?
JM: That has always been our goal. We just play music from our hearts so it is really hard to know what we're doing. We do what we do and do the best we can and play what we feel. Ultimately, we're just really expressing ourselves, so it is hard to know what is good or not or whether it matters. But what makes us feel good is to find out when we look on our website, in one of our chatrooms, and find out that kids are going out and checking out Charles Mingus for the first time or Duke Ellington or Coltrane. If people from hearing us can go find better music, it is great.
AAJ: Based on MMW's website, you advocate your fans to get involved politically.
JM: Well, you want people to smarten up a little because it is a strange world right now and it has been easy in this country to not have to deal with that. I spend a lot of time myself not dealing and doing things under the radar. But it is time now, where it's not working anymore. You have to get back to where America started out to be.
AAJ: And an example of that is this country's failing drug policy.
JM: Absolutely. It's ludicrous. I see it as an extension of Prohibition. Alcohol laws vary from state to state and how we can't buy wine from our own country and have it shipped from state to state. Wine made in California, I can't buy it in New York from the winery. I have to go through distributors. That's a way of keeping that mafia thing alive. They are not going to legalize drugs because they can make more money off it if it is illegal. Whether or not people should do drugs is another story. Everything has its place and it can be tragic for some people. But it being illegal is what makes it more attractive. That's my opinion. It's weird to prohibit a plant. If drugs are going to be illegal, then sugar should be illegal. It's another nasty, white powder that bleaches the ground and body of minerals.
AAJ: Listening pleasures?
JM: I've been listening to the Ghost Dog soundtrack Japanese version, which RZA did from Wu-Tang. I've been enjoying that. I've been listening to a lot of Campbell Brothers. I'm listening to a lot of early gospel stuff.
Visit Medeski, Martin & Wood on the web at www.medeskimartinandwood.com