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A Fireside Chat With David Weiss

By Published: February 7, 2003

DW: Yeah, but for whatever reason, Freddie became the poster child for all of that. Pretty much every jazz musician has done a drug, until the last twenty years. Every classic, Charlie Parker, Lee Morgan, they all had drug issues. They just happened to die. Every time someone mentions Freddie, it is always in the context of some drug joke or something. He has become the poster child for that because I guess he is still alive. They attribute his diminished ability to that. I can't name names, but I certainly know musicians who lived longer than him and were doing drugs up until the day they died. I saw them. I was there. It has always been there, but whatever reason, Freddie gets it. He is trying. He has had heart trouble. He has chilled out, but sixty-five, that is a lot of wear and tear. Plus, just traveling, if you have ever been on the road just playing music, you don't get a chance to warm up. Sometimes, you are just flying in and going right to a stage and trumpet is not conducive to that kind of lifestyle. You need to warm up. You need to take your time.

FJ: I have seen concert footage of Miles in his later years where he plays three notes.

DW: Yeah, but again, it is creating a context for it. He had all this electronics going around. Freddie doesn't have that aura Miles Davis had. Again, it is finding the right thing that he can function in. We did a record and maybe Freddie's playing wasn't up to par, but it is still a good record. It had good arrangements and we had some good soloists, but he has raised the bar so high for himself that it doesn't seem like people are ready to forgive or whatever. So it can be pretty rough, but we just play. Most audiences love it. They are so happy to hear him and they love the band. It is really fun being out there with him. It also helps being out there with a legend. It is good for my band to be scared of somebody.

FJ: On behalf of Freddie fans everywhere. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

DW: Thanks, Fred.

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