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Interview with MANFRED MANN

May 2004

Most of the rock aficionados will decipher "MM" as "Melody Maker". Some will guess that can mean "Manfred Mann". And a few wise ones would say, Manfred Mann is a melody maker par excellence anyway. Catching up with the man was brief, as the veteran has been caught on the way to Nice to have some rest amidst the tight tour schedule, but there would be more later on...

- Your latest compilation is called "Evolution Of Manfred Mann". How do you see that progress over the years?

I don't think about things in that way. I am aware of what I have done, but I just concentrate on the current work I am doing.

- With so many great musicians who went through the band's ranks, don't you it's sadly overlooked as the British music institution akin to Alexis Korner's and John Mayall's?

No. Reall,y I don't think we were ever that important, and people who do think that they are important have too many ego problems

- Some call your band a hard rock group, others find it progressive or jazzy, then there's always been a solid blues element. How would you describe a style you explore?

It is just what I feel like doing at the time, so you can decide what words you want to use

- Why there's no CHAPTER THREE material on "Evolution"? Is it saved for a box set?

I don't know, I don't concern myself too much with compilations.

- How the name EARTH BAND came to be?

"Band" sounded good with "Mann", while "Earth" just felt right.

- Then, where the line lay between MANFRED MANN the band and Manfred Mann the person?

There is no Manfred Mann the person - my name is Manfred Lubowitz. And Mann is a professional entity, and nothing at all like me!

- You're one of the best arrangers around, but reworking THE YARDBIRDS, THE STONES or THE WHO material on "Soul Of Mann"... Was it a matter of interest for you?

- Oh, it was just an idea, and because we weren't singing the songs it was an interesting challenge.

- That was an instrumental record but would you go for a solo piano one now?

I am not a good enough pianist. Still. I am forming an instrumental group at the moment

- Together with THE BYRDS, it was you who brought Dylan to the mass attention. What's special about his songs that over the years you recorded at least eleven?

His songs are interesting mainly because he does them in such a very personal manner, that it is possible to do them differently to him and make them work OK.

- And what about Bruce Springsteen whose songs you approached some times too? Do you think the success of your version of "Spirits In The Night" helped push his career?

You are so obviously Russian: everywhere in the world "Blinded By The Light" was the big hit, and it is only in Russia that "Spirits" was noticed. But no, Bruce Springsteen would have been every bit as successful without us.

- Also you recorded several Mike Heron's songs and co-wrote "Sikelele" with him...

I knew Mike Heron from years ago, and he is a talented writer.

- The story with "The Good Earth" and the square foot of Welsh land - was that a real deal?

Yes, it was a real deal! Why would you doubt it?

- Of all the players who were in the band there are two bassists deserving special mention, the first being Jack Bruce. For how long he played with you before forming CREAM?

Nine months.

- The second comes from THE BEATLES history: Klaus Vormann. You seem to have been the first who employed him as a musician. Where did you meet, in Hamburg?

I never met him in Hamburg, we met in London.

- URIAH HEEP's "July Morning": what about this one?

I think I played it really badly, but they were happy.

- Could you, please, say a couple of words about your current band members?

They are a great live in concert band.

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