LIBRARY: Articles    

Interview at Second Fret, Philadelphia   Print


WMMR
November 17, 1966

Note: This is an excerpt of the November 17, 1966 interview broadcast as a portion of the WMMR retrospective on January 29, 1974. (Transcribed by Lindsay Moon)

BARRY BIRD: How did the two of you get together?

CHUCK MITCHELL: We met in Toronto, and Joni was working the same club as I was working. I'll let her finish the story.

JONI MITCHELL: (Laughs.) There's nothing really to finish.

CM: It's a great story.

JM: Well, Chuck was working at that time in a duo with a fellow named Loring James, and they walked into the club and I was singing. I had sung there the previous week. And Loring James was a classical guitar teacher at the time and was very impressed by the fact that I play with a perfect, almost classical guitar position. And he said, "Oh, look at that hand," and Charlie said, "Oh, look at those legs." (Laughs.) And that's the story. That's why the big pause. I didn't know whether I should tell it.

CM: I was very interested in her style and her technique and her class. And so I was the one who ended up marrying her. We spent eight hours in a place called High Park in Toronto out in the -- it's a beautiful, beautiful park -- looking at the ducks and sitting by the water and so on. And that was the beginning of the whole thing.

And that's a motorcycle, I think, for our listeners. It wasn't a hippopotamus.

What else? Oh, Joni came down to Detroit to -- I told her I could get her some work. And I did get her some work, and at the same time I got her the work, I proposed to her and she accepted and shocked me something awful. And that's all really, except we've been married a year and a half, and we are reasonably happy. There goes the motorcycle.

BB: Of the two of you, Joni seems to be the songwriter of the family. Tom Rush is recording one of your songs. I understand Ian & Sylvia are supposed to record another.

JM: Ian & Sylvia have recorded "The Circle Game," which Tom will also have on his new album, at least according to the last time I spoke to him. And Buffy St. Marie is recording one called "Song to a Seagull." And George Hamilton IV also is talking about recording "Urge for Going" on the Country Hit Parade.

BB: How did you get started writing?

JM: Well, in the beginning I had a soprano voice so everyone compared me to Baez. And I'd written a couple of songs. I think everybody writes a couple of songs. But I just decided that the only way I was going to be able to differentiate myself from any other of the singers was to have original material. Everytime I'd find a song, I'd find out afterwards that Judy Collins or somebody -- Joan Baez had recorded it. So then with my new material I thought I was fairly safe. And then I discovered some lower register tones that I didn't know that I could use before. And that's how everything has developed to what I am doing now.

BB: What do you use as source material for your music?

JM: The source of material for my music?

BB: Yeah. How do you decide what you're going to write about?

JM: Oh. I really don't decide. I just suddenly get an idea and write it.

BB: Do you get the words and the music at the same time and just sit down?

JM: I've only had two songs that way, where they sort of came together. In the beginning I wrote lyrics first and the music afterwards. Now most of the things I do come melody first and then I add the words.

The song that I'm working on right now is called "Love is Like a Big Brass Band," and that's coming with the words first, which is something that hasn't happened for a long time.

(END OF NOVEMBER 1966 SEGMENT.)

 

Copyright protected material on this website is used in accordance with 'Fair Use', for the purpose
of study, review or critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of the copyright owner(s).

Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.

This article has not yet been rated
Log in to rate this article

Comments on this article


» Log in and be the first to add a comment.