Marc Ford & The Neptune Blues Club kick off Street Beat Wednesday night
Although Marc Ford spent much of his musical career helping define The Black Crowes sound throughout the 90s, many have never heard his name. He played lead-guitar on three of the Crowes albums during that time (The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, Amorica and Three Snakes and One Charm) as well as two unreleased albums (Tall and Band, which were later released together as The Lost Crowes). He toured extensively with the band and his twangy, Southern swamp guitar tones became the cornerstone of the bands popular songs like Remedy, Thorn in My Pride and Wiser Time.Eventually Ford left the band and embarked on a solo career, something he said he should have done a long time ago. He formed a new band, The Neptune Blues Club, and will kick off the Street Beat free concert series Wednesday night in Vail. Ford spoke with us during a phone interview from his home in Laguna Niguel, Cali., about his history with the Black Crowes, his new album and why commercial success still eludes him.
Marc Ford: Because it happens so naturally as a sound I dont want to try to force the wrong key into the wrong hole, you know, so Ill stop and kind of check it and see if its going to work, as far as writing goes and bringing songs to the table. But playing-wise, I can just stop and listen when I want to and before Ive had to lead the charge and feel like Ive had to keep it churning all the time and now I can just lay back and be a part of it rather than drive the thing.
MF: Thats funny. I trip every time people say that. I realize that now, after years and years have gone by … Now I can look back at things and I guess I did have a certain way (of playing). Its really down to the persons touch and how theyre filtering what theyre hearing. Ive had so many different influences. Im influenced by everything. Im influenced by breakfast. I just really try to stay open to everything and not shut things out so that whatever needs to come through can come through.
MF: I tried trumpet when I was in elementary school. They started having all these music classes at school and you had to pick something and my dad had played trumpet and so (I said) Ill try that and I hated it. And then I used to go to the swap meet with my grandmother and I saw this old guy having the time of his life playing this guitar and it was just like the heavens broke open and the lights shined and I went I got to have one of those. I just never set it down, I just loved it so much. I think I was about 10.
MF: It came from just jamming, really … It just evolved from there. Really just loving playing together.
MF: It was awesome. When I joined I was in my mid-20s and they were having massive success and so it was like a kids dream come true. It was a blast. The whole rock star trip, its fun when youre young and the things I cared about were probably a little shallow at the time. I was getting all my needs met and it was fun, but after awhile … I needed to let them do their thing and go and do my thing.
MF: Im not surprised anymore. I used to be surprised. I dont really write pop songs for pop radio and the way the music industry is, Im just happy I made a career and Ive made it this far … I think all we need to do is get dropped into a few large crowds and things will work themselves out.
MF: To dance. Literally. Its a funky band … Id put this band up with any band ever. The stamina in this band is high. Its really challenging and its really fun.High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Marc Ford, former lead guitarist for The Black Crowes, with his new band The Neptune Blues Club.When: Wednesday night at 6 p.m.Where: Checkpoint Charlie in Vail.Cost: Free.More information: Call 970-949-1999 or visit http://www.vvf.org.
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