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Interview with George Porter on Live Music Blog NOLA

The following interview appears here on Live Music Blog NOLA

Well it’s already February, 2011 is off and running strong here in the Big Easy and Live Music Blog: NOLA is ready to feature it’s first Artist of the Month ever. And who better to recognize first than master funksmith and all around nice guy George Porter Jr.? There are few more involved and tireless musicians in the Big Easy than Porter. At 63 years young, the bass legend and founding member of The Meters is still challenging himself with new projects like 7 Walkers and making new generations of fans all over the world (a trip to Australia is on the horizon for the funky Meters). The funky Meters will hit the road for a run up in Brooklyn later this month, but not before George Porter and the Runnin’ Pardners take to the stage next Friday night (February 11th) at Tipitina’s. Recently, LMB NOLA caught up with George Porter Jr. to talk about the Meters past and present, his solo work, Bonnaroo (including speculation about a Dr. John/original Meters reunion that has yet to materialize), JamCruise, and the long-time mystery of New Orleans music’s conspicuous absence (with exceptions of course) from mainstream radio airplay.

LMB: NOLA – When did you guys decide to go back out on the road up to Brooklyn and all the way over to Australia?

George Porter Jr. – It’s not so much when the band is available; it’s when dates come along. The band never took itself off the road. We’ve always had scheduling difficulties (for the funky Meters) because of The Neville Brothers. Art’s first priority was always to do shows with his family. If there was a thorn in the band’s side, that would’ve been it, the fact that The Neville Brothers dates took priority. Even though The Neville Brothers haven’t been out on the road for quite some time, the funky Meters have pretty much been available when I wasn’t out playing a bunch of dates with 7 Walkers and my solo band Runnin’ Pardners. So I’ve definitely been tryin’ to stay busy.
LMB NOLA- [Laughs] It sounds like you’re doing a good job of that.

George Porter Jr. – To answer your question, the band doesn’t really decide when it wants to go on the road, management and agencies decide if and when they’re gonna book us.

When was the last time you went down to play in Australia?

Last time I was there was in ’92 or ’93 when I was there with David Byrne and we did Australia and New Zealand.

You’ve recorded with a lot of bands and been a lot of places with all these acts, is there a foreign country that you feel has shown a larger appreciation for the New Orleans sound and/or the bands you’ve appeared with abroad?

Of all the places I’ve been to acting as a New Orleans-based band, I did Taste of New Orleans for a little while around Europe, and Runnin’ Pardners mostly only played in Holland. Also, the original Meters did some touring with the Rolling Stones in ’76...

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