THEO PARRISH ( redbull academy interview pt. 1 )

Theo Parrish: »First, I’m going to say that my name’s Theo Parrish. And I’m going to hand it over to Gerd and let him do the rest of the questioning.«

RBMA: »This is Mr Theo Parrish who lives in Detroit. «
(applause)

RBMA: »This man is a DJ and producer extraordinaire. Runs a little – or a big label called Sound Signature records. And he’s a man of high-tech Jazz and the saviour of House music. So give him a warm welcome again, please!«
(applause)

Theo Parrish: »Thank you. Thanks. I guess first I’d like to play, as this song runs out, some music that inspired me as a little, little, little boy. We’re talking four or five years old. My mother used to run this whole album from side to side, to side to side and Stevie Wonder was basically the beginning of my musical education. This is where it started. This song in particular.

One thing I noticed as a little boy, was that if lyrics had a certain depth, they always had a particular meaning that you could apply to your experience. Am I beating this mic up a lot? With the ‘puhs’ and ‘tuhs’? Let’s fix it up. One two, one two. There we go. Much better. My mother told me that Stevie was singing about God, who was singing to man. And saying that always… I’ll going to let him sing.«

(music: Stevie Wonder ‘As’ up to the bridge part, where Theo stops the record)

»Alright I’m going to pause it right there. What I didn’t understand at this point, I don’t know if Stevie Wonder did. When I was four or five years old I didn’t know Stevie was singing a song, if he was playing on it, if all his backgrounds was him, if he was doing the drums. All I knew was that all of this sonic experience was coming from this one guy. And I was able to associate it with this. (holds up the record cover ) I would look at this and say: ”That’s Stevie Wonder, that’s him right there!” I can see that, I can feel that, I can go in the store and I knew that wherever I went in the world, that if I saw this, that was a likeness of the individual that I associated with that music.

And it wasn’t until later, when I got a lot older – not a lot older, maybe fifteen or sixteen. I went to a party at a hotel pavilion and I was living in Chicago. Lil’ Louis – I don’t know if many of you know who Lil’ Louis is. Lil’ Louis is an underground Chicago DJ. Some say the father of House music, or one of the godfathers, creators of House music. And I walked in, and I didn’t expect to hear this on a soundsystem with a thousand to two thousand other black kids, and he’s playing this. In the beginning. We’re talking 9 pm, Hotel Pavilion downtown, 1988. And that experience from my youth just touched me directly, like: ”Oh my god! I can’t believe that this… I come to hear ’boom-tsh-boom-tsh’”, because the mix shows with Farley and all that, they would showcase a lot of the newer music.

But I wasn’t really understanding what a party was about. And a party in a lot of senses, at that point in Chicago anyway, was bridging the gap from where you knew safety was at home, to a communal experience. And this song did it. And I never understood the emotion of this song until the bridge came and the vocals came up. That’s why I pause it there. So let me do a little something here, bring it up. It’s right up in here. Right here. (music plays) Now you see where that song just hit the roof. Now, if you amplify that song maybe times ten, an eight foot by eight foot bass bottom, and multiply that times four, then doubled it. Then put mids on top. Highs on top.

Then you have something of an idea of how huge the sound was in the place. Lil’ Louis would have sound engineers come in so the sound would totally overwhelm you. The songs took on a life and a size of their own. One side of the pavilion was all sound, and this was a DJ playing. This wasn’t a Rap concert, this wasn’t a Rock concert, this wasn’t Pink Floyd but you had sound like it was. So these songs became these huge musical events. And you’re fifteen, you walk in and your DNA gets changed instantly, just walking in the spot. You’re like: ”Oh my god, I can’t believe it – this is mom’s song! Mom used to play this on Saturdays cleaning up the house.” And now I’m getting hit in the head, and the imagination takes you places. Then it starts to make sense – some of the other songs he played in his set.

This was probably nine o’clock in the evening and he’s playing this song. When the vocals came out and it dropped, up until that point I thought I was hearing the whole range of sound that was available with the speakers. He had only the mids in and he dropped the lows when the second part came, when the ‘Oooo’ comes in. Let me shut up and play. (music plays) I’d get memories of when I’d listen to it with my mother and be singing it with her. And I didn’t realise the training I was going through. Now I’m not a singer, I couldn’t sing. A lot of times you go to school and you try and figure out what the different keys are: how to sing on key.

After singing to Stevie over and over and over again, you start to be able to tell when someone is singing out of key or not, depending how good the music is that you’re listening to. That’s having an ear without having to learn. I didn’t know how it was going to apply later. I just knew that whenever a song went on, I could tell where my voice needed to be, to be in tune with the whole thing. And this is just singing to Stevie on Sundays with my ma. Now later on when I started doing vocals, it started to make sense. ‘Wait a minute, I see where it starts to connect.’ I could just tell that’s not the right whatever. I didn’t have the terminology. I still can’t read or write music.

But the whole idea was to know it, and for it to become an intimate thing. Now the other part of the album – that was always the favourite song. ‘As.’ And I always thought: ”I wonder why it’s called ‘As’? When he’s always singing ‘always’?” But then I thought ‘the first letter of ‘always’ is ‘a’ and the last letter of always is ‘s’ so that must be what it is!’ But I was just digging on how the hidden meanings of the song and all the different applications you can put on it. What the lyrics meant, and all the different emotions. The states the song goes through. And I really didn’t understand what was happening, at the time, and I dug it. Aight. I’m going to leave it, what else you want to talk about?«

RBMA: »And this is still your first copy of the album?«

Theo Parrish: »No, that’s not my first copy – that’s probably my fifth copy of that album that I’ve come across.«

RBMA: »And you were talking about Lil’ Louis and the Bizmarck, and you also mentioned Farley. Maybe you could talk a little bit about what it was in Chicago back in the day? What was going on?«

Theo Parrish: »Well a lot of what was happening, at least for me – the first time I heard somebody mix was on the radio. I was probably about twelve years old. And it was after complaining to my mother that I wanted a radio, and it was Christmas, she got me a radio. It was one of those one set deals, with the radio in it, the tape deck and the plastic turntable all in one hook up, and I was like Yeah, this is sweet. I would fool around with the dial. And at the end of the dial I heard this thing come on: “B.M.X!” I was like: ”Who’s BMX?” I was into BMX bikes! I thought: ”That’s strange! Alright, that’s a good association, I like bikes!” But that was the call letters for the radio station WBMX!

They were playing all these different types of lectures I’d never heard, or couldn’t even conceive of at the time. Because all I knew until that point was what my mother was playing for me and a little bit of what my friends were playing around – and they were off into the breakdance deal, everyone was into Soulsonic Force. That was cool, I was into that a little bit too, but this was different. This was being played on the radio, and people was calling in, everyone was really excited. You went to school the next day, and people had recorded it, and I was like: ”I got to learn how to record it!” I didn’t know how to record it. So everybody had these mixtapes and were trading them around, it just became this huge movement. I don’t think people really understood how widespread the idea of

House music on the radio in Chicago was at that time. Now, me, I’m considered a young guy coming into it. Because there were these other generation guys that were ten years older than me, that were well off into it. But for me it was this whole new world that opened up. I hadn’t even gotten to the idea that there was a place that I could go to hear it and this was before I actually went out and heard this album. You would go to these little high school parties and there’s a couple of your contemporaries and you heard about these Mendel’s parties where you had Farley, Mike Williams, you had tons of DJ’s known and unknown, that were playing all around the city. And it was a sweep. I mean, the whole South side of Chicago – but before I go into that part, the thing to mention is that Chicago always was, from my understanding, a very, very segregated town. You had the South side and you had the North side.

And at that point you’re talking mid-80’s, there was still a lot of institutionalised racism. Ideas about how the city was going to be run, and where certain people needed to be. And those certain people that I belong to, which is African American, we needed to be on the South side. We weren’t welcome up North. So a lot of the parties and the whole idea or conception of this music was coming from the South side, from people’s struggles, from people who really were shut out. It’s strange what this music is turning into today – it’s a really interesting dynamic. I think it’s ironic. But we owned that music.

That was our language at that time. That was something that we held onto and we were playing our cards. We would go to these parties and it was something we could all be a part of. You knew, at that point in time, that no one else in the city was interested in that part of the radio dial. Just you and your friends. But you never knew how many! And later on you start to find out that some of these songs you were listening to sold over hundreds of thousands of copies within the first week of their release. Talking about the Mr Fingers EP that came out. Matter of fact, I’ll go right to that! This is the original copy I had, too. It’s beat up.«

RBMA: »Yeah, it looks like the original.«

Theo Parrish: »Yeah (laughs). There’s some good marks on that! When this came out, this changed everything. This changed the whole idea of what this music was, where it needed to go, where it had been. Changed it all. And this was all before we started to understand what a deal was. We had no knowledge of the inner workings of the music industry, how records were made, pressed, money for spinning was not even heard of. You played records just to get recognition.

And there was a guy on every single block that could play just as well as you. There was no “I’m going to go open up for Lil’ Louis.” You’d be lucky to even get a good look at the guy. I mean, no, it wasn’t going down. It was for props. If you got lucky, you played some basement party around the corner. If you got good. But you had competition! Alright, let me put it to you this way. Chicago’s broken up into North side, South side. And you have a street that divides it.

And basically, it goes up to 8700 North, and a hundred and thirty something South. Basically from 2200 South, all the way out to 7900, 179, it was all black folks. And in every city block, there was a guy just like you trying to learn how to put records together. So the competition level was high. I liken it to how I imagine Hip Hop hit New York. That was how House music hit Chicago, and it was that much more competitive. Let me stop there, I’m going to put this record on.

But before it really came down to us knowing this stuff was available, we would hear it on the radio. And I remember hearing this on the radio. It blew my mind. Now, the first one that was heard was ’Can U Feel It’. I didn’t know the name, it came into Farley’s mix CD. Ah, sorry, live mix on the radio!! There wasn’t even CD’s available.«

(music: Mr Fingers ‘Can U Feel It’ )

»I had no idea this was available on vinyl, I just knew I was hearing this. So I started to hear from my friends: ”There’s a place called Import Records, you can go buy this.” This is out, we need to go get it! And we were only allowed this much money, I had about 20 dollars a week to get through school, to get out there, eat, and make a bus fare to get home. I spent all of it at the record store. This label Trax specifically, I was like: ”I need this song that goes ‘boomp-boomp ba-doom-boom.” I kept saying it, and this guy, we know him now as Derrick Carter, he was working there and he was like: ”What’s going on? What do you want?” [and I replied] ”I need that boom-boom ba-doom-boom! It’s on Trax records.” And he pointed to the back wall, and Trax records had three releases, but up on the wall there were these blank spots. They were the red record label with the white print.

I was going: ”What else it out?” And I looked up and there was this other song, and this other song and this other song. And all I had was ten dollars, and records were $3.99 at the time. And I grabbed up this one, he had that one, and I kept wondering what the rest of ‘em sounded like. I spent money on that one and I spent money on ’Ride The Rhythm’, I spent money on ’House Music Anthem’. That’s that ’da-da-da’, everybody knows that one.«

RBMA: »Marshall Jefferson, right?«

Theo Parrish: »Yeah, Marshall Jefferson. Now, I was under the impression that this guy Mr Fingers did all of that. I wasn’t even looking at who was doing what on the record labels, I was just buying them. I got home and I was with my friends, Leron and Spencer, and we sat there and listened to them. Listened and listened. And what I didn’t understand was that there was more than one song on each one of these records, so I grabbed one and I looked and there were these other songs on it, started bouncing through it.

And I forgot all about ’Can U Feel It’, because it was mellow, and remember I’m still fifteen years old, sixteen. So, I’m hyper! Just got to have some aggression. So this served it. I was out of my mind when this [played], ”Oh my god! This is better than that one.” So I would spend all my time learning how to mix this together with the records that my friends would accumulate, and between all of us we probably had two crates between us at the time. Little kids, we didn’t know where any of this was going to go, even outside our little universe of what this was about. Let me just shut up.«

(music: Mr Fingers ‘Amnesia’)

»Alright, those pauses, in the middle of the track, were innovative as fuck. I’m sorry, can I say ’fuck’?«

RBMA: »You can.«

Theo Parrish: »I can say ’fuck’ in here? Alright. Really innovative! And to be able to stop in the middle of the track and leave one little note, ’dom-bommmm’. Like that, and have people going crazy when they heard that album. What went along with this was finally a chance to go out. I went out and heard these things, Lil’ Louis playing them, Ron Hardy playing them. I heard all these different guys playing them, and it was just shocking to walk into a spot and see the whole crowd react in call and response to the person playing it back and forth and I was just like: ”Oh my god!! This is amazing!”

Now when I hit the floor, it was because I wanted to dance, because that was what this music was about, it was about movement. And there was no… ah, how do I explain this? If you take away the magazines from dance music, if you can imagine what’s left. If you go back in time, you take away all of the sponsorship, you take away all of the things that make it a commodity. And you break down to a central form. You have nothing but pure experience among individuals. And if you can imagine that and then turn it into a language that’s spoken among you and shared among the youth, something that you own. No one else owns it, no one else is claiming this. No one can put a stamp or a tag on it.

If you can dig how much of a fanatic that would make a young person, as they become an adult, then you can understand that. Why you have so many individuals – like on the south side of Chicago now, if you go into an older bar, guys that are 35, 40 plus. They’re not playing, you know, The Supremes or The Four Tops, they’re playing this stuff. They’re playing older classics. And that’s another thing, that I’m going to get into, that’s the classic stuff. Basically the pieces that these were made off of. The calls and responses. This sort of music was there and was a language before the monikers came.

Like Acid House, like Progressive, like Drum’n Bass, like any of the different sub genres that are utilised to dissect the music and pimp it more or less. Way before any of that was done, so it was considered all the same thing. We weren’t really even calling it House music! It didn’t have the moniker that it had. That was Europe coming over, seeing it, saw that there was money to be made, taking it back, and that’s when next thing you know you had D-Mob walking around with ‘Aciiid!’ smiley faces.

There weren’t no smiley face!! And LSD was not a part of the equation! At least not with the young kids, not with us! It was never associated. It was something that was a lot more raw, and a lot more visceral. It was part of our language. It was something we were owning. It’s kind of like how you can imagine, alright, there’s these cats in the south with this ‘Screw’ music, they slow stuff down. It’s something that you wouldn’t understand as an outsider.

And so the commodification came – this was something I noticed in retrospect. I wasn’t understanding it at the time because I was too busy trying to put two records together. So, as I was putting them together, the biggest aspiration I ever had was: ‘I want to put my name, I want to get my name on one of those posters.’ Rick knows what I’m talking about with those posters! It was a methodology. [Sitting] in the back, that’s a teacher right there. (points to the back of the lecture room where Rick is sitting) Rick Wilhite from Detroit. He worked at a store. You can give him a hand!«
(applause)

»He worked in a place in Detroit, that’s where I met him, a place called Buy Right Music. Buy Right Music was important in ushering in a lot of the music that was coming out of Chicago, other places, and he was one of the main buyers who made sure that happened. When that was happening in Chicago, all I wanted to do was to mix the records, I had no idea this thing was taking off in other places. That there was any interest in what was happening, beyond in my own little back yard. Ah, bla bla bla. (laughs) Alright! Lead me man, lead me!«

RBMA: »You mentioned Ron Hardy, and he was the DJ at a club called Music Box. «

Theo Parrish: »Yeah, and a lot of other places too.«

RBMA: »And he was, maybe together with Frankie Knuckles…«

Theo Parrish: »No, he wasn’t together with Frankie Knuckles. Oh no, no, no, see…«

RBMA: »(laughs) Ok, then he was separate from Frankie Knuckles, but who was he and what does he mean to you?«

Theo Parrish: »Who was he and what does he mean? Basically, Ron Hardy was I’d say the foremost important selector of the 20th century. Easy. The most important selector of the 20th century. Because not only did he have the skills and the energy, the emotional energy and the connection to every song, but he had the balls to do whatever he wanted to do. And some people call it just insanity or craziness, but it takes guts to have the floor rocking, at peak hour, and all of a sudden he’d just drop whatever the hell he wanted to. No matter what. He’s going to do what he’s going to do.

That takes guts. So, to be able to do those things, and also to usher in new sounds every time he played, in a fashion that just hadn’t been seen before, was a pivotal thing. He broke a lot of these tracks that we take for granted. He was the first to play ‘em. In that he wasn’t very radio accessible, he wasn’t putting out any records, he maybe did a couple of mixes on a couple of things, and that was about it. To me, in terms of EQ work, people talk about working the EQ, dropping things, bringing in the highs, bringing in the lows, la la la: the methodology he would employ was something that I haven’t seen since.

You try to find people that can listen to a beat, listen to the off times, the on times, the rhythms underneath the rhythms and work the EQing, it’s nothing. But to see someone do it with that skill but to do it emotively. So that you had people that literally – there were these posts in the Box, and cats would be climbing the walls, literally straddling the posts – we’re talking two stories up! Because the Box had a ceiling, and that ceiling was taken out. It went up another story.

So we’re talking about it was two stories from the top of the ceiling to the floor. And these posts that ran up it. You had these faithful believers that would go up in there, lose their minds and climb the posts, snap. Just snapping. Because he lit people up like that. There was no light show, no cloud of smoke, none of that. You had a strobe light in the corner, and you had a siren near the DJ booth, that was it. It wasn’t about being seen, it wasn’t about any of that. It was about that sound. It was about the music he was playing. And that sort of raw dedication is what I see as lacking these days. «

RBMA: »But you’re pretty good with the EQ’s yourself, right?«

Theo Parrish: »I’m no Ron Hardy! Nooo, I’m not Ron Hardy. I’m me. All I can do is take what little I learned – or what I think I’ve learned – from him, and other DJ’s like him. Because I think I owe more to so many other DJ’s there, than just Ron Hardy. It’s a culmination. A lot of DJ’s, they never had any kind of recognition. We’re talking about the Mike Williams, the Deon Williams and the Gene Hunt’s, the Terry Hunters. The list goes on and on and on.

All guys that would play alongside these giants that we know of, but a lot of times were either marginalised because of their attitude or whatever. Circumstantial. But were really, really solid jocks and a lot of them still play out today. But we don’t give them the time of day because we think: “Oh, he doesn’t have a ‘name’. Oh, he doesn’t put records out. Oh, he must not be worth that much.” It’s not the case, you know?«

RBMA: »And how old were you back then, as you were going to the Music Box?«

Theo Parrish: »Music Box? I was fifteen years old.«

RBMA: »So you had to sneak in.«

Theo Parrish: »I didn’t have to sneak! You just went up to the door, and if they didn’t think that you would be able to handle going up in there, then they wouldn’t let you in. But sometimes they wouldn’t look at your ID, you’d slide in there. Slide in there. Fifteen, sixteen.«

RBMA: »And when did you start to play records then, at clubs, basements?«

Theo Parrish: »Clubs? Oh, man.«

RBMA: »Wherever.«

Theo Parrish: » It wasn’t until I was 22. So from 13 to 22 I had no professional work. I was strictly bedroom. Sorry, I had three basement parties; one of them I threw when I was fifteen. That was it. Like, there was no promise of any chance to do this as a career. That was the furthest thing from my mind. It wasn’t until I went to school in Kansas City that I had a chance to actually spin for a substantial amount of money. The first amount of money I made as a DJ.

I started spinning when I was 13, did my first gig when I was 15; and I made 23 dollars. And I was happy, so happy. Because at the end of that gig everybody in the block was like ‘Yeah!’ It was great. I was known as the guy around the corner who could play the music. That was it. That was as far as it went. My biggest aspiration, as I said, at that point was to get my name on one of these posters like the big guys. I didn’t know what any of that meant, I just knew that I wanted my mother to appreciate it. To know that at least, all this bangin’ in her attic upstairs was coming to something! So that’s where that went.«

RBMA: »And what does your mother think today about it?«

Theo Parrish: »Aw, she’s all in my ear now (laughs). Telling me what people think about stuff online. Because I don’t follow online. I don’t really watch what the current status is what I’m doing. I don’t really worry too much about it. I can’t. If you’re concerned about what you’re doing, then the next song in your head, the next song you want to play, sometimes all of the information of how you’re being received is a huge distraction. It becomes a hindrance, because then you start to become boxed in by your own movement. Start going: “I did this and people liked that so maybe I should keep doing that.” That’s an issue. But she monitors all that for me.«

RBMA: »So you don’t give two cents about all that hype surrounding your person?«

Theo Parrish: »Ah, not really, no. It doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s appreciated. Because at the end of the day it allows me to be able to do what I do and not have to work another job. However, it’s really not essential. I mean, when you really get down to the idea of what you’re here to do, what’s your point, you know? Why were you given this life energy to keep on breathing. If your point is to make a song or to play a song, then that is all there needs to be. All the ideas of grandeur and the money and the fame and the ‘bla bla bla’, that’s all misplaced if you can’t do the most simple thing.

And that’s to connect individuals to the songs. Like, try to diminish as much of your ego from the process as possible. And people tend to forget that. They think: “It’s all about me, I brought the records.” No, it’s not! What about the people whose lives are trapped in these pieces of vinyl? What about that? There’s people in there. And they need to talk to the individuals who came and paid to get in. Because when you go to any party, over time, it’s a heavy thing, but if you look at it, that’s somebody’s last night on earth! Think about it. Just by the law of numbers.

If you play at a party and there’s a thousand people there, somebody there might not make it the next day. Are you going to be standing in their way, too busy talking to someone out to the side, working the EQ while they’re listening to the last song they’re going to hear? That’s the kind of thing you have to battle against, because we’re all challenged with that. But if you have it in your head to try to minimise your self from the connection between the people that come here and the music that’s being played, then you’re in good shape.«

RBMA: »So you always try to give your best.«

Theo Parrish: »Well, I’m human. I make mistakes all day. And that’s the biggest thing. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. But you can’t be afraid to make mistakes. I try to do the best that I can under our circumstances. You just try.«

RBMA: »Some people might also say that there are a few mistakes on your records, right?«

Theo Parrish: »Oh, there’s mistakes all over the place! I mean, it’s all a work in process. In progress. All of it. I mean, I got stuff that’s mastered wrong because I tried this guy and he didn’t cut it right, there was no time, it was coming out, you make mistakes.«

RBMA: »The funny thing is that most of the time people think that it’s all done on purpose, right?«

Theo Parrish: »Right, like a lot of people think it’s a conscious decision. Well, it’s a conscious decision but not by me. Some other consciousness! Pulling my strings, saying: “Do this.” And I’m: “Ok, this feels right.” That’s the sort of thing that kind of gets lost, too. People get the idea, a lot of the time, when it comes to what they’re listening to, that it has to be crisp and clean.

And sterile, and all this stuff. And yeah, in some senses some things do need to be crisp and clean and sterile. But, if you convey a feeling, and that feeling is getting across to the individuals that come, they can be very forgiving of what’s going on sonically, if something emotive is happening at the same time, and it balances. So you can get away with maybe a clip or two, things maybe a little more blurry than you would like, and get ‘em on the emotive side. It’s give and take.«

RBMA: »So you take emotions over sound any day?«

Theo Parrish: »Not necessarily. It’s such a particular thing. On certain songs, yes. At certain parties, yes. Because, I mean, the first thing you have to realise is that every moment you experience is something that’s particular to its own time and space. Everything. So if I go into a party and I’m feeling that day, and those people are feeling that today, and I play a record that skips and nobody cares, it keeps on going. No problem. Other days I may be too hyper.

I may be feeling it, the record skips, the crowd clears the floor, I get embarrassed, I try and play something to appease the crowd, they get dishevelled. They go: ”What are you doing, I thought you were so and so?” It can all fall apart. It’s [about being] willing to walk that razorblade. That’s the part I’m concerned about. And what I want to get better at is walking the razorblade and saying: ”Ok, this is what I want to continue to do, this is what’s important.” But more than that, it’s important to other people more than it is to me. The relationship between individuals that come and the people that make that [music]. That’s the most important part.«

RBMA: »So what are the places you like the most [for] playing at?«

Theo Parrish: »Ohhh, I like Yellow in Japan (laughs). I like Yellow in Japan. I also like Plastic People«

RBMA: »Is that because of the sound system?«

Theo Parrish: »Yeah. The soundsystem, generally. That’s where it goes. The soundsystem. Also there’s a couple of places that I love because of the energy of the people. And also too, it’s not enough to say what places because on any given night you never know who’s going to show up. Every night is a different animal. There’s been places I’ve played where the sound has been just horrible – speakers on a stick, no monitors – but I’ve had a great night there and the people really made me feel at home.

So, it doesn’t matter if they get that together or not. Sometimes the emotive part of it is the best part. That’s where you can really connect. But other times the sound will be great but the crowd are just like: “Ah, yah”, stand around (scratches his chin and makes a sighing noise). “Ah, have you heard the new Masters at Work yet?” (laughter from audience) They don’t give a damn if you’re even there, it doesn’t matter. It goes back and forth, so there’s no such thing as a real favourite place to play. It’s more like there have been these high points, the memories where it’s been good. And as I get older they just tend to wash away (laughs).«

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