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Old Nov 22, 2002, 08:31 PM   #1
FPSHOT
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Default Jim Keltner talks about George

It may have been here already, but anyway, a very touching interview with the drummer who has played with George so many times.
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/new....asp?nid=15153

It just hurts so bad to know that he's not going to be coming around anymore and calling. I want to hear that beautiful, soft accent. Forget his singing, I mean, I used to just love to just listen to him talk. And all the funny stories about him recently about being the quiet Beatle - he was the most talkative person I know. He didn't stop talking.

But the thing that was beautiful about George was that he always had something to say. I used to see people get their feelings hurt being around him. It was almost as if he couldn't not tell the truth.

What brought you two together?

George always loved Ry Cooder. Ry was a huge influence on him. It was the musical connection, I think, because he used to always talk about Ry and his music to me when we first met. He was also Bob Dylan's biggest fan. He could quote the lyrics to practically any Dylan song that you came up with. So I think that was a good, solid connection between the two of us - my association with Bob and Ry. And then, of course, when I started playing with John Lennon, that went a long way, too - because to describe George's relationship with John is to say that John was truly his big brother. Now I've heard Paul say he felt like George was his little baby brother. And that was very touching to hear that just recently. But I know that in fact John was older than both of them, and John was kind of the big brother to the whole deal. George was very, very heavily influenced by John, all of John's thinking and the way John did things in the world, and the way he handled his Beatledom, you know. I think that George was very affected by that. I got to have the best of all of that by being friends with both of them, and it's just been a tremendous ride. I can't ever describe properly what it's like to have been so close with all those guys. With George there was a closeness, like really, truly a brother. I mean, that's such a cliché.

Was it meaningful for you to have spent some time with him at the end of his life?

Oh, God, you can't imagine. My whole deal with George was that I never gave up for a minute, not even till the very last second. We saw him on Sunday, and he died on Thursday, and I didn't believe it. When we left him that day, we were walking three feet off the ground as we got to the car. We had been talking and laughing with him a little bit, and he seemed to have rallied and had his strength, and it was just so wonderful. God, it was just fantastic: "Hi, Jimmy." It just was such a great gift. That's what I'm holding onto. Eric Idle was there one night. When Eric walked in, George just beamed. He started laughing, and he raised his hand to Eric and held his hand, and was actually laughing. I will never forget that moment in my entire life. He was such a huge Eric Idle fan. Just the thought of Eric made him laugh. He was always quoting Eric. And so to see Eric walk in and have George just brighten up like that and start laughing, it was just fantastic.

He seemed to die as he lived, with remarkable dignity.

The guy just had a way of handling everything so beautifully. He was deep with his religion, with his spiritual side, and even though we don't share the same religion, I believe that God must be blessing him immensely right now. And he never changed, he never wavered. He was always talking about how great one of these days it's going to be to get out of these old bodies.

Anything else you'd like to say about him?

To me he was just George. He was just George, my beautiful, beautiful friend, who I kind of took for granted over the years. Then, when he passed on, I was shocked to see the whole world eulogizing him over and over. I never thought of him as this icon. He wasn't any of those things. John and George were both like that. Here I come into their lives, and I'm going, "Oh, man, hey, what was this like" and "What was that like?" Beatle this, Beatle that, and they wouldn't have it, you know. They finally instilled upon me that, hey, Jimmy, you know, we're not Beatles anymore. They were trying to break that, bust that in two, so that they could move on and do something else.

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Old Nov 22, 2002, 08:51 PM   #2
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

That was a nice interview. I never would have seen it since I don't get RS anymore. Thanks so much, FP!

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Old Nov 22, 2002, 10:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Thanks~ that was incredibly special.

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Old Nov 22, 2002, 11:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Thank you for posting this. It is a lovely interview.

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Old Nov 23, 2002, 04:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Such nice words from Jimmy. Thanks for posting them FPSHOT.

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Old Nov 23, 2002, 04:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Thanks FPSHOT!

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Old Nov 25, 2002, 01:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Thanks FPSHOT!

Jim's such a sweetie, too!

FT

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Old Nov 25, 2002, 03:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Tahoma, Arial, Sans-Serif">Quote:</font><HR>Originally Posted By Magill:
That was a nice interview. I never would have seen it since I don't get RS anymore. Thanks so much, FP!

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Isn't that also in the book, "Harrison", that Rolling Stone released earlier this year??

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Old Oct 28, 2003, 11:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

Here is another great interview with Jim Keltner, talking about George as a drummer [img]graemlins/dance.gif[/img]

and a lot more, I have read it twice and I was really impressed with the way Jim talks about George but also what basically how he describes George, which is so so good to read. We know it, but reading it again from someone like Jim who was so close to George, is fantastic.

http://www.moderndrummer.com/web_exc...?alt=100007183

by Billy Amendola

Recently we spoke with Jim about the new George Harrison studio album, Brainwashed, as well as the Harrison tribute concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall that took place November 29, 2002, a bitter-sweet affair held on the one-year anniversary of George’s passing.
Jim played and was friends with both George Harrison and John Lennon for many years, so we started our chat on that subject.

MD: One of the questions I asked Ringo for Quick Beats was: Who was a better drummer, George or John? And Ringo said "George." Would you agree with that?
Jim: [laughs] Good question…. Well, I would have to say yes, because, first of all, John never played the drums in front of me. But George did, and he could play very well. He had such beautiful time. When George played drums he had all the basic language. He knew what to do with his feet and the hands. He cracked me up a few times at the drums. I have a beautiful picture of him behind my set at the house.
MD: I saw a film clip of George-which featured you as well-where he was talking about the making of this new record. It brought tears to my eyes as I was watching it.
Jim: I know exactly what you mean.
MD: It’s so nice to hear this new music. His singing and playing is so strong.
Jim: That’s the thing. He gave it his best shot. He knew he was leaving, he knew he was getting out of here. I had a hard time believing that. But I think he was so prepared, and everything just fell into place the way he wanted it.
MD: I know you had a great friendship with George besides just playing music.
Jim: Oh, God. He was an inspiration for so many things in my life and my family’s life. He was an extraordinary guy. He wasn’t like most of your friends. I know it sounds trite, like, "Well, he was a Beatle, so of course he was an extraordinary guy." But it’s so much more than that. He had such a down-to-earth quality. He was funny and bright, and loved to share stuff. He was a real people person. He genuinely liked people. And yet, he had a tremendous bullshit meter. He could see through you from a long distance. I saw him do that all the time. My family and I feel very fortunate that we came into his life at such an early time.
MD: I guess at that level you get afraid because you don’t know what people really want from you.
Jim: Exactly. It’s the same thing with Charlie [Watts] and The Stones, or any of my other friends with such high profiles. We go so far back, I’m sure that’s why our friendships are real solid. We treasure those relationships.
MD: George’s son Dhani did a very nice job co-producing Brainwashed with Jeff Lynne. He looks so much like his dad too.
Jim: And it’s not just the looks either. His mannerisms and how he moves his mouth, is just like George. Or he’ll say something and he’ll back his head off just like George. He’ll give you a look, a glance, just like his dad. It messes me up.
MD: Let’s talk about Brainwashed.
Jim: "Any Road" is one of my favorites. Pure George. He use to quote that line all the time, "If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There." I love that song so much. The other one that makes me cry every time I hear it, and probably always will, is "Stuck Inside A Cloud." That’s one of his older one’s that he used to play for me all the time. It had a magical, misty, very English sort of quality to it. We would be sitting in the studio late at night before shutting everything down, and I’d say, "Hey, George, play ‘Cloud’ for me," and he would put it on and sing along with it. It didn’t have drums on it for many years, just these cheesy little keyboard samples from his E2 sampler, but for some reason it just takes me right to Friar Park every time I hear it.
MD: Were all your drum tracks completely finished before he passed away?
Jim: Yes. I didn’t do any more after…. When he called me to come do the drums, it was before the stabbing, and I believe after his throat operation.
I never took gear to his place because years ago I had DW send him a real nice drumset with all the hardware and everything, and then Paiste sent a bunch of cymbals and stuff. So he pretty much had everything I—or anybody—would need. So when I would go to his studio at Friar Park later on, I would hardly ever take anything with me, maybe just a certain cymbal and a snare…little things.
Now, George had this tremendous living room, which was like three stories high, with a balcony overlooking it. My bedroom was on the third floor—"the loft," they used to call it. It was a beautiful place with a kitchen and den and everything. I used to come down in the morning and stand on this part of the balcony that extends out over the room a little bit. A few times over the years I’d snap my fingers to hear the sound, and I’d say to George, "It would be great to have the drums here," and he’d just laugh, because he had a major studio built in another part of the house; why would he want to put drums there? But when I arrived for this recording, I walked in and the drums were set up right in that space. I was so knocked out. He did that for me.
I guess he asked the engineer John Etchells whether the sound would be controllable. So he went out and tested a few things and said, "It would be great." I remember they had a whole bunch of 87’s [mic’s] out over the room to get the room sound. And I ended up using George’s drumset. I didn’t even use any of my snares.
MD: How about cymbals?
JK: I might have used one of my cymbals. The hi-hats were a pair of Arbiters that said "602" on them. So they were early Paistes before they put their company name on their cymbals. They were given to Ringo, and he gave them to George. Ringo always played a beautiful Paiste 602 crash-ride, and his hi-hats are 14" Zildjians that are so old you can barely see any logo. He preferred those, so he left the Arbiter Paiste hats with George. George had them in his studio for years. I used those hi-hats on everything I ever played with George—Cloud Nine…everything.
MD: The Traveling Wilburys albums too?
Jim: No, both Wilburys recordings were done in California, so it was all my gear.
Anyway, on the last day of the sessions for Brainwashed, as I was packing up, I was putting the cymbals back in the box like I’d done for so many years, and I said, "George I’m going to take these hi-hats with me." He said, "Why are you taking me hats?" And I said, "I’ve been coming here for years, and nobody else ever uses them but me. Year after year, I come here to record, I go to the box they’re in, and there they are in the same position I put them in the last time. [laughs] Other people who have recorded here, Ray Cooper or Jim Capaldi, they come by and play, and they never use them. They use the new batch that I had sent, or something else. So it’s a shame to just leave them here un-played. They’re still yours, though, so I’ll bring them back." And he said, "Okay." But I never got a chance to give them back to him. So I’ll probably give them back to Dhani.
MD: How was this recording arrangement set up?
Jim: We’d sit out on the ledge talking until we got around to recording. Then George would sit in the control room with John the engineer and they’d talk to me over the phones while I was out in the big room. They couldn’t see me and I couldn’t see them. Once we started it was just one song right after the other.
MD: Would he direct you to play a certain way?
Jim: Oh yeah, George had a lot of set ideas, so he would tell me pretty much what he would want. Basically he would tell me what he didn’t want. He didn’t want fancy fills and he didn’t want too much quirkiness. It was hard to do that sometimes, because he would always talk to me about Ry Cooder and how he loved Ry’s records, which I played on. And he loved the quirky side of my playing, which he always got a kick out of. But when it came down to playing on his songs, it wouldn’t work for him, so he would always have me kind of straighten out things and play more conventional and basic. Of course I never had any problem with that, because that’s the job. I always want to play something appropriate for the song. I don’t need to play something that tickles me. That’s not what music is about--unless you’re doing a clinic or a drum record.
MD: Would George ever say to you, "Play this one with a Ringo feel"?
Jim: No, he never, ever did that. But I would always do that. Every time I played with George I would think of Ringo. George and John would’ve had Ringo play on a lot more of their stuff if it hadn’t been for the fact that those were supposed to be their "solo" efforts. It wasn’t meant to be "having the mates," you know what I mean.
MD: I can hear the Ringo influence on "Rising Sun." If anyone can get it to feel like Ringo, it’s you.
Jim: Well, thank you, but I don’t know if anybody can really do Ringo. It’s like nobody can ever do Charlie. You just can’t do it. It’s impossible.
MD: Did you hear the songs beforehand? Would George give you demos?
Jim: He didn’t send me any demos, but he would have ideas on tape. He would call me and ask, "What are you doing in February? Can you come over?" I’d say, "What have you got?" and he’d say, "I’ve got some new ones and some of the ones you’ve heard over the years." It was always such a thrill when I’d first hear them. Sometimes he would say, "Um…I don’t know about this one," but I’d be like, "God, I love that one, George. Let me put drums on it," and he’d say "okay." So we’d put drums on it, but then I’d never be sure whether he was going to use it.
MD: I heard there was a pretty ballad that was left off this record that George wrote with Jim Capaldi.
Jim: Yeah. Capaldi is a gifted songwriter and drummer. Jim wrote a lot with Stevie Winwood in the ‘Traffic’ days. We’ve been friends for many years, so I was happy that they hooked up.
MD: So obviously there’s more stuff in the can.
Jim: Well I hope so, but I don’t know for sure…I really liked the song they did but apparently George didn’t feel it was quite finished yet.
MD: Some of the other tracks you’re on are "Pieces Fish," "Never Get Over You"-- what a great feel--and "Vatican Blues."
Jim: I hope that song doesn’t upset a lot of people. George was pretty outspoken about stuff. But he wasn’t mean-spirited.
MD: On the song "Brainwashed," you could tell he was mad at the music business. Though, even when he’s angry and disgusted, he still sounds peaceful.
Jim: He was annoyed at a lot of things during the period when he wrote that song. He went through some pretty heavy stuff man. But you’re right, he had a calm and soothing way about him that makes it difficult to actually remember ever seeing him truly angry with anybody or anything.
MD: How was George’s tribute concert?
Jim: It was a very emotional night. People told me it was both powerful and intimate. Eric [Clapton] put together the band based upon people who were close to George and who had a history with him over the years. [Besides Keltner and Clapton, the players included Dhani Harrison, Anoushka Shankar [Ravi’s daughter], Tom Scott, Jim Horn, Billy Preston, Jeff Lynne, Joe Brown, Chris Stainton, Albert Lee, Marc Mann, Jools Holland, Klaus Voorman, Gary Brooker, Jim Capaldi, Tom Petty (with Steve Ferrone), Sir Paul McCartney, bass player Dave Bronze, percussionist Ray Cooper, and drummer’s Henry Spinetti, and Ringo Starr.]
MD: How was it playing with Ringo again?
Jim: Oh Man! Playing with Ringo is something everyone should have a chance to do. He’s so honest. He just grooves, and when it’s time for a fill, he fully commits. I would look over at Henry, and we’d be amazed at what he does to the beat--the way he pulls it back. There’s just nobody like Ringo.
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Old Oct 29, 2003, 01:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

What a lovely unaffected man. Thanks FPSHOT.
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Old Oct 29, 2003, 04:42 AM   #11
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

That was a lovely interview, thanks!
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Old Oct 29, 2003, 11:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Jim Keltner talks about George

I was deeply moved by this. Thank you.

Small wonder why we love George so much. The man was deep, intense, profound and he was a master at making people think. He planted ideas like seeds and cultivated them; he created many a mental and spiritual garden in the lives of countless people.

Again, thank you.
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Old Jul 08, 2007, 01:06 PM   #13
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Default Jake Gerber meeting George via Keltner

My name is Jake Gerber. I played with Jim Keltner back in 1967...We both joined the T-Bones ,an instrumental band that did the Alka Seltzer commercial. It was back in 1976 I was in L.A. and stopped by A&M records on La Cienaga Blvd.I used to be a staff writer there and just wanted to see the old place.
I was driving into the back lot and there was a Mercedes behind me. We both got oput of our cars and it was Jim. I had not seen him in six years or so. I went over to him and we started to chat about this time we spent together a few years ago.
I asked him what he was doing there and he said he was just stopping by for a mixing session with a friend and mentioned I might want to join him. I had NO IDEA who this friend was until we walked into the studio. It was George Harrison...I was dumbstruck . Jim introduced me and I just sat there for a couple of hours taking it all in. I never have talked about this ...
Jim apparently had played on whatever recording they were mixing. I just observed ...Here I was in the studio with George Harrison watching him work...Jim Keltner was so gracious. He remembered that I sand Beatles songs in the T-Bones ...What I do recall was how well everyone in the room respected everyone else. There was no ego crap going down. The mixing rooms are quite small as opposed to the recording rooms.Everyone was working together and there was this symbiotic feeling...
It was one of those days. I was in L.A. trying to pitch some of my original tunes and didnt have the nerve to ask George to take a listen...Big mistake on my part.I want to thank Jim Keltner for an experience I will never forget. I have not seen him since.He was playing with Gabor Szabo when I met him. He came a long ways and deservedly so.
All the best
Jake Gerber
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Old Jul 08, 2007, 01:25 PM   #14
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Thumbs up

Very interesting interview, and thanks for your story, Jake.
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Old Jul 09, 2007, 08:49 AM   #15
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I am reminded of something Harold Sr. said about George in a letter he wrote to Pat Kinzer Mancuso about his famous son. In that missive, Harold Sr. said that he "taught the family to be honest" and that honesty was deeply ingrained in George.

No doubt Harold Sr. left a lasting impact on George - the man was wonderfully and refreshingly "tell it like it is unedited" honest. I like that in a person.
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Old Jul 09, 2007, 09:24 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakobian View Post
My name is Jake Gerber.
Thanks for sharing this information Jake. I love these stories.
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 07:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT View Post
Now, George had this tremendous living room, which was like three stories high, with a balcony overlooking it. My bedroom was on the third floor—"the loft," they used to call it. It was a beautiful place with a kitchen and den and everything. I used to come down in the morning and stand on this part of the balcony that extends out over the room a little bit. A few times over the years I’d snap my fingers to hear the sound, and I’d say to George, "It would be great to have the drums here," and he’d just laugh, because he had a major studio built in another part of the house; why would he want to put drums there? But when I arrived for this recording, I walked in and the drums were set up right in that space. I was so knocked out. He did that for me.
I guess he asked the engineer John Etchells whether the sound would be controllable. So he went out and tested a few things and said, "It would be great." I remember they had a whole bunch of 87’s [mic’s] out over the room to get the room sound. And I ended up using George’s drumset. I didn’t even use any of my snares.
It is so special to hear Jim talk about his times with George and this is such a nice part.
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Old Nov 28, 2007, 05:22 PM   #18
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for those who did not yet read this...it may be nice to see here today and now
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 09:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakobian View Post
It was back in 1976 I was in L.A. and stopped by A&M records on La Cienaga Blvd.I used to be a staff writer there and just wanted to see the old place.
I was driving into the back lot and there was a Mercedes behind me. We both got oput of our cars and it was Jim. I had not seen him in six years or so. I went over to him and we started to chat about this time we spent together a few years ago.
I asked him what he was doing there and he said he was just stopping by for a mixing session with a friend and mentioned I might want to join him. I had NO IDEA who this friend was until we walked into the studio. It was George Harrison...I was dumbstruck . Jim introduced me and I just sat there for a couple of hours taking it all in. I never have talked about this ...
Jim apparently had played on whatever recording they were mixing. I just observed ...Here I was in the studio with George Harrison watching him work...Jim Keltner was so gracious.
I was reading this story back and did not realise before, but the Mercedes must have been the one George gave Jim Keltner.

It's even described in the 1976 - year of the meeting jakobian described - song "It's What You Value" of which George wrote in I Me Mine

On the 1974 tour Jim Keltner was supposed to be in the band with Andy Newmark but backed out in the last minute.

So, they continued rehearsals into the forst week without Jim.

George kept phoning asking hime to come and finally he did and said 'OK I will come and play but I do not want paying for it (still 6 weeks to go), but I am sick of driving that old VW Bus.

George said So I get it, you want a car then?

It turned out he got a Mercedes 450 SL. Months later there was some feedback from the band saying 'how come he got a Mercedes while all we had was money.


Someone's driving a 450
And his friends are so wild
They're still in their stick shifties
But they feel they have much more style
But I've found . . .

And out of interest I did some research on Jim working with George on some mixes in 1976 which is the 33 1/3 album year... however Jim did not play on that one nor the next from 1979, but did play on the 1975 Extra Texture album which was recorded and remixed in LA, so probably the 1976 mention should be 1975. Minor detail though.
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Old Oct 15, 2008, 09:55 PM   #20
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This is very interesting....1976 was a banner year because George released 33 1/3 and made his appearance on Saturday Night Live with Paul Simon.

A very interesting time indeed.....
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