FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick

Straight from the Heart Part 1 - With Bill Payne of Little Feat

November 03, 2022 Blake Melnick Season 4 Episode 2
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH with Blake Melnick
Straight from the Heart Part 1 - With Bill Payne of Little Feat
Show Notes Transcript
This week on #ForWhatitsWorthwithBlakeMelnick, part 1 of #Straightfromthe Heart, my interview with the great #BillPayne, keyboardist and co-founder of #LittleFeat.

I spent a lot of time listening  to interviews given by Bill over the years ,  looking for a different angle, something that we could talk about that perhaps nobody has talked about before.

One of the comments Bill made in one interview  was,  "We lost Lowell George, we lost Richie Hayward. We lost Paul Barrere - If we were to lose Bill Payne, Little Feat would still survive"

So that begs the metaphysical question,  what is or who is Little Feat? If it's not the people in the band, what is it? ... this became the focus of my conversation with Bill Payne ...For What it's Worth

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The intro music for this episode, "How Come I Gotta""  is written and performed by our current artist in residence, @DouglasCameron. You can find out more about Douglas by visiting our show blog and by listening to our episode, #TheOldGuitar

Music following the show break and concluding the episode is by #LittleFeat recorded live at the historic #MooreTheatre in Seattle Washington.

A special thanks to @DennisMcNally and @BillPayne for their generosity of spirit and time, without which this episode, and the ones that follow, would not have been possible ...Hanging on to the Good Times! - Thank you Amigos!

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Part 1 of Straight from the Heart with #BillPayne of #LittleFeat

[00:00:00] Blake Melnick: 

[00:00:36] Well, welcome to this week's episode of for what it's Worth, called Straight From the Heart. I'm your host, Blake Melnick, and this is part one of my interview with Mr. Bill Payne, keyboardist, extraordinary, and co-founder of Little Feet. For those of you that have been following and the Feats Don't Fail Me Now series, Know that Little Feet is my favorite band of all time.

[00:00:57] I've seen them perform live many times over [00:01:00] the years. And they've never failed to delight. When I reached out to Little Feet publicist Dennis McNally this past summer in the Hope that I might interview one of the band members following the Feat show at the iconic Moore Theater in Seattle, the 45th anniversary of the band's seminal live record waiting for Columbus.

[00:01:19] I was absolutely thrilled that Dennis arranged for me to interview Ban co-founder Bill Payne. Bill Payne's career is nothing short of astonishing. All the great musicians and bands he is played with over the years, and you can check out a partial list. On the feats don't fail me now. Trailer episode, is a testament to his improvisational virtuosity and his love of music.

[00:01:42] When Dennis confirmed the interview, I did a lot of background research on Bill and Little Feet. I listen to many past interviews and re-listened to all Little Feet records in sequence. A good portion of the previous interviews focused on the loss of key band members, particularly Little Feat founder and front man [00:02:00] Lowell George, who passed away in 1979.

[00:02:03] These early interviews seemed to always question if the band would be able to survive after losing Lowell, and here we are 42 years later and Little Feet is still kicking it at the barn. , Little Feet has had a number of vocalists since the loss of Lowell George Craig Fuller from Pure Prairie League, who sang lead Vocals on little feet's comeback record, Let It Roll, and on their two subsequent albums, Representing the Mambo and Shake Me Up

[00:02:31] Fuller left the band in 1993 and was replaced by Shaun Murphy of Meatloaf fame. Shaun toured with Eric Clapton, Bob Seeger, Moody Blues, Joe Walsh Herbie Hancock, and many others. She was Little Feat’s first female lead vocalist, and stayed with the band for 15 years. She sang lead vocals on Ain’t Had Enough Fun, Under the Radar, Chinese Work Songs, Kicking it at the Barn, and Join the Band

[00:02:59] Murphy [00:03:00] left little feet in 2009 to pursue her solo career and was nominated for three Grammys for her 2012 album. Ask for the Moon -  Well worth checking out by the way, after Murphy's departure, little Feat lead vocals were assumed by guitarist. Paul Barrere and Bill Payne with some help from percussionist Sam Clayton on their last studio record in 2012.

[00:03:24] Rooster Rag. Sadly, drummer Richie Hayward passed away shortly after Murphy's departure and singer guitarist Paul Baarrere passed away in 2019. On their most recent tour, they have brought on Scott Sherrard, formally the Secret Weapon of the Greg Allman Band as their new lead guitarist and vocalist. Sherrard, is a perfect addition to the band he's playing in, singing a natural mesh with the Feat sound.

[00:03:52] You know, throughout all of the losses and changes in personnel Little Feet, not only has remained true to their sound, [00:04:00] in my opinion, they've also grown as a band. They've incorporated more jazz elements along with new musical stylings.

[00:04:07] Quite a remarkable feat, (no pun intended) And so when I was prepping for my interview with Bill, looking for an angle that perhaps hadn't been explored before, the obvious question came to mind. Who and what is Little Feat? Few bands have lasted as long as Little Feat had so many changes in personnel, and yet the beat goes.

[00:04:32] I have to admit to feeling a little trepidations about the interview. The old saying, Never meet your heroes, cuz they're sure to disappoint, sprang to mind, and actually the number of people I spoke with about the interview uttered these same words, but I have to say this was not the case. Bill Payne is a thoughtful, mindful, and engaging conversationalist, as you will hear shortly, for what it's worth. 

[00:05:15] Blake Melnick: Well, welcome to the show. Bill. I want to thank you again so much for making this time. I know you're in the middle of a tour and to take time out to do this interview is really amazing, so thank you very much for that 

[00:05:25] Bill Payne: pleasure, pleasure.

[00:05:27] And you're in Canada. Is that where you are? 

[00:05:29] Blake Melnick: I am, on Vancouver Island, Victoria. 

[00:05:32] Bill Payne: I've been there. 

[00:05:34] Blake Melnick: I understand Richie Hayward spent some time here, living in Comox ?

[00:05:37] Bill Payne: I think so that he and his wife, were up there and Shawna is, now married to Russ Kunkel. Russ is a good thing. That's cool. 

[00:05:44] Blake Melnick: Bill, I spent a lot of time listening to other interviews you've given over the years, uh, looking for a different angle, something that we could talk about that perhaps nobody has talked about before. 

[00:05:55] One of the comments you made in one interview - of course, everybody wants to talk about little George and Richie [00:06:00] Hayward and Paul and their passing, but you said, you know, we lost little George, we lost Richie Hayward. We lost Paul. If we were to lose Bill Payne, Little Feat would still survive.

[00:06:10] So that led me to think about the metaphysical question of what is or who is Little Feet? If it's not the people in the band, what is it? So I'd like to keep that as kind of an umbrella over a conversation and try to get to the essence of Little Feat

[00:06:28] I just was at the show in Seattle, it was fantastic by the way. And I interviewed a bunch of fans out on the streets and that was really fun before the show. And recorded some of the tunes at the show, which all sounded amazing. So we'll be using that as part of the podcast. But I thought we'd start with the current tour. What's it like being back on tour again after a two-year hiatus?

[00:06:49] Bill Payne: I think it's, it's a veritable feast. I don't know where to, where to start. The Ham, the Turkey, the, uh, vegetarian dishes. What are we going [00:07:00] after? It's been so much fun. If you could feel the energy, at the show in Seattle, for example. Yes. That energy is what a lot of people are remarking on and it's contagious in a good way.

[00:07:12] So I just feel whatever pen up, anxiety we all had about how life would continue. In this pandemic era we're living. Right. And that doesn't appear to be ending any time too soon. It's the adjustments that people make. Yeah. So those adjustments for little feet were manifest, initially last November in 2021 as to what would happen when we all got into a room and played right.

[00:07:41] We knew how to play music, but would we get along? OK. Were we compatible? right. The answer was overwhelmingly. Yes. And, so that was really, it, it was just having things unfold a little at a time, you know, human interaction, musical interaction. And the question you 

[00:07:59] [00:08:00] are leaning towards, which is what is little feet, I think that's, uh, paramount.

[00:08:04] Because some people think, it's not Little Feat without Lowell. I said without Lowell George in a People magazine interview many, many years ago. Oh, without Lowell it's not Little Feat and they go, yo, remember what you said? I go, yeah. And I changed my mind, said, okay. Uh, Little Feat is about the music.

[00:08:21] It’s about the songs. So will Little Feat continue?. Can it continue without me? It could. I don't know if it will or not. It depends on what people step up to the plate and write. And whether it translates when you sit down and actually play it, does it sound like Little Feat? 

[00:08:36] Blake Melnick: right? Well, you know, you did so many great albums, after you came back.

[00:08:40] After Lowell George passed away and it does take a bit of time to get used to the new sound, the new singers. But I have to say, I love those records. I really do. I thought, you know, Kicking it at the Barn was this phenomenal record, Chinese Work Songs, Under the Radar, all of these albums were really good.

[00:08:59] And I think [00:09:00] what made them really good just as you've said right now, that Little Feat can carry on. Sean Murphy did a great job, as a singer for Little Feat. I was doing a play back in, I think it was 1996 and it won all kinds of awards that I used, a track from.

[00:09:15] Ain't had Enough Fun, and, pretty good love, was a song we used as the intro to this play and it just set the whole tone. It was a Sam Shepherd play called, True Love, I remember thinking at the time, this is what Little Feat does it creates that sense of ambiance, a sense of presence, a sense of, I don't wanna call it spirituality, but I suppose you could, a number of people that I talked to in the lineup spoke a lot about the spiritual nature of little feet, which I thought was very interesting.

[00:09:43]  but , it sets a tone and a feeling that is quite unique. 

[00:09:47] Bill Payne: Well, thank you. I think it, emanates from, as you said, the music. Yeah. And. Does it sound like Little Feat when people hear it, adjustments aside. I mean, is there a core [00:10:00] sound that resonates with people? And I think there's actually quite a few elements involved in that.

[00:10:06] One is the rhythm component, right. Which includes the drums and congas certainly. Yeah. But also includes the bass. It includes Fred Tackett’s guitar. Mm-hmm in the old days it was Lowell, and Paul, in the days preceding that it was just Lowell, right. Lowell, keyboards, Richie, at that time and for a long time, I didn't think you could replace or draw a line or bridge To say, Hey, this would be one thing or another. It wasn't until we played music in a room with each other after Lowell passed about six years, seven years after that, mm-hmm, where I felt like that still sounds like us. yeah. Yeah. I told Phil Lesh the same thing from the Grateful Dead. I said, Whether you guys will ever put the grateful dead back together again or not.

[00:10:56] I don't know, but I'll tell you this. If you get in a room and [00:11:00] start playing music with one another, the thought will cross your mind. 

[00:11:02] Blake Melnick: Yeah. You mentioned the Grateful Dead in somebody in the audience. And I wanted to ask you about this, cuz it was a bit of trivia.

[00:11:07] I hadn't really thought about before, somebody mentioned the Grateful Dead and the parallels are seeming parallels between Little Feat and the Grateful Dead. Not that their sound was exactly the same, but they had that same sort of attraction for the fans. And this gentleman said to me, well, that's what Two Trains was about.

[00:11:26] It was about the parallel paths of the Grateful Dead and Little Feat. Is that true? 

[00:11:30] Bill Payne: No, I would have made for a good story though I thought 

[00:11:34] no that's yeah, never. I would've never thought about it, but that's the beauty of the way fans, or any of us that enjoy music and the arts. We, kinda set what we view as a connection mm-hmm to that art and how it affects us.

[00:11:53] Right. So, it's not wrong for that person to have said that, but the literal truth is that is not what the [00:12:00] song was about. Right, right. That's an interesting interpretation. Yeah, it 

[00:12:03] really is. He was talking about, the fact that Little Feat and the grateful dead never played together, but that lull , had helped produce shakedown street, for the Grateful Dead.

[00:12:11] Blake Melnick: And he said, they should have played together. And I know you've been playing a bit with Phil Lesh, I listened to you say that at one of your interviews. 

[00:12:17] It was years ago. Yeah. I think Tony Leone is gonna be playing gig with Phil pretty soon.

[00:12:23] , so there's elements of Little Feat that are still working with Phil and he's great. He's, he's wonderful to play music with. And, I learned a lot, and I think Imparted some things to him, but I sure he imparted. So that was good. Mm-hmm 

[00:12:36] so what are some of the highlights of this tour for you?

[00:12:39] Well, the highlights are just the camaraderie for one thing. The, attention to detail with the music, a lot of people toward the end of a tour, a segment of a tour is like horses heading towards the barn, right. I just gotta get home. that kinda thing, and we're like, “hey, why don't we try this in the Fat Man in the, [00:13:00] Bathtub tonight, you know, put on a show before we jump on a plane the next morning, right?

[00:13:05] Not that, that was terrific. Now people 

[00:13:07] Bill Payne: are 

[00:13:07] Blake Melnick: engaged in a big way. This is what makes it fun. It's it's not like it's fun a hundred percent of the time there's challenges to what we do for sure. Challenges, depending on how tired we are and what the challenge is. Sometimes there's little spikes here and there, but overall it has been just a wonderful experience.

[00:13:25] Those are the highlights to me. The lowlights are that we can't meet with people because of this COVID bubble. We're right. We're carrying under. Yeah. So that's one of the challenges too. But, anytime you can go up and play music in a live environment and have people there that you see the expectation in their faces.

[00:13:44] Right. Right. It's like, oh, “I hope this is good” And they go, “wow. It's even better than good!”. And I love that. I mean, I know what we have. I don't wanna put words in their mouth. Let's see how they react. and that's been a you're a writer. I mean, you know, when you sit [00:14:00] down and something in your life happens that you could have very well scripted and it's taken place.

[00:14:05] That's one of the few times in life where things just, you know, you don't have to script it. You already know that the ending you're just watching it unfold. That doesn't happen that often. But when it does it's fun to be involved 

[00:14:17] in that. Yeah. 

[00:14:18] Well, and one of the great things about Little Feat and one of the things I lament about live music these days is that you go to a show and you hear the record note by note, right?

[00:14:26] Whereas you guys have always been an improvisational band and I've seen you many, many times. In fact, you and I have met twice. Once at The Docks in Toronto. You remember that weird place with the volleyball courts outside, and it was right down on the water and it was not a great room.

[00:14:43] And you were coming out,  it was just before the show actually, I think you were with Richie and Paul, and we just had a chat in the parking lot. Cool. Then I met you again at the Phoenix Club and,you actually signed a copy of Celle Norte for me, as well as , Live at the Ram’s Head

[00:14:58] So I've seen you [00:15:00] many times and what I love about. Seeing the Little Feat at any time ,is that it's never the same, and I like that. When I go to a show, I want to hear the musicians do new things, and try new things and step outside their comfort zone, cuz it makes for a much more interesting show and engages the audience.

[00:15:17] So I think you guys have always done that extraordinarily well. 

[00:15:21] Bill Payne: Well thank you, I'm not knocking the people that do it the other way. The Eagles have a note by note thing. there's several bands that do and it's fine. I prefer having just a little latitude, even if I'm working with other people to be able to play things a little differently.

[00:15:35] The acoustics of a hall is a live sounding place simple as oftentimes sound quicker than they are. Which is interesting. But a lot of bands, of the variety you're talking about, they work with a click. We don't, we just get up there and play. Yeah. You saw that video that ran during Time Loves a Hero.

[00:15:54] Mm-hmm , I'm quite frankly amazed at every night we play and it winds up in the same place, and this is [00:16:00] such as rock solid drummer that . But working with Ed Toth, with the Doobie Brothers, he had to work with the click cuz that's the way the Dooby Brothers operate. Right.  but he made it sound as if he wasn't working with the click

[00:16:11] So there's, that's what I mean about the challenges to playing music and just taking it for what it is when you're involved in that scenario. But Little Feat has a rather unique way, as you said, of just, encapsulating performance and improvising on it to make hello. How are you? Expansive mm-hmm 

[00:16:29] Blake Melnick: and it makes each show special to the audience that attends.

[00:16:32] I think that's really cool. 

[00:16:34] Bill Payne: Yeah. When I say get ready for the ride, I mean, it

[00:16:39] Blake Melnick: So I wanted to talk to you a little bit about your roots in music when did you know you were going to be a musician? When did you make that commitment? 

[00:16:48] Bill Payne: It came in stages like everything else, but there was an event at my junior high school. Cabreo Junior High in California, Ventura, California.

[00:16:58] And, Mr. McCormick, the wood [00:17:00] shop teacher came up to me and said, bill, I'm gonna give you a passing grade, but stay away from the sauce. I go, I must be a musician to this guy.

[00:17:14] that's 

[00:17:16] that's

[00:17:21] well, I mean, honestly, when I was auditioning for my first real band, I auditioned to play drums. Did you? Santa Maria, California. They had a piano set up on a wall on the other side of the room. I ambled over down. I'm standing up on kind of playing and they go, wait a minute, hang on, you played the piano?

[00:17:39] I go. And I go “I guess” I guess what do you mean? You guess I've been playing it for 10 years? I was 15 years old. I've been taking lessons since age five so, yeah, I mean, it wasn't that obvious to me, but there , I was trying to get into a band and trying to play drums and they go, no, no, we're gonna disband this group.

[00:17:58] We're gonna set up another [00:18:00] group at dis guy's house. This garage has everything we need. We're gonna play the keyboards. Group's called the Debonairs and I was off and running. Right. I think really at that point was really why I kind of figured out that I'm a musician. It was a refuge for me as was the act of sitting down and playing the piano.

[00:18:19] Mm-hmm this was, this was now I had people that I could interact with was a real eye opener. 

[00:18:24] Blake Melnick: So, you an sort of answered. My other question was you, so you were a classically trained pianist? 

[00:18:28] Bill Payne: I was, and yeah I still use it to, inform. How I play, I think. I love classical music, so I don't necessarily play it that well, but I love listening to it - It informs how I approach things, 

[00:18:40] Blake Melnick: And so who were your early influences and who are your influences now? 

[00:18:45] Bill Payne: Let's start off with, Elvis Presley. My sister who passed away last, December. She's 81, 9 years old and me and, she, picked up , a single by Elvis.  Hound Dog Right, right. So I loved Elvis. I love [00:19:00] the, almost loved the little dog was RCA records looking at the gramophone as much as I loved Elvis

[00:19:10] Blake Melnick: I like the dog, 

[00:19:12] Bill Payne: like the dog Little Richard of course. Fourth or fifth grade. I was listening to the Olympics. Big Boy Pete. So we start there, Ray, Charles, I just saw all the classic line up the usual suspects. But I loved what I was hearing.

[00:19:26] Blake Melnick: Right. 

[00:19:26] Bill Payne: So rock and roll was one of the things I was listening to. 

[00:19:29] I think people that I'm into now, I've been listened to a lot of Wayne Shorter, right. Herby Hancock of course, Within jazz I listen to a lot of Miles Davis, John Coltrain Coltrain’s studying of scales has been great.

[00:19:43] There's Martha Argerich who's a classical pianist from Argentina. I love some of her stuff. I'm reading a great book right now on WC. (W.C. Handy – the originator of the12 bar blues)

[00:19:51] Blake Melnick: Right. 

[00:19:52] Bill Payne: That, Scott Sherrard gave me and - his child prodigy status (WC)  and which I didn't know anything [00:20:00] about. 

[00:20:00] Just on, on, so yeah, the influences , are wide and varied. They include Glen Gould, uh, Canadian. Yep. 

[00:20:08] I love Glen Gould, an eccentric, a real character, and he had real character as well. I adore his boldness and people like Leonard Bernstein.

[00:20:18] Who felt the need to address the audience before they played some Brahams one evening that they disagreed on Tempe and tempo. And, I also admired Bernstein for doing that. So it was, uh, yeah. That kind of thing. 

[00:20:30] Blake Melnick: So you're drawing on a lot of different influences and I'm assuming just continuing to improve your own musicality and the way you compose and the way you write.

[00:20:38] Bill Payne: Well, yeah. You know, when we, when you really get down to the brass tacks to use that cliche, what we're doing when we're up on stage and playing, we're doing exactly what you and I are Blake,  we're having a conversation. So how big is your vocabulary? What are you willing to put into that vocabulary?

[00:20:55] Blake Melnick: Right.  

[00:20:55] Bill Payne: We won't do it this evening, cuz we're gonna give a little salute to Jerry Garcia, but I'm going to throw [00:21:00] Jack Cassidy (bassist for Jefferson Airplane) on my solo on Dixie Chicken and he's playing all this really, really interesting stuff. And, we just kind of looked at each other and go, all right, well, let's see where we want to take.

[00:21:10] And I did a very similar thing with, Tommy Emmanuel – a real guitarist. And with most people there's a, I called it like a Mozart - we put the, handkerchief over the keys and play over the top of it so you can't see the keys, when you're playing anyway. “Oh, wow Look at that” if I get some essay, I say, look, I'm gonna play an, a minor.

[00:21:31] You play an, a minor goes well, but then I can go to F major seven C G, D, minor, whatever, and everything. Your plan's gonna sound right. That's good around it. Mm-hmm , I tell people when they join me on stage, nobody's gonna get hurt, we're gonna have fun. Yeah. So it's just that But again, the bigger your vocabulary.

[00:21:49] I mean, I used to listen to music, but now I like books, I have a Kindle. I travel. So I need a Kindle to read what I wanna read. I happen to use Amazon music to listen to music [00:22:00] and, I've got a, world music section on there.

[00:22:02] I've got classical. I've got, Mitsuko Uchida. She's incredible. I've got Latin music, Cubano music.  I've got everything. 

[00:22:10] I was listened last night to classical music, to some jazz. I wanted to download a couple more Conway Twitty songs. So I listened to a couple of those. It's like, I grew up that age as you did, where watching television, you turned the channel. Flip through things. So it's that kind of mentality. Choice is the enemy of commitment they say, but, nonetheless, it's nice to have the choice,

[00:22:33] Blake Melnick: when I think about little feat, and we did a trailer for this episode in which I was reflecting back, to when I first heard little feat, and I think it was around 19 77, 78, my parents sent me away to a boarding school north of the city of Toronto in a small town to try to calm my rebellious nature.

[00:22:49] I'm not sure it really worked, but nonetheless, it was an interesting experience and I remember sitting in my dorm room one day. We didn't have a lot of free time, but the free time we did have, we spent [00:23:00] listening to music and I remember a friend from Montreal came into my room and said, Have you ever heard Little Feat?

[00:23:05] And he had a copy of Tom Loves a Hero in his hand, and he put it on the stereo, and I was hooked immediately. I couldn't put Little Feat into a particular style or genre of music. It was indefinable. It had elements of funk and blues and rock and roll and jazz. And I think that's what I love about Little Feat.

[00:23:25] When I listen to what you've just said about what you listen to, it's a gumbo of different types and style of music that you draw on. And I think these different styles find their way into the music that you guys write and play. And I still find it indefinable.

[00:23:40] Bill Payne: It definitely finds his way into the music because the influences, the notion of influence is what Lowell and I used to talk about a lot , the connection between things.

[00:23:50] So if you, like, let's say Eric Clapton, what influenced Eric, you know, Little Walter for one, right. On the Harmonica. Yep. Are there any cross [00:24:00] collateralization between John Coltrain and Howlin Wolf? Well, not really, but the fact that the sound was so identifiable with the voice of Chester Burnett, of the tonality that, that Coltrane used, of his growth as a musician -  Maybe there was not as much evidence of growth within Howlin Wolf's thing, but it was also not like four cord blues either. 

[00:24:24] Blake Melnick: No, that's true. 

[00:24:25] Bill Payne: You know, with Willie Dixon at the helm wrting Smokestack Lightning, all these wonders, I think it's being inquisitive and being. Covers a more basis. 

[00:24:34] Blake Melnick: Yeah. Well, I know it was probably the same for you as it was for me growing up, we had records and you'd listen to a record and you'd read the liner notes. I missed the liner notes.

[00:24:43] I gotta say, because I would read the liner notes and I would look at the personnel playing on the record and I'd go, boy, I really like that bass playing there. And it was Larry Taylor or somebody like that. And so then I would go out and explore Larry Taylor and I would, I would buy some Canned Heat records.

[00:24:57] I would, look at, some of the stuff he did with John [00:25:00] Mayall and I'd go, oh, this is great. Right? So each, each record sort of spawned a new investigation, a new voyage, or what have you, , discovery to new types of music. And that's how I learned. That's where I got my education. So I lament again a little bit the Spotify, Amazon experience, because oftentimes, you don't download the liner notes.

[00:25:20] You don't read the liner notes and little feed always wrote great liner notes, by the way. I don't know whether you wrote them or whether Paul wrote them or was a combination, but I loved the liner notes. 

[00:25:29] Bill Payne: I might have written a couple of 'em. I can't remember. I am a writer as well, 

[00:25:32] I hadn't thought of that on what I'm listening on Amazon. They're trying to, if you like this, maybe you'll like that kind thing, but reading, getting into that album itself, Is really, where the action is. So if I want to know what's going on, I'll just try and find other sources, but that's where you don't take no for an answer. You go, oh, did this move me enough to take 10 minutes, which turns into an hour discover it's 

[00:25:55] true. 

[00:25:56] Blake Melnick: 10 minutes Google time. Right?[00:26:00] 

[00:26:01] Bill Payne: and the beauty is Blake, as you know, it extends to what we read, through books, through magazine articles, through everything to our politics to questioning what it is that's in front of us in life, you know, who our friends are and they have divergent views. Are we kinda sticking within the same tribe?

[00:26:21] You know, that kind of thing. Yeah. 

[00:26:23] I'm saying that as of late, I might as well say it here too, is that. Music has gained its power again in this sense that, we're so fractured here in the United States. Yeah. 

[00:26:32] Everywhere. Not just the United States 

[00:26:35] life, not the world. Yeah. I dunno about Canada, but we need, we need that little refuge.

[00:26:40] So just go in can't we just agree that the groove to Spanish Moon sounds cool. Right? Yeah. And we get outside, we can kind of go, Hey, you I've got this opinion about NASA, but about this, I've got granddaughters. We have two black guys in our band. If you haven't noticed  who vote, you know, [00:27:00] I mean that, that kind of stuff.

[00:27:01] But while we're in there playing, it's, it's not a Kumbaya moment by any means. Music has power and extraordinary power. Yeah. The ignorance of people that would go that's lost such power really well. What are you listening to 

[00:27:17] yeah, maybe it has. Take off “Alley Oop” and put it on something 

[00:27:21] else. 

[00:27:21] Blake Melnick: You make a great point there because we are sort of living in these bubbles now as a result of social media, algorithms and all that kind of stuff. But music does have the capacity to transcend or stretch between bubbles, if you will, and unite people around a common love of music. And so I wanted to ask you, do you think in these last two years of COVID where musicians haven't been touring, they've been sitting at home reflecting, writing, composing music, Recording their own music and so forth.

[00:27:49] Do you think we're gonna see a whole bunch of new music emerge that is really impactful, reflecting the turbulence of the world around us? You know, as musicians and artists of all kinds are [00:28:00] co-creating, I think you mentioned you'd been writing some songs with Robert Hunter, but you'd never met him. You were doing it virtually, and I imagine a lot of people were doing that. In fact

[00:28:09] we've had a lot of musicians on the show and they've all mentioned that they were focused on writing songs, composing, collaborating with other artists, learning to play new instruments, honing their own craft. Do you think we're gonna see a renaissance of sort, an explosion of new music and new sounds, socially conscious music, akin to that of the late sixties, early seventies? 

[00:28:30] Bill Payne: That's a very good question for starters. And I think the answer to it, I mean, I, I don't know the answer, but I know what will allow that to happen is the delivery system. Right? Mm-hmm , In other words, if you don't have the ways and needs to get it out to people and enough people to hear it 

[00:28:47] then it's for not, in the sense that it will continue to be segmented and segregated. Quite literally. I think that what was, Stravinsky used to say, I never get to quote, right. But I'll try it again. “I don't write [00:29:00] music because I want to, I have to” -  it had to come out of him. That's what artists do. You wanna write a play or you wanna produce a play or direct or whatever, you want it to engage the community and be popular, and if not an outright hit but that's not your reason for doing this because it's to you.

[00:29:19] And because you've got that urge to, to connect to something that, brings out who you are as a human being. 

[00:29:26] Blake Melnick: This concludes this week's episode of For What It's Worth, my interview with the great Bill Payne, keyboardist and co-founder of the Band Little Feet. Join us next week for part two, where Bill and I do a deep dive into the art and craft of songwriting. We explore Who and what is Little Feet? Through a look at their songs, their sounds, their approach to composing, songwriting, and playing together for what it's worth.