The New York Times today has a featrued story on Mac Rebennack, the artist known as Dr. John, the artist formerly known as Dr. John the Night Tripper.
He was in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time, and all dat.
He has a new cd on Nonesuch, a collaboration with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys (from Akron, Ohio, to Mac’s New Orleans).
My only Dr. John story is first of all that if you are hip you refer to him as Mac; this is a little confusing if you also hang out in Chapel Hill and talk obsessively, as I do, about Mac from Superchunk and Merge.
The second thing about Mac is that he is or was a fantastic producer and multi-instrumentalist, well before the Dr. John thing.
And the third of course is that his schtick was originally very tied in to the New Orleans voo doo scene, which I guess the article is saying he is shedding like a rattlesnake skin.
When I was briefly Henry Butler’s manager, for six months in 2002, I tried to immerse myself in the entire history of New Orleans musica and for example very deliberatly sought out Dr. John. I waited in line to say him to him at Yoshi’s in Oakland. I bought him a Zuni fetish, of a bear, from the trading post on College near Clarmont in Berkeley or Oakland.
Meanwhile, tonight or this weekend there is Galactic and Rebirth in SF, at competing locales. I think Rebirth also plays Santa Cruz or Felton in the next couple days.
I am off to see not Rebennack but the Rebbe Ari Cartun work some Bob Dylan ju-doo if you feel me on that.
Not merely to confuse Satan I would say in the right place wrong time category that Mac is at BAM, I am at Etz Chayim but Dan Bern is in Sacramento.
edit to add, like four minutes later: the article says its a Nashville album, but with an Ethiopian jones; I would try to see this when it comes through here. And he plays farfisa not piano.