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My Favorite Dr. John Encounter

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A long-forgotten video posted by BLIP.fm member digitalfreestyleentertainment just reminded me of my favorite Dr. John anecdote.


When I was primarily working as a music journalist in the ’80s and early ’90s, I used to visit the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival each year. I did several interviews with Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) back then.

At a particular time, I tried to set up yet another interview with the good Doctor in New Orleans during festival time. His N’awlins representatives told me that he had left the city for New York already.

I was moving on to the Big Apple myself, and called his local management in Manhattan right after my arrival. Surprise, surprise: They claimed that Doc hadn’t returned from New Orleans yet.

A few days later, I was riding a public bus to the Roxy; a former roller rink which was hosting all-star rap/hip-hop events on Friday and Saturday nights at the time, featuring ground-breaking acts like Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force, Run-D.M.C., and Whodini – sometimes on the same evening, and sometimes with the primarily teen-aged Rock Steady Crew performing hip-hop tricks like head-spinning on the dance floor.

Those events often lasted until 4 or 5 a.m. the next morning (which caused me to scribble my personal „Do Not Disturb“ sign at the Washington Square Hotel, my budget retreat at the time, when I returned to my room at sixish ;-) ).

Back to the bus: Guess who was sitting behind me on my Roxy ride? None other than Dr. John!

He told me that he often hid from his New Orleans representatives by claiming that he had returned to New York, and vice versa.

I finally got another Dr. John interview – in Cologne where he was performing on the weekend after my return to Germany. ;-)

Written by Peter Jebsen

24. September 2009 um 9:00

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