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Come Write Me Down


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Wizz Jones

S.R. What do you envisage your musical future being, then?

W.J. I was afraid you were going to ask that!

S.R. Because you’ve been doing it for so long, it’s your way of life. Can you conceive of not being on the road being a folk guitar player?

W.J. Well this is the age old crisis problem you talk about, year in, year out. A lot of my contemporaries found the answer to that was commercial success, it gives you a bit of security and perhaps the chance to do something else – for example Ralph [McTell] is thinking about producing albums, he’s probably in the position to do that. I’ve always, all my life, derived far more pleasure from listening to other musicians than playing myself, without doubt. Watching Red Beans & Rice down the Half Moon is really exciting, and though obviously I really enjoy playing and it’s great fun, I really enjoy listening to other people better – but that’s a complacent, luxury thing to say, being lucky to afford to produce other people. Without the commercial success, one can only just continue the same way, hoping that there are people to come up and say it was good, and they’re younger people, perhaps asking where they can buy your albums. As long as that’s still happening, that’s the only reason you need to continue – that and enjoying it of course.

But then you’ve got to balance that against the reality of life. I’ve been a musician and a family man. All the real great, genius, creative musicians – I don’t think they’ve been very successful at keeping any other part of their life together, their family or anything like that. I wanted the family thing.

Sandy: The boys really joke about it – Danny goes around saying “I’m just a poor boy, I wouldn’t be able to play the blues if Wizz had been successful!”

W.J. It’s all a question of quality of lifestyle really; you go up and down about it. One minute you think “Isn’t this great, driving along the Riviera with the kids and soaking up the sun, cooking on the side of the road – we couldn’t do this unless we lived like this,” but then the car breaks down and you can’t afford to fix it, it’s a different story.

Sandy: The worst thing is that you don’t have the time to devote to your music. It would be nice to come off the road and have a month to just stay at home and work on new material. But it’s impossible to keep a family, there’s no way one guy can support all those people – it affects everyone else in the family.

W.J. People used to say to me, years ago, “Oh I really like you, Wizz, you’re not like all these other people like Ralph McTell with No. 1 hits, you won’t do that sort of thing.” I’d say to them now, “Look, if I had the chance, I’d have it tomorrow!” I remember Jimmy McGregor saying to me “I’ll get you on Tonight with Cliff Michelmore, just smarten up, wear a tie, cut your hair, get a suit.” No way was I going to do that. Of course, I would now!

Wizz Jones 1980
Wizz Jones 1980 Photo: Dave Peabody

From Southern Rag 6, October 1980


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