His 35 year career is no stranger to fluctuations in fortunes, but that doesn’t stop the legendary KRIS KRISTOFFERSON feeling surprised by his current renaissance. Words: Ninian Dunnett
t’s four in the afternoon. and
Kris Kristofferson is
comfortably settled in the Scottish hotel that is home during his latest movie shoot. and looking forward to getting in front of an audience which has been rediscovering a musical legend.
‘I love it here.‘ he says. 'lt‘s cool enough to go otit and run in the park. which my wife and I do every day before work. and I love Glasgow because of the reception my band and I always had here. going back many years.’
Across the water. Wes (‘lark is stepping tip his campaign to secure the Democratic nomination to run against President Btish in the November American election. monitored keenly from here by the 67—year-old musician and actor. Kristofferson has been a questing left-of—centre activist for many years. spending time in Nicaragua and releasing little-known political albums on a journey which has taken him far from the expected life of an Air liorce (ieneral's son.
He believes (‘lark is well worth 'a shot‘ at the presidency. and backs contemporary (‘otintry stars the Dixie (‘hicks in their anti-(iulf War comments though the furore which followed them came as little surprise.
‘More power to them for not backing down. and I‘m well aware of what it costs yoti.‘ he says. ‘I remember Bill (iraham. the promoter. saying Jackson Browne would be a big star if he wasn‘t out saving the world all the time —- and Jackson telling me my position was even more precarious. because I had a conservative (‘ountry audience. Btit you get to a point where you jtist have to tell it like you see it.‘
The 80s and 90s found Kristofferson increasingly diverted from a career which had hurled him to stardom in 1970. when 'Stinday Morning (‘oming l)own’ became Country Music Song of the Year. A succession of bop evergreens like ‘llelp Me Make it Through the Night‘ and ‘Me and Bobby Mc(iee‘ tumbled forth. along with drink problems. a dalliance with Janis Joplin. and a fruitful screen career which was heading further skyward until the Michael (‘imino epic Western
Heaven's (;(lI(’ — a film still remembered as one of
Hollywood‘s great disasters.
Yet in a new century. with the rise of .»\mericana and respect for the troubadour tradition. the Texas native has found himself »— to his great surprise running into a deal of overdue recognition.
‘lt sort of snuck tip on me.‘ he says. ‘There was a time back at the beginning. we were accepted
46 THE LIST 5) 1‘.) i (at; 7009.
‘AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN I'M FINDING I'VE GOT AN AUDIENCE AGAIN'
everywhere we went. Then I guess in the 80s. things got a little hard: my record company went under. and Ilt'ui'r'ii's (iritt' happened. the biggest bomb of all time. my marriage broke tip. my manager got sick and died. and my agent too and we were working everywhere. we just weren‘t making any money. And then all of a sudden I‘m ﬁnding I‘ve got an audience again.’
Kristofferson has a remarkable (‘V however you slice it. encompassing a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. years as an army pilot and all-star tours with his friends .lolinny (‘ash. Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. And though his craggy. laid—back style remains in demand by filmmakers. it‘s on his days off from shooting The .ltlt‘lvt’l here that he will get to squeeze in the real artistic love of his life: his songs. liven if that means the discipline of solo acoustic performance.
‘lt’s not as much fun as it is playing with my band. btit it ptits a focus on the songs that is interesting.~ he says. And I know my show is going to be too long. because I always feel I have to make tip in quantity what I lack in quality -- btit I love the songs like I love my children. I'll cut it down to about 30. and it's really tough. I‘ll think oh no. there's about live more I should do ~ and some of the audience are going to have to go to the bathroom.’
Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 14 Feb; Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 15 Feb.
All the prizes, sizes and app/etizes in the wonderful world of music
AS WE REVEALED LAST ISSUE, Download festival is coming to Scotland. The event will be held over two days with four bands on each day. So far it’s Metallica and Machine Head confirmed for 2 June and Linkin Park topping the bill the following day.
KATIE MELUA. THE DIVINE COMEDY and Travis are all revisiting their club roots this month as part of charity music event Passport Back to the Bars. The season of live shows. in aid of Shelter and Warchild. takes place at Barfly venues up and down the country with the three Glasgow dates being 4. 6 and 10 March respectively. Tickets can only be had through a text competition. While it's free to enter. texts are charged at $31.50 each and profits will go to the charities. The closing date for entries is Wed 18 Feb so for more information, see our preview next issue and visit vva/intismpassport.org.
THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN announced for the Radio 3 World Music Awards. Among the winners were Veteran Cuban star Ibrahim Ferrer, ‘the Robbie Williams of Iraq’ Kazem Al Sahir, DJ Dolores (pictured) and Senegalese hip hop outfit, Daara J. A selection of the award winners is expected to perform at the gala event at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on 9 March.
THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS. Duran Duran and Kraftwerk may all have sold out damn quickly but there is plenty more to come this spring. Take solace in the fact that Franz Ferdinand have announced a show at the Liquid Room on 29 April as part of this year‘s tripTych -4 see next issue for our exclusive unveiling of the festival line—up. There are also upcoming visrts from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. who return for a show at Barrowland on t 1 April, while Calexico play Carling Academy on 18 April and the equally magnificent and spooky Cat Power is set to play the Liquid Room, Edinburgh on 1 April.