You have been generously candid with the public regarding your health issues. Can you give us an update?
I seem to be doing pretty well. The reason that I did come forward and bring it to the public’s eye is because the whole thing started with the Hepatitis C virus. It’s something that people, especially in my age group, should all be checked for. It’s a horrible virus that can cause cancer, which is what happened to me. I was cured of the Hep C and then they found a tumor. They treated the tumor with this new treatment called Y90, where they inject it right into the tumor, into the liver. So far, it seems to have arrested it. It’s been a year-and-a-half with no growth, no mastication, and no signs of the cancer moving anywhere else. My only drawback is fatigue. But then again, I’m old.
Tell me why when you work on your solo material, you do so with Roger Cole, and not, say, Fred Tackett, for instance?
First and foremost, they are not solo records. They are Paul Barrere and Roger Cole records. When we started doing this, when Riding the Nova Train came out, it was a collaboration. I said to Roger, it shouldn’t be a Paul Barrere solo thing. It should be the two of us. For me, it was an opportunity to do something completely different from Little Feat. When you talk about Paul and Fred, everyone relates it to Little Feat. I wanted another avenue to express myself. That’s why I like doing this stuff with Roger. We come at it from a whole different perspective. I also get to be a little freer in my guitar playing. I don’t have the constrictions of fitting in with a whole band. We’re much more finite in our arrangements.
Can you elaborate on that whole different perspective?
I don’t want to say pop, because we’re still very eclectic. If you listen to the EP, there is a song like “You’re Annoying,” which is a country send-up, to “Political Freak Show,” to “Lost in the Sound,” which is very epic. Or, something more simple, like “Grain of Sand.” It enables us to have more control over the situation than what Little Feat would produce. I really enjoy it. I like the recording process. I like the time we spend fine-tuning lyrics, arrangements. There’s no real pressing need to have things done. It’s an easy and comfortable way to create music.
The EP seems to be divided almost exactly evenly between songs that you take the lead vocal and songs when Roger does, including splitting one. Is this balance intentional or just the way things shook out?
It’s more intentional than anything else. With the two styles so diverse, the nice thing about being involved with Roger’s music is that it taught me a lot. I’m hoping that is reciprocal when we do something that is more in my vein. The hardest thing is getting people to pick up on it and not just want to have a Little Feat record from me. So many fans expect it to be a Little Feat record, and it’s never going to be a Little Feat record. If I wanted to do a Little Feat record, I’d record with Little Feat.
Has work started on Volume Two?
We’ve just started knocking around a few songs.
Have you given thought to forming a band with Roger to perform this music live, or are you content with it being a studio endeavor?
I’m satisfied in that aspect. The thought of actually putting together a band, rehearsing, and trying to crack into live performing to where you are going to be financially comfortable is kind of overwhelming for me. The last thing I want to do is get in a van which is probably what would happen. Clubs, and so forth, to me would be a step backwards from a performing angle. We did one performance together, but both of us have health issues that don’t enable us to really get out there and do it; me, with my liver, and he’s got a broken back. We also have different approaches. He likes to do music as it is recorded, where I like to improvise a lot. I’ve never been one to copy myself from night to night.
Music, especially in a digital format, seems, unfortunately, to be devalued now more than ever. Why is that?
It’s not just music. It’s the progression of humanity at this point. We’ve become a throwaway-based economy: You get something. You use it. You toss it. I think movies is another similar industry. Books, definitely.
Is performing becoming more difficult or does it provide some relief?
Being onstage is always fun. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction between musicians. Fred and I have a sort of sixth sense between us when we perform. We can basically almost read each other’s minds, and take songs that we do into different places from night to night. I’ve been trying to keep those (shows) down to working a weekend a month. So, you’re not on that constant jag of being on the road. That’s the thing that beats me up more than performing; the travel, the lack of sleep, getting on and off buses, in and out of hotel rooms. That kind of got old. But, I still like performing.
When you’re off the road for a long period of time, do you start to miss it more, or less?
I think I missed it less. But, there are certain situations that I really enjoy doing. The Dead Feat shows with Anders Osborne in New Orleans during Jazz Fest. It’s a jam fest. Who wouldn’t want to be involved with that? Things like that are exciting and great to do, and in a fun town.
How much longer do you want to do this?
I keep cutting back on my schedule. Mainly because, at 68, I’m comfortable financially, shall we say. I like relaxing. These past couple years being home so much has been wonderful. My kids say, “It’s unbelievable having you around so much. When are you leaving? “ (Laughs) I’ll continue doing it as long as I feel up to it. Who knows what tomorrow brings? Every day is a blessing. ~ excerpt from Larson's Sutton's Interview with Paul Barrere
There is so much more to read, but due to space restrictions, we only posted a portion of Larson Sutton's wonderfully extensive interview with Paul. Read more: http://www.jambands.com/features/2016/12/23/paul-barrere-still-lost-in-the-sound/?2#ixzz4TyjRgY1E