Bonnie's Pride and Joy

Fansite with ALL the news about Bonnie !

Bonnie Raitt on the Power of Live

on July 15, 2020 No comments
Dean Budnick

Throughout her career, Bonnie Raitt has gained renown for her dynamic live performances as well as her commitment to addressing social injustices. These efforts have continued during the era of the coronavirus pandemic, even as the disease has taken a personal toll with the passing of her longtime friend John Prine. Shortly after recording a tribute to him, Raitt commends his “deep pathos, acerbic wit and empathetic eye, which he first shared on that masterpiece of a first album—and then he never let up.”

What has the live concert experience meant to you over the course of your career, and how do you think that might change?

One constant that will never go away is the audience connection. I’ve experienced that when I’ve been in the audience. All of us love being there with the people we love. As a performer, I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I also grew up with a father [John Raitt] who played on Broadway and did 25 consecutive years of summer stock and played regional theater until he was in his 70s and 80s. So I really know the power and the joy and the tribal connection that happens when you step on a stage.

I’ve never sold many records. I’m an artist who is standing where I am today because of the live loyalty and excitement and the magic that happened through repeat performances for those audiences. You cannot duplicate it over the internet or even on a record.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to do everything I can to get everybody back into the theaters safely. Maybe it’s multiple nights with the appropriate distance thing. We’ve all been brainstorming about how to do shows in older buildings where the ventilation systems aren’t ideal. One thing I do know is that outdoors is safer than indoors at the moment. So I’m hoping that, by next summer, we’ll have found some venues that we can go back to and different ways for people to feel safe.

What impact has the cancellation and postponement of all these shows had on the people who work behind the scenes?

Independent promoters gave me my start. That’s how I’ve been able to hone my chops and figure out what makes a good show. I learned how to perform and how to hold an audience through live performances in small venues when I was just starting.

This has been devastating to so many clubs and independent promoters and venues that are so crucial to every stage of our careers. The music industry at large— the fans, the journalists, the disc jockeys, the promotion people, the people that help make the clothes, the caterers, the security staff, the ticket takers—has been devastated by the shutdown. We don’t know whether we’re going to be able to recover, but I certainly hope so.

You mentioned that live performance can’t quite be duplicated over the internet. How do you view the role of that medium?

The pandemic has forced us to look for new ways to connect. I watched Jon Cleary’s wonderful Quarantini Happy Hour, replacing his two solo gigs in New Orleans every week with Facebook concerts. Ivan Neville is doing the same and I know there are lots of others. They take real-time questions, which is great, and real-time requests, which is something you can’t really do onstage. So the internet has its own charming way of blasting open things that wouldn’t have been possible in a live concert as easily. So it does have its good side, even if that can’t replace what all of us get from the live experience.

Throughout your career, you’ve brought attention to certain artists in need who have inspired you. While organizations like MusiCares and the Jazz Foundation of America have established COVID-19 relief funds, do you think this crisis might eventually spark a conversation about additional government support, akin to what happened during the New Deal with the Federal Art Project or the Federal Music Project?

I always tried to bring my influences out on the stage with me as much as I could. I opened for Sippie Wallace, Mississippi Fred McDowell and a lot of the different blues acts. Then, when my career circumstances changed a little bit, I said to people like Muddy Waters: “Instead of me opening for you, come and play the college circuit with me and you’ll develop a new audience.” We also tried really hard to get health insurance programs for the musicians because a lot of them were in poor health because they were overworked by unscrupulous booking agents, who had them play six or seven nights a week, three sets a night. And the agent still took 40 percent. When Atlantic had its big 40th anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden, I found out from Howell Begle that Laverne Baker, Ruth Brown, Charles Brown and most of the people in my record collection hadn’t received royalties. That’s partially because U.S. radio, unlike the rest of the world, doesn’t pay performance royalties, only songwriting royalties. And when it came to record sales, the labels gave a 1-2 percent royalty rate up until 1970 and overcharged them for the costs of recording. To me, it was really important to be able to get financial remuneration for all these artists because we owed them so much.

I would love to see art and music and theater and dance supported by the government. The National Endowment for the Arts has been slashed, although there’s still some support. However, I think in terms of saving the cultural institutions in this country, it’s probably going to take an effort from the nonprofit world. That’s how museums, ballets and symphonies are funded. We have to do the same thing for rock-and-roll and roots music.

Artists have always sung about hypocrisy, satirized those at the top, called out what’s wrong and lifted people up for what’s right. That’s never going to change. The things that I cared about in the ‘60s and ‘70s are not a pipe dream. They’re inevitable and we’re going to keep working for them. I hope that we can still get back to the clubs and that people will want to hang out and hear live music more than ever when we find a vaccine. That way, we can support the people who are out of work that I mentioned earlier. And let’s also pay people for what they’re contributing—teachers, hospital workers, bus drivers, people that are essential workers. People deserve equal treatment, health insurance and a fair wage. That includes musicians and everybody in the music industry as well. I’m hoping that they’ll be a reckoning. People will wake up and we can figure out how to rewrite the plan.


Source: © Copyright Relix
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Share this post:
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bonnie's Pride and Joy - Facebook Group

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

... See MoreSee Less

6 days ago

Video image

Mississippi Fred McDowell - You gotta move ... See MoreSee Less

6 days ago

Comment on Facebook

This is my friend Dick Waterman; we met at Mariposa in 1965 — I was hosting a blues workshop and he was managing the legendary blues singer Son House; he also worked with so many great blues folk, from Fred McDowell to Skip James, to Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. In the pioneer days of blues internet groups, he was Richard the Younger and I was Richard the Elder (since I was a year older than he). Today's his 85th birthday — send him and his smashing wife Cinda greetings to their home in Oxford, Mississippi (jinxblues@aol.com) and tell him I sent you! ... See MoreSee Less

6 days ago

Bonnie Raitt on "Linda and the Mockingbirds" ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

On the eve of John’s 74th birthday, I’m scrolling through precious memories of our many years together. Still so hard to believe I’ll never get to look across at him singing Angel with me again.

One of my favorite memories is of a night way back in '73, when a gang of us gathered back at the motel after a day hanging out at each others’ shows at the Philly Folk Festival.
We grabbed our instruments and some libations and met back up at Stevie Goodman’s room-- John, me, Al Bunetta, Freebo, David Bromberg, John Hartford, and a slew of others, too many to mention. Soon we were sprawled over both beds, chairs, every corner of the room. Stevie, John and I were facing each other across the two beds and Stevie started playing and we all joined in. What followed was the most extraordinary night of music—Stevie, the pied piper, seemed to know an endless stream of folk songs, Beatles, Everly Brothers, old rock and roll—all the verses and intricate chords too. We swapped leads and harmonies and there may have been a mandolin and some harmonica. It was a magical night and we all felt it.

I can still see Stevie's irrepressible grin and John beaming back at him. The love they shared for each other was as true and deep as any I've witnessed.
There was so much joy and love in that room, I'll never forget it.

When the dawn's light finally crept under the motel curtains, we dragged ourselves up and straggled back down the halls, spent but still buzzed and grinning, passing the Festival goers on their way to the breakfast buffet.

Remembering this special night, I celebrate John on his birthday today. And I picture him reunited with his beloved Stevie and Al--arms wrapped around each other, grinning ear to ear, enjoying every bit of what he hoped he'd find when he finally got to Heaven.

Happy Birthday, my dear pal. I miss you so much. You’re here in my heart and I'll be singing Angel for you every time. You give me one thing, that I can hold on to. ...
To believe in this livin'.

To John, Fiona and the boys, I send
all my love,

Bonnie

#IRememberEverything
Photo courtesy of Richard A. Carter
... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Video image

Bonnie Raitt - Shadow of Doubt - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2020 ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Comment on Facebook

From BRHQ -- Tomorrow night, Oct 7th 7:30pm-9:00pm ET (right BEFORE the VP debate) Watch Bonnie perform on the Concert Across America to End Gun Violence!
Join Melissa Etheridge, John Fogerty, Wynton Marsalis, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and more for the 2020 Concert Across America to End Gun Violence. Streaming here on Facebook: fb.me/e/1BHKSGvl2
For the full list of performers and to make donations click here: tinyurl.com/Concert-Performers

Then please watch the VP debate. And most importantly, VOTE.
Also check out our Celebrity Auction. Bid on one-of-a-kind experiences like some hang time with Jason Alexander, your own fitness session with celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, or a some custom Nikes. Bid here: tinyurl.com/CAA-Auction
... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Video image

Bonnie Raitt & Boz Scaggs - You Don't Know Like I Know - Farm Aid 2020 On the Road ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Comment on Facebook

Load more

Recommended Reading

Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt Helm B.B. King Grammy Tribute

February 16, 2016

Jerry Garcia Band with Bonnie Raitt, Berkeley Greek 8.30.1987

September 1, 1987

CMT Crossroads Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett – The Factory – Franklin – TN

December 15, 2005

Bonnie Raitt’s Blues

November 9, 2015

Stephen Bruton one of Austin’s best guitar players passes away

May 9, 2009

Norton Buffalo Dies

November 1, 2009

Bonnie Raitt attends the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at MSG – NY

October 30, 2009
Will McFarlane

Talking with Guitarist Songwriter Will McFarlane

November 2, 2009

Review: James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt deliver summer night delight at DTE

August 9, 2017