Amplexos – children of the Tropicalia movement

1545676_773943195986264_583428572755795460_n

Children of the Tropicalia movement, youth reborn to love and never reject, to learn from the past, to stand up for the true values in life and to pass them on to the new generation…that in a psychedelic nutshell is what and who Amplexos is all about…Viva Brasil!

***

Please present each of the band members?

LV: Guga – singer-songwriter, rythm guitarist / Martché – keyboardist and backing vocalist / Polito – bass player / Tolen – percussionist / Mestre André – drummer / Leandro Vilela (me) – lead guitarist and backing vocalist.

05

What and who are your direct influences?

Mestre: I believe that our faith is the most powerful influence for us, because that´s what made us doing what we did in our lives and what we are doing now in music.

How much has the Tropicalia movement meant for you as children of a different generation and how much has it influenced your music?

Tolen: Tropicalia is a strong influence for us, because it´s one of the big things in the history of the music and pop culture, especially in Brazil.  So, we are involved and infected with this movement and it’s deployments, there´s no escape! One of the most important things in Tropicalia is being open for all the possibilities in this world, knowing that we can learn all the time with everything and everyone. Tropicalia didn´t refuse anything and that´s what we are trying to do with our work in music. Live with no fear of love.

How is it to grow up in a relatively small and industrial city like Volta Redonda aka Cidade do Aço (Steel City)?

Martché: Volta Redonda is an inner city with good weather and a good location. It was built because of the industry (CSN – National Steel Company),  so it´s a new city, only 61 years old. Most of our fathers and grandfathers left their cities to work here for CSN. Growing up here as a child was very good because in that time there was a more relaxing lifestyle and we met a lot of wonderful people who helped us to be what we are now, as musicians and adults. It´s a good place that God selected for us.

csnusinawww

Is it difficult to start a band in a city like Volta Redonda?

Polito: It´s not difficult to start a band here but it´s very difficult to keep it alive. As a small city, it´s easier meeting people and musicians to work with but it´s so hard to make money. Nevertheless, we are still working with all of our love and faith. Music is what moves our soul and body.

934767_893232760723973_4347532850037502694_n

 

Best and worst features of the city?

Guga: The best thing here is the good location. It´s an inner city, so we don´t have the craziness and the urgency of a big city but at the same time Volta Redonda is located between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo which makes our life easier in terms of playing  concerts and networking in two of the most important cities in Brazil. The worst thing here is the industry (CSN), because it damages the health of our people in a lot of ways with the hard hard hard labor and especially with the pollution.  We have to compensate the pollution with physical activities, practicing sports like swimming. Everybody in Volta Redonda are born with lung injuries..

12899794

What do you do besides playing music?

LV: We have a studio here called Espaço Criativo Casa. It is in a small house where you can record and produce music as well as meet other artists and musicians. We have already produced a number of songs and albums here. Three of us work with the music production in the studio. All members of the band are music teachers and we have some students here who are learning to play bass, guitar, drums and singing. Our house is our office too, so all the hard managerial work of the band is also being done here. We promote and organize some pocket shows and workshops here too as well as a lot of shows and parties in a lot of different places during all year. Some of us work as sound engineers at concerts of other artists and some of us work by cooking vegan and vegetarian food. That´s what we do.

03

09

01

02

What did you do before starting to play music?

LV: We all just started our professional lives playing, that´s our mission here but if you are asking about what we do before the concerts well then it depends of the time.  We have to concentrate before playing, it all depends of the place where we are and our feelings. We always pray to God, thanking for the opportunities of doing music, asking for protection and for making a good and strong perfomance. We all like to make some physical exercises and stretching in order to to go on stage in a good and powerful condition. The most important thing is to prepare our spirits for the concerts, because that´s what makes people feel our message and mission. We talk a lot about the world’s social situation and about us by trying to be as much together as possible and feeling the same vibrations. Some of us smoke a big spliff to celebrate the moment and light our spirits.

Played/playing in other bands?

Mestre: We all have a lot of musical experience with others bands, orchestras and percussion groups. Nowadays we play in other bands too like Beatbass Hightech and the young singer/composer Raí Freitas.

What does music mean to you?

Tolen: Life, movement.

Your new album “Sendeiro” has just been released which also marks 10 years of band activities. In your very own opinion how did this album live up to your expectations?

Martché: In 10 years a lot of things happens and all that we lived in these years we carry on in our music. Playing music is the way we have to be to feel free and young. Each moment is one! Our expectations is to continue working on this road to freedom.

07

Please tell us about the process behind of your new album?

Polito: This album represents the most important time of our lifes! Our previous album “A Música da Alma” (“Music of The Soul”, 2012) gaves us an awakening, so in that time we started a hard work within the organization and administration, which was so hard!
At the same time, each one of us was living unique experiences, like the happiness of a childbirth and the suffering of being sick. In this chaos of life, we felt the necessity to communicate these experiences, the necessity to talk to everyone about our lives and feelings because everybody have similar problems as an essence, no matter in which  time and place you find yourself.
Everyday when playing together something new would emerge, something thrilling. In the beginning of 2015 we decided to stop our business work to start working on songs for a new album. We did tiresome rehearsels and the songs were being constructed in a great speed and everyone would always show a big dedication. Our feelings were that these songs had to be perfect, not in technical preciousness but perfect in the sense of communicating our message in a complete manner and with simplicity.
The weekend before we started recording in the studio, we traveled with our family to Maromba, a small city in the mountain near Rio de Janeiro, getting away just to play all the time and make sure that everything was alright. So, that was the final step of the creative process. We arrived to Volta Redonda on the Sunday night and already Monday morning we started recording.

How would you define your music now and how has it grown and developed throughout the years?

Guga: It´s always hard to define something plural and with no cutout like our music! What we are trying to do is exactly the opposite of that.
Each one will have a definition, according to his references and memories. I like to observe that we have a lot of elements of rock, progressive, afrobeat, funk, soul, dub and reggae. In the beggining our music was more raw, more innocent but time passed and we developed our technique like musicians, our feelings about life and spiritual experiences, we started to search the music that really moves our soul, the music that talks deep with us. During this searching we approached the Brazilian music, samba, African and Jamaican, the latin rhythms etc. I believe that today all of these elements are more mature, more dense and I think we really found our personality.

Brazil has a strong cultural past especially within music and even today the music scene is a treasure where a lot of the underground music remains within the local communities. Is this something that you can relate to?

Mestre: Yes, of course. For a long time Brazil was like a global antenna, capturing influences from the settlers, the Europeans, the power of North America, mixing it with the indigenous roots and the african resistence of the slaves. Today, this antenna is still connected because of the technology, internet and it’s facilities. Specifically talking about Volta Redonda, there are many thing happening with art. There’s a big movement on the streets with artists of many languages, expressing theirselves in writing, acting, with their bodies. The music scene is shining in rock, rap, samba… and we are very very happy to be part of this history, like a reference for the younger. We are ONE!

Who wrote the lyrics to the songs of your new album and what do they talk about?

LV: Guga, our singer and song-writer, a very inteligent person, blessed by God and by all of the members of Amplexos, you know? He really knows how to filter our feelings like nobody in the group. ‘Sendeiro’ is an album about our times, about love, about forgiveness and about a big power we have in our hands but many times we don’t use it because of social distraction or lack of education and opportunity. This album is about respect – the way for a better world begins in our attitudes, you know? Something simple, that we heard many times throughout history… something that never will become old, because everybody feels it and still have to learn about it. All of this played with humility, modern poetry, heat and funk.

Traditional percussion can be heard in your songs too, how important is it to leave a footprint of your own roots in the songs?

Mestre: I think it’s important being yourself, naturally. So, the roots appear! Everything we are appears when done with love and transparency. Personally, being the drummer then from myself emerges the beat, the african percussion which is still very strong and alive in Brazil, the music that causes smile, happiness and hope of better days.

The psychedelic aspect of your music is also a part of the Brazilian legacy. Please try to explain the importance of this?

Tolen: It’s important as any other aspect in Brazilian music! Deeply, our sound is Brazilian because we are Brazilian and we can’t run away for ourselves. I feel that the more we are genuine and real, we are our street, our neighborhood, our city and our country…the more we are universal and global.

11143726_883535948360321_2598907704331744038_n

How much is social realism a theme in your daily life and your music?

Martché: The fact about the human being is that we are constantly developing technology but it’s still used for evil. We are holding on to the material world and so far away from our spirit, our soul, so far away from our brothers that just needs love to start working towards a better life. Our music talks about inside transformation. It´s about trying to be something new, to shine ourselves.

04

Most beautiful place you have ever seen in Brazil?

Polito: One of the most striking places has been in Pouso Alegre, a small city in the state of Minas Gerais. I´m talking about the sky, it was the blackest we’ve ever seen, with most stars. During that night, we saw shooting stars every five minutes.

Most beautiful place you have ever seen outside Brazil?

Guga: We never left Brazil, brother. In this world, there´s a lot of wonderful places, I don´t know how to choose only one of these places. We dream about traveling to Jamaica, Kingston. Each one of us have a dream of going somewhere.

08

What will make Brazil a better place to live in?

Tolen: “The best place in the world is here and now”. God bless Gilberto Gil!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC1ntip1f_U

I have visited Brazil twice and fell in love with your country and the people immediately. Why is that?

LV: Brazilian people are passionate, sure, but at the same time not. We can find in people here the heat of the African resistence, the purity and wisdom of the Indians and the power of development of the European settlers. So, some of us carry this heritage, and that´s what makes our sound universal, global, like many Brazilian artists did. We have a lot to show  to all of the planet, please listen to what we are talking about.

What would life be without love?

Mestre: There are still much life without love, Mr! For us, it´s important to make love in every step, every choice, because in just one second you could be conflicted. Life without love is what we are doing now, the ways of humanity but we must run ahead and swim against the tide.

06

Is love equal joy?

Tolen: Love is equal everything. Everything fits in love!! Love is a mirror.

Mention two fave brazilian bands from today’s scene and two fave brazilian bands from the past?

Martché: Nação Zumbi, Cidadão Instigado, Metá Metá, Síntese and from the past: Tim Maia, Jorge Ben, Os Mutantes, Novos Baianos, Elis Regina, João Gilberto, Gilberto Gil…

Mention two fave foreign bands from today’s scene and from the past?

Polito: Bombino, Seun Kuti. from the past: The Wailers, The Abyssinians, Fela Kuti

Fave Brazilian movie and fave foreign movie?

Guga: I can´t answer this, because each one of us have our favorites. We all like cinema, but we don´t have a big relation to it. It’s a long time since we watched any new releases but to give you some suggestions: I watched recently a movie about the history of Mahatma Ghandi, a big man that we all love and we are all were inspired by him. Another history we all like to suggest you to know is about a Brazilian dance/theatre group called DZI CROQUETTES, that were active in Brazil in the 70´s and 80´s. There´s a film about them called Dzi Croquettes. When we saw this movie, we felt the power of this guys, it was really important for us…

If you had to share a heartfelt moment of your life, which story would you be telling us?

Guga: There’s a song in our new album called “O Presente” (The Gift). It’s the story of the meeting between two men in a street of a big city somewhere in this crazy world. One, a rich manager of a big company suffering with his comfortable boring life. The other, a poor beggar living with just with any hope. They often crossed each other in that street but on this particular day (in the song) their looks crosses each other and results in a big revelation in the eyes of the other and in that same moment, they see GOD in the other’s face, like a blessing, a miracle, a test, a revelation.
That’s what we are trying to say, to sing and play. We all need to recognize God’s face, the fire of the love in EACH BROTHER IN THIS WORLD, man! That’s what we are, we are brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers of everybody, we are! So, we all must know that we are part of what we know about God and that it makes us do better things and to be more everyday. Expressing this complete feeling, this feeling of humanity and devotion to finally stay free of every suffering.

O Presente lyrics:

O PRESENTE

“The Gift”
(Guga/Leandro Vilela)

The life of two individuals would change in an encounter

where they would be touched by the same feeling

Over 7 am. of a cold day

The poor suffered, crying, with an empty stomach

Asking for coins or any food

In fact, he didn’t know what moved him on the inside

And the tears would come out

They were sad, sad tears

 

The other would not dare to try some contact

Of the route that was routine, on its way to the office

The hour was precious and the hard work exhausted it

The silver was vast, always ignoring the poor

but on that day, suddenly the pact became mandatory

and on one enlighted thought, both had the same impulse

of approaching each other

for the intuition to confirm itself

 

As if time stopped

he spreaded its hands

when he saw God on its face

it was Him, indeed

in an appearance

What a blessing,

What an opportunity

Your humanity

was reality there on the floor

 

Father in Heaven

He disguised himself

Came down as a sufferer

to test my compassion!

 

Father in Heaven

Strong as a thunder

delivered me some bread

Visited me and

came to relieve

my pain!

If you had to write a short spontaneous poem in Brazilian about life in Volta Redonda, how would that go?

Martché:

a tecnologia

é instrumento

mas o homem com o mal compactua

parece lento

o impulso de cada dia

pelo crescimento

do espírito 

e continua o sofrimento

10

http://www.amplexos.com

 

Music comes from this she thought

A child of a hippie, a hippie child, a troublemaker who turned teenage rage into music and music into freedom seeking and hope.

Did she really find what she was looking for?…the answer is out there so let’s give it up to Mrs. Vargas the science teacher or to some also better known as…

BARBARA MANNING !!!

Illustration of Barbara by Chris Knox which accompanied an article he wrote to promote my 1997 tour in NZ.(Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Illustration of Barbara by Chris Knox which accompanied an article he wrote to promote my 1997 tour in NZ.(Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

You were born in San Diego, have you always been living in California? Describe your childhood? How were your school days? Teenage troublemaker?

Right now, in Long Beach, I live two hour’s drive from the hospital in San Diego where I was born. My mom and dad met in high school and were still teens when I was born. Their romance didn’t last long; I was lucky to get my sister, Terri, who is two years younger.

My mom was an unusual person. She was a life-long seeker. She had the courage to pack me and my sister up in a VW bug to find our way through hippie communes and neo-hindu ashrams of California until we settled in the Sierra Nevada foothills near a religious commune. For many years we lived without running water, electricity, meat, or school. It was a strange shift in life styles for my sister and me. We were cynical children. Eventually, my sister and I got in some trouble for harassing the “swami,” an American guy who was making his fortune off his followers’ work. We sent him a package that contained a jar of human feces, a plastic tea set, and a poem that was meant to be surreal, but was interpreted as a bomb threat. That was only the beginning of my teenage rage and poor judgements.

In 1976 my mom moved my sister and me out of San Diego and brought us to the Sierra Nevada foothills. Her plan had been to live in Ananda, a religious group led by an American who went by the name Swami Kriananda. She didn’t know until we got there that it cost $1000 to join as a member of the community. So she found an old Bureau of Land Management road that led to a trashed trailer that only had three walls. She cleaned it up, added some cheese cloth to make a fourth wall, and we used the space until the weather changed with the season. We had to be sly when we went down the road because we were squatting on government land. The photo shows me with my sister. You can see the tent where we slept in the background. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

In 1976 my mom moved my sister and me out of San Diego and brought us to the Sierra Nevada foothills. Her plan had been to live in Ananda, a religious group led by an American who went by the name Swami Kriananda. She didn’t know until we got there that it cost $1000 to join as a member of the community. So she found an old Bureau of Land Management road that led to a trashed trailer that only had three walls. She cleaned it up, added some cheese cloth to make a fourth wall, and we used the space until the weather changed with the season. We had to be sly when we went down the road because we were squatting on government land. The photo shows me with my sister. You can see the tent where we slept in the background. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

In 1976, when the weather got wet and cold, my mom secured a more inviting living space for us which was offered rent free in exchange for milking goats twice a day. It was a 20 foot by 20 foot tin cabin on the edge of a large demolition derby car junkyard. The cabin didn’t have running water, heat or electricity, but during the two years we lived here, my mom built a spring box and hooked up running water; she covered the tin siding with wood; built two lofts for sleeping; and welded an old barrow into a wood heater. We used propane light, had no phone, and walked miles to visit friends. My sister and I loved it here. We played in the junkyard and helped with the milking. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

In 1976, when the weather got wet and cold, my mom secured a more inviting living space for us which was offered rent free in exchange for milking goats twice a day. It was a 20 foot by 20 foot tin cabin on the edge of a large demolition derby car junkyard. The cabin didn’t have running water, heat or electricity, but during the two years we lived here, my mom built a spring box and hooked up running water; she covered the tin siding with wood; built two lofts for sleeping; and welded an old barrow into a wood heater. We used propane light, had no phone, and walked miles to visit friends. My sister and I loved it here. We played in the junkyard and helped with the milking. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

My mother bought the bus in 1977 which moved regularly as she changed locations. This picture was taken around 1990 when my mom bought her plot of land in the foothills of the Northern Sierra Nevada. She lived in the bus until the end of her life. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

My mother bought the bus in 1977 which moved regularly as she changed locations. This picture was taken around 1990 when my mom bought her plot of land in the foothills of the Northern Sierra Nevada.
She lived in the bus until the end of her life.
(Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Inside the back of the bus, my mom reclines after blowing out her 50th birthday candles. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Inside the back of the bus, my mom reclines after blowing out her 50th birthday candles. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Was there any music in your parents’ house when you were a child and if yes what kind of music?

Before we moved to the woods and we were still near our relatives in San Diego, I heard music of the times. My parents were young, as were their friends; I was exposed to Beatles, Country Joe & the Fish, Carpenters, Moody Blues, Elton John. My mom especially loved Odetta and Jesus Christ Superstar. Plus my mom was big on flutes. I heard much too much flute playing while growing up. I still don’t like flutes. But in the woods, as a twelve year old I was desperate to hear music. We didn’t get radio reception well. I remember how frustrating it was to hear a song waft in clear and fade out into static repeatedly. I had a battery powered cassette player/recorder which got a lot of use when it had batteries.

My mother took my sister and me to hippie gatherings and festivals. This photo was taken at a Jagannath festival in Golden Gate Park during summer 1977; I am 12. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

My mother took my sister and me to hippie gatherings and festivals. This photo was taken at a Jagannath festival in Golden Gate Park during summer 1977; I am 12. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

At what age did you start playing music and what made you begin in the first place?

When my mom moved us from the woods, into “town,” Grass Valley, we had electricity. I turned 13 and became obsessed with popular culture, which was the Bee Gees. My sister and I learned to sing together in harmony because of the songs we heard on the radio and we fantasized about the life of the brothers Gibb. I had a part-time job attending and cleaning a laundromat and used the money to buy my first guitar on March 25, 1979 when I was 14. Suddenly everything in my life changed because I had a guitar and I could play songs. All my childhood confusion disappeared. With my guitar I had purpose, direction, escape. My sister has many musical talents too, and sometimes we still play songs from the Bee Gees songbook and harmonize like we used to do.

One winter in the late 1980s, my mom moved to San Francisco for several months because she couldn’t get up the road. For a while she was a roommate of Steven Roback of the band, Rain Parade. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

One winter in the late 1980s, my mom moved to San Francisco for several months because she couldn’t get up the road. For a while she was a roommate of Steven Roback of the band, Rain Parade. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Besides your solo career you’ve been involved in quite some bands over the time such as 28th Day, SF Seals, Go-Lucky’s just to mention a few. Was there a time during your musical career where you felt more ‘at home’ and at ease with what you were doing and with who you were surrounded by?

This question is hard to answer because the feeling of comfort comes and goes easily with me. I long for certain days/nights with people, such as a specific show or recording session, but I would not pick any of my bands to be in again now. Maybe that is part of the reason I haven’t organized a band for myself in years-because of the struggle involved in making a band “work.” I still record with my best friend, Seymour Glass, mostly as Glands of External Secretion. We just finished a beautiful cover of a Dead C song. When I record with Seymour I am very much at ease. I can do no wrong musically according to him.

Barbara Manning with 28th Day at the Vis Club, SF, 1986 (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Barbara Manning with 28th Day at the Vis Club, SF, 1986 (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Barbara Manning with 28th Day in Chico, SF, 1986. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Barbara Manning with 28th Day in Chico, SF, 1986. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

I am in an exciting time in my life now. I have the ability to record anytime I want because my husband is a music producer. He would be in heaven if I got busy with my music again. In fact he is in the little studio in our home at this minute working on his first solo album. Dan Vargas is obsessed with music and he really loves mine. He went looking for me about four years ago, and when he found me, like the time when I got my first guitar, everything changed. Now I feel secure.

I’m very intrigued by ‘The Arsonist Story’ could you please explain what the 4 songs in that story are about?

While I was rolling around on the mattress in the back of the van on a summer tour with the SF Seals in 1995 I started a story in my head about a mother who suddenly puts two and two together to make sense of why her son was acting so strangely. She is watching the local news, another arson fire reported, when her son comes home smelling of fire. The story continued to grow in my head until I saw the little town with a lake, full of blue-collar workers, and patriotism. I wondered how many views I could write from, and then the story flowed out. Only because you asked, here is some detail about each piece of the story.

First part is a view from the sidewalk. The water hydrant watches a parade of fire trucks pour on to his street. When a fireman attaches a hose into the water hydrant, the hydrant has an epiphany because until this moment it never understood what its purpose in life was to do on the side of the road.

Next comes the anthem to Evil, a little pumpkin headed demon that harasses kids to commit arson. Evil simply craves attention.

The 3rd piece of the song has two parts, one is told from the mother’s perspective after she starts to figure out that it is her son that is causing the fires around town, and the second part is from the boy’s perspective as he sits in his tiny bedroom wishing he was someone somewhere else. There is a small part of this song where a box of matches are talking too (don’t strike me, leave me covered) but the boy doesn’t listen to them and burns down the local factory anyway.

The last song of the piece, I picture the boy cornered by his fire and as he backs up from the flames he falls in to the lake and he decides to drown.

Are your lyrics in general a window into the world of Barbara Manning’s private life?

Definitely. Sometimes that is why I don’t want to hear them anymore. My albums, the songs, the bands-all of my music reflects insecurities, relationship problems, confusion. Each album represents a time in my life that had difficulty to overcome.

Barbara Manning with World of Pooh, playing at the CBGB in NYC. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Barbara Manning with World of Pooh, playing at the CBGB in NYC. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Please talk about the “In New Zealand” album, how did this album come together and where did you get the inspiration for the lyrics?

‘In New Zealand’ was inspired by the challenge I gave myself in 1997 to record spontaneously with people I admired in NZ. The songs on that album were written on the spot and the lyrics reflect what I was seeing and feeling while there. It was a terrifying/rewarding experience to record with people who barely know you and you really hope to impress, without prewritten material.

Chris joined us on our visit to Helen Kilgour’s house in Christchurch, New Zealand. Helen K. is David Kilgour’s mother. Notice the gold record of the Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle in the back ground! (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Chris joined us on our visit to Helen Kilgour’s house in Christchurch, New Zealand. Helen K. is David Kilgour’s mother. Notice the gold record of the Clean’s Boodle Boodle Boodle in the back ground! (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Top L-R: David Kilgour, Helen Kilgour, BLM Chris Knox, Graeme Downes of the Verlaines. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

Top L-R: David Kilgour, Helen Kilgour, BLM
Chris Knox, Graeme Downes of the Verlaines.
(Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

‘Homeless Where the Heart is” is the title of your first album as Barbara Manning and the Go-Lucky’s, recorded with the two Steinbach fellas. You wrote a dedication to yourself, describing how everything fell apart, a year that destroyed you and built you back up again. What happened to you and why this decision?

Homeless Where the Heart Is was recorded in 1999 when I was truly homeless and living in guest rooms of friends in Germany. (That is where some of the German language comes from). I was taken in the parents of my bandmates, The Go Luckys who included twin brothers Flavio and Fabrizio.

All the records with the Go Luckys were done during this time when I had no idea where to go or what to do next. I found myself in an uncomfortable dilemma. I do not like taking without giving back. The joy of making music was not enough to overcome the lack of a steady income. I found it more difficult to record music as well. All my songs were recorded as quickly and cheaply as possible. Eventually I decided to put music aside and concentrate on getting a college degree so I could work steadily, then I could afford to make music again.

You’ve managed to travel with your music, what have been the most memorable places and experiences?

One of my favorite venues was on a Chinese pirate ship docked on the Seine River in Paris. It was difficult to use my guitar pedals because the sway of the ship was so deep and when I tried to turn a pedal on or off I would never know how far to step. Playing in New Zealand will always be magical to me. I remember fantastic receptions from clubs in Montreal, Canada, and Aalborg, Denmark where crowds sang along with my songs. Of course I love playing New York and Boston. For me, the meanest place I ever played was in England. They did not “get” me, I guess. But the nicest, most loyal crowds were always in Germany. I would look out into the crowd and not a person was ordering from the bar; everyone was watching intently. I would always feel so grateful and amazed that people cared enough to be attentive. Here in America it is a different scene. If you go to a show then you are there to party with your friends, regardless if loud talking overwhelms the music on stage. That drives me crazy.

Name a person you have been very proud of performing with and name one person you have been proud of just having met during your career?

While in New Zealand I organized a touring band that consisted of (Americans) Joey Burns and John Convertino of Calexico, and (New Zealanders) David Kilgour, Robert Scott, and Graeme Downes. I remember looking one way and then other, and then turning around on stage and what I saw was a band playing with me that had some of my favorite musicians on the planet and I got so shivery with happiness that time stopped for a moment.

One of my biggest “fan” moments was when I got to take a photo with Nick Lowe while he was about to play in San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Blues Festival. I’m a huge fan of his.

You also wrote that you had been living in a van driving across America visiting National Parks and playing your heart out. Please tell us some stories from this trip?

I was touring America in 1998 opening for Yo La Tengo who had many sold-out shows. I toured as a solo artist and to save money my companion and I slept in National Parks and campsites along the way. Usually we wouldn’t see where we had stopped to sleep until the morning. I have a lovely memory of getting out of the van one autumn morning and staring right at the Smoky Mountains covered in red and orange leaves.

Please also tell us stories from Mexico?

Mexico was beautiful and scary. While traveling in Baja California with Tex Houston (producer of many great NZ records) we were stopped twice by Mexican Swat police because our van resembled a van they were looking for. We were sleeping on a beach campsite near a town where the same night a family was massacred. The kids and adults had been lined up and shot by drug cartel which was last seen driving a van of the same make and color as our trusty Ford.
We couldn’t get back to California fast enough.

Is lonely lovely?  Not in my experiences.

What have been the best times and what have been the worst times during your life up until now?

The worst times in my life were: Summer 1985, all of 1998, 2006-2012

Why? Mostly heartbreak and poverty.

Best times in my life: 1994-1997 and now.

Why? Plenty of food and laughs.

Anything you regret having done or not having done in your life? 

I regret not being nicer to my sister.

I won a Bay Area Music Award, Bammie, in 1996 for Best Alternative Album for the SF Seals Truth Walks In Sleepy Shadows. The picture was taken at the apartment I lived in for 8 years near Golden Gate Park. I’m with my dad (r.i.p.) and sister, Terri. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

I won a Bay Area Music Award, Bammie,
in 1996 for Best Alternative Album for the SF Seals Truth Walks In Sleepy Shadows. The picture was taken at the apartment I lived in for 8 years near Golden Gate Park.
I’m with my dad (r.i.p.) and sister, Terri.
(Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Do you love life?  I do lately.

Does life love you?  It seems to love me a lot. I feel lucky.

This is where I lived from 1986-1989 in San Francisco with my sister and a bunch of friends. Lots of bands stayed here and a few memorable parties occurred during this time. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

This is where I lived from 1986-1989 in San Francisco with my sister and a bunch of friends. Lots of bands stayed here and a few memorable parties occurred during this time. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Are you a sensitive person?

Oh my, yes. I need to work on a ‘bulldog skin’ so that I’m not so easy to manipulate with dramatic music in movies.

If you were standing on a hill overlooking the San Diego bay what would you shout out to the seven seas?

“Mermaids, where are you?!!?”

Who is Barbara Manning today?

Barbara Manning has turned into Mrs. Vargas, the science teacher of 12 and 13 year olds. Mrs. Vargas is always busy with work and has no time to put away her laundry so how to find time to write good songs? Mrs. Vargas needs to step aside and let Barbara Manning rock out once in a while.

Still playing music?

No, although I want to get back to it. I miss playing and writing and singing my heart out. When I am playing music, I feel strong.
My excuses for not playing is not having enough time to do a good job. Time to really practice and do music well. Time to collaborate with like-minded people that can commit their time. Time to organize shows and plan recordings. The work seems overwhelming. Instead I quietly play weird covers on our back porch and tell myself I did enough records for one person.

Biggest gift in life? My friends, (including my husband and my cats).

My auntie Rita took this picture of my man and me in 2012. Dan and I got married at our home in Long Beach, California in 2013. (Private photo from Barbara's own collection. All rights reserved.)

My auntie Rita took this picture of my man and me in 2012. Dan and I got married at our home in Long Beach, California in 2013. (Private photo from Barbara’s own collection. All rights reserved.)

Biggest wish for the future?

I wish that someone famous would use my songs for a T.V. show or movie which would be so popular that I could live off of the royalties so that I could stop working and do music full time again without worrying about how to pay for everything. I would LOVE to travel again.

City or countryside kinda girl?
San Francisco is my favorite place to be. Otherwise, give me nature.

First record you ever bought?  Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumors’ on cassette.

All time fave bands/musicians? 

Swell Maps, Wire, Mission of Burma, Television, Clean, Verlaines, Saints, Flamin’ Groovies, Nick Lowe/Rockpile, Brian Eno, Midlake, Baby Woodrose, Al Green

Are you a wiz in a kitchen? Ha! No. I use too much cream and butter.

Fave food?  Burritos and Pizza

Fave movie?  Babe and Dog Day Afternoon

Fave book?  Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), The Story of the Earth (Robert Hazen)

Write a short poem that talks about your life?

Her little hands slipped the vinyl record out of its sleeve and on to the floor

So many bare feet marks where she danced on top

Music comes from this, she thought

Later her friends watch the girl on stage

Slam a record on her head to make it crack

To celebrate the limited release

Music comes from this, she thought

Two turntables now

Speakers in every room

Blowing so gently on the needle to remove the dust

Music comes from this, she thought

**

https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraManningMusic

***

Please follow sseennsseess on facebook too: https://m.facebook.com/sseennsseess