Live Preview: JJ Grey & Mofro

JJ Grey & Mofro

Some nice compliments were paid to your album Ol’ Glory, released last year. Our sister magazine, The Blues, said it was “what Prince might sound like if he decided to form a blues band”.

I’ll take that all day long. Prince is one of the greatest performers ever. What he did live is like the next level beyond the next level, if that makes sense [laughs].

Classic Rock called the album a “21st-century southern masterpiece”. Southern rock is an unashamedly staid genre. Are you genuinely attempting to move it on?

Ah, I just do what I do. I’m not trying to please everybody and I’m not a success-driven person. To me, being successful is sharing an honest moment with an audience at a show, or trying to capture the essence of what I do on a disc.

What are the ingredients that that make the band sound the way it does?

Jerry Reed [guitarist] was country but swampy, everything I wanted to be. Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Otis Redding and Toots [Hibbert] from The Maytals were all huge influences on me. But Jackie Wilson had the greatest voice of them all.

Your words and the music’s mellowness suggest you are a pretty laid-back guy. What makes you angry?

As time goes on, less and less. Human beings have shouted and gotten annoyed at one another for so long, what has it achieved? Maybe those Zen dudes up in the mountains have got it all right.

If someone who hasn’t seen you play live is contemplating buying a ticket, what should they expect from your show?

A buddy of mine once said that they’re like a New Orleans funeral – a sad walk all the way to the cemetery, and everybody parties and dances all the way home.

Classic Rock 224: News & Regulars