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Sunday, December 21, 2014

FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: Poncho Sampedro - Uncut Magazine, Jan 2015

Poncho & Neil - ~1991

As we promised on last night's Thrashers Wheat Radio Hour on, we've now linked the full transcript from Uncut Magazine's Jan 2015 Neil Young cover issue interview with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro on by Michael Bonner:
Uncut Magazine: How’s Billy doing?

Poncho: I talked to him last week. He seemed to be fine. He went to The Bridge concert and I also talked to some people who saw him there and they said he looked fine. He looked just the same as ever, just maybe moving a little slower. He’s just finished another record, he’s working on his own music. I talked to him he said he played piano on a lot of songs and he’s playing guitar and bass. Al his faculties are back. He’s got to gather his strength, they put you on a lot of medications when you have a stroke. So it’ll be a matter of time before they take him off some of those.

Uncut Magazine: You’d been rehearsing with Billy before he had a stroke?

Poncho: We rehearsed for three days for that tour at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California. Rehearsals were going really well. We had a set made up, at least a lot of possibilities for a set. Neil was going to work on that. We were going to have a few more days to rehearse in Iceland before we started. Then I came home from that. I got a phone call the next day; on the drive home, Billy was driving from Oakland to South Dakota and that’s where he suffered the stroke. I got a phone call from Elliot Roberts telling me that Billy had a stroke. We were pretty worried at that time. His wife was driving. He actually told me, it was kind of odd, he said he didn’t even know that he had a stroke. They stopped, I guess at Salt Lake City, Utah, he said then when he went to step out of the car, his foot wouldn’t work. He said, ‘If I hadn’t got out of the car I wouldn’t even know that I’d had a stroke.’ So I guess it was a mild stroke, my mother had a few mild strokes and she said she just felt like she took a nap. So unless it’s something that really disables part of your system, you don’t notice it too much.

Uncut Magazine: Was it ever likely the tour might not happen?

Poncho: My first inkling when Elliot called me was the tour is cancelled. Then the next day, I got a call from Neil and he said he talked to Rick Rosas and said, “We got a bass player, we can do this.” He said, “Why don’t you just sing most of Billy’s parts?” You know I don’t sing that often in the band. I’m not the world’s best harmony singer, in fact I pretty much suck at it. If I know a part, once I get it, I can sing it over and over again forever. But getting it is the hard thing! I was enthusiastic that morning. I told Neil, “Yeah, I’ll fill in for Billy, I’ll take over, I’ll do what I can.” I worked on it all that day. I went through all the songs we had, I started singing background parts to figure out Billy’s parts. I remember I called Neil back the next morning, my voice was hoarse. I said, “Neil, I can’t do it. I’m going to be the cause of really screwing up some shows if I have to sing on all of those. It’s not going to be fun.” He said, “Don’t worry, we’ll get some background singers.”
(Thanks bh @ BNB, Nathan & all!)

To continue to full transcript from Uncut Magazine's Jan 2015 Neil Young cover issue interview with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro on by Michael Bonner.

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At 12/21/2014 03:42:00 PM, OpenID flyingscotzman said...

What an absolute joy to read that interview was. I've said before, Poncho carries the torch. Last man standing after Briggs, when it comes to truly sustaining the "be great or be gone" philosophy. No one else comes close.

Just about everything he says in that interview is absolutely spot on. Comments on Psych Pill, Briggs and Storytone are particularly insightful. Also, thoughts about Pono are refreshingly sincere and slyly put across: worlds apart from all the other morons bleating on about sound quality only audible to Clark Kent. My lasting impression is that Poncho is a particularly shrewd guy.

Thank you for sharing this with us. Happy Christmas Thrasher (you've done a particularly good job this year), and all your readers. 2014 has been a pretty good year for Neil's music, all things considered. The Hollywood acoustic shows being the highpoint, I think. Looking forward to an exciting 2015!


At 12/21/2014 04:38:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Thanks flyingscotzman !

Yep, great to hear from Poncho on Billy and all the subjects touched.

And thanks for holiday sentiments.

Have a great new year & see you in '15!

At 12/23/2014 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Lloyd Walton said...

Reading that great interview of Poncho and his relationship to Neil reminded me of what I value most in my long time friends; loyalty, honesty, integrity, a sense of humour, being down to earth, having a special talent and when we get together to share our talents, the world (in it's own small way) becomes a better place.

All the best in the new year and a Merry Christmas.

At 12/23/2014 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Old Neg said...

God Bless Poncho Frank Sampedro! A man who can tell it like it is and get away with it. Don't die just yet Poncho. Neil needs you!

Merry Christmas Everybody!!


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