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From the December 2008 issue of Vaidade Magazine available on newsstands now.

Our own Victoria Wright recently had a chance to sit down with writer/performer James Power, along with his manager, long-time industry insider & brass monkey collector, Luther Brixton, when they visited Paris in support of James’ latest recording project. The interview was to discuss James’ musical passion, his literary creations, his work with The Late Model Humans, and his latest solo material. Victoria also had a chance to talk to Luther Brixton about his recent legal battles and how he found himself on the Homeland Security watch list. The interview started off quite contentious, but after awhile became downright bizarre.


VW: How are you enjoying your stay here in Paris, James?


Luther Brixton: First, I have to say it’s great to finally have a chance to sit down and talk with you Victoria! I’ve heard so much about you.


VW: I was actually asking James, since you and I talked last night… remember?…. for several hours? … Lapérouse? .. Do you not recall that at all?


Luther Brixton: …You know what? The weather here is fantastic!


VW: Ok…  James, you’re back in the studio working with The Late Model Humans again, is that correct? Is that any reflection on the sales of your solo project?


Luther Brixton: What the fuck kind of question is that??! Jesus! I understand your ex is now living with a successful, young novelist who's 15 years your junior. Is that any reflection on your cottage cheese thighs?


VW: You FILTHY, SON-OF-A ! …. Can we not make this personal?! I’m not even talking to you! I am trying to direct these questions at James!


James Power: It’s lovely to finally meet you, Victoria. How are you doing?


VW: Very well, thank you… Now, The Late Model Humans … Do you find working with them to be easier or harder than working on your solo projects?


James Power: Well, there’s more freedom, I suppose, on the solo recordings...


Luther Brixton: There’s also more pizza to go around! Remember we found we actually had leftovers? Remember that, Jim?


James Power: The main reason I do solo recordings is because I have built up quite a back catalog of songs that I want to get out there. And as a writer who creates songs not reading materials, the only way to get my work out is to release solo projects. It’s nothing against The Late Model Humans.


VW: And the musicians you work with on your solo projects?


James Power: They’re great guys. There’s some overlap between the projects with LMH, but I'm also working with one of the greatest undiscovered musical talents of our time, a guy I’ve known since I was 15 named Michael Vogt. He’s a phenomenal bassist. Which isn’t to take anything away from Michael Power in the Late Model Humans. I’ve known him a little longer than that. He’s an amazing bassist, too.


Luther Brixton: Do you have any cheese?


VW: What?


Luther Brixton: You know.. cheese.. Jim, didn’t you say the French were big on cheese?


James Power: Hold tight, Luther.


VW: I guess there’s no way around this topic, James. How did you become associated with Luther Brixton?


James Power: Well, he’s the World War II buddy I never had…. Let's leave it at that.


VW: The songs you’re working on this fall. Is there anything different about the new material that listeners would find interesting?


Luther Brixton: No, no! Same shit, different package! It’s basically just a one-two-three, slap-dash operation! Whatever we record gets released as is. We’re not looking for miracles … bitch!


James Power: Well, I’m going to be working with Jerry Lawson, which is one of the highlights of my life. I can’t tell you how amazing that is for me. He is arguably the greatest male soul singer alive. And believe me, I don’t say that lightly, or without an extensive knowledge of what I’m saying. Ever since I was a child I’ve been hooked on early soul, R&B, and gospel, and Jerry has a voice that puts 90% of the other vocalists to shame. As I told him the first time I wrote to him back in the 90’s, he has a voice that’s on a par with the late Julius Cheeks of the Sensational Nightingales, and I wouldn’t put anyone else in that category… It’s really amazing to know and work with this man I’ve admired for years. 


VW: What are some of the new song titles we can look forward to?


James Power: With Mike Vogt, the song titles include My Neighbor’s Wife, Baby, You’re a Heartful, She Never Breaks My Heart, You’re a Dark Man, Mr. Grimm, and What Am I Doing In Georgia?.. Wait till you hear that last one. Gives you goose bumps... And with The Late Model Humans the stand-out tracks are Pick Up The Gun and A Cowgirl’s Suicide … all-in-all, I’m very, very happy with what’s been recorded so far. … Oh, and Tennessee Boy (It’s All Over) off the last album was just voted BEST FOLK / ROOTS SONG FOR 2008 by the online music station MOOZIKOO RADIO! … made me happy!

VW: Luther, if you can tone it down, I'd like to get back to you ..


Luther Brixton: Shoot.


VW: You told me last night you had an idea for this new album that you weren’t able to bring to fruition. Tell me a bit more about that.


Luther Brixton: Well, me and Jim were talking about the whole exorcism thing, ya know, and what a crock of bullshit it all is..


VW: How so?


Luther Brixton: Well, take the movie that was released back in the early 70’s. It’s very loosely based on the life of an actual person named Anneliese Michel from Germany. The girl had mental problems. She was nuts. And if she was in an institution, or if you saw her on the street, you would have known she was nuts. But some shyster came along and said she was “possessed by the devil!” And for whatever reason it stuck. To this day many, many people still give that credibility.


James Power: Thankfully, both of the priests who performed that exorcism, along with the girl's parents, were convicted of negligent homicide. She died of malnutrition and dehydration… So, not only did she have severe mental health problems, but she was entrusted to the care of bat-shit crazy religious nuts.


Luther Brixton: And my idea for the album was to take on the issue of what’s really crazy! Is it worse to have mental problems that are obvious, or mental problems that aren't so obvious? You see what I'm sayin'?


VW: That actually doesn’t sound very original or interesting.


Luther Brixton: Fuck you!


James Power: Luther! C’mon! … Look, there are a couple of Dinning Sisters CD’s in my suitcase. Go put one of them on. That always calm your nerves.


VW: Getting back to the music. Were you upset at all when the other members of The Late Model Human's released their scathing attack on you called, ‘Jim Power - What Happened?


James Power: Yeah, of course ... I’d have preferred they called it ‘James Power - What Happened?


VW: Is it true, as they claim, that you had an out of wedlock child with an Indonesian slave girl named Quan Quan and that you refused to pay any child support?


James Power: No! No! No!! … Man! … Unbelievable! … Where does this stuff come from?!.. Her name was not Quan Quan.


VW: Has the book caused any long-term riffs within the band?


James Power:  How so?

<From somewhere down the hall, beautiful female vocal harmonies waft into the room>


VW: What’s that music that Luther’s playing? That’s beautiful.


James Power:  Isn’t it? That’s the Dinning Sisters. Where or When – one of Luther’s favorites. It’s like giving him a shot of morphine to ease his troublin’ mind.


Luther Brixton:  I’m back.


VW: Luther, I understand you got into a bit of hot water recently when you were addressing a seminar of industry executives and you strayed off-topic and started talking about George W Bush’s drug dependency.


Luther Brixton: Right.


VW: Let me see if I can find the quote... Luther Brixton 17 August 2008: Bush is a walking pharmaceutical factory, pumped so full of emotion-flattening drugs that he can literally kill one million people and sleep like a baby. I doubt even his predecessor, Saddam Hussein, was that indifferent to his killing of Iraqis.”


James Power:  That's pretty good, Luther... What’s funny is that Luther’s a lifelong Republican. He’s been voting for Bob Dole since 1976. He writes his name in every four years…


Luther Brixton: God rest his soul.


James Power:  He’s still alive.


VW: Well, Luther’s speech seems to have caused a bit of blow back. Is it true you’re now on the government’s No Fly list? That’s supposed to be used for terrorists.


Luther Brixton: And the Constitution is supposed to be used to protect the country from tyranny, but there you are. Lower than whale shit, the entire Republican Party today!


VW: So, how did you manage to get over here? Do you fear any problems when you return?


Luther Brixton: On the one-hand, Homeland Security is about as impenetrable a force as a school hall monitor. That’s the up-side. The down-side is that Homeland Security is about as impenetrable a force as a school hall monitor.


VW: Any thoughts on the upcoming presidential election?


Luther Brixton: Yes. Americans should ask themselves: Do you want a president who masturbates furiously to pictures of his VP? I don’t hear anyone asking that question.


VW: That’s a pretty disturbing image.


Luther Brixton: You mean because his hand doesn’t work?


VW: Thanks for making it even more disturbing.


Luther Brixton: Today’s Republicans are like children who say, "Let me try! Let me try!,” wanting to do what they see adults doing. Then, once they're allowed to do what the adults do, they drive the fucking car off the road! That’s why Osama Bin Laden is still at large and the economy has tanked.


VW: Any thoughts on the war in Iraq?


James Power: Not a one.


VW: So, what are you listening to these days?


James Power: It changes every day. If you asked me what I listened to today it was the trio Rock, Paper, Scissors out of Fairfield, Iowa. Three young girls in their early 20's - Miranda, Darla, and Gemma - with angelic harmonies. They don’t have a CD out, so I had to download their YouTube videos and then use an audio extractor to make MP3’s out of their music. Sounds a bit crazy, but they are worth it. Tremendous vocalists. I really hope they get discovered. In the mean time, I’m thinking of flying out to Iowa to catch them in one of the tiny coffee houses they’re currently performing in.


VW: I want to thank you both for your time today, and I look forward to your next album, James… even if I do think you’re quite odd.


James Power: “Quite mad” is the term… And I want to thank you, Victoria, and the wonderful radio stations here in Paris that have been playing, ‘That Texas Girl’ and ‘Cold, Cold World’. It means more to me than I can tell you to receive the kind words and thoughtful emails I’ve gotten from the people in this city.  Paris will always be my second home!

Luther Brixton: Really?!

James Power: Adeiu!

Luther Brixton: Gezunteit!


Current Music: Rock, Paper, Scissors - Love Train