In April 1975, famed author David Rensin interviewed Jimmy Page, who stated that Little Feat were his "favourite American group." Now, close to 40 years later legendary Little Feat guitarist and singer Paul Barrere has released his new single 'Bad Blood' with long-time friend and music collaborator Roger Cole. It's an emotional song with a powerful message. The duo is behind Better Daze Records, and their philosophy behind setting up the label, was simple. "You can do whatever you want and you don't have to answer to anybody else. No rules, no guidelines."
It's important to the Californian-based, independent pair. "You can take the time to find avenues that best suit the music, with each song that gets completed, instead of having to leave songs out because they have a different feel than the others. It leaves room for experimentation." It's a pertinent point and one that many artists, both well established and emerging, understand well.
Bad Blood' is a hard-hitting track to lead in with, centred on the topic of drug addiction. The inception of the melody started with a "cool guitar riff and Roger added piano to it. Then we started to formulate chord patterns, and soon, we had all the parts that make up a song idea." It was Barrere himself that brought up the concept about blood disorders because of his personal experience with Hepatitis C. "Things naturally progressed to talk about the drug addiction which led to the disease. We wanted to share the reality of drug addiction, without the candy coating and really drive home the darker reality to the party."
Barrere and Cole met "for the first time at 3rd Encore studios [Anaheim, California]. The guys from Little Feat were doing a rehearsal and were having trouble with the sound, so they called down to the office for assistance, and they got Roger." After a time, Little Feat called Roger in for sound engineering on tour, and "off he went on the road with Paul and the rest of the guys." A great friendship formed between the pair over the years, and it's palpable when you watch the outtakes of their promo video. There's a great camaraderie and harmonic cohesion in their music.
Roger went on to do many recordings with Little Feat, and Barrere "asked him to work on a record independent of Little Feat." he explains. When the duo began to collaborate on songs, they realised that, "although [we were] from completely different musical backgrounds, there was a middle ground that was both fun and rewarding. And they just keep going…" And going they do. When I chatted to Barrere and Cole they were heavily committed to recording a new song. The duo are excited to release their sound to Australian's audiences, with the launch of the 3rd of 5 singles, 'Who's Right' around the corner.
Their first track 'Riding the Nova Train' received great feedback in the States and my personal favourite's are 'Pumpin the A' and 'In My Time of Dying'. The sound is a throwback to the days of Dire Straits, who the duo cites as one of their influences and, "Leonard Cohen, Pink Floyd and Traffic would be at the top of the list. But let's face it, influence comes from everywhere." When it comes to the infectiousness of the Blues sound, I ask Barrere and Cole, what it is about Blues that really moves us. His answer encapsulates it poignantly "It's not so much the "Blues, it's the rhythm & blues. The rhythm captures what's in the soul of people and expresses it in a universal language."
He goes on to advise, "all blues aren't necessarily sad, but, more of a reflection of the everyday lives of people." It's also true of their song 'The Quiet Man', there's a soothing comfort to this track and fans of rhythm, blues and rock will want to drop into the Barrere & Cole vibe. It's a must listen to if you've been aching for a good dose of foot-tapping, head-shaking, tunes. Or as Barrere likes to say, "Rhythm, that's there to get your good feeling feelin' good"!