Interview at Sun for the BBC


Pete Pritchard, Scotty and Geoff Barker in the hotel in Memphis - Jan 26, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

Sometime last year Pete Pritchard arranged to have Scotty interviewed by his friend of 40 years, Geoff Barker of the BBC. It's rare now that Scotty agrees to any interviews but has done a couple recently at the request of his friends. The BBC was doing a program in celebration of the upcoming 60th anniversary of the recording of That's Allright, Mama this summer and the interview was scheduled at Sun Studio in Memphis during January of 2014. A session with Chris Isaak and Matt Ross-Spang ensued. They were kind enough to share their pictures and story with us here.


Geoff with the prototype given to Gail of the limited run of 81 Scotty Moore tribute ES295s recently released - Jan. 27, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

Pete and Geoff had flown in from London and Scotty and Gail, along with her son Wayne, drove from Nashville. Recently Gail was given the prototype for the limited run signature guitars by Mike Voltz. Mike, who had been in Anaheim, CA for the winter NAMM show, left a day early to attend this event. Geoff said, Scotty and Gail had brought the ES 295 prototype (no Bigsby) down from Nashville. Mike Voltz of Gibson was there. Earlier in the day we went to the Gibson factory and he gave us a tour of the assembly lines.1 They also brought along a Hofner that Pete had previously given to Scotty who, no longer playing, felt it should go back to Pete.


Chris Isaak watches and Scotty signs a tribute ES295 at Gibson - Jan. 27, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker


At the Gibson factory in Memphis. Scotty and Chris Isaak signed the wall where another of the Scotty signed ES-295s hang
Photo Geoff Barker

Mike had one more ES 295 (of the '81') that required Scotty's signature and here's a pic of that happening. It is now hanging on the wall in the corridor that leads from the shop at the factory.1


At the Gibson factory in Memphis. Scotty and Chris Isaak signed the wall where another of the Scotty signed ES-295s hang
Photo Matt Ross-Spang


Chris Isaak, Scotty and Mike Voltz with the just signed ES295 at the Gibson factory in Memphis.
Photo Geoff Barker

Whilst there, a guitar Chris had ordered was being finished off and he saw that happening and did a bit on it himself. (A special paint job...all white).1


Scotty and Chris Isaak watch as "Janey" cleans the binding around the guitar Chris had specially ordered.
Photo Geoff Barker


Chris with his white custom ordered ES335 still under construction - Jan. 27, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

In addition to Scotty, J.M. Van Eaton was there and interviewed.  As a drummer, J.M. as you know, was a Sun sessionist in the '50s and played on hundreds of recordings, including those of Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich and also toured with Billy Lee Riley and Conway Twitty.


Scotty: "Heck!....not another Barker asking me questions?"
Photo Geoff Barker


At Sun: J.M. Van Eaton thinks..."Now just how many Jerry Lee Lewis records did I play on in this room?" (Start at `Crazy Arms` and continue ......)
Photo Geoff Barker


 J.M. Van Eaton and Scotty Moore at Sun - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

Geoff said, We were so pleased to see him [J.M.], he drove 50 miles to get to Sun that night!


[Geoff and Pete] With two true Sun legends. Scotty Moore and J.M. Van Eaton
Photo Geoff Barker


Pete Pritchard, J.M. Van Eaton, Chris Isaak and Scotty Moore at Sun Studio - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

The session involved Chris on vocals and rhythm guitar, Pete on bass and Matt Ross-Spang on lead guitar. They recorded a cover of That's Allright, Mama, done the way it was originally. Geoff said, the only thing amplified was the [Matt's] guitar. Chris's acoustic and Pete's bass totally acoustic. No headphones needed either. Just like Sam used to do it.1


Chris Isaak and Pete Pritchard at Sun Studio - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis


Chris Isaak and Pete Pritchard at Sun Studio - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis


Chris Isaak, Jerry Phillips and Pete Pritchard, the headstock to Scotty's Chet Atkins influenced guitar can be seen in the foreground - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker


Matt, Sean Davis on camera, Chris and Pete - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

Matt Ross-Spang, a guitarist and Memphis native who is also the producer and recording engineer at Sun Studio told us, Man! What a night!  I always tell people (or they tell me) that I have the coolest job in the world.2


Matt, Chris and Pete in a screen shot from video take by Sean Davis - Jan. 28, 2014
courtesy Matt Ross-Spang


Matt Ross-Spang and Chris Isaak during the session - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis

2014 marked my 10th year at the studio, and it started out extra special. I am lucky enough to already call Chris Isaak, Scotty Moore, Gail Pollock, Jerry and Halley Phillips, J.M. Van Eaton and Pete Pritchard friends but to get them all in the (SUN!) studio together couldn't be any better. Having the coolest job in the world can also be the scariest, especially when the BBC calls and mentions a great session involving Chris, Pete and Scotty, and oh by the way, they volunteered you to play Scotty's parts...with Scotty there... at Sun Studio... just like it was cut in 1954 to analog tape...2


Chris Isaak and Pete Pritchard at Sun Studio - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis

To add to the excitement/terror, Scotty and Gail told me they'd bring his ES-295 prototype and his custom Gibson guitar gifted by some fellow named Chet Atkins! [sic]2


Matt Ross-Spang playing Sun Studio's Gibson ES295 during the session - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis


Chris Isaak at the BBC session at Sun Studio, with the Altec 21B and RCA 77DX mics - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis

I apologized to Scotty before we started cutting, and dubbed myself "Sloppy Moore". I think you can see my goosebumps from the photos, but the tracks turned out great thanks to Scotty's direction and approval. It will air sometime soon on BBC radio, I know its one night I will never forget! 2


Matt Ross-Spang playing Sun Studio's Gibson ES295 during the session - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Sean Davis

Matt used the studio's ES295 for the session.  He said, I played the prototype and the Scotty's Chet Atkin's guitar, both sounded incredible but had older strings that weren't holding tune, so I quickly switched to the house 295 with bigsby, that Scotty signed years ago! Scotty came onto the studio floor from the control room towards the end of the session.2


Chris, Scotty (offering some advice) and Pete in a screen shot from video take by Sean Davis
courtesy Matt Ross-Spang


Scotty (offering some advice), Pete, Matt and Chris just out of view - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker


Matt, Pete, Chris and Scotty at Sun Studio - Jan. 28, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

With the session and interviews complete, everyone was prepared to leave the next day. Scotty and Gail returned to Nashville and Chris Isaak also went to Nashville to induct Roy Orbison into the Musician's Hall of Fame. About that time they were having some extremely bad weather, snow and ice, across the southern U.S. and ironically, Pete and Geoff's flight was diverted to Detroit instead of Atlanta to avoid the snow. The BBC program is expected to air sometime this year and we'll have more on that as we hear it.


Pete, with his Hofner in a Gibson case, and Geoff at the Detroit airport prior to boarding for the flight home - Jan. 29, 2014
Photo Geoff Barker

page added February 14, 2014

Special thanks to Geoff Barker, Matt Ross-Spang and Sean Davis for the use of photos, to Geoff and Matt for their input, and to Pete Pritchard and Gail for their help with this page.

1 quote from Geoff Barker
2 quote from Matt Ross-Spang

This interview will be initially broadcast on Monday May 19, 2014 at 10 p.m. on BBC Radio 2, see Scotty Moore And The Guitar That Changed The World.


The Hofner and the P Bass

Hi Jim,
I thought you may like to know what the guitar inside the Gibson case looked like. See attached photo.


Pete Pritchard's Hofner, restored and returned
Photo Pete Pritchard

I'd owned this guitar since I was a teenager. One night several years ago, Scotty was sitting in my house. We were drinking and listening to music. Scotty picked up this Hofner and immediately fell in love with it. He played it all night. So next day, I gave it to him and told him to take it home. So Scotty had and used the guitar at home for several years. Bucky Barrett used it on albums in Scotty's studio so It had definitely gone to a good home. Well, now as Scotty doesn't play anymore, he said it's only right for it to come back home to me now.

When I gave it to Scotty, it was in a pretty run down condition. He got it completely restored and fitted with a vintage DeArmond pick up that he had brand new still in it's box.


Scotty and Pete Pritchard with the gifted P Bass - January 2011
Photo Pete Pritchard

Another nice story showing Scotty's generosity.  My precision bass was stolen from a theatre I was working at. Two days later I was in Nashville visiting Scotty. He heard about me losing my bass so he walked To his studio and came back with his precision bass and gave it to me. A lovely guy indeed.

Regards,

Pete

February 15, 2014
added February 16, 2014

 

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