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Jason Walker- The Triste Interview
|New Zealand-born Jason Walker probably first made an impact outside his adopted homeland of Australia as a writer when his biography of Gram Parsons was published in 2001. Around this time he also released his album, "Stranger To Someone", which consisted of a handful of original songs and some of Walker's favourite covers done in a light country-rock style. 2003 saw the release of the more rocking "Ashes And Wine" and was credited to Walker and his working band, The Last Drinks. Triste appropriately caught up with for a drink and a natter at a pub in Manchester in October 2003.
Triste: I believe you were born in New Zealand in 1969. What was the musical scene like in the early-mid 70's? Was it very similar to that in Great Britain?
Jason Walker: Yes. Very similar. It took a little while for certain kinds of musical trends to insinuate themselves, but it's fair to say that the West Coast scene dominated the air waves when I was a child: The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Byrds, Linda Ronstadt James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Stuff that my Dad had in his record collection.
Triste: But was that popular with the younger people as well?
Jason Walker: The popular sound was definitely glam rock. Even bands like Slade and Status Quo were in New Zealand that time. People like Bowie and Mott The Hoople had hits in the mid 70's.The punk rock thing was the first time I had my attention grabbed by music, rather than just being something you heard around the house. I remember seeing the Sex Pistols on TV one night on the news, because it was such a shocking thing they had done - you know, that that whole Bill Grundy thing on the TV in little old New Zealand. I can still remember the look on my father's face when he saw these snarling yobs. That kind of sparked my interest in loud music. It was in the early 80's that I turned to bands like Motorhead, so bands like Dire Straits. I had nobody to tell me what was hip and what was not so I assumed all music was hip until I went to high school when people taught me otherwise! You would get a beating for listening to Dire Straits or Spandau Ballet.
Triste: It's quite funny you should say that as a lot of musicians would have you believe that they were listening to Gram Parsons from the age of 10 or 11 and you know it's not true.
Jason Walker: I never believe them either. If all these people, who claim they were listening to these obscure acts then were actually doing so, then they would have been much better known. I think that most people picked up on Gram Parsons in the 1990's. The only person I really know who was into his music in the early 70's was Kasey Chambers' father Bill.