If there's one musician who deserves to be called a "veteran", it's the master of grooves who now lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Back in the early sixties, he was already shooing dance-hungry teenagers onto the dance floor with Booker T. & The M.G.'s. A storybook career followed, during which Steve Cropper made a name for himself as a guitarist, composer and producer. The down-to-earth musician was not only equally praised by Eric Clapton or Keith Richards, but wrote proverbial evergreens like "Knock On Wood", "In The Midnight Hour" or "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay"
eclipsed: The new album "Fire It Up" surprises. Irresistible grooves, brass sections and catchy melodies - such a hot record could also have been released by Stax ...
Steve Cropper: Instead of looking at chord changes and melodies first when writing a song, I think about the rhythm first and foremost when writing a new piece. A song has to roll, move forward and make people want to move, bob along and dance. It has to be physically felt. Some of the basic ideas had been floating around in my head for a few years, others came about during sessions with Felix Cavaliere. I like to develop something with other musicians, because then the music becomes more organic and alive. Our singer Roger C. Reale also tinkered with the numbers
eclipsed: Corona issues aside. Is a tour planned?
Cropper: At the moment everything is still too uncertain. However, I'm celebrating my 80th birthday this year and have rented a big club in Nashville. We already have a lot of fellow musicians signed up. We'll probably play some of the new songs and then jam
eclipsed: On the subject of racism flaring up in the U.S., you worked with Booker T. & The M.G.'s as the house band for the Memphis-based Stax label. With Donald "Duck" Dunn and you, there were two white guys in a "black" band. Explosive?
Cropper: No, not at all. We bonded over the music. When you play together, you don't see skin color anymore. My goodness, we grew up with black people - or "Persons Of Color" as they have to put it today - and the black people grew up with us. There was no animosity or discrimination there. Of course you experienced the oppression of minorities, but everything was fine at Stax, and I think you can hear that in the music. It wasn't until the mid-sixties that racism was then addressed and condemned. But in certain "microcosms", like in our band, everything was in the green. That can certainly also be transferred to Motown, because Rare Earth were accepted there as a "white" band on an equal footing ...