Phil Keaggy : 2006-04-04Randy and Erika had a blast with Phil Keaggy during GMA week in Nashville.
See Randy's review of Dream Again.
Randy: The new project, Jammed, just share a little bit about how that came about and how you decided to do that, pulling some of the old and the new...
Phil: Alright. Well, back in the mid 90's I put a compilation together called Premium Jams. That was just a two-CD set of various outtakes from studio sessions--Crimson & Blue, Find Me in These Fields, 220...then some of the jams that took place right in my house. Dan Huisinga from Tag Distribution, the guy that's really trying to give me a hand in getting my music back to the stores, he said, "Hey, while you're working on this vocal album, let's put this thing together because most people have never heard of this." Premium Jams was never officially released. He says, "There's a lot of people who like to hear you play electric." So he actually came to my house with his notes, and we loaded these CDs into my computer. With some of his guidance I edited bits, tucked it down, trimmed off the fat. Ones that were really long, I made them into two pieces instead of one long piece--even though there's one still long, and then I added a couple songs I just had laying around in the shelves. The whole Beethoven thing goes back a few years.
Phil: Yep. I think that came out pretty well. I brought a drummer in who was actually doing work for this other project I was doing--an acoustic, instrumental project. I said, "Hey, do you have time to play on one more song?" He did it second take. He just played right through it. Phlagan's Flow was just this nutty thing I came up with.
Randy: Is that the first track?
Phil: Second track. It was a lark, you know?
Randy: It came together pretty quickly?
Phil: Two days.
Randy: That is pretty quick.
Phil: He was sitting there, I was putting the leads while he's sitting there on Root Canal or Phlagan's Flow, one of those two.
Randy: Just playing into ProTools?
Phil: Yeah. What ended up happening, I even found this track of me playing when I was 18-years-old--I might have still been in high school.
Randy: I really enjoyed that.
Phil: Did you?
Randy: It had some of the dynamics and things that we were going to see later from you.
Phil: Yeah. That's right. Yeah. The volume swell stuff.
Randy: Is that when you were just starting to experiment with that sound?
Phil: Yeah, around that time.
Randy: How long had you been playing at that point?
Phil: Well, I was 18; I'd been playing eight years at that time.
Randy: About 10 when you started.
Phil: Yeah. It's just really a wild thing when you think about the years, the number of years I've been actually at it and still at it. They used to call me a veteran 10 years ago. Now I think I really am one.
Randy: I just ran into Eddie DeGarmo downstairs and said "hi" to him, and he said, "Not too many people recognize me nowadays." Not too many people around here were out of diapers...
Phil: Well, that's true! I can't tell you how many times I've actually been on a plane talking to somebody and after 40 minutes, they say, "Tell me your name again?" When I tell them, they go, "I've got your albums I've been listening to you for years!" But I just don't look like the person they collected.
Randy: Maybe they're picturing Ph'lip Side.
Phil: The picture in Ph'lip Side, Town to Town. Or they might even be picturing True Believers, which was 12 years ago. I didn't have the gray gotee then.
Randy: Not quite How The West Was One anymore, you or Matthew?
Phil: Yeah, that's right. Did you interview him?
Randy: No. I didn't know he was here. That was one of my favorite records. Then I got it on cassette because one of my records warped. First triple album in Christian circles.
Phil: Um hmm.
Randy: Of course when it came out on CD I snapped it up immediately.
Phil: Boy, I liked that Toward Eternity. I've got it here. I listened back again to it. I think if it was remastered it would even sound better.
Randy: There was some great stuff. The first time I heard you two guys worked together was on the track Yahweh.
Phil: Oh yeah!
Randy: He was belting it out and you got to cut loose on the guitar.
Phil: On the old Deluxe Les Paul.
Randy: Yes, the sunburst.
Phil: That was a good album--In The Volume of the Book. I remember David Kemper's drumming on that album. You know, he did an album with Focus. It was called Mother Focus. I loved his drumming where he put it in the pocket. He did it on that album very nicely.
Randy: Because of Michael Omartian's connections probably, 2nd Chapter had some great studio guys.
Phil: Oh yeah.
Randy: Are you planning to do anything more with Glass Harp?
Phil: Yeah. I haven't played with them in almost two years. The last we worked together we did a series of seven dates in June of 2004. And we were actually going to play in Dallas, Texas this month, but John's wife is very ill. Cancer.
Randy: I enjoyed interviewing the two of them after you connected me with them.
Phil: Even John's wife illness has been drawing us closer together. We've realized what great old friends we really are.
Randy: Kind of puts it in perspective.
Phil: It totally does!
Randy: Somebody asked me about your stuff the other day. He liked what he heard, but didn't know where to start. I said in my opinion, if you want to capture the essence of Phil in one album, get the flavor of the old and the new, pick up Glass Harp with Strings Attached. I just love that.
Phil: It really joins the old to the new, doesn't it? What's interesting about that album, when I was doing those old songs, I couldn't play like new Phil, even if I tried. It's like Charlie Chaplin couldn't be Charlie Chaplin unless he had the suit and the mustache and the cane. Those were the props.
Randy: Start the intro and you were back in '72.
Phil: Exactly! It's interesting how it just puts those wheels in motion.
Randy: Thanks, Phil.
Phil: Thank you!