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INTERVIEWS : BEVERLY JO SCOTT

On her new album "Amnesty for Eve", Beverly Jo Scott has gathered a wide collection of songs that range from the emotionally charged "Chain Link Fence" to the erotico-funk "Mona Lisa Klaxon". Several of the titles were written in collaboration with her still existing band what makes this project all the more interesting. We met Beverly and talked about Belgium, politics, religion and music.

FM: You´re living now in Brussels, why Brussels?

B: Well it just happened to be the first place where I landed in Europe in 1982. We are talking like about 16 years ago. A girlfriend in America was coming to Belgium and with my vagabond spirit and discontentment with my life in the United States, I was 21 shit, I thought, I´m going with you. I don´t know where Belgium is but I´m coming with you. Thus, it could have been anywhere.

FM: Do you consider Belgium to be your home now?

B: Through the force of things yes, it´s just the way destiny brought me about, when I first got here I was playing in the street, I didn´t have any money and I still don´t have it. I´m not a person that has money and probably never will be. Europe was so terribly different and in the eighties there was a real boom going on and no one exactly knew what to be, whether they had to be in the rock scene or in the new wave scene, there was this big shift. And I was still a street kid I didn´t have the money to get out. When I had built up a reputation as a singer and was working in clubs and getting out of the streets, things were happening for me, so why should I leave. I was learning, it was a total discovery zone when I got here. I had a life actually, that was what it was. I never actually left Belgium, so yes it became my second home, I met friends, fell in love with people and moreover from here I can go to anywhere in Europe where I want to go to. It's such a hubcap.

FM: It´s the middle of the world.

B: Well it is with it´s lack of national identity, it´s been a goldmine for this small country. They didn´t have this flag waving bullshit like we had in the US. People would rather go to the café to drink beer rather than worry about their party. Now, it has changed a bit. But that´s still the reason why I like to come back, I can be an ex-patriot over here. I feel comfortable here.

FM: Hasn´t the recent division of Belgium into three communities had any influence on you?

B: Yeah sure, in conversations the different cultural communities, and don´t forget the German community since everyone seems to forget them all the time, I´ve got a great following in German speaking Belgium, they are loyal to me. But between the Flemish and the French friends I always try to be the devil´s advocate because I can see what´s going right or wrong. I can see that they are all fighting for the same thing that is their individual culture. But they go overboard… politicians kinda keep the fire going underneath, so that the people would scrap and fight so that the politicians can buy houses in Brazil and walk off. They are blowing smoke in people´s faces through the name and the cause of the soi-disant "volk"-thing. It´s bullshit, you won´t find many families that don´t have families two generations back that aren´t totally mixed. Nobody can say they don´t have a Flemish or Walloon cousin or niece. In Rock ‘n´ roll we don´t have race, culture or so, only respect. I just think it´s all ridiculous.

FM: Well talking about different cultures, on your previous album blues was omnipresent, but with your latest album "Amnesty for eve" you changed the sound a lot into a more rocky thing, why?

B: It´s more europeanish this one … You know, I´ve been playing with the same guys for the last six years and we are really a band, a family and as the years go by, you learn to to know people and you share things and I learned from European music. Some of the songs on this album were written within the group and I gave Leeway to their ideas and influences and we ended up with a rather solid and interesting sound that I think is a good mix between the American and the European roots I have. Belgium is very strong on the music scene and something else I have always recognised. It also started in the eighties with groups like Twee Belgen, they had ideas. And when Jo Bogaert started with the techno scene, it was undeniable that people like this influenced underground music all over the world, particularly in New York.

FM: Look at Front 242

B: Absolutely, if you deny that, you´re being difficult and blind. So it was easy for me with this kind of encouragement to get exited about creativity especially culturally. I like mixing now, when my guitar player comes and is talking about The Who or even TC-Matic with Jean Marie Aerts who we adore, he´s just fucking great. When it goes like that you look at it from a different angle, from you own education. It´s a kinda collage, a cool mix.

FM: Was this album a difficult birth for you?

B: No, not at all in the creative part… well sure it is, I´m kinda snowing over the basic problems but the actual problem with this record was more the business side but that will never stop me from singing. On the other side, creativity is never easy, you have to be satisfied before you reach satisfaction.

FM: But that´s inherent to making music, no.

B: Yeah, some songs will go like a breeze, others will pull your hair out, you scream and roll over the floor and when you then listen to what you have recorded, you realise it sounds so easy. (Laughs) And why is it so hard to get there!

FM: Why this strange title?

B: It´s a kinda pro-woman thing without being a feminist thing, it´s kinda symbolic, we are still pushing very old and obsolete values into people. I lived a lot of things in my life that were really devastating for human beings. They were perpetrated by people who were morally in command at that time. It´s like this one-god thing, which I think is just full of fucking shit, I´ll be honest with you? We are all gods, we have to love each other and take care of each other. These days we´re to much bound towards money. And Amnesty for eve just means that we have to move one and get over this whole load of shit. Society has never been so far advanced but yet psychologically we´re still in the dark ages, and this is what is all about. People are still losing their children or family due to some stupid moral ideas from a fabricated religion! I could go on forever. And the picture of me in that field with my guitar on the inner sleeve of the booklet, when I saw the photo I was so stunned and I immediately thought it was like Eve coming back in the garden of Eden.

FM: You still play in small bars, is this a way of getting back to your roots or how does that feel?

B: Maybe, I feel most at ease where the conditions are good, it can be in the smallest bar or on the biggest festival stage. If technically we have the right condition to send out emotions and really play and deliver, we can play and deliver at any time. We´re a very honest band, we´re from the old school of bop till you drop! But when you are in a room that sound like a cavern you won´t get anything to sound good. Small clubs have this intimacy, you can sing to people directly, face to face. You tell more jokes and it all gets so much closer. On the other hand at festivals you get this enormous power thanks do that sea of people in front of you. And then we´re really having a party.

FM: Is it hard sometimes to get gigs at all?

B: Well when I don´t get the opportunity to gig because I don´t have a new record, I just take my damn guitar and I go playing. I went home to play in the fishing villages, I went to Singapore with Roland Van Kampenhout and played in several little bars at night. I don´t care, I´m not waiting for the business to say when I can sing, screw that! I have friends all over the world that love to hear me sing. When I´m in Nashville and there are some friends on stage, they´ll just drag my ass up on stage and I play in Nashville!

FM: How was that 97 tour back in the States?

B: Well it was just locally, one of the most thrilling and satisfying things I did. It was coming home and showing what I had accomplished with confidence. I was socially unacceptable back in the seventies, I was a complete outcast. I just kinda went na-na-na-naaa. I went on stage with some of my local heroes like Jimmy Hall who used to be in the group Wet Willy, for me he´s one of the best blues players in the world and he´s also a great saxophone player. When I was sixteen I wanted to marry him! I also did a double with Roger Mcguinn which was a great honour for me.

FM: You said before that you wanted to push some artists through your web site, who will be the lucky one next time?

B: My first dream is Pieter Jan Desmet, I´ve been following him for a long time and I believe in him sincerely, he´s creative and physical and I just love physical artists. And so is his partner Jeffrey. I´ll do anything for them because I´m a fan. I like make publicity for Belgian bands in the States, I took dEUS, Hoover and K´s Choice to a friend who has a record shop back home and he stocked them. But what they achieved is thanks to them!

This interview was done by and appears with kind permission of
frontstage.com
entertainment shop

 

date interview:
July 1999

 

Buy music of BJ Scott:


Beverly Jo Scott
"Amnesty For Eve"
CNR , 1999

 


Beverly Jo Scott
"The Wailing Trail"
Sony, 1995

 


Beverly Jo Scott
"Honey & Hurricanes"
Sony, 1993

 


Beverly Jo Scott
"Mudcakes"
Sony, 1991

 

 

 

Read my review of
"Amnesty for Eve"

 

 

Read a bio of
Beverly Jo Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy music of BJ Scott:


Beverly Jo Scott
"Amnesty For Eve"
CNR , 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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