The Two-Minute Interview...

Caspar Llewellyn Smith
The Daily Telegraph

... with John Martyn.

Caspar Llewellyn Smith: Why The Church With One Bell?
John Martyn: Over the road from our house in the village is an old church with one bell. The record company said they'd buy it for me and turn it into a studio if I did an album of cover versions.

Did you know all the songs already?
None except Death Don't Have No Mercy and Randy Newman's God's Song.

What about the Portishead song?
What's that? Glory Box?

Never heard it before, or any of their other stuff.

But some of your early work sounds pretty like them.
Yes, that is true. A lot of my early stuff was very close to modern trip hop. But I prefer Chicago hip hop from about 1992. I used to like gangsta rap as well, but that got a bit serious.

As a Buddhist, don't you object to the profanities?
Nine times out of 10 I don't listen to the lyrics. I don't find them terribly inspiring.

I now have this image of you wearing lots of hip-hop gear.
I do! I've got a wicked jacket, man. It's about 17 times too big, which is very hip in Chicago at the moment.

How does that go down in your village?
I'm just the local musician... They can't afford a village idiot so we just take turns. Whenever I put the jacket on, it's my turn.

Are your audiences getting any younger?
Much younger. I think I'm playing more modern music now. They can relate to it a bit better than, say, Spencer The Rover.

Martyn: 'village idiot'

Clipping kindly provided by Martin Claridge