Cultural Baggage

Hedge Seel
The Daily Telegraph

Arts+Books section

John Martyn/ Guitarist and singer-songwriter

Favourite new film
Gore Verbinski's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. I think Johnny Depp is particularly funny in it.

Background Interview

John Neil Munro

This is a transcription of a cassette tape from an interview conducted in the Bay Horse pub in Glasgow. It was used for the biography Some People Are Crazy by John Neil Munro so some quotes may sound familiar. John was interviewed several times; this occasion was after the release of On The Cobbles (April 2004) and before the concert in the Royal Concert Hall of 10 May 2004.

Heaven Can Wait

James McNair
The Independent

The guitarist John Martyn has swapped hellraising for Buddhism. He explains his change of direction to James McNair

John Martyn's four-decade career has certainly seen its share of alcohol-fuelled misadventure. He once awoke to find that Pentangle's double-bassist, Danny Thompson, had nailed him under a carpet; his pancreas burst in 1996; and in July 2002 he was forced to don a neck brace after a head-on collision with a cow. When I interviewed him about 1999's Glasgow Walker album, he was nursing a dislocated shoulder after a fall. Since then, he has broken an arm and several toes.

I'm Still Standing

Aidan Smith
Scotland on Sunday

IN HIS travels from Glasgow to Jamaica, and to hell and back, John Martyn must have called countless pubs his local - but surely there can have been few more homely than Carroll's. If you were a cynic you might say that Thomastown in County Kilkenny had a touch of the Brigadoons, or the Irish equivalent, about it. But that is a cynicism born of watching too many episodes of Ballykissangel on TV and seeing too many Oirish bars with names such as Shamus O'Bogtrotters taking over your local high street.

[John Martyn on On The Cobbles]

Paddy Kehoe
RTÉ Guide

He's been on the phone all day, everyone from The Guardian to the Manchester Evening News to the Basingstoke Echo has been speaking to him as his first tour since 2001 approaches. The 56-year-old musician tells it in his own way, how he 'copped a huge belt' off his guitar amplifier, thereby damaging a cyst at the back of his right knee. A serious infection subsequently set in. " My leg went -he gives a mock-dramatic shriek- "big and red and horrible." I said to the guy, 'listen, I think you'll have to amputate here.' He says, 'I think you might be right.'"

Related to: 

Battered and Bruised... but Still Standing

Adam Lee Potter
Scotland on Sunday

It is an irony that, in a month when Scottish singer John Martyn appeared to be climbing back onto an even keel, at least artistically, more problems should plague his private life. Martyn was involved in a car crash last week as he returned to Scotland from his home in Kilkenny, in an attempt to salvage his finances after one of his homes in Roberton, Lanarkshire, was repossessed by the bank and put up for sale. He escaped with a broken nose and whiplash after the car hit a stray bull, but his finances do not appear to have come off so lightly.

John's Karmic journey

James McNair
Mojo Magazine #81

At the age of 20, John Martyn was struck by a bolt of karmic lightning. It's never left him.

'When you get loaded, this album opens your head up to a different thing. I've chosen it because it taught me the value of sustain. My parents were big classical music fans obsessed with that belcanto, operatic sustain, regardless of the cost to the lungs or the ears. With Sanders it was different; beautiful, long notes but with breath and gurgling in between. His tone blew my mind and he gave me a glimpse through a keyhole that I didn't even know existed.'

The Talented Mr. Martyn

Andy Robson
Classic Rock #15


In the latest of our 'Mavericks' series, Classic Rock meets up with famously 'unpredictable' singer, John Martyn. Better known for his drunken exploits than for his surprisingly sensitive songs, Andy Robson tracks the on-off career of a British folk-rock legend.

Robert Elms show

Robert Elms
London Live (94.9 FM)

[So Sweet ends]

RE: I always look forward to any JM album and thankfully we have a long time to look forward to them for. This is a big sense of expectation that builds up over the years...
JM: How unkind...


Subscribe to Interviews