Procol Harum

the Pale

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Shades of Procol

Gary Brooker interviewed in Record Collector, May 2009

Procol Harum have been recording new studio tracks his spring, and RC caught up with main man Gary Brooker to find out what else is in the offing.

Gary Brooker
As well as some new tracks, I've been working with a new label on re-releasing the original albums with as many valuable and interesting tracks as we can find. For the 40th Anniversary collections on Salvo I've scoured my library and checked every remaster that's why it's two years late! I keep trying to avoid the ones we threw away all those years ago because we thought they weren't good enough at the bottom of the f-ing barrel! We have found a few things, and most interestingly, we've found copies of tracks which studio engineers actually sold to fans, and they told us about them. I'm listening to some of them now to see if they're up to standard. We should have a box set, which is a major project, out in August/September. It'll be three CDs and  a DVD."

Record Collector
Do you do many guest appearances?

I'm open to offers from talented girl singers!

Do you have tapes of any school bands?

Nobody had a tape recorder when I was in school! From 1958, I was in The Electrics, The Coasters and The Paramounts.

What album were you really into then?

Carl Perkins's first album.

Do you listen to music much now?

Monday nights Paul Jones on BBC Radio 2.

What's the last album you bought?

Kirk Franklin In Houston, on DVD. (click here)

What's the first record you bought?

Help! by The Beatles.

What music moves you most?

Eric Clapton guitar solos.

Do you listen to your own music much?

Only after five years or so. Recently, I heard Wall Street Blues, from Procol Harum's The Well's on Fire, and was stunned at the precognition of Keith Reid's lyrics.

What you would you ask your musical hero?

I'd they'd do three of my songs on their next album and make one of them the big push on the single for airplay!

What was the best time for music?

For listening , 195761, and for being there, involved, 196771.

What music makes you cringe?

Gangster rap and Oasis.

What music lifts your spirits?

American Black Gospel.

What's the best gig you ever saw?

Bob Marley & the Wailers at London Hammersmith Odeon.

Do you collect the music of anyone?

The Genius  Ray Charles.

What record are you looking for?

Huey Smith's first album, on Ace. (click here)

What'd you swap to get it?

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks on US vinyl.

What fact about you would surprise people?

I'm quite a nice bloke, really.

What's your worst habit?


Where would you like to be in ten years' time?

Somewhere warm with my wife.

What question do you wish people would stop asking?

Where did the name Procol Harum come from?

Who would you like to work with?

Quincy Jones if he's at a loose end.

Any unfulfilled ambitions?

I'd like to meet some good musicians from another planet and play and sing over a strange drink. I know this is not gonna happen but somebody might do it one day and I hope they remember me!

Gary Brooker's BtP page

Procol history at BtP

PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search | Home