Robbie Robertson On The Band: ‘I Hoped We Would Have A Timeless Quality’
“I hoped when we were making music originally, that we would have a timeless quality to what we were doing.” Robbie Robertson is talking to Radio.com about the work he did as a member of the Band. Robertson left the group in 1977, leading to their eventual demise (although they reunited without him for a few years in the ’80s and ’90s). But they were timeless. In 2013, their influence is a strong as ever, and arguably stronger than it’s been in decades. They have had a profound impact on some of the most relevant bands of today, including Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne and a little combo called Mumford & Sons. In fact, Mumford & Sons and Jim James of My Morning Jacket contribute to the liner notes of brand new Band 4 CD/1 DVD box set, Live At The Academy Of Music 1971, produced by Robertson.
Levon Helm (drums/vocals/mandolin), Rick Danko (bass, vocals, fiddle) and Richard Manuel (keyboards, vocals, drums) have all passed away. Only Garth Hudson (organ/horns) and Robertson, the band’s guitarist, survive, who says that the process of listening to the tapes for this box set was a bittersweet experience. “There’s all kinds of different emotions.” Robertson tells Radio.com. “I go from a place of being very proud, and really enjoying the extraordinary talent of my bandmates to some real sadness as well. It’s only Garth and I left. I can’t help but to veer between these two places.”
The performances on the new box set were originally used on the 1972 live Band album Rock Of Ages, but Robertson felt the need to return to the performance tapes and offer them in a new (and remixed) context. “I have to say, it has been such a joy being able to revisit this thing, expand upon it, because I’ve been living with this all these years. I never felt satisfied with what I had done: it was my responsibility to mix this back in the day.”
— Brian Ives, Radio.com