ON THE COUCH WITH DR JOHN

What gets New Orleans voudoun bluesman's mojo working...

Which song describes you best?

“I guess ‘Right Place Wrong Time’ (by Dr. John). I’ve been there all my life and I seem to still be there. But I’m used to it by now.”

What is heaven?

“Home off the road.”

What is hell?

“Home on the road in some of the hotels. You’re in a different place every night. When you hear a jackhammer going off outside your window when you’ve got three hours to sleep before you’re jumpin’ on a plane to go to the next town, that’s hell.”

What’s your earliest memory?

“Hanging with my father in his record shop. It’s what got me hooked on music. And going fishing. I don’t know how old I was. I’m not good with dates, times and places. I make a bad witness.”

What’s your greatest fear?

“I’ve often had a recurring nightmare of dyin’ of thirst in the desert. I usually wake up very thirsty. I’ve been to deserts and it isn’t as bad as in my nightmare. But I probably have the usual fears that most people have – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of most anything that’s unknown and creepy, turning the corner in the projects where you could be facing an Uzi or who knows what.”

Who is your all-time hero?

Muhammad Ali . He made the art of boxing into a higher form of art. The next would be Salvador Dali – guys that shifted gears with something, made something different happen within a scope, they’re heroes to me.”

What’s the worst trouble you’ve been in?

“I dunno if I wanna talk about that, but the worst trouble I’ve been in recently is with the internal revenue service, they clipped my options off in a lot of areas, put a lot of levies and fines and penalties all over me over some money I owed them.”

Who was the first love of your life?

“My first wife.”

What’s your greatest talent?

“I guess playing music. Either that or lyin’.”

Upon whom would you most like to exact revenge, why and how?

“Probably on a lot of people in the record industry that don’t pay me. I’ve had a few assault and battery cases over trying to exact revenge, that I wouldn’t do today.”

What is your most treasured possession?

“I’d take my children, but I’m not sure I’d call them possessions. But to possess something of them, lovin’ feelings, that’s a treasured thing.”

What have you most regretted doing while drunk?

“Never being a drinker it’s an impossible question to answer. If you substitute ‘drunk’ for ‘high or loaded on some other substance’ it’d be playing songs at gigs probably.”

What can you cook?

“Basic New Orleans food, red beans and rice.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“A long time ago I was told, ‘If you wanna keep a gig, you can’t keep playing them songs like somebody else’s record of it, you gotta get your own arrangement.’ It changed my whole life early on.”

Can you read music?

“A little bit.”

If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?

“After I’d disappeared I wouldn’t tell you what I did.”

What are your three final wishes?

“I’d leave those loved ones behind happy, leave them something of me that may be useful and maybe that the music is passed on.”