Here is an interview I did with the French online zine, Fanfare.
See the translation below.
The Best Kept Secrets of Pop (27): Marc Teamaker
The best kept secrets of pop
By Quentin L. February 1, 2020
Marc Teamaker’s first two albums, Lust for Wanda and Ping !, will soon be available on Bandcamp. In the meantime, you can (re) discover his eponymous album from 2003, as well as more recent productions recorded with his group The Soul Shop, including the youngest, All The Little Mornings. From Connecticut, Marc returned to us on the genesis of this opus and on the meaning of one of his first songs, Gabriel. He also talked about some childhood memories, his bedside records and the last books he devoured.
Hello Marc, where did you grow up and did this place inspire you for your songs?
I was born in The Bronx and when I was 4 our parents moved us to Yonkers, NY, which is about 25 minutes north of Manhattan; so being from New York City, and growing up in the shadows of it, I found it to be very inspiring. Not only for my music but for many things. All the major, and not so major, acts came to play NYC. I saw my first concert in 1972 when I was 12. It was Humble Pie, Edgar Winter and Ramatam. It was held at Gaelic Park, which was a soccer(football) stadium.
Was there a lot of music at home when you were a kid?
Yes! My mother and father always were listening to music, mostly Classical and Jazz. Stuff like Debussy, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra. When the Beatles came it changed everything. As a little kid I was enthralled with them but kind of leaned toward soul music. Motown. Stax/Volt. It pretty much ruled Top 40 radio in New York, along with The Beatles and other pop music of the the late 60’s.. I have older brothers and they turned me on to the music of Santana and Crosby Stills, Nash and Young etc., but I was always aware of all the great music. I was drawn to it.
Any musician in the family?
My grandfather and uncle on my father’s side of the family played clarinet and violin respectively.
Do you have any funny or emblematic story to tell about your childhood (not necessarily related to music)?
Hmmmm….let me see. This is not related to music but here goes. During a hot summer day, when I was about six years old, I was complaining to my mother that I was bored. All the kids were away at camp, or doing something else, so there was no one to play with. My mother always could figure things out so she gave me a paint brush and a coffee can filled with water and told me to go paint the stone wall in front of the house. I thought this was the greatest thing! I had to keep filling the can with water, but I got to feel like I was doing something important while daydreaming for a few hours; which to this day is one of my favorite things to do. See…my mother knew. She encouraged my imagination and I could never thank her enough.
Can you give the first song that comes to your mind?
“Walk On By” sung by Dionne Warwick, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Bacharach is one of my musical heroes.
Is there a specific artist or an album you always come back to?
There are a number of them. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Wave.” Nick Drake’s “Bryter Layter” The Small Faces. So many. Sorry I couldn’t give you just one.
Who (not musician) would you name as your main influence and in which aspects?
God..there are about two or three, but if I would have to say one… it would be my Mother. She gave me the joy of imagination and reading…and food. On top of that she was deeply spiritual and that certainly rubbed off on me. She was the sweetest and most loving person that I ever knew. All of this helped in my journey as a person and a musician.
What was the first record you received as a gift? The first one you bought?
Gift? Hmmm. That one is hard to remember but it was probably a Beatles record. Maybe, Help!, which is still my favorite Beatles record. Probably given to me at Christmas/ Birthday by my parents. The first record I bought with my own money was the single “I want You Back” by the Jackson Five.
If you could travel in time, which period of the history would you choose and who would you be?
Off the top of my head it would be the Victorian era and I would be Charles Dickens. I wish I could write like that…and dress like that.
Do you have a specific place and time to compose, a specific instrument?
Generally after breakfast, around 10 A.M, in my apartment. Guitar or piano.
What can you tell us about your new album (inspiration, style, partnerships…)?
My latest album, “all the little mornings, is a double record of 23 songs written and recorded between 2010 and 2019. There were many different inspirations, but mostly the women in my life. The split with my first wife, my daughters, another girlfriend, and then I got remarried to a women from Chicago, Kathleen, who was the love of my life. Unfortunately she passed away in 2016 , which devastated me. She was amazing!
A writer too. She also wrote lyrics and we made a record together under the name Albany Park Wirephoto. It’s called “Random Acts of Commandment.” It was written and recorded in Chicago where we lived from 2011 – 2016.
Back to ATLM…I sang and played all the instruments, except the drums. Jared Nixon played Drums, some Bass and some background vocals, and Ray Herrmann played drums too. These two players are great friends and, along with me, comprise The Soul Shop. The cello’s on “Unravelling” were played by Dan Cho. It’s basically a rock record in a very 70’s vein, but it also was inspired by the music of Neil Finn and Paul Weller, to name a few.
Who was Gabriel from your album Lust for Wanda?
Gabriel was the archangel. You know the cat who blew his horn signifying “Judgement Day”…mix in Louis Armstrong who’s nickname was “Pops.” The song was kind of stream of consciousness and somewhat of a spiritual nature, in a playful way. Giving in to life and just trying to be.
Will you be playing in France?
I haven’t had plans to but would LOVE to. I am planning to hopefully get back to the UK, where I’ve played a number of times, and perhaps I could get over to Paris if the right situation presented itself.
What is the question you would have loved a journalist to ask you?
Well you’ve asked a number of great questions. Maybe what specific writer’s, as in prose and poetry, were an influence on me? You kind of did that though.
Is there something else you would like to talk about today? (completely free topic)?
Well..there are two books that I am reading right now that I am very excited about One is called “Sula” by Toni Morrison and the other is called “The Majesty of Calmness, Individual Problems and Possibilities…” by William George Jordan. It was written in 1900. It talks about taking control of yourself, self reliance etc. It’s very practical and spiritual at the same time. Quite inspirational. Sula is just plain brilliant! The African American experience from the early to late 20th century through the eyes of females. I recommend both books highly. I get very jazzed by great literature.
Which of your songs could illustrate this interview?
This is not obvious.
You can choose from these 3 there: Unraveling, Time is Just a Sham, or Skinny Wrist. All from the latest album All The Little Mornings.
Good thing, Skinny Wrist is one of my favorites!
All The Little Mornings (2019, Fair Square) Albany Park Wirephoto – Random Acts of Commandment (2017, Fair Square) Tomorrow’s Today (Volume Two, EP, 2008, Fair Square) Tomorrow’s Today (Volume One, EP, 2008, Fair Square) Marc Teamaker (2003, 9 Ball Records) Empress Polecat (EP, 2003, Olong Songs) Ping! (2000, Hive Music) Lust For Wanda (1997, Hive Music)