Bari Watts interview (February 2003)
Bari Watts is one of the best Hendrix styled guitar
player that I know. He had an excellent band called The Outskirts of Infinity
from the late 80's to early 90's. He also played in The Bevis Frond live band
for a couple of years. Just when I though that it would be really cool to
interview my old hero I heard, that The Outskirts have reformed, and that
they will support the Frond on a gig very soon, so I feel this makes this
interview even more reasonable… Thanks a lot for Bari for taking the time
to answer my questions! You rule!
I consider you to be one of the greatest guitar players
at the moment. When did you first start to play? Did you have any lessons?
I first got my hands on a guitar when I was about 12 years old,
and apart from a friend showing me a few chords that was it… No proper lessons at all!
When was Outskirts of Infinity formed?
What did you do prior to that? Any earlier releases?
The Outskirts was formed in 1987, prior to that I just did a lot of
recording and played with friends… Nothing too fantastic!
Nick Saloman (Bevis Frond) played on the first marvellous Outskirts
album ("Lord of The Dark Skies", '97) that was also released on his Woronzow label.
How did you get to know him, and when was that?
Nick used to work with my brother in law in an art studio in London. I think my
brother in law drove Nick crazy going on about me, so Nick thought he'd better
meet me! We met up one day and got on really well. We had a lot of things in
common and we both wanted to make lots of noise on the guitar!
What was it like to play with Nick? You also played a short while with him in
The Bevis Frond. Why did you leave? It would be amazing to still have two top
guitarists in that band!
Bari Watts: I was in the Frond from 1991 to 1994. I really enjoyed my time with the band…
We had some great moments and (despite what you may have read in some interviews)
played some amazing gigs… I still to this day think that the 1991 to 1994 line up
was the best. The band was more powerful then than it's ever been since…but then
I would think that wouldn't I! The reason I left was basically over money. I thought,
mistakenly, that we were a band and that being the case we should go into the studio
and record a new Bevis album as a band so the album would be more representative of
the "live band" that people were coming to see… Also, as Ric and myself had given
up our jobs to be in the band I suggested that we should do the album and get
a small percentage from it to keep us going till the next tour, but Nick didn't
want to do that so after a few drinks and a bit more talk I thought Fuck it!
and left. Ric, more out of loyalty to me than anything else, left as well.
Strangely enough, when Andy Ward joined the band the first thing they did was
to go in the studio and record an album as the band! Life is strange!
It's quite obvious that Jimi Hendrix is one of your idols. Are there any other
specific guitar heroes who have influenced you?
Yes Jimi is my main influence… I like Robin Trower, Eric Gales, Randy California,
Frank Marino… God there are millions!
What kind of music were you listening to when you were young? How about now?
Everything… I really used to like the Motown stuff, still do… Blues rock,
like now, anything done with feeling.
How would you describe the music that Outskirts of Infinity were doing?
LOUD HEAVY GUITAR BASED FREAK OUT!!!
What (if any) Outskirts album do you prefer? Why?
From a production point of view it would be The Altar Of The Elements… But
I don't know… I like them all for different reasons.
Tell me something about the sessions that gave birth to the "Stoned Crazy"
live in studio album. Any special reason for doing it? How do you feel about the album now?
Bari Watts:Stoned Crazy was recorded in a huge room that was once an art Gallery in
Kensington, London. They had a 16 track set up in there and we hired in
a wall of Marshalls and a p.a. and did the thing live. We really did it
to take around to promoters to get gigs with. A few weeks later Nick
suggested that we should put it out, so we did. It's very rough and ready
all the mistakes left in! Also, Terry Horbury had just joined so I wanted
to get something down with him on…
It seems that after the "Incident at Pilatus" album ('94) the Outskirts disbanded.
Why was that? Is there any possibility that you would put the band back together some day?
We did a very stressful tour of Europe in 1993 and then split from the Frond.
Truthfully, at that point, I'd had enough of the whole scene, and with Ric's
drinking becoming a major problem I decided to leave it for a while. But we
have now reformed and a new album will be released as soon as we can do it.
What did you do after "Incident…" and before your solo album? I know you were
later on involved in the Acid Jam II project. Anything else, besides the occasional
appearances on Bevis Frond and Adrian Shaw albums?
Really just the things you've mentioned.
How did the fans and the press receive your 1998 solo album "Soulcatcher"? Were
you happy with the album? Why was it never released on vinyl? How well did it sell?
I did the Soulcatcher album, just really to try and do something different. It
didn't sell too well, but I still like it! Ade, Nick and a mate of mine Mark Champion
featured on it and considering we recorded it in a few days I think its ok…
The distributor at the time didn't think it would be cost effective to release it on vinyl.
How much do you play nowadays?
Do you have any new projects? Any new releases in the pipeline?
I only really play if I'm getting stuff together to record or play live… I'm very lazy...
I know I should practise more…but…!
What do you think about the current state of underground psychedelic rock? Do you follow
what's happening in that genre? Any new bands you like?
I just listen to music...full stop. I don't really care which area it comes from if it's
done with feeling then that's good.
Have drugs and/or alcohol played any major role in writing and playing of your music or
being in the band at first place? What do you think about drugs in general?
They have both played their part in the writing and playing! As with most things in
life: exercise caution!
Were there any other compilation albums featuring otherwise unavailable Outskirts
songs apart from the inclusion of that Hendrix cover on the Danish Adventure magazine
compilation and "Growing Seeds" on Acid Jam I?
Stoned Crazy on a Terrascope single, You Want Change For Your Rerun on another
Terrascope CD… A track called Plastic Bag on an American CD… Oh yes and a version
of Eyes In The Back Of My Head on a Bucketfull Of Brains single.
Is there any unreleased material left
from the Outskirts of Infinity? Or from your solo sessions?
Apart from the "live " gigs from the 1993 tour and some rehearsal sessions which
I'm making available to the fans via the Outskirts and Frond groups on Yahoo….that's it.
Anything else you would like to tell your fans?
We like to thank them for staying with us and
we hope to be able to play for you all very soon!
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