Chuck Berry 1967

Father figure Chuck

unknown english paper 1967

One of the father figures of the fifties rock era flew back into London last weak for his fifth british tour. Chuck Berry, a brown-eyed negro built like a light-heavyweight title contender, sat on his bed at the Hilton Hotel and said: "When I stop walking - that's when I stop performing".

The interview:

"How old I am? Just say, more than twice sixteen".

Berry has been a major Rock and Roll influence both in the states and in England for 10 years now. His driving, exciting, music was one of the early influences of the Beatles, and he's still pounding out his own particular brand of "moody, meaningful music".

He freely admits that with investments in a real estate business and an amusement park in St. Louis, he needn't be a rock and roll star. But he's formed a union with his fans that he has no intention of breaking.

"Just why my fans have stuck with me so long I have no idéa", he said. "I'm only glad they have. This tour, I'm doing a new circuit of dance places, rather than theatres, and my approach to the act different these days, too".

Berry has a worked out formula for his appearances, including his four best known songs and five or six other numbers.

"It's less of a spontaneous show, more programmed. I'll be doing numbers like "Roll Over Beethoven", "Memphis" and "Reeling And Rocking", as well as "Maybellene".

"These days, I work an average of three days a week, mainly at wekends and spend the rest of the time recording and looking after my businesses. The dates are concerts, collage dates, auditoriums and clubs - pretty much the same sort of the audience as here. I play to the young people after all. 35 percent of the populations are youngsters".

It has been two years since Chuck toured here. What were the difference he has noticed in the american music these days?

"It has changed. These days, there's less of the repetition of the bluews or boogie and more intermingling of styles. Fore exemple, where you used to have a verse and a chorus, a verse and a chorus. Now You may have three verse, then a chorus, than two verses.

Over the year, Berry has recorded 117 tracks, of with 104 have been written by himself. Some of the best of these tracks are being released in april on an album titeled "Golden Hits". But Chuck, explained, they have all be re-recorded.

"We did them last November in St. Louis with new arrangements. But I used the same musicans as on the original tracks. There are bands in St. Louis who are really good and I still work with the same musicans that I started with".

Chuck is happy with his own, very lucrative groove. He plans to go on for as long as he can drum up an audience.

"I'd like one day to be like Jack Benny: what ever happens, I'll stay 39".