Interview with Darryl Purpose, live on Folk Plus in the WJFF Studio

Saturday December 4, 1999

Angela: I am very pleased to have in the studio from Boston, Darryl Purpose, and thanks so much for making the drive Darryl.

Darryl: Hey Angela. It was quite a drive actually. I saw an ostrich, and a sheep, and some animal I canít really identify. Can you help me with that?

Angela: You probably saw a llama.

Darryl: Thatís it! A llama. I saw a llama.

Angela: Uh huh.

Darryl: Itís like a small giraffe

Angela: Uh, small giraffe? I donít know, I think it is more yakky. I donít know, it has all that hairÖ

Darryl: Truth is Iíve never seen a giraffe

Angela: (laughing) butÖ

Darryl: But what I imagine a giraffe to look like, llamas look like.

Angela: Llamas are kind of interesting actually. I have a friend with about a dozen here

Darryl: Why does one have a dozen llamas? Iím just curious.

Angela: Well they are interesting, you can definitely use their fur, and uh.

Darryl: OK

Angela: You can trade them, and buy them and they are worth a lot of money. I know they are money makersÖ.plus you get mentioned on the radio. I didnít mention my friend with dogs or cats or gerbils but hey

Darryl: Fringe benefits.

Angela: So! You are playing Bodles tonight.

Darryl: Tonight with David Wilcox.

Angela: And today live for us, so that we can hear some of your music. I love your CD. Iíve been listening for about two weeks

Darryl: Thank you.

Angela: At some point Iíd love to play something (you decide) because we can get a different sound than we can get here. Would you like to start? Someone is calling to say there is a buzz in the mike. I hear it. I think it is my mike, which I'll turn off.

Darryl: It might be right here in the studio, I hear it here. Turn off that amplifier.

Angela: Ill take care of that and you just take it away that would be great.

Darryl: This is a song by my friend Kevin Faherty. It is about singer-songwriters and people that might pass through Bodles or might get played here on Folk Plus. Guys like Steve Goodman, Stan Rogers, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin. Itís a song about dead singer-songwriters.
 

       Singer Songwriter Heaven Ė by Kevin Faherty
 

Angela: (calling into the other studio) May? There was a call?

Oh, an update on the llamas?

Darryl: Whatís the story?

Angela: The people who owned llamas were explaining what they did with them. I was wondering. In that song about stealing lines and giving some away, have you done that?

Darryl: Ideas come from a lot of different places. And lines, I steal a lot from Harry Chapin and I try to steal as much as I can from Dave Carter, and Ellis Paul, all the peopleÖ

Angela: You hang with?

Darryl: ÖI respect.

Angela: And it is unrecognizable by the time you have done with it?

Darryl: Yeah, you try to work it so they canít tell.

Angela: Right

Darryl: Well Harry doesnít care.

Angela: No, I wanted to ask you, after listening to your CD (and Iíd like to cue something up shortly) you seem to go back and forth between

Darryl: You got me nervous now. You actually listened?

Angela: Intensely.

Darryl: You are supposed to askÖsay "How long have you been playing guitar there Darryl?" (Laughing)

Angela: No, I donít ask things like that. I had to listen intently, I wrote a review for you. I want to know about Kate Minor first of all. Who is she? Iíve never heard of her and I love what she does.

Darryl: She is amazing isnít she?

Angela: That is nice! Her harmony!

Darryl: She is the producerís wife. David Minor produced it.

Angela: So she doesnít go out and sing anywhere? I just never heard of her, its nice what she does.

Darryl: She has her own thing going on in Los Angeles, I donít know too much about it. She did an amazing job. She actually did all that in an hour. From hearing the songs the first time to finishing those tracks, within an hour, she is really amazing.

Angela: That was nice. Maybe we will play something from it Öon this new CD you tend to go back and forth so convincingly between such a romantic and man who canít sit still. He is never really there for a woman. You just go back and forth so well, convincingly, so well with both parts and I wanna knowÖ

Darryl: Thatís me!

Angela: which is autobiographical?

Darryl: Both!

Angela: Oh, ok! So they are both autobiographical. Both!

Darryl: Thatís dangerous.

Angela: Well Iíd like to cue one up. Would you like to pick or should I?

Darryl: I think you should pick

Angela: Ah. Then Iím gonna pick what I was gonna work into the kid theme (running the last hour) earlier.

Darryl: I wondered about that.

Angela: This is Darryl singing with Ellis Paul and the chorus is from the view of a four-year-old girl. Here it is, it is called the "Child of Hearts." Darryl Purpose.

        From his new CD Travelerís Code Ė Darryl Purpose

Angela: Darryl Purpose. Travelerís Code is his new CD. You brought some other singers to share. People that maybe I donít know, I love that.

Darryl: Yeah, I brought my friend Mathew Lee, he is from Los Angeles. He plays piano, a lot of soul, he is the real deal. Peter Mayer from Minnesota is another guy I respect a lot.

Angela: Minnesota? So how do you see all these people when you are in Boston?

Darryl: Well Iím not really in Boston very much. I know I say IÖ

Angela: Evidently, you are out looking at llamas

Darryl: (laughing) Ölive in Boston but Iíve been paying rent there for 13 months, but I still canít find my way home when I come off the road. I still spend the bulk of my time travelling around the country.

Angela: So, you listen to radio a lot.

Darryl: I do. I meet these folks at festivals and conferences, that kind of thing.

Angela: You want to say anything about Child of Hearts?

Darryl: No.

Angela: Then can I ask you?

Darryl: You can ask.

Angela: Is that autobiographical? Well, Iím dying to know.

Darryl: Yes.

Angela: That is a great sentiment on both sides. Hard song to pull off I think. You did that really well. A toughy.

Darryl: Iím proud of the song.

Angela: Yeah. Not an easy topic. You have Ellis singing that hard hitting chorus.

Darryl: Isnít he great?

Angela: Yeah, he is, but this is your interview.

Darryl: Oh, all right.

Angela: Well let's hear your buddy. Who do I have cued up?

Darryl: Is this Peter Mayer? Well he is from MinnesotaÖahÖ

Angela: Yeah, we know that much. Thatís all I know so far.

Darryl: I donít know that much about him either, I just love his music and he is a great guy.

Angela: Well if he is good his CD should speak for him. Here you go, Peter Mayer.

        Peter Mayer Ė Yukon Sally and Helicopter Joe

Angela: Ok! That was Peter Mayer. Nice message there. Reaching the peak is not the point. That is what stood out for me.

Darryl: There you go

Angela: Reaching the peak it is the journey itself. You are listening to Folk Plus and my name is Angela Page, Iím talking with Darryl Purpose who is appearing tonight at Bodles Opera house, and Iíve love to hear something else live.

Darryl: All right then. You know before I was a singer-songwriter I was a professional gambler. Did you know that? You must have known that?

Angela: Well you did admit on your CD that you were arrested. You didnít explain why, is that related?

Darryl: Ah, no. A little bit, yeah, it is a little bit. In fact Iím gonna play a song about that.

Angela: You bet.

Darryl: I hadnít written a lot of songs about that part of my life. A couple of years ago my friend Robert Morgan Fisher came up to me and said "Darryl, there should be more songs about some of the seedier things youíve done."

Angela: Well I donít know if you know but we just had Chuck Shumer in the area

Darryl: Is he pretty seedy too?

Angela: No, but he Öin our area there is a huge "Canít we please get gambling here" side and a huge "What do we want gambling for there are enough crimes and problems and it is not going to make jobs for anyone we know" side. It is big here right now. You may want to reconsider playingÖ

Darryl: I am on the "donít want gambling" side. I think it really destroys communities.

Angela: And you were there!

Darryl: Yeah, I know how it works. But anyway, I said that I had a story and we wrote a song together and it is called "Halfway Home."

        Darryl Purpose Ė live at WJFF Ė Halfway Home

Angela: Hmm. It is funny that you were talking about the race track. That is what they want to do here. Take the Monticello raceway and turn it into a gaming facility. It is losing money as a race track. (Pause) Your comments Mr. PurposeÖ

Darryl: Oh, I think there is nothing good about gambling. At best, it is about nothing. At worst it ruins lives. For me it was a job, I wasnít Ė I might have been caught up in a gambling problem, but at a very young age I learned to play well. I was a professional gambler at 20. When you play well you get the rush and you donít have to have the gambling problem with a good plan and a winning game. That is what I did for many years.

Angela: Who was the fellow who that you wrote that with?

Darryl: Robert Morgan Fisher.

Angela: Okay, Great. I see you have a bike on the back of your truck there.

Darryl: It is a Schwinn.

Angela: Are you an avid biker?

Darryl: Pretty avid. I just carry it around with me when I cross the country and ride almost anywhere. I find some really neat paths.

Angela: Well some of you listening to Folk Plus in August and November I played a tune about Mr. Schwinn. This is Darryl who wrote that tune, so if you are connecting there ah hah! The song about Mr. Schwinn and the bike and the pair he was saving for his newlywed bride never happened. Such a moving tune. I just feel like everyone out there is going "Ahhhhhh" when you get to the end and he dies. Good song.

Darryl: Thank you.

Angela: Iíve aired that though, and Iíd prefer to hear something new. It was great to hear two in a row that I havenít heard before.

Darryl: Something else new?

Angela: That would be great.

Darryl: That means not on the new album.

Angela: I donít care. Something live.

Darryl: Oh I know, I'll play you a Christmas song.

Angela: Since it is Hanukkah that is a great idea.

Darryl: Iíll play you a holiday song, how about that Angela? Actually this is pretty Christmas oriented, but that is the way I am oriented so..

Angela: You are supposed to write about what you know, so go ahead.

            Darryl Purpose - You Must Come Home for Christmas

Angela: Very pretty. I want to hear it again. Maybe later, because we canít do that on the radio. Iíve got some questions and I want to hear it again but we wonít do that.

Darryl: I'll leave you the CD with it on it.

Angela: That was not open tuning that was normal, but do you flip around with tunings?

Darryl: I do flip around less on radio shows just cuz tuning can be a hassle butÖ

Angela: Time wasterÖ

Darryl: Öbut yeah, I do a lot of open tunings. I do an open tunings workshop as I travel around often before a gig.

Angela: Thatís neat. Are you doing that today?

Darryl: No.

Angela: Youíre sleeping.

Darryl: Thatís right, taking a nap, okay?!

Angela: (laughing) Thatís ok, having come in at four. Thatís fine.

Darryl: I love that open tuning sound, so I tend to get that sometimes even like in that song when Iím in standard tuning

Angela: That was standard, I saw the chording but it had that lowÖ

Darryl: In the key of E as long as you have the E and the B ringing, it sounds like an open tuning. (he demonstrates)

Angela: Yeah, it did. Then I quickly looked over and said "He is playing an E"

Darryl: I should say that my fabulous musical partner, her name is also Daryl, she plays the fiddle, she plays on all my CDís, is gonna be here tonight. I canít believe it. She happens to be in NYC today and I said, come up for the show. She joins me just once in a while and whenever I'm in California which is where she lives. Her name is Daryl.

Angela: Darryl and Daryl Ė tonight! She joins you once in a while and it is tonight. That is gonna be cool. And of course David Wilcox. I canít believe, I have so many CDs here I meant to play him in the first hour. It should be a really great show tonight. I wanted to ask you about Ė well tell me what you were doing in the summer of 1986?

Darryl: Walking across the country on the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament.

Angela: That has got to have like totally effected the rest of your life.

Darryl: Yeah, it was the turning point of my life and it was the watershed event in my life. I learned a lot about how I view the world now. It all started then, I made a lot of friends all over the country. It was a great thing for me. Before that I was primarily

Angela: a gambler.

Darryl: a gambler (laughing) After that although I still did a little of both, I was primarily an activist and a musician. This I have only been doing for 3 1/2years, this touring solo singing songwriting full time folk thing.

Angela: Are you pleased so far?

Darryl: I love it. I love playing for people. I love the writing process. I like travelling and meeting people. It has been great. It has gone really well, I was not going to beat my head against the wall if it didnít seem to be working, but it seems to be working which is really fun.

Angela: Well, every one of those towns that you walked through you can now stop and sing.

Darryl: Pretty much.

Angela: And you know people dotting all around from doing that I bet.

Darryl: Thatís true. That is really how I got started, four years ago I had no name recognition at all. What Iíd do was find a town where a marcher was and do a house concert and that is how Iíd introduce myself into various areas.

Angela: That John Gorka line? Play often, always, for free if you have to, just play.

Darryl: Yeah, yeah yeah. I love doing house concerts. That is really a fun thing. Really intimate way to share the music.

Angela: Will you share another song now?

Darryl: I donít know if you noticed, but I got to an open tuning.

Angela: You did, that was very quick too.
 

Darryl: This is called Korea Town.

            Live in the studio Ė Darryl Purpose - Korea Town

Angela: That is the sound of Darryl Purpose on his fabulous Taylor. That is a nice guitar.

Darryl: Arenít these nice guitars.

Angela: I want to go to the request that the woman had to hear the title cut of your new CD travelerís Code. Lets do that right now. Darryl Purpose, Travelerís Code, his new release:

            Travelerís Code Ė Title cut

Angela: That is beautiful. You were saying while that was on?

Darryl: You were talking about that melody. Robert and I had written most of the words and we were trying to just tighten it up. We needed a melody just to sing and make sure that the phrasing was consistent from verse to verse. So that melody you hear was the first dummy melody that I came up with. I just played it. It just came out.

Angela: Neat story. A real hook that melody. I love that. When the kids come in Iíve already been humming by the time they come in and itís a real nice touch to have the kids singing. Iíd like to air the duet you do with Lucy Kaplansky because it really shows the romantic writer in you, so hereís Lucy Kaplansky and Darryl Purpose and the tune is called "Ring On My Hand"

           Travelerís Code Ė Ring On My Hand

Angela: We will save the next song for the millennium (Last Great Kiss of the 20th Century) I suppose the entire DJ population is going to be playing your millennium tune.

Darryl: We can only hope.

Angela: Well I know the woman who has the show "Ballads and Banjos" opens the station on Saturdays and she is planning to play it. Of course, we are on the air, January first. Us Saturday people. We will play it then. Great tune. Thanks so much for being here today.

Darryl: Itís my pleasure. I want to thank the writer of my second CDís liner notes, Steve Po for

Angela: He emailed once. He said "Hey you are doing good writers today, I didnít hear Darryl Purpose not a one time in that show!"

Darryl: I was gonna drop his name in smooth sometime during the interview, but it was the end of the interview and it hadnít happened and soÖ (laughing) Hey Steve, see you tonight.

Angela: And if you are down in that area listening, Matamoris area, Middletown, drop over to Bodles to hear Darryl live. Please support live music wherever you know that it is happening because it is really intense. It is way different than listening to CDís and if you donít support it some of these places will close. Iíve seen too many of them close. I donít want that to happen with Steve Coccia. He has Cliff Eberhart Sunday, sorry Ė it is sold out, I wasnít pushing that. But there are still seats for Darryl Purpose and David Wilcox tonight. Thanks so much for coming.

Darryl: My pleasure Angela. Thanks for having me.