Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Jazz drummer Mark Lockett has appeared previously at Elsewhere, notably on a couple of quite different albums: The Buck Stops Here with the Australian saxophonist Paul Van Ross and on Redaction with taonga puoro player Richard Nunns.
His debut album Sneaking Out After Midnight (recorded in New York) was also on the Rattle label almost a decade ago.
His new material betrays the influence of and inspiration from Ornette Coleman and was written during lockdown in New York City.
It's a short tour and a welcome homecoming (dates are below) so even though he answered a questionnaire many years ago it was time to throw him other different questions . . .
Where did you grow up, and with who?
I grew up in Stokes Valley in Wellington with my mum and dad and two brothers.
Was music an important part of your childhood?
Yes, my mum's side of the family was very musical, my grandfather played stride piano and the trumpet he ran dance bands around the clubs in Wellington a long time ago.
Every time I used to visit he would insist on playing me a tune or spinning a Louis Armstrong record. I wanted to play the drums at nine years old and have been playing ever since.
What are your earliest childhood memories of music which really affected you?
When I was 13 I remember taking my pocket money and catching a bus into Lower Hutt. I headed straight to the local record store and asked the shop attendant if he had any jazz? He said yeah sure and gave me a Phil Broadhurst 'Sustenance' CD. I played it so much I broke it.
Was there a time when you felt it was going to be music and nothing else?
When I was nine I saw a friend at school playing the drums and I thought girls would like me if I played the drums.
After a while, I fell in love with the music and that was it I was hooked.
When you started on your music career were people around you supportive or did you have to find those people?
My parents wanted me to have a real job and my immediate family wasn't musical. I was always involved in musical stuff at school which was pretty cool. I guess along the way you gravitate to those who share the same interest. I was always in a band or two and felt most at home hanging with bandmates.
The first song of yours which you really felt proud of was . . .? And why that one?
Blues For Ronny because it was the first tune I wrote and people dug it.
Any one person you'd call a mentor, angel on your shoulder or invaluable fellow traveller?
I feel I have a few. Roger Sellers, Ari Hoenig, Graham Morgan all great teachers and mentors. Paul Van Ross, great Melbourne sax player I did several records and 14 tours with.
Where and when was the first time you went on stage as a paid performer?
I was 10 and got invited by my grandfather to play with a piano player and maybe bass at a Municipal Lodge dance. This was the first time I got paid for a gig.
Ever had stage fright or just a serious failure of nerve before going on stage?
Yes when I got married. Otherwise, I remember getting nervous at jazz school performances but the best way to overcome that feeling I guess is to keep doing it and practice your butt off.
As a writer, do you carry a notebook or have a phone right there constantly to grab ideas they come? Or is your method something different?
No I don't do that. I just kinda get an idea in my head and run upstairs to try and work it out at the piano. I have to be in the right frame of mind to compose.
What unfashionable album do you love as a guilty pleasure?
Anything by Michael MacDonald
Any piece of advice you were given which you look back on which really meant something?
I guess there are many but one piece of advice I got from Graham (my drum teacher in Melbourne) when I asked him if it was a good idea to learn a second instrument to which he replied, 'Sure as long as when you play those drums, you play the living daylights on out of them.' Another good bit of advice from Roger Sellers was, 'Take music seriously but not too seriously and most importantly be a good guy'.
It's after a performance/concert and you are in a hotel room or back at home, what happens then?
I'm pretty boring actually I just make a cuppa and maybe take a walk.
Is there any fellow artist you admire for professional and/or personal reasons?
There are many. Great New York drummer and close friend Ari Hoenig springs to mind.