First of all, how is the musician in your band who tested positive last week and forced you to postpone your concert in Majorca?
The truth is that I spoke with him the day I found out and he told me that he was very asymptomatic. I trust that he has improved.
“Spring crashed in a hospital”, he sings in 'La estirpe de Caín', one of his new songs, a necessary reflection on the pandemic?
The pandemic has not inspired me, in any case the actions of some people in the pandemic. Cain's lineage It is a song that in a certain way obeyed a kind of contradiction that I was experiencing in my life. On the one hand, realizing that something much bigger than us had come, something that acted on a planetary level, and also on the other hand, the attitude we had of congratulating people who were in the hardest moments, risking life in jobs that are regularly quite despised, or at least administratively a little despised.
Yes. We applauded them, at eight in the evening, in a kind of collective fervor. And suddenly, how politics intervenes so that at nine o'clock at night at the same time that collective misfortune begins to be used for political purposes, which were the caceroladas. All of this has already begun to stir up my feelings a little and led me to reflect on the time we are living in, a time really full of noise, hate and lies, with difficulty in being able to face it, in the sense that there are no channels, because It has also taken over the vehicles that citizens have to express their opinion, which are the media. These already belong to one of the sides in the contest, in general, because there are journalists who have convictions.
Do you think that confusion has taken over everything?
Everything is very confusing. You don't know if what prevails is the general interest or the individual, if really what was heard once said: screw everything so that we will come and fix it makes sense in a world in which there are human beings who suffer and in which there is rampant inequality, where you find out that banks have made more money than ever while they are closing their offices and people who are not cyber-savvy are absolutely lost.
Eleven years ago he announced his retirement. What has he brought back to the stage?
I wanted to write new songs that had something to do with the development of my career, not as a crooner, but as a creator and suddenly I realized that it was stretching the gum. I was 65 years old at the time and I thought doing other things would be nice too. I tried. I spent some time thinking that I was a retiree and in fact I unsubscribed from all levels. I began to write the memoirs, but while my colleagues called me to sing with them, or for some solidarity acts and such. suddenly came The pleasure is our (the 20th anniversary) and later, the symphony (in 2018 he published Symphonic Rivers). And songs began to come out with José Nortes, a person with whom he worked a lot. I couldn't keep retreating any longer, I have to go back, I said to myself, even if they make me blush and say I'm like bullfighters, who leave and come back.
“I tried the poison and I don't want to be cured”, he confesses in 'Hola Ríos, Hello'.
I am feeling fine. I think I'm singing well and we've done songs who represent us now, as I did back then, 30 years ago, who represented me then. And that I have found a novel formula for my career, which was to go out acoustically. I never had. I had always dreamed of a concept like this, and I live for this, and now I have realized that I also live for this. I also really like my job.
How do you explain that, you who have tried almost everything, why have you never challenged yourself on an acoustic album?
I made close to acoustic records, like the ones with the symphony orchestra or a tour I did with a big band. These new songs, like splendor in the grass or The blues of the third age, They demanded that. Now I have the freedom to do what I want, there is no company behind with contractual obligations. Now I am much freer and this has come out. And we have taken advantage and we have said: well, then we are going to play. And we can play because people want to come see me, and that's the reason for being a musician, to have people who want to listen to him. The discovery of this new language has allowed me another new attempt.
Acoustic, but electrifying, as music critic Jordi Bianciotto said.
That headline really moved me. He seemed very generous on his part. His was a criticism with which I agree. It's an acoustic concert but we add the emotionality of electricity. With the Black Betty Trio we play the Welcome counting on the public being the battery. The music really awakens such an important complicity that the tempo is set by the people, with the clapping, with the songs. That electrifies me, makes me on fire.
He told me before that he thinks he's singing well. The actor Juan Echanove, who appears in the video clip of his single Let the clowns come out, affirms that his voice is “titanic, indestructible”.
Juan (Echanove) is a very generous friend (laughs). He vocally finds me with some registers that he did not have before. They are not better, they are different from what he had, for example, when I did the Rock&Rivers, which by the way, I am going to do again now 40 years later. When I listen to that record now my throat hurts, just listening to it. He didn't have the records he was giving. However, now I consider that I have a better voice, more harmonized. That is why now when I face that event I am going to do it with many intergenerational colleagues.
A 40th anniversary, that of Rock&Rivers, which will arrive on March 11 and 12 at the WiZink Center and for which there are almost no tickets left. In what emotional state do you arrive at this challenge?
I think I will be lucky that this wave (the sixth, of the pandemic) will subside in two weeks and we will have a sense of normality. Our life will never be normal again, and knowing that we are exposed to other types of natural accidents, either we take measures and re-educate ourselves as a society, and consume less and respect the planet more, or I don't know what will happen. At Rock&Rivers I'm putting together a band that we haven't played in 40 years but they are very responsible musicians. There is a lot of enthusiasm and above all I am very happy to have fulfilled a mandate sotto voce I heard from my fans and patrons: do the Rock&Rivers, get the gang back together. People have bought the tickets in an incredible way, and knowing my own history and knowing what I can be capable of, I think we are going to put on a great show. Seeing how I sing now, I had to do it now or never. I will not be able to always maintain this state of form, because this is biology. Right now I only live exclusively for him Rock&Rivers.
Yes, yes, yes, that is essential. The life I now live I had never lived but it is the same one that began on June 7 in grenade, in 1944. I am still exactly the same person I was, essentially the same piece of meat. It is clear that I know more about certain things but how I am going to develop the years that I have left of life, that is an unknown, as it was 30 years ago. And I want to fill that uncertainty with dreams, while the body endures. I dream of giving an amazing concert on the 13th in Palma.
Have you considered saying no to Spotifyas Neil Young or Joni Mitchell have already done?
All the record companies that have my work, which are three, Warner, PolyGram and Sony, have it posted on their own, but I also have a lot of my work, and what they pay me for months is to tell them: listen, please Don't humiliate me so much. When I released the first single from A Long Time I had almost two million listeners and they gave me a few cents for it. It makes you want to quit but: Where would they hear me then? We musicians are the last monkey.