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Progressive Rock Interviews

Dusan Jevtovic

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Dusan Jevtovic from 2018

You've worked with some interesting musicians. What are your criteria for working with people.

There are a lot of interesting musicians out there, and I would like to play with a lot of them. Some of them are our life inspiration, but there are also great young musicians I really admire.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?
I would like to record with Jim Black (drums), Matt Pavolka (bass), John Medeski (keys), John Frusciante (guitar), Nels Cline (guitar). I would also like to record with Tony Levin (bass) or Gary Husband again, even though we recorded last year together.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Really hard question for me...I don’t think that I would be happy doing anything else for as long as playing music. I like cooking, writing and yoga, but these are the things that I have learned over the years, not when I was fourteen.

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Jimi Hendrix first of all...John Coltrane, Eric Clapton and all those musician with interesting personalities and lives when notes become just a technical moment of their playing.

Everything else (and not only music) can impress me and inspire much more than only good music. I am always looking for that personal and spiritual moment in any person or musician.

MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
For me, more than anything, it is really hard to believe that people listen to and speak about my music. It all started happening in the last four to five years - hundreds of reviews, radios and nice feedback from all around the globe. I think that there was only one review which was not so positive. I feel really blessed that people listen to my music and write about it.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Just keep on playing and recording my music. There are a few CDs to come out this and next year. I will also record two CDs with two totally different trios and types of music. Some nice gigs and festivals are ahead. We can always ask for more, but I think we can be happy with what we have.
MSJ: I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
I’m constantly searching for how to explain life. How to say something new about the things we are thinking of, from the moment we came on this Earth - love, sadness, passion, freedom and all the other, at first sight easy questions, that we are asking throughout the history.

Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

The problem is that many of us, relatively young musicians, don’t know how it should be if it isn’t that way. We didn’t live in the better times, so for us probably all that conflict sounds out of context and out of our times. I think we are losing, but I’m not sure that there is a way back.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?

It seems like this became a standard. It's hard to control it and also hard to find a sense. It’s possible to control it and protect your work, that’s true. It takes some time and writing to Youtube or the users, etcetera. In the last few years there was a little bit of everything. People were uploading my music from CD on Youtube, changing videos, writing me some strange messages, etcetera. There is always a way to protect yourself, but it really takes a lot of time.

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
I saw a lot of superbands made in a past recording together or in the different TV shows, and I wasn’t happy with the results. So, I will always prefer to hear something new from any musician with  artists that he likes to play with.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Probably that one will never happen.

I know that I will not call any of these famous musicians who are playing for almost 50 years and from eighties till now they didn’t give anything new in spite of being real innovators in their beginnings. Even though they are real masters, it is sad to see that in the last 30 years - there is nothing new or more interesting to hear. It's simply unnatural. Also, the problem are local managers that I think use always same contacts and list of artists. So, for example, in Barcelona we have the same artists playing every year over and over again. I find it so boring.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I'm listening to almost everything that is coming out. I think it’s really important for any musician to know what is happening around him. It's really inspiring for me to listen a big variety of music.
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Lately I like to read books that I have already read. When I’m composing, I like to read one of the most modern writers called Milorad Pavic. He writes experimental novels, and his way of writing really helps me and inspires me in creating and composing.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
The last concert that I have attended was Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite - nice commercial way of playing the blues.
MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
It was with my mother in my hometown. It was a big concert of a very famous singer in ex Yugoslavia.
MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
Lately I’m not buying new gear like I did before. Last year I bought two Vox AC30 amps from the beginning of 60s - very rare and very nice amps.
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

There are the days when I like to listen some Spanish pop flamenco music. I really like to listen to words in any language. Joaquin Sabina is one nice example of good words. Music is just an excuse there.


What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Few years ago I arranged the tour for a band, one week of nice gigs and festivals. But when I wanted to do the announcement on Facebook, I didn’t remember the name of any club or festival.

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

I would always have a dinner again with Tony Levin, and there is always a place for Jimi Hendrix and Pat Martino.

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
I think there would be some vegan menu and good, good vine!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Think. Work. Do something new. Make the world better place.
MSJ: This interview is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 3. More information and purchase links can be found at:
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