Graveyard Boogie Band's interview
by Philippe Archambeau

For our readers, can you introduce us the band members ?

I'm John Lanham I do the vocals and lead guitar. We have Ruth Lanham on the bass. Jaraid Filion on lead guitar. John Nims on rythm guitar and Andy Riotto on drums.

When you started GRAVEYARD TRAIN, did you cover southern rock bands ? if yes, which ones ?
No. The original concept of "The Graveyard Boogie Band" was actually a blues band. In 1969 I left Jacksonville Fla. and moved to Bradenton Fla. for a time. I met a blues harp player named Dave "Rockbottom" York and we formed a bluesband. I was attracted to blues music because of its freedom to improvise. We found some other musicians and started the "Jamming" process.
We met a drummer named Larry Klophenstien and oddly enough he was a mortician for a local funeral home. He showed up to the first rehersal in a 1955 Cadilac hearse he had purchased from the funeral home. I was an avid "Mad Magazine" reader while Dave York read R.Crumb's "Zap Comics" and "The Fabulous Flying Furry Freak Brothers" and our sense of humor took over from there. Dave and I decided to call the band "The Graveyard Boogie Band". We used the hearse to carry our equipment to shows and I had a coffin made for my 1958-single pickup Gibson "Melody Maker" and we would carry it out on the stage like a funeral procession.
A few years later I went back to Jacksonville and of all the bands I played in over the years that band was the greatest. I was only 17 at the time. I only covered "Southern Rock" music and bands when I worked for other bands. My bands were creative bands with original material and blues. Shoot Phillipe, Donnie Vanzant and I played our first "Sock Hop" at Stilwell Jr. High School when we were 13 years old. Leon Wilkeson and I started playing together when we were 14 (Donnie,Leon and I are the same age). So you see I was there from the very beginning and through the entire invention of Jacksonville Southern Rock and Roll. It would take too much time entirely, heck, a book's worth to tell all the stories. When Southern Rock died out I took it personal. I formed bands that covered everything from Little Feat to Wet Willie and shoved it in people's faces. The idea came to my wife about "Ressurection" of Southern Rock and a few other concepts so the name "The Graveyard Boogie Band" was also ressurected again.

You have recorded an album. tell us more about it.
The problem I had with the "Jacksonville" boys, at the time, was they had no vision or interest in orginality. ( That was the biggest mistake I ever made and I payed for it to this day). I was just a very impatient young man with alot of ideas thanks to the proliferation of songs from my new found heros...John Lennon and Paul McCartney.( I was 12 at the time they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and I was truly amazed at their ability to write songs. To me, playing songs was the easy part. I wrote my first song at 12 years of age. As time went on and I continued to screw myself in the butt because of my impatience, all the songs I had written over the years sat in a taped up cardboard box. A couple of years ago I decided to at least record the songs so I could see for myself what they would have sounded like if I could have pursuaded some musicians to join me. I didn't find any, at that time. So there you have it. The album is compiled of songs I've written over these many years as well as some new ones.

For your album, who wrote the songs ? How was the recording process ?
All the songs on the album were written by me and they were all recorded in my home studio.

Do you open for great bands ? . Do you have good memories of this ?
Over the years I've been in bands that have opened for "Procol Harum", "The Blues Image", and "Cactus". We have not opened for any one yet. My fondest memory, however, was opening for "Procol Harum" and spending some good jam time with Robin Trower who was their guitar player at the time and it does my heart good to see him still going strong.

What kind of Music do you listen to ?
Wow!!! I've been acused of being musically narrow minded but, I disagree. I listen to The Allman Bros.,ZZ Top, Wet Willie, the "old" J. Geils Band, Canned Heat, Little Feat, The Mothers of Invention, and The Regulators. My favorite tune ever written is "The William Tell Overature" and that's the truth. So you see, I'm not completely narrow minded.

I read your last e-mail and problems you have, for your job, did you explain the situation ?
As I said, this project was only to record my songs for posterity and my grandchildren and their grandchildren. I had no expectation that any one would like it and most certainly never expected and not prepared for the response I've recieved. I am truly humbled. We do not have any backing so Ied and not prepared for the response I've recieved. I am truly humbled. We do not have any backing so I've funded the entire operation by aquiring a "Day Job" and also alot of people depend on me for their support so I work very hard. I make my living through government contracts which have been put on hold here in Fla. due to the economy and Fla.'s budget woes. So for the first time in my life I'm looking unemployment dead in the face and everything, right now has been put on hold.

Last question. If you had to last your life on a desert island, which albums would you bring with you ?
That's easy..."The Allman Brothers Band", "Idlewild South", "Feats Don't Fail Me Now" and "ZZ Top's First Album" and The Allman Bros."Live at the Filmore".


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