MAT MARTIN | Bring Me Rocks, Bring Me Stones…

29 March, 2011, 09:59

Blog · Reference

Billed as the posthumous music of a willfully obscure musician named Marvin Pontiac, The Legendary Marvin Pontiac: Greatest Hits package came with a photo purported to be one of the few ever taken of the troubled genius. A biographical profile told the tale of this hard luck case; Pontiac was ostensibly born in 1932 to an African father from Mali and a Jewish mother from New Rochelle, New York. A life of conflict with fellow musicians (including an alleged fist-fight with blues harmonica great Little Walter) and of mutually contemptuous dealings with the music business had caused him to become untethered, institutionalized and, eventually, hit and killed by a bus in 1977. He left behind 14 or so blues and R&B songs, many with African echoes. Think of Tom Waits or Captain Beefheart, with a little R.L. Burnside in the mix, and you get an approximation of the musical territory…

Here’s a beautiful interview with John Lurie about his invented African-Jewish insane musician alter-ego, Marvin Pontiac. John’s story is kind of sad, when you consider how in the late 80s and early 90s New York was his oyster. People beware – this is what happens when you chew folk up. He remains one of the most inspiring musicians I’ve discovered in the last ten years.

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