Local musician who played with Lennon, releases new CD
LYNDEBOROUGH – For guitarist and performer Eddie Mottau, who played with greats like John Lennon in the 1970s, living in the Granite State and making music here is part of the creative process.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of it that’s grounded in New Hampshire,” Mottau said. “But it’s a little bit about everything, and it’s about the state of the country. There’s some topical stuff there and some historical stuff there, too. That’s why we called the album, ‘Revelation/Revolution.'”
That album was released last week on New World Records, Noel Paul Stookey’s record label. (Of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.) The CD features Mottau alongside longtime friends and fellow musicians Bob Drew and Jimmy Clark.
“We just finished it a couple of months ago,” Mottau said, with the majority of the album being recorded before the pandemic.
The Boston born Mottau said he likes recording because there is more control in the studio than on the stage. As for promoting the album during these times, he called the process difficult.
“We can’t do any live performances,” he said. “That’s for sure. But the record is getting a lot of airplay – believe it or not – in New Zealand right now. And it’s getting airplay in Albany, New York and Gallop, New Mexico.”
No stranger to the road, Mottau toured extensively for years. He said he doesn’t really miss it.
“I made a decision in 1976,” he said. “I was on the road with Felix Pappalardi, who was the guy who produced all the Cream records and the Youngbloods. We finished a tour in L.A., and they wanted to keep going and I kind of bowed out. I said, ‘I need to go home.'”
Home is Lyndeborough, New Hampshire, where Mottau and his family have lived since 1973. A stark change from his home back then in New York City.
“I got really busy in 1973 doing a lot of stuff with John Lennon,” Mottau shared. “I worked with Lennon from ’71 – ’75. I did that tour with Felix in 1976. And that’s when I made the decision to get off the road. I had a family.”
Mottau did session work with Lennon on the artist’s 1974 album “Walls and Bridges,” and 1975’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll.” He called Lennon a generous person.
“I did a lot of gigs with him too,” Mottau recalled. “We did the Apollo Theater, which was a benefit for the Attica state prison riots. A lot of the women sitting in the front row were crying. We were the only white people in the theater.”
Black Panthers escorted Lennon and his band to the venue. Mottau said they drove Cadillacs and were dressed in velvet suits.
“They were carrying guns and everything else,” he said.
Mottau also did a show with Lennon in Michigan to benefit John Sinclair.
“I did the David Frost show with him a couple of times,” he continued. “I had just finished a solo album of my own at the Record Plant in New York City. I was working with Noel Paul Stookey. And one of the engineers came in and said, ‘John Lennon has booked some studio time here tomorrow night. He needs an acoustic guitar player, so I recommended you.”
Mottau took the job and that turned into what he called, “a beautiful relationship.” He would often visit Lennon and Yoko Ono at their apartment in Manhattan’s famed Dakota building on Central Park West.
New Hampshire is where Mottau calls home and he said he has no regrets in trading the hecticness of the Big Apple for the serenity of Granite State.
“At first, I did think, ‘What have I done?'” he said. “‘I’ve moved into the woods.’ But we’ve a really good life here. The Monadnock area is absolutely gorgeous.”
Mottau will soon make a hop-skip, when he moves to Peterborough soon.
He said he listens to some modern music. He is a big James Taylor fan. He has worked with both Livingston Taylor and Alex Taylor, James’ brothers.
“When I was working with John, James Taylor and Carly Simon used to stop by the studio all the time,” Mottau said. “James would never come in, so I would go out to the lobby to talk to him. He was addicted to heroin then.”
As for Drew and Clark, Mottau has been playing with them for 40 years.
“They weren’t on my original album, ‘No Turning Around,’ for MCA Records,” he said. “In 1977, I did sort of a live album and that’s when I used Jimmy Clark and that’s when I met Bob Drew.”
Mottau also spoke about opening the Folkway in Peterborough.
“I was the first person to ever play there,” he stated. “When I moved up here, I still kept going and got involved with people up here to keep the music going.”
Right now, with the promotion of “Revelation/Revolution,” Mottau is busy preparing for Zoom calls and perhaps some virtual performances.
“Yeah, we’ve done some Zoom stuff,” he said. “And they did a huge mailing to deejays all over the country and so, hopefully we’ll get some feedback on it.”
The new record has influences that range from blues to ballads.
“It’s folk oriented, but there’s some ragtime on there,” he said. “It’s got bass and drums but no electric guitar. All acoustic. But it has a huge sound for the format.”
Creating something in the middle of a health crisis, and not being able to share it with others in a live atmosphere, is difficult for musicians.
“It’s especially tough on back-up musicians,” he said. “The celebrities are okay financially but the band members are suffering like hell during this COVID thing.”
Playing with Drew and Clark is like wearing an old hat according to Mottau.
“It just works,” Mottau continued. “They’re New Hampshire guys. Jimmy Clark is from Amherst, New Hampshire and Bob Drew is from Antrim, New Hampshire.”
There are three videos from the album on YouTube. Their first is called, “Thompson Street.”
The record, “Revelation/Revolution” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and on other streaming platforms. For more information, visit newworldmultimedia.com.