Dave Mason By Lori Smerilson Carson February 1, 2023 Dave Mason By: Lori Smerilson Carson The majority of people who start their careers in their mid-teens and continue that same career throughout their life, are not still going strong in that same career in their seventies. Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist Dave Mason however, is one of those professionals that is still in full force, exampled by the fact that he and his band started their new Winter ENDANGERED SPECIES TOUR on January 19th which will run through February 20th. Floridians had and have the opportunity to catch this amazing show on January 25th in Fort Lauderdale at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, January 26th in Vero Beach at The Emerson Center, February 3rd in Orlando at The Plaza Live, February 4th in Clearwater at The Bilheimer Capitol Theatre and February 6th in Ponte Vedra at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. This extraordinarily talented Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician has been writing, recording and releasing music, as well as touring during the past six-decades. Mason’s hits range from “We Just Disagree” from his Platinum album Let It Flow released in 1977, to “Look at You Look at Me” from his Gold album Alone Together, released in 1970, to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” from his Gold LP Mariposa De Oro, released in 1978, and “You Can’t Take It When You Go” from his third Gold album Dave Mason, released in 1974. Catching up with Mason just prior to him taking to the road with bandmates, Guitarist Johnne Sambataro, Drummer Marty Fera, Keyboardist Tony Patler and Bassist Ray Cardwell, he revealed some details about the show and tour, a bit about some past projects, his upcoming autobiography and what fans can look forward to. SFL Music: How did your ENDANGERED SPECIES TOUR come together? Dave Mason: Well touring, I’ve been doing that since I was sixteen, seventeen years old. So touring, it’s just another tour. I’m seventy-six and with the loss of, not that I came up with the idea when they were gone, but with Christine McVie and Jeff Beck gone, I’m sort of one of the last of that era, in that group. Plus, I thought it would be a little tongue and cheek. It’s meant to be taken with somewhat some humor (he laughed). SFL Music: It’s a great title! Mason: And also, yes, I’m actually behind it. Yeah, if it brings awareness to those animals that are endangered, then that would be great! SFL Music: That’s very cool to tie it into that. Is there anything different about this show for fans to look forward to? Mason: No. We’re just a straight up for real rock band. No dancing girls, no smoke (he laughed). I just do pretty much, you know as much, well obviously there’s always something I didn’t play for somebody, but we try to put in as much as we can from over the years and include some stuff from my Traffic days. Sort of little rework things and that so yeah, I try to, like I said, try to salt as much as I can from the years that I’ve been doing it. SFL Music: Are you going to play “Feelin’ Alright?”, (from his Traffic LP, released in 1968)? Mason: Oh sure. SFL Music: During the pandemic you got together with some great people. Mason: Oh yes. Dave Mason and The Quarantines. SFL Music: Yes, you had Michael McDonald, Mick Fleetwood, Sammy Hagar. I saw the video. It looked like you guys had a blast! Mason: Well, everybody was scattered in different locations around, so it was all pieced together that way. It came out really well considering ‘cause (The) Doobie Brothers, they were scattered around all over the place. Pat (Simmons) was in Maui and Tommy (Johnston), I think somewhere in Northern California. Sammy was in California somewhere. Mick was in Maui. Michael McDonald, Michael was in California. So, it had to be pieced together. SFL Music: How did you guys get that all together? What inspired it? You stated everyone needed a pick me up during the quarantine. Mason: Well, people were doing sort of online performances and we kept getting asked, come on, you need to do something. I was like, eh please, leave me alone. So, I just thought well, if we’re gonna do something, then we should do something to just pick everybody up. Something that was not just an individual performance. And “Feelin’ Alright” obviously, is a song everybody knows, and I know all those guys, so I just called them up and said, hey, how would you feel about participating in this? Everybody was in agreement and then it was just a matter of piecing it all together. SFL Music: Great idea! It is a feel-good song and you’ve written a tremendous amount of amazing music over the years. What would you say inspires you when your write music? Mason: Oh, I don’t know. It could be anything. It could be something somebody says or just some noodling around musically on guitar or something. It depends. I have no set way of that happening. I’m not a disciplined writer per say like somebody that would write, get up every morning, write, write, write. That’s not me. I mean, I can go a long time without ever writing anything so, I’m not driven to it. They just pop out occasionally and some ideas are worth pursuing and finishing. I got a lot of stuff that I start and throw away, so it depends. I have no set way of doing it. SFL Music: What inspired you to become a musician? Mason: (He laughed) well, I wasn’t gonna work nine to five. That was not in the cards for me. I had three very short-lived jobs when I was young and that was the end. That was it. So, I don’t know, it was be a musician or a life of crime. One or the other (he laughed). We’re not too far from being carnie people you know? We’re just gypsies for the most part. SFL Music: You formed a couple of bands when you were about fifteen, right? Mason: Yeah, fifteen, sixteen years old when I started playing, and then local bands. Then Jim Capaldi and I got together and he was the lead singer in a band called The Sapphires. So, we got together and had a couple of incarnations in bands, and then through meeting and stuff, and finally we spent enough time hanging out with Steve Winwood and he wanted to do something new, and that’s how Traffic evolved basically. SFL Music: You were about nineteen then? Mason: Nineteen, twenty years old. SFL Music: So, everybody just clicked and you had the same goals? Mason: Pretty much. We were very musically eclectic band in our tastes and we all very much were certainly definitely R & B, a lot of blues, gospel stuff, influenced. We’re English. We were influenced by America. I mean, the British invasion is an American story. We learned and copied everything that came out of America. Just turned you back onto your own music basically. I mean, there’d be no Eric Clapton or anything if it wasn’t for all the great blues players, so American. We just copied all that stuff and put our little twist on it and sold it back to you (he laughed). SFL Music: Smart idea. Mason: No, we just loved the music. We were all post war babies. SFL Music: Did you teach yourself to play guitar and sing? Mason: Am I self-taught? Yeah. I can’t read or write music. SFL Music: What would you say would maybe be the secret to your success and longevity? Mason: Well, a modicum of talent and a lot of dedication, perseverance and willing to sleep on floors or do whatever it is to get what you need, what you don’t. There’s no safety net when you become an artist or a musician. There’s no retirement fund waiting for you. So, you’re out there on your own without a safety net. You better be very passionate about what you’re doing. SFL Music: Is that what you would recommend to a new up and coming artist or band? Mason: I don’t know what they would do these days ‘cause nobody buys records anymore. Everybody’s stealing everything. The internet has just decimated all that. Then on top of that, there’s no radio promotion anymore. There’s no D.J.’s. There’s nobody turning anybody on to the new music. So, you have to go find it. It all seems that its more visual than anything these days ‘cause you need some YouTube thing or some whatever. What Don McLean I guess, the Day the Music Died (he laughed). It’s true. All that’s left for us is live, and then they’re kind of working hard on that with holograms, but I think we’re quite a way off before they get to that point, but that’s all really that’s left is playing live. So, I really have no idea how a young artist would, other than you know, go on one of these T.V shows, America Idol or whatever. Yeah, I mean, I really don’t know. SFL Music: Are there any new videos coming from you and your band? Mason: No, no I don’t really do videos. I finally got badgered into and pestered enough, so I’ll have a book coming out in May. SFL Music: Your first autobiography, right? Mason: Yeah, called Only You Know & I know of course, and you can pre-order it on Amazon I do believe, but it’s scheduled to come out in May. And then I’m working on a little blues album I’ve been piecing together over the last few years which hopefully will get some kind of release this year. SFL Music: What inspired you to write the book, this memoir? Mason: Got badgered into it. SFL Music: Everyone wanted to know your stories? Mason: Yeah, it’s like please, leave me alone. SFL Music: What type of stories are in the book? Mason: Well obviously, all the anecdotes about playing with who I’ve been with, played with whatever, but basically, it’s just my life. It’s my journey. My journey from when I started to now. SFL Music: What was it like for you when you were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (in 2004 with Traffic)? Mason: Well, that was cathartic ‘cause there’s not really any relationship with the rest of those members of that band. I mean, Chris Wood was passed away anyway. It was rather cathartic. I lay it all out in the book what happened with that (he laughed). I mean, it’s just a shame that didn’t use the opportunity to reunite and do some shows. That’s the sad part about it. SFL Music: Is there anything you look back on and maybe would do differently? Mason: Oh, probably a lot of things (he laughed). Probably a lot of things. You know, everything in hind sight. I mean, for a kid from Worcester who can’t read or write music, I’ve had a great journey. What can I say? And it’s not over yet. SFL Music: What would you say you might have gotten out of working with the various musicians that you have? You’ve worked with Mama Cass, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and other world renown musicians. What would you say that you took away from those experiences? Mason: I don’t know if anything I could remark really anything specific. I mean, they were just all sort of great. There was something there in all of them that helped I guess, expand my whatever it was I was doing. There were some things that weren’t. The thing is that most people who are doing what I do or what all of us do like me, it’s sort of our world. It’s the world we live in and work in. So, obviously from people on the outside, just say fans or whatever, it’s a different perception. I think everybody sort of has some assumption that just because we’re musicians, we all know each other which we don’t, and there’s just this massive comradery, which there isn’t, but it’s the same as anywhere else. We have our little group of people and we have our families. We just happen to make music. I mean, we’d be making music anyway even if there wasn’t an audience. SFL Music: Was there anything new for fans to look forward to? Mason: Well, I’m in the throws of maybe putting together a little documentary based around the book, more about the music side of things. So, that’s being worked on. Whether that will happen, I don’t know. We’ll see. SFL Music: Was there anything else you wanted to add? Mason: I’m just looking forward to getting out there. Got a brand-new drummer in the band. Actually, we’re in North Carolina the last three or four days just rehearsing for the show. So, our band is just sounding really great! So, if you like really just straight up, straight ahead for real music and that’s what you love to hear, then don’t miss the band. They’re really good! Share It!