Robbie Robertson: I Would Make Music With Levon And Garth Again

Videos by American Songwriter

Robbie Robertson spoke to American Songwriter about his impressive new solo album, How To Become Clairvoyant, which features guests like Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Tom Morello, Robert Randolph and Trent Reznor. The lead single, “He Don’t Live Here No More,” is currently the most added track on Triple A and AC Radio. You can read the full interview in the upcoming May/June issue.

When asked if he would consider reuniting with the surviving members of The Band for a reunion tour, Robertson had this to say:

Will you tour behind this album?

Being on the road to me is a young man’s game. When I was young, I loved it. And also, it’s a bit like being in the same stage play for the rest of your life. I completely understand people that it’s a big part of their life, and they make a lot of money from it, but I don’t find interesting challenges in it. I like working on various different things, and I was very much rebelling against that, the whole record-tour, record-tour lifestyle. I did that, and it was great then, but I don’t relate to that anymore.

In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of bands reunite, from Pink Floyd to Buffalo Springfield. What are your thoughts on a Band reunion?

We lost two guys in The Band. That’s like Ringo and Paul McCartney doing a Beatles tour. If everybody isn’t there, I don’t think it’s valid. That’s just how I see it. And the idea of making some music with Garth or Levon at some point, I have no objections to that.

Robertson will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on April 2nd.


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  1. Robbie reunited with Levon and Garth would be dynamite. The new work by all is great but the fans would also love one last waltz with the group.

    I recently posted an article on my Rockaeology blog at about one of Robbie’s best compositions, “The Weight.” Surprisingly, Robertson says he did not intend the song to have a religious theme; his Nazareth is a small city in Pennsylvania. The characters — Fanny, Crazy Chester and the rest — are all people the group knew and all have interesting stories of their own.

  2. Who wouldn’t…?

    It would be a great thing to see and hear, if it ever occurred…

    Here’s Garth Hudson with me doing two tunes recorded largely at Levon’s on my Reverb Nation site..

    Gypsy River and Mississippi Flood…

    Or click on my name to go to that website they’re both free downloads along with some other tunes I recorded as Demos for The Band’s Jericho Album in 1991…

  3. thats true about the characters in the weight. growing up near where much of the band hails from i have heard the lore surrounding crazy chester and fanny – a horse on a tobacco farm. brilliant stuff nonetheless

  4. One simple statement can be sometimes taken with too much weight.

    Robbie states he would do it, but Garth Hudson is in his 70’s and Levon has not spoen to Robbie in 30 some odd years.

    Levon hates, absolutely hates Robbie.

  5. Add a good bassist and Mac Rebbanack on keyboards or whoever and let Garth fine tune things and you’ve got some new history in the making… Is this news or speculation?

  6. Robbie’s new disc is rather anemic. I’d rather he record with a people we’ve never heard of – at this point most releases with so many guests tend to be bloated, aimless affairs, and save for some nice work from Clapton, this release is no exception.

    He also ‘damns with faint praise’ the whole idea of working with Garth and Levon again – not excited, not ‘hey, let’s make this happen’ but rather a passive-aggressive answer that says more than he realizes. Those guys deserve so much more from RR at this point – it’s unfortunate he’s presently unwilling to admit this.

  7. Another possible passive aggressive answer is that if it’s not all of the Band involved, it’s invalid. Is he implying the reunion years were not truly The Band because he wasn’t playing with them?

    • I wish you could hear the interview, and his tone of voice: Robertson sounded very genuine when he made those comments.

  8. Levon and Robbie have issues that will probably never be resolved.Right before the Last Waltz,Robbie was chief songwriter and de facto manager and he just got burnt out.Levon claims that Robbie took credit for songs that were more collabrative in nature and not just his.Robbies take was he was the only responsible one at that time and looking back there might be some truth to that.If it is not right to call them the band because Rick D and Richard M are no longer there was it right that they toured under that name without Robbie??.

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