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Artist Q&A: Traffic co-founder Dave Mason

Mason to perform at Arcada Theatre on April 27

Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:30 a.m. CDT
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(Provided photo)
Dave Mason

Best known for being the co-founder of the iconic band Traffic, Dave Mason on May 13 will release “Future’s Past,” which will feature new versions of his classic songs, plus new material he wrote and performed on tour over the last few years.

Mason will perform Sunday, April 27, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets start at $29, available by going to www.oshows.com.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Mason about the new album.

Eric Schelkopf: You are going to be releasing “Future’s Past” in May. What was the idea behind the album?
Dave Mason:
I’m always working on something when I’m home. The song, “World in Changes,” is absolutely nothing like the original. It’s not even close.

A lot of the themes in my songs are timeless. I mean, the world’s always in change.

And most of my lyrics are all somewhat relationship-based. So, that becomes a timeless thing. They’re good songs.

There’s this one brand new song on there, “That’s Freedom.”

I was trying to come up with the right title for [the album], and finally finished up with “Future’s Past.” Because the stuff on there still sounds fresh. It doesn’t sound dated.

Schelkopf: Do you prefer any of the new versions over the old versions?
Mason:
Well, yeah. Like “As Sad And Deep As You,” that’s why I put it on there. To me, it just beats the original one hands down. It’s just such a beautiful version.

I’m basically making it to please myself, essentially. I can’t follow trends.

I like different styles of music. I don’t like any one, though the blues finds its way in there somewhere.

Schelkopf: Talking about reworking songs, of course, Joe Cocker hit it big with his cover of “Feelin’ Alright?” What do you think of his cover? Do you like it?
Mason
: I think it’s great. He turned it into “Feelin’ Alright,” because the song is not about feeling alright at all, not the way I wrote it.

You listen to the original version on the second Traffic album, and you will get it. It’s about not feeling too good myself.

The title of the song is “Feeling Alright?” with a question mark. It’s a question, feeling alright? Because I don’t feel too good.

Schelkopf: Speaking about Traffic, the band made such an impact. What do you think it was about that band that connected with people?
Mason:
There was a lot of talent between the four people in there. And Steve Winwood was certainly a huge talent on his own, and had been with Spencer Davis.

We were very innovative in a lot of ways, too. Traffic was sort of like one of the original alternative bands.

Schelkopf: Are you upset the band Traffic didn’t continue longer? Or did it just last as long as it should have lasted?
Mason:
I think it was too bad that we all couldn’t have gotten back together at different times or whatever, yeah. That would have been nice.

Schelkopf: The music industry has changed so much over the years. What do you think about the current state of the music industry? Is it better or worse than it used to be?
Mason:
It’s not so much the industry itself. The biggest problem is that there is really no radio like there used to be.

Radio was the way that people heard new stuff, and got turned on to it.

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