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Al Green

One Bad Motherf*cker

After more than 35 years, the Rev. Al Green is one of the few great R&B singers from the 70s still performing today. His hits like ďLetís Stay TogetherĒ and ďLove and HappinessĒ are examples of baby-making music at its finest. What can you expect when the 64 year old takes the stage Sunday at Outside Lands? ďWeíre gonna come over there to San Francisco with about 21 people and turn the house out.Ē He told us more in phone interview.

SF Station (SFS): Youíre coming out to San Francisco with 21 people. Thatís a pretty big crew.

Al Green (AG): Thatís fine. Justin Timberlake has 26, so Iím trying to hold down my end.

SFS: Your gig in SF is the third one in a row at the start of your tour. Is it tough to do shows back-to-back like that?

AG: Not if you have been doing it for 35 years, it ainít. [laughs]

SFS: Whatís the difference between an Al Green performance from the 70s and an Al Green performance in 2010?

AG: I think the difference is heís going to be more focused, forceful, and determined. I donít know if it will be more energetic then how it was in the beginning, but now we have it all channeled in the right direction. Everything is flowing in one direction instead of 15 different things that are flying every which way because heís 23 years old. There were girls in the hallway, girls in the suite, girls in the bedroom, girls down the hall, girls everywhere.

SFS: That sounds like a real difficult distraction.

AG Well, itís a distraction whether you are a singer or a preacher. I still look at beautiful women, and I still know that Iím human, but Iíve got other things to do now.

SFS: So what relationship advice would you give to some of the young people who are coming out to see you Sunday?

AG: Stay out of trouble. Thatís it.

SFS: What message would you like people to leave with after they see you perform?

AG: What makes it the Al show is ďLetís Stay TogetherĒ and ďLove and Happiness.Ē Thatís what heís about and thatís what heís been about. Thatís the title and thatís the whole concept of this show. And weíve done this show in 23 countries and everybody says, ďThatís a bad motherfucker.Ē [laughs]

But, Iím still very serious. I do what I do, and I do it well. I already did the chitliní circuit; Iíve paid my dues. Iíve paid the cost to be the boss, and when I come out on stage I kick ass. Thatís the best way to put it.

SFS: What keeps you going after almost 40 years?

AG: Staying out of trouble.

SFS: You put out a great record with Questlove a couple of years ago. Are you working on anything new?

AG: Iím working on that. Iíve got five songs written and Iím waiting to get enough time to breathe so I can do five more. All I need is a minute, but they keep saying they want me in Vancouver, British Columbia, and then the next night in Tacoma, Washington.

SFS: You have five days off in Northern California after your San Francisco gig. Any plans?

AG: Yeah, Iíve got to write. Iím gonna get out on some river some place and have me some lemonade and write some songs. I canít just stop working because I stop singing. I keep on working.

Al Green performs August 15th at 4pm at the Outside Lands music and arts festival.