Once again Russ and I have had the pleasure of interviewing Mary Guibert, Jeff Buckley's mother. This time we wanted the scoop on new releases and other such information. As always, Ms. Guibert was gracious enough to divulge information for us to share with Jeff's fans who all want to see and hear MORE JEFF BUCKLEY!
We thank Mary with overflowing hearts for sharing with us, and more importantly for working so diligently to keep Jeff's memory alive by releasing more of his work for the fans.
Our "eternal" gratitude, Mary,
1. How soon can we expect a new release of Jeff Buckley material?
Mary Guibert: Once Sketches... was completed and properly launched, less than one year ago, we embarked on the task of taking a thorough inventory of everything that was in the Sony vaults and set out to secure DATs of Jeff's concert performances. It must be one of the laws of physics that "things always take longer than you think they will" - because it always seems to be true. On the bright side, it means that everyone involved is extremely interested in taking a careful and extremely thoughtful approach to the stewardship of Jeff's legacy, and that's more important to me than ANYTHING. I don't want to fall into the trap of making promises I can't keep. I'll just say: "Right now, it looks like it won't be before February or March of 2000."
2. Will we be hearing live material from the Australian tours? Maybe a couple CDs worth of shows from the Sin-é days? The extra track from the Grace sessions? The alternate take of Hallelujah that Jeff preferred which was recorded near the end of the Grace sessions?
The answer is "maybe" to all of the above. Right now we need to create a vision for the "big picture" of the entire legacy, or at least as much of it as can/should be released. Remember, there's a lot that neither Jeff nor we would ever allow to be released because it's just too incomplete or just poor performances. I'd rather err on the side of taking too long and doing it right than rushing to release something I'll be sorry for later. Sketches... set a very high standard of critical acclaim. I'd hate to follow it with a less than stellar live album, if I can help it. The more careful and thoughtful we are, the better, as far as I'm concerned.
3. Will we hear songs like "Mood Swing Whiskey", "Sky Blue Skin," "Woke Up In A Strange Place," "Let's Bomb The Moonlight," and "Don't Listen To Anyone But Me?"
It's possible. I haven't heard those tapes, yet. We've started listening to the older material, first, so our researchers could have a little more time to gather the more recent recordings together. It all depends on the concept we decide to go with for the next release. Eventually, I'd like to see all those recordings get out - as long as they're good enough.
4. Who will be at the helm of the new project(s)? Will Mary Guibert have production credits again?
Columbia has specifically requested that I participate in all the important decisions about Jeff's legacy. Whether I get credit in the liner notes is of little importance to me. I'm working directly with three or four departments, right now - in several different areas - so I'm very much involved in all aspects of all of the projects currently being supervised and assisted by the Estate.
5. Are Jeff’s former band mates supportive of the decision to release more of Jeff’s work, especially live material? Are they contributing?
Yes, yes and yes. Actually, the band members and I wanted the first posthumous album to be a live performance compilation, but we lost that battle. They're very eager to work on a live album with me. They're also very busy with their own projects, so we'll be working together as much as our schedules will allow. As with Sketches..., they will certainly be involved in the listening and in preparation for whatever albums may be released in future (from wherever they happen to be in the world). I will always place their observations and opinions very high on my list of considerations.
6. Will there be multimedia content, such as videos, on the new album?
Putting videos on the CD-Extra component is an idea I tried to get done on Sketches, but lost the vote. This time, I think they'll be more likely to do it - I'll keep trying.
7. Will the different releases in different countries contain varying content like the Sketches (for My Sweetheart the Drunk) discs did?
As far as I know from my experience, each Columbia division (practically one for each country!) has its own marketing practices, as well as several manufacturing plants all over the world, which is the driving force behind the little variations that occur. Some of the variations were intentional and some were unexplainable ... like why the European version had two discs the same color instead of the way the US, Australian & Japanese versions did (one orange, one black)? We know the Aussies were anxious to get their product to market and decided to drop the CD-Extra because it was the last component to be prepared and they wanted to release in early May, rather than mid-to-late May. Don't ask why - I don't know! That's why I approved the release of an Aussie single with extra live tracks and the CD-Extra on it. Besides, the Aussie fans deserved it - they bought a ton of records, bless their hearts!!! (Both Grace and Sketches went Platinum in Oz).
8. What is the possibility of the release of the four videos, the EPKs and video promos, and other live video footage in a form that could be purchased by the fans?
It's hard to say how much Columbia will want to release in the way of videos. I keep pushing for it, but it's not up to me.
9. Is there anything we can do to assist Merri Cyr with her new Jeff Buckley book? It would be a shame for it not to be published because a publisher might incorrectly think that there would not be sufficient demand for it.
MG: Do any of you have really good connections with a great publishing house who'll give her total artistic control??? That's what we're looking for!
10. Are there other collaborative projects are to be released in the future, besides the Inger Lorre album?
You just never know. Jeff had a habit of sitting in on recording sessions wherever he went, especially if a friend needed a hand. I hear stories all the time about how Jeff used to sit in on all kinds of recording sessions, to strike a triangle at the appropriate moment, to add guitar riffs or background vocals. Who knows where the sound of his voice might be tucked away or whether the playing of some instrument in the background might be him. He'd always keep it a secret from Columbia so they wouldn't charge his friends money for his participation. They're all very, very secret and I ain't tellin! You hawkeye Bucklyites will no doubt ferret them out, every last one!
11. When can we expect the "Artists Inspired by Jeff" project to be completed?
Well, according to my last update, Nyla was headed to Australia to do interviews and film. Laurie has been deluged with contributions from all over the world - artists of all kinds! It's going to be a huge task to put it all together in a cohesive program. I'd hazard a scientific-wild-assed guess that it should be wrapping up by the end of this year, but I'll have to revisit that estimate after summertime.
12. Can we anticipate www.JeffBuckley.com to offer any different merchandise in the future?
ABSOLUTELY: I've ordered enlarged photo-postcards - all photos by Merri Cyr. The new size is 6.5" x 8". Each set of four will have four different shots, and there will be five different sets, total. There's going to be at least one more new t-shirt and then maybe we'll start re-issuing the old concert t-shirt styles that Jeff used. Columbia has also donated all of their inventory of promotional items, such as the Grace promo flats (rounds), Grace and Sketches posters, streamers, stickers, and POP (point-of-purchase) displays. I'm going to figure out a way to warehouse them without costing an arm and a leg; then I'll make them available to the fans for as little cost to them as humanly possible. All proceeds, if any, will still go to my two favorite charities: MAP & Road Recovery.
13. We hear that there are at least three biographies being written about Jeff. Have you given your special seal of approval to any of these biographers?
There's only one biographer who has my blessing. He's asked me not to publish his name, but I can say that he's a well-known music journalist and is by far the best qualified and most scholarly of the three hopeful authors who'd approached me for my blessing. The British writer has decided not to go ahead with his effort. The third person (who apparently doesn't need my blessing, after all) didn't have a publishing deal and is an amateur writer with an all too personal agenda. The author I've chosen has been working on his book for over a year and plans to have his manuscript ready for editing
by the end of this year. He's had access to virtually everyone he's wanted to see, and unlimited access to me and my personal archives. I've given him carte blanche to write without any oversight from me and I feel very secure in that choice. I'm confident that the results of his efforts will be highly professional, thorough and impartial. No release date has been set as yet.
14. Is there any information about the proposed Momma Dogga children's book that we've heard of? Is Ann Huck illustrating it?
MG: Annie's e-mailed me some beautiful photos of her sample illustrations. She and her little family are trying to come to the U.S. for a year to work on it and visit with her mother. We don't have a publisher, yet, but Boingo Books has indicated they'd be interested in seeing our sample illustrations and is already in love with the text. I'm also working on a Jeff Buckley songbook with (Aussie) Michael Harris and Hal Leonard Publishing - in my spare time! Whew!
Last Updated: 18 Apr 1999