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On the phone with Dr. John - Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival

By TOM D'ANTONI // Mac Rebennack in St. Tammany's Parish, Louisiana, with a bowl of grapes, talking about stuff. He'll be at the festival on Sunday.

Naturally, we wanted to get an interview with Dr. John. He's one of the stars of the 2016 Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival. He'll play with the Nite Trippers at 6:45pm on the Brewery Stage.

I first interviewed him circa 1988 live on the phone on the radio at around 3am after he had just gotten back from playing in Ringo Starr's Band in New York. Believe me, if I had a recording of it, you would be privy. But I don't.

He was in St. Tammany's Parish, Louisiana when I talked with him. I wanted to do it on Skype for better audio, but his assistant told me that he said he didn't like all that "electrickery."

He wasn't terribly talkative that day. Don't matter. It was Mac Rebennack and, at 75, the history of New Orleans music resides within him. That will be on display on Sunday.

He also had a bowl of grapes next to him which he ate while we talked, hence the sound effects.

Just before we said farewell, I mentioned the F&F Botanica Spiritual Supply Store in New Orleans which is operated by Felix Figueroa and his daughter and son-in-law Tonya and Jon. The two of them ran the Orleans Candle Company on Lombard in Portland after Katrina. They returned, much to the sadness of everyone who knew them here.

Mac perked right up.

Here he is, grapes and all.

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