On the Couch with Barney McAll

MIJF-Barney-McAllWho is Barney McAll?
I am an improvising pianist and composer and my inner clown is called Feral. I lived in New York City for 20 years and got to tour the world with some amazing artists like Gary Bartz, Sia Furler, Fred Wesley, and Dewey Redman. I am very grateful.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I would meditate more, be more present, send more snail mail to bring surprise happiness, learn ventriloquism, and stop eating sour squirms altogether.

Who inspires you and why?
All human beings who can transmute grief, have compassion, show love, face their shadow self and just continue to grow because that is my ongoing aspiration. Agnes Martin, Carl Jung, Bud Powell, Melba Liston, Robert Bly, Gary Bartz, Mike Nock, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Abbey Lincoln, S.N.Goenka, Alice Coltrane and so many others come to mind…

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Spike the following people’s drinks with LSD: Donald Trump, Scott Morrison, Jair Bolsonaro & Boris Johnson. Reveal the contents of Epstein’s safe and prosecute every person involved to the fullest extent of the law. Magically wake every human being up to the crushing reality of climate change comin’ down the pike. Also, wear a mask at all times when outside.

Favorite holiday destination and why?
Cape tribulation QLD. Such a stunning place and Daintree National Park will make you weep with its beauty. One time, as we drove out of the park, an immense eagle flew right in front of our windscreen, Jurassic Park style, holding a huge writhing silver fish in its talons!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Squeaky Beach at Wilsons Promontory. Another magical destination that feels so wild and untouched and alive. These Aboriginal lands are so beautiful and I try to always remember that “the land owns us.”

What are you currently reading?
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy & A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn – these are almost the same book in some ways, horrifyingly enough.

What are you currently listening to?
Chopin Slow Motions; Kate Moore Dances And Canons; Terje Rypdal Terje Rypdal; Alea Saxophone Quartet Arvo Part; Random Shit Nai Listens To – Spotify Playlist; Curtis Mayfield Curtis; and Moondog A New Sound Of An Old Instrument.

Happiness is?
Hanging out with my wife and kids, watching children draw, running with my dog Luna, music revealing itself, high-end fish tacos.

What does the future hold for you?
The future is more unknown than ever right now so probably my Patreon page. I am consolidating all my ideas, theories, and writings about music and life. It’s a great place to keep making things, creating things, and doing concerts despite COVID. I reckon everyone should make one! Apart from that, my new album is also close to being finished and it’s called Precious Energy.

Barney will premiere new material from his forthcoming album, Precious Energy on Saturday 25 July as part of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival’s These Digital Times. For more information, visit: www.melbournejazz.com for details.

Image: Barney McAll (supplied)