Dr. John still has the prescription for the blues; voodoo psych rock

Dr. John is pictured here in the early '70s. Now he's actually in his early 70s. (Credit: David Warner Ellis/Redferns)
Dr. John is pictured here in the early ’70s. Now he’s actually in his early 70s. Dr. John plays Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston and Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Concert Hall in Purchase, NY. (Credit: David Warner Ellis/Redferns)

A legendary songwriter and eccentric showman, Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack Jr. is best known to the rest of us as Dr. John. Now 73, he has been making music since the 1950s. His crazy concoctions of blues, jazz, zydeco and possessed voodoo psychedelia extend more than 30 records and countless collaborations. He’s performed with the Stones, Sonny and Cher, Zappa and Spiritualized. One of the Muppets was even created in his likeness (Dr. Teeth). In 2011, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, in 2013, received an honorary degree from Tulane and a Grammy for Best Blues Album for “Locked Down,” recorded and co-written with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. John …

METRO: Hello sir. How are you?
DR. JOHN:
I’m breathin’. I was trying to get this record mixed. It’s all a complicated bunch of procedures when you’re making records.

So you’re already working on a new album?
Well, it’s a tribute to Louis Armstrong. Louis came to me in a dream and said, “Do my stuff your way.” And that’s what I did. We’ll finish it up pretty soon I think. And hopefully they’ll put it out when they do.

The last time we spoke, you had just released your record about Katrina. Now that more time has passed, do you see a new New Orleans?
Well, in some ways it’s like the whole lower Ninth Ward — they haven’t done anything. It’s been pretty much left to its own devices and that’s a shame. There were so many musicians — I’m looking at a picture of one now, Alvin Robertson. There were just so many musicians that were from there, you know. I wonder what they’d think to see that whole neighborhood is gone. That’s sad to me. But listen, we’re gonna make the people warmer when we get there.

When you recorded “Locked Down,” did you see it as a return to the psychedelic blues of your early work? How influential was Dan Auerbach?
Well, actually Dan was thinking of some of the stuff like that. I think he did an excellent job. We had met a couple of times before we did this thing and then we played this Bonnaroo festival. I had played with Allen Toussaint and the Meters, but I also did some things with Dan and some other guys. We had a good time. Actually, he is an old-school cat. I mean he’s a lot older than his age … and that’s a good thing.

You’ve received some amazing accolades recently. Did any of them take you by surprise?
They were all surprises to me, but I have tons of surprises in my life and that’s a good thing. Everything takes me by surprise. I was surprised back in the day when I won the Memphis Blues Award. I used to announce that with Rufus Thomas. I used to have a great time with some of the old guys. Man, I miss them. A lot of people that I came up with is gone. And that’s how it goes, you know. We here one day and we ain’t the next.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…