At 64, Al Green shows no signs of slowing down. The soul legend recently called to tell us about his upcoming L.A. show.
L.A. WEEKLY: Hey Al — how are you?
AL GREEN: Are you in Memphis?
No, I'm in L.A.
Why? You don't like Los Angeles?
Yeah, I like Los Angeles. I'm coming over there, at the Greek Theatre, with the Pointer Sisters, you know, those are my gals. I'm really excited to be working with them and, you know … I'm about to lose control and I think I like it!
What kind of show will you be doing?
The same one we put together in the last 13 countries. We just came from Norway, Germany, Paris, London, Portugal, Austria, Ireland …
And how do you put those sets together? Do you play the old songs? New material? How do you mix it up?
Yeah, yeah, we play all the things that make me Al Green, baby. You know, they [in most of Europe] don't speak English so they don't really know. [Sings:] “I'm so tired of being alone …” Now they know that. And they know “Let's Stay Together.” But when you start talking up there, they're going to wonder, “What the hell is he talking about?” They can't understand English anyway. [laughs]
Do you ever mix in some gospel?
Yeah, we got some gospel in there, baby. We got a little “Amazing Grace” in there and “Everything's Gonna Be Alright,” and then we go to “Let's Stay Together,” baby.
How about songs from the more recent albums, like Lay it Down, the stuff you did with Questlove?
That's in the show. Yeah, there was “Made by the Sea” and “Lay It Down” was in the show. Yeah.
Are you working on new material?
Are you working on a new album?
Yeah. I'm waiting for you to come over here to help me to finish it! [Note: The interviewer is not actually a producer.]
What do you like to do when you come to L.A.?
We work so hard, I don't have time to do a thing in L.A. or Switzerland or anywhere else. I and everybody in my band is trying to get some sleep, or trying to get some rest or something. Hell, if I can get 20 or 30 minutes of sleep, that's what I'm trying to do.
How long is the tour?
Man, at one point we were doing over 125, 130 days a year, baby. We're just rolling every second. We do it around the clock.
And do you like it? Do you love the road life?
If I didn't love it, I'd quit.
Al Green and the Pointer Sisters will play the Greek Theatre on Saturday, August 21.