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The Gibson EB-3 and Fender Bass VI will be forever associated with you. What drew you to those instruments at the time?
"I didn't really like the sound of Fenders [at first]. To me, it was a very standardised sound, and I felt that just about every Fender player in those days sounded the same, so I started looking for different things. I was in the Graham Bond band and the guitar player left, so I got the Fender VI, because I thought I could play little bits of solos on that.
"Once Cream started to happen, I wanted to find something that had a very particular kind of distorted sound, and that I could bend strings on, because I wanted to play it like a guitar - and the EB-3 was perfect for that. That got nicked in the '70s, though. It sort of appears from time to time and then disappears again, so there's this kind of on-going hunt to track it down and find the elusive EB-3!"
There's an impressive list of guest spots on Silver Rails, particularly guitarists - Robin Trower, Phil Manzanera, Uli Jon Roth. How did they become involved? Why them?
"I went to play in Cuba a couple of years ago with Phil, so when I wrote Candlelight - the words are written by my wife Margaret, I have to mention on pain of no dinner - I just heard Phil playing. He's one of my favourite guitar players. I really like his approach - it's unusual and it takes things to another level. [The same with Robin], as soon as I wrote Rusty Lady, that riff, I just felt, 'Well, that's Robin'.
"Then, Uli, I really was lucky, because I just wanted him. Hidden Cities is my sort of version of metal and he's got that amazing guitar with the extremely long neck and it just seemed right for him. He's such a great guy and so funny. I remember saying to him at the session something like, 'Maybe we should get back, because time is getting on' and he said: [adopts Uli gravitas] 'Time's a concept best not considered!' It was like, 'Alright Uli, fair enough!'"
You've collaborated with many great players. Which musician have you felt the strongest musical connection with throughout your career?
"I would have to say Cream was the strongest musical statement [of my career]. There's no getting away from that. It was, as Frank Zappa described it, 'A nifty little trio.' I think that sums it up really. I would say, with those guys, we brought out the best in each other.
"Then also working with [jazz drumming legend] Tony Williams' Lifetime. That was pretty astounding. But you get a lot of different things from different people. Working with Ringo [Starr], for instance. People say he's not a great drummer - I think he's a pretty fine drummer and he taught me a few things about actually being an entertainer."