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Any interesting anecdotes?

Davis: We've done one cover and we learned that basically in a night; and we totally re-arranged it.

Reggie: That was Whitesnake.

Alex: (laughs) It was a cover by Whitesnake.

Kevin: It was a ballad by Whitesnake

[everyone laughs as Reggie mocks David Coverdale: "Is this love that I'm feeling?"]

Alex: We turned it into some jazzy blues.

Reggie: I remember we were talking about it in rehearsal jams for a long time and I went home and I found Whitesnake for $1.99 and popped it in, listened to all the tunes and went, Okay, this tune would be cool and then I listened to that ballad and I was like, "I could hear that!" Brought it back, played it for these guys and they were like, "Okay, well..."

Kevin: We pretty much did it because it would be totally absurd; and it ended up a little bit too cool but it's still a fuckin' Whitesnake song.

Alex: It ended up sound really good. People loved it.

"Maktub" is Arabic for "it is written;" you guys got the name from The Alchemist by Paul Coelho; how has this or the meaning behind the word served you to keep on pushing?

Reggie: It kinda hovers around different themes. One thing that I just thought of now that I kinda realized the way you phrased that question; Maktub, the name itself, is... It would be different if the band were named a more tangible object, like Flying Cars--that's a horrible Example, but it's kind of a name that gives you enough to take and there's a certain mysticism that anything is possible musically or directionally and that is okay to go many different avenues. In a way Maktub is something for myself, I can always take a nice deep breath and know that there's lots of space, rather than be confined to something more tangible.

[ maktub covering whitesnake? ]

Kevin: Well, it's like if you lose faith in yourself or in the group of people you're playing with, the band's not going to go on; so, how does the name help us move on? The name itself is a positive affirmation, "it is written." And then, if you have times when you lose that faith, you kinda go back to the name, "Maktub" and y'know, it's kinda been that way for me.

Alex: That whole story where we got the name from was about someone going on a journey and avoiding pitfalls and overcoming hardships and finding joy; basically coming back the same place that he started and finally came time for him to realize the truth. That the truth was within them the whole time. Sometimes you just got to look inside yourself.

Davis: I think that's the journey that everybody's on. Everybody enjoyed the book at least, so they identified with it.

Reggie: Also, a lot of the imagery that Maktub has presented in visuals for our shows has kind of a Eastern feel to it and it's something that I like to think of when I like to describing that place, kinda like that cool breeze, semi-tropical Eastern. It's what I think of when someone says Morocco; very romantic and calming and very bold.

Kevin: I guess that's what it is, that imagery of what I put my trust into when things aren't going right or I don't know what the hell I'm playing; and I think of that imagery...that helps the band get through.

Why Seattle?

Alex: Seattle has a large amount of musicians that are into different kinds of music and sometimes it makes it hard to be a professional because there's so many good musicians and competition is kinda fierce--not in an ugly way, but in a friendly way. Everybody likes to play and we just want to find our place. And sometimes you don't get a lot of money from it because if you want to negotiate it for more money, step aside--someone else will do it for a lot cheaper than you. But the blessing is that there's so much good music up here and the fact that we can have this many diverse elements in our sound is really due to the city's nurturing [nature].

Reggie: It's also interesting. Importance of performance, like etiquette and professionalism, are completely different here. Standards are non-existent in a way; we can go to a club, and it may have a brilliant sound system, but the people are pretty laid back--which could be good or bad, cuz if someone stressed-out from L.A. comes up and wants a really kick ass, very, very, very tight show, they're going to have a little bit of a problem, because it doesn't run that way. In one aspect, it's kinda nice because there's no expectations placed on you to uphold a certain order of professionalism but at the same time, you really have to put your nose to the grindstone in order to hold your own.

[ reggie contemplating the meaning of maktub ]
photo by Daniel Murphy

Kevin: In the last couple of years, we needed to be able to do our thing, no matter where we were. In Why do we need to run away somewhere else to make our first record? Why can't we make our first record where we are? For me, that's why I wouldn't want to go. How is being somewhere else, how is that going make it so much different? I should be able to be anywhere to make music.

Alex: I have a wild idea of getting a houseboat down in Belize somewhere; totally drop out and then go write music in the studio.

Reggie: The cool thing about here is that there's a community of people--they may be introverted and shy and unapproachable, but when you earn their trust, they begin to open up. It's very important for people to know that within the music industry--especially after what has happened here in Seattle--there are people that they can trust and have a kinship and a friendship with and not close themselves off and not classify all people a certain way and be a little bit more accepting.

What's currently on the CD players of each of the members of Maktub?

Kevin Goldman:
Style Council
Linton Kwesi Johnson
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Sleepy's Theme
Bob Marley Uprising
Stevie Wonder Signed Sealed Delivered

Alex Veley:
Freddy King
Curtis Mayfield
B.B. King
Donny Hathaway
Al Green
blues, roots music, rockabilly

Reggie Watts:
Crowded House
Jethro Tull
some a cappella group that David Meinert managed
Siouxsie and the Banshees Tinderbox

Davis Martin:
Chocolate Genius
Sleepy's Theme
Jeff Buckley Sketches For My Sweetheart, The Drunk
Johnny Guitar Watson
old Maktub recordings (to learn to play some of the improvs)

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