• Bill Monroe Interview in Denver, Feb. 19, 1986

    Bill Monroe Interview in DenverFebruary 19, 1986, Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys had traveled to Denver, Colorado for a performance. For two lifelong fans — radio personality Dave Higgs and videojournalist Scott Wright — it would be their first opportunity to interview the man whose music they'd listened to most of their lives.

    Learning that Monroe was about to be reunited with his famed mandolin that had been badly damaged in an act of vandalism, the two made plans to travel to Nashville the following week to video Monroe being reunited at the Gibson factory with his July 9, 1923 Lloyd Loar mandolin. In the process they would also tape an interview with Charlie Derrington and later the same day meet with Monroe on his farm for an additional interview.

    These events all lead up to what has become known as the The Scott Wright collection, historic footage surrounding a few key days in 1986 with Bill Monroe as the subject matter. The tapes were stored in Wright's home on 3/4" videocassette tape for over 30 years before turning them over to the Mandolin Cafe with the wish they be shared with the general public.

    The start of the video shows Monroe meeting concert organizers with the interview beginning at approximately 1:36. The interview takes place in the locker room of the Denver Nuggets NBA basketball team. As with other footage from the collection, it's presented here unedited as originally filmed.

    Discussed in the interview: Uncle Pen, Arnold Shultz, how early blues influenced Bluegrass, Monroe's work as a barn dancer in Chicago, The Monroe Brothers, the baseball teams, the early Bluegrass Boys, the first time the band played "Muleskinner Blues" on the Opry, tent shows, visiting Israel, the vandalism of his mandolin, Elvis and more!

    Other Videos in the Wright Collection

    Bill Monroe Interview in Denver
    Photo credit: Scott Wright

    Bill Monroe Interview in Denver
    Photo credit: Scott Wright
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. MikeEdgerton's Avatar
      MikeEdgerton -
      We have always seen Bill on the performing side of his music. These interviews show him on the promotional side of the business and I find that interesting.
    1. f5loar's Avatar
      f5loar -
      Note that in this 1986 interview Monroe says he bought the Loar in 1941. In previous interviews since Ralph Rinzler first started to ask him about the finding of his Loar, he would bounce between either 1941 or 1943. It seems to have been a common question for a new interviewer to ask him. You can find in several print those 2 years as when Monroe said he got the Loar. However, after he died in 1996 it was proven from tour dates, it was bought in early 1945, as he had never toured Florida in either 1941 or 1943. The first recording of the Loar is Feb. 13, 1945. No recordings live or studio or dated photos of the Loar have been found before that date.
    1. Timbofood's Avatar
      Timbofood -
      Don't ask me what I bought last week!
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Noting the one year anniversary of this interview.
    1. Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
      Mandolin Cafe -
      Another trip around the sun for this previously never before seen interview with Big Mon.