Indy: You've just released a DVD/CD package, Live from Chicago, that features a concert recorded in that city last summer. How do you rate the performances on the release?
SM: I feel like they caught the mood of our shows and the fun the audience has and what the show is like. It sounds really good, and everybody played really well, and we got good takes on all of the material.
Indy: Chicago is where you first made a name for yourself, playing blues clubs in the '60s. Were the clubs as rough as legend has it?
SM: From 9 o'clock at night to 4 in the morning, there would usually be a beating. The police were shaking you down. The Mafia was shaking you down. The nightclub owners were cheating you. I mean, it was a horrible existence.
Indy: You started recording albums in the late 1960s, but didn't get any real success until the 1973 album, The Joker. The story is you were ready to quit music until The Joker caught on. Why?
SM: I was just on the road all the time, but not really making enough money to buy a house or do anything. It was enough money to fly to the next gig, pay the guys.
Indy: Your hits of the late 1970s and early '80s still are the cornerstones of your live shows. Why have hits like "Jet Airliner," "Jungle Love" and "Rock'n Me" had lasting appeal?
SM: What it is, is it's a great song that everybody could sing. It's got great harmony in it, it's got a really good [basic] track and it's fun. That's what I was trying to do.