ACL Fest Interviews
Al Green8:45pm, Friday, Capital Metro stage
The Rev. Al Green is no saint.
"It's not just the Catholic Church," cries Sam Cooke's soul heir from his office in Memphis. "There's a lot of churches that hide their dirty laundry under the rug, and I know about that from being in the church 27 years. Oh yeah."
Has it been hard for you to stay on the straight and narrow all these years?
"Yup. God told me, 'You're not gonna be perfect the first day. Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect. You're not gonna be perfect when you say, "Oh, I believe in Christ, I believe in God. I been born again." 'Cause that's real good, but you gonna still make mistakes, and you gonna have tendencies and desires like any other man I made. So what I want you to do is practice.'
"Sometimes I had to say, 'Lord, I messed up big time! I mean, would you like to see how bad?' He said, 'Nah, I see ya.'"
Green lets out a Little Richard cackle.
"He said, 'You made a whopper Al, didn't you?'
"I ... I ... I'm not so perfect as I'd like to be. I know Al. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. We have to keep him under check, see?"
Al has mischief in his soul doesn't he?
"Al is like any other man that is a man, that ... that ... that's right! You have to stay up on your p's and q's to be a minister. Or you'll be sliding, sliding, sliding right back."
There are just as many temptations in the ministry as there are in popular music?
"Uh-uh. There's more."
"You think them church sisters going there just for church, right?!"
Both of us are cackling now.
"I'm gonna tell you something when I get there to Austin, boy! I learned more stuff in church than I did in the world. I'm like, 'Man, c'mon!' I said, 'Lord have mercy, but this is not right.' They're like, 'Well, you go do "right," we'll just do this!'"