US guitarist, fusion music king, in this interview talks about the origins of blues and about his own story: jazz, blues, two albums with Vital Tech Tones (Victor Wooten on bass and Steve Smith on drums), and fusion songs with Tribal Tech (Gary Willis on bass, the drums Kirk Covington and vocals and keyboards Scott Kinsey).
You’re a rock / blues musician. Why was your first album jazz?
I play different styles, I don’t like to be categorized as a player of one style, anyway yes I think that my first album (that was not my own album) was jazz because it was for a band leader who was playing jazz fusion so I played jazz fusion too. I feel comfortable playing jazz and blues, it’s the same for me. They both express myself and my feelings.
Is the blues popular in America?
Not really. I would have to say maybe more popular than jazz but definitely what is popular in America is pop and rock while blues is still looked at underground and eclectic music, not commercial; blues was much popular in the 70s, you know, with Led Zeppelin and the other bands; these rock groups made blues very popular. The true story is that black musicians invented the blues in the 40s and they were very unpopular; I mean that they were popular just in the black community, in the African-American community, and then bands like Led Zeppelin copied Muddy Waters and the others black musicians. They didn’t invented blues but they basically just stole it from black musicians much older than them; many bands like Rolling Stones or these bands of 70s were influenced by black music and all these bands becoming popular in America contributed to make popular those original black musicians so now everyone in America knows who Muddy Waters is. But I still have to say that the blues never became a really popular music like Lady Gaga or Madonna or something like that.
Why is blues, like jazz rarely played on the radio?
Because it’s all about money and advertising; it’s just like advertisers pay to be on whatever program is going to sell the product the most. On television programs and radio stations the most popular is pop music so jazz and blues continue to stay in underground because they are not supported by big money and commercial radio. It’s sad because I feel like all music deserves equal time and space on radio, it’s not a good situation.
Which countries are most interested in your music?
It’s better in Europe, in South America, in Asia because people there are more open minded and they can appreciate this kind of music. This is the reason why I’m here, why every blues musician comes over here.
Why did you decide to teach music?
It was not really a decision, I have been a teacher ever since I had my first guitar: I lived in a neighbourhood of guitar players and everytime I learned something from, let’s say a Led Zeppelin album, I showed it to my friend and he showed it to someone else; it has always been all about teach and learn and I was a student and I was a teacher and I’m still a student and I’m still a teacher, nothing’s changed since when I was a little kid. Now they pay me to do it, it is the only difference and it is great.
You play guitar, your wife plays classical piano. What about your daughter?
She plays piano too but she is really in ice skating and painting that are her favorite things; she likes music but I don’t think she wants to become a musician; if she wants to do it for me it’s ok but I don’t want to force her to become a musician because now times are harder for them. I don’t want her to become poor like me!
Regular InteractBlogger Alessandra Addari interviewed legendary US guitarist Scott Henderson recently. Read Alessandra’s earlier interview with former Prima Ballerina Mariafrancesca Garritano