Thursday, February 10, 2011

An interview with Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy mid song at Mahindra Blues Festival, Mumbai

'Shh…I ain’t finished yet'

Hip-hop, blues, BB King and Eric Clapton …are just some of things five time Grammy winner Buddy Guy is all about

In the audience of a blues legend, you do feel him all around. At the just concluded Mahindra Blues Festival, ‘74-year young…’ Buddy Guy (like his song) walked through the crowd, talked to his audience in melody, played his guitar with the drum stick, his teeth and even holding behind his back. He even indulged us in a small duel with his pianist Marty Sammon. The oldest soul and blues musician held the crowd captive for nearly two hours and kept saying ‘Shhh…I ain’t finished yet’ every time he felt the pulse of the crowd dip. We spoke to the showman beneath that fabulous hat.

That was a fabulous performance over the weekend. We loved the way you kept saying Bombay in your lyrics. Are we aiite for Buddy Guy?

Well I had fun. Now see I knew I hadn’t played here with my whole band before. It was great to have Marty (Sammon on keyboards), Tim (Austin on drums), Orlando (Wright on bass) and Ric (Hall on guitar) here. They are solid men. I liked working the crowd and people here knew of me, my new album Living Proof. Some of you had heard about it. Then Shemekia (Copeland) and Jonny (Lang) joined me on stage and we sang them blues.

Speaking of Living Proof (buy here), congratulations on your Grammy nomination this year. Are you hoping of winning your sixth?

Well I don’t know about that, but where I come from, every little bit helps. BB King and I have been great friends for over 53 years. BB and I did a spiritual song for this album on ‘Stay a little longer.’ We were both excited. Before all of this technology, we all would listen to the spiritual groups from years and years ago. This album is Living Proof of the old times, of our old times.

Are there plans of playing with Eric Clapton soon?

You know, Eric (Clapton) had told me that the last Crossroads (Guitar festival) would be his last one, but I think he had a lot of fun at this last one. He’s coming back on tour this summer. I’d a said he said he’d change his mind. We are going to have one more.

What do you think of the new blues talent?

Well I think everybody is playing hip-hop now. My youngest daughter is playing too and she’s been opening for me at festivals. I still think there is fire in these bones. The new singers are alright too. But it’s like the era of BB King, Les Paul, Muddy Waters needs some reviving. You still hear their songs when you go to hear good Blues. I still play there songs. You can’t evolve blues. It’s the song of the soul.