You are in Salaise-sur-Sanne in France tonight for a blues show. What are your first impressions ?
Well, it's a beautiful countryside here, you know, we drove in on the bus, long winding roads,
very pretty, so you know, a lot of history here, it's very nice.
Do you like France ?
John : Pardon ?
AM : Do you like France ?
John : Oh France, Yeah, of course, yes, we've made many tours recently and in the past few years,
everywhere we played everybody has been very enthusiastic.
Your first job career tended to be a graphic designer, what makes you become a musician and not a graphic designer ?
I was a graphic designer, then music was a hobby, but music took off and,
took over, so you know, that's the way it has happened.
Why have you chosen to be a blues musician rather than a rock or a jazz musician for instance ?
Well all those elements are in what I play. I'm a blues artist, but you know there are jazz influences,
there are strong rock'n'roll influences cause they all come from the same source.
I read that your father was in jazz...
Yeah my father played guitar for a hobby and had a really good jazz records collection that started me off.
AM : You play the piano, the guitar, the harmonica, which one do you prefer the most ?
Well, they all have their purpose and their function, it depends on what the piece of music you're playing is,
you know, whatever it demands, the instrument has to express what you're trying to say, so it just depends.
A lot of guitarists toured with you like Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, what can you say
about this period of time and what do you think of these great musicians ?
The guitar has always been, the lead guitar has always been an integral part of the bluesbreakers repertoire right from the beginning with
Eric and Peter Green, Mick Taylor, the English brigades and of course in America with all succession of people with the jazz blues fusion,
Freddy Robinson and then Walter Trout, Coco Montoya and of course Buddy Whittington, so it's a tradition that's always been part of the blues.
From 1965 to 2007 you made a lot of records, we have no time to speak about all
of them, but do you have some CDs that you like more than others ?
No, no I think if I release a CD, we're talking about the CDs that I make, they all have to express what
I want to say in any given the period of time, because they have to stand the test of time, so you know you
get the chance to fine tune whatever you're going to say so.
Can you speak about your latest album, it's called "In the Palace of the King" ?
Yeah, this is our latest album and it's our tribute to Freddie King who was one of the finest blues' singers,
guitar players that had a definite influence on the style of the Bluesbreakers and it's part of our tradition
to do some of Freddie's instrumentals over the years as features for the guitar players, and you know the
tradition continues, I thought, it was a good time to do a whole CD and to hear his music, so this is the
one, our tribute to Freddie King.
I am going to show you 4 pictures, can you please comment them ?
I'll do my best.
AM : OK. This one.
John : Oh yeah that's my ponytail, so yes here we go, it's dated and anything...my ponytail.
AM : so what can you say about it ?
John : Well there it is, there came a point where I didn't want to have a ponytail any longer...as time goes by,
you get thin on top so you go for a different hairstyle and the ponytail was out dated and didn't work
anymore so we made a souvenir of it.
AM : Did you keep it ?
John : Oh yeah of course !
AM : The second picture is this one.
John : Oh yeah, this is Eric Steckel who was aged thirteen years old and we found him at a festival in
Florida, a long time ago so I invited him to play a track on one of my albums..."Road Dogs" album I think it is
anyway a great talented young man so you will be hearing a lot about him... Eric Steckel.
AM : Do you have some news from him ?
John : No but he's got a website, so check his website
that's where you will
find out about everybody these days...put the name up there, and dot com and you got a whole
bunch of information.
AM : OK. And this one.
John : This is for the 70th birthday concert with Eric, so that's what that one is.
It's good to see him again after many many years and in particular to play with him,
so he is on the featured album, the double CD and also the DVD commemorating the event.
AM : And the last one is this one.
John : Oh Yeah, this is Maggie and I when we got married in 1982...so there we are... still rolling on.
AM : It's always a good souvenir, a good memory...
John : Well yeah of course always !
AM : When you signed for your marriage...
John : sure, here we go.
You've got a son who is doing some music ?
Well the most well-known one is Gaz, Gaz Mayall , he has a club in London
been owned for
fifteen or twenty years now, so anybody who is interested in rock'n'roll, rock'n'blues should check
out Gaz's Rockin'Blues, it's every Thursday night in St Frith Street in Soho, London...he is a great
proponent of the music.
If you had 3 wishes for the years to come, what would they be ?
I don't know, I haven't even thought about stuff like that, you know,
so I don't have any...I am quite happy with the way things are...
AM : To play till...
John : Oh Yeah I mean that's what I do, I have a good life so...That's it...