Dave Herrero
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Interview Dave Herrero
Saturday 6th June 2015
Sathonay Blues Festival

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(c) Dave Herrero
(c) Sathonay Blues Festival

Where are you from Dave?

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I am from Chicago. I grew up in Clearwater, a beach town, in Florida. When I was a little kid, I was always singing songs on the backseat of my mum's car. She listened to me and said that I needed to explore it. She stepped me into piano lessons. Then as a teenager I started getting into trouble, so my mother sent me to a military school in Monterey. A very good friend of mine, Steve Burdi, who is a guitar player, used to park his car across the street of the school, and I sneaked away to go to Blues jams. I got infected with the music and it has always been beside me. When I was 3 years old my grandmother told me that I was sitting in front of a wedding band and conducted the band! Then, I moved to Austin, Texas. I learned from amazing people like Jimmy Burns, always around, Gary Clark Jr, who is really big right now, and doing an amazing work. It is very cool that people who were your idols become your friends. Then I moved to Chicago, I've been there for 10 years.

How long have you been playing in a band?

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I have been playing in a band since I was 15. At the military school myself and some friends started a band and we had a good time. After Clearwater I moved to Jacksonville, where I played my first Blues festival called Springing the Blues, magnificent, with Sean Costello, Susan Tedeschi, Seth Walker, Felix & the Cats, Felix is a great songwriter. I just got the infection. My father said to me, promise me you get a degree, go to college, finish it and after that do anything you want. So I got the degree I moved to Austin and I learned how to play, I try to learn how to play ! (laughing) There are some great guitar players over there.

What did you do at school and university?

(c) Copyright Marc Lawrence

I went to the university for Child Care Management for teaching preschool, little kids. I did that for 8 years, I taught children, and I love it. Children also love music so it was very natural for me to do that.

Who is your biggest influence?

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It is Buddy Guy. I respect him so much. At the club, I was respectful of his space. I didn't talk to him unless he talked to me first. Every once in a while, he gave me this little beautiful piece of knowledge. One time he was walking in the club. He said hello, and I said how are you feeling? He said I am going to retire ! He explained to me how expensive it was to keep such a big organization on the road. He is somebody I admire deeply. I've seen him performed his magical shows, it's tangible, it's in the air. He is a special guy, he's talking a lot whether he knows you or not. He came and sat with the band when we played, which was a huge honor for me. Like I said when I was in Austin and Chicago too, it's great to have these guys that you admire, respect their art and business and the way they operate, and next you're standing on stage with them.

AM : The dream comes true.

Dave : Yes, it is actualization. So Buddy is probably my biggest influence, stylistically and in term of trying to capture passion and make a magic moment for everyone. Our job as musicians is to spread love and make everyone's life a little bit better. That's one thing I learned from him.

You know Joe Louis Walker.

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Yes. I did a magnificent six-week tour of Turkey called the Efes Blues Festival, a traveling Blues festival, with Jimmy Burns, Katherine Davis who is a wonderful singer. I got to know Joe very well. He is a great writer, very soulful and has an amazing voice, I love Joe.

How many albums have you released?

(c) Copyright Chris Bergson

Three. But I played on countless records. My brother is a hip-hop producer. He does a lot of hip-hop production and I play bass and guitar on those. Another friend of ours is a big pop producer in Stockholm in Sweden. He makes records for the pop market. He sends me email guitar files that I take to my studio. I make my stuff and send it back to him. It's kinda cool to know that my music is being heard by a million and million people.

AM : What is the name of your latest album?

It's called, Corazon, the heart. It is a project that was put together by myself and Felix Reyes. The drummer is a Norwegian friend of mine named Henrik Maarud, he plays in a rock band. The bass player, Ed Strohsahl, now plays with Nikki Hill, who is doing great. This album Corazon is a conglomeration of songs that we have all written. I've got a producer friend, Greg Magers, who actually works in the hip-hop world. He said to me, it's the first record that sounds like 1955, the second one sounds like 1965. So I said to him what can we do now? So we took a very contemporary approach to this album. I am very proud of it, it has a lot of different styles, some heavy rock stuff and some sweet soft balance. I hope it is soulful.

Today you are in France.

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Dave : Yes, vive la France, I love it here !

AM : For the Sathonay Blues Festival, it is the 27th edition. Who are your musicians for tonight show?

Tonight I am playing with the rhythm section that L'Etroit Tours booked. The drummer is Pascal Delmas, Fred Jouglas is the bass player. They have learned my material which is not very standard, there are lots of changes, lots of things going on. They learned everything perfectly, it sounds great, good vibration, great guys, we have a lot of fun together. They play with a lot of American artists over here.

AM : Where are they from?

They are from Toulouse. I first met them at the Terri'Thouars Blues Festival, Erick Diard "Tonton Erick" is the promoter, he is a beautiful guy. The thing that amazes me is that all these people love this music so much, they provide such services to the community here that these festivals are happening. They ask me to go on tour, so I come here once or twice a year. In two weeks I am going to play with a rock band called The Texas Cannonballs, the guitar player Hector Watt is from Austin. He played with Keith Ferguson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, he is a fabulous guitar player. I will be back and we will play a three-week tour between France and Spain with a different band, we play in the same clubs, so it would be interesting.

What are you doing when you are not on tour?

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I love to work on cars, I love to fish. I am trying to get healthy, to exercise. I have a wonderful girlfriend. I love to spend time with her, she is a very special part of my life. I also do a lot music for television. I don't know if you've heard about Oprah Winfrey, she is a huge icon in the United States, she had a big talk show called The Oprah Winfrey Show and she also produces The Dr. Oz Show. My brother and I have a company, we make lots of music for television. So for me it's diverse and I have the opportunity to make money not only on the road (smiling). I do a lot of studio production. I also like to go to Florida to lay on the beach all day and drink some beer !

AM : Thank you very much for your time Dave, have a great show tonight.

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(c) Dave Herrero
(c) Sathonay Blues Festival