Greg Nagy: Northern Deep Fried Blues

Greg Nagy is well aware of the Blues and the wide swath it cuts. It’s path can be traced from the Mississippi Delta up through Memphis, to St. Louis and eventually ending up in Chicago.  There are traces of all these places in Greg’s life and therefore in his musical interpretations of the Blues he holds so dear.

Born in Flint Michigan he was witness to the boom and bust of ‘Auto City’ as well as the realities of life and it’s effect on young people everywhere. Honing his skills with various local bands he has developed a sound that is part funk, part soul and all Greg. With two releases under his belt he is poised to move to the forefront as an up and coming artist. He pulls no punches with his music and in doing so reminds us that the Blues is all at once gritty, sweet, turbulent and calm, much like the man and his native city.
Join us as we talk about amazing things…..
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B411: In any creative endeavor that we chose to do, whether it be being a chef and making meals or being a recording artist and making music is it basically that we are pleasing ourselves and if others buy into it that’s good, if not OK we move on?
Greg Nagy: Yes! I think that’s a great analogy. Honestly, I feel like I’m serving someone a meal in a sense, and of course I always hope they’ll like it, but ya know if you spend too much time second guessing what others might be expecting from you, well you’ll do yourself a disservice. That is, you’ll get distracted from really matters; connection and personal expression. With anything, if you are true to what you are doing then someone somewhere is bound to like it. With 7 plus billion people in the world you gotta get at least a few, probably counting your relatives…<laughs>. But seriously, I think if you get comfortable in your own skin, get to know yourself a bit, and be honest as all get out you’ll succeed in some way. Personal tastes are driven by personal experience and not everyone will love what you are doing and in being a sensitive artist that is sometimes tough to deal with. However, it’s all a balancing act, you take the feedback and weigh it and add a dash of this here and a dash there… according to your own tastes.

B411: But ultimately that is determined by putting out the best product you have and letting it fall where it may?
GN: That’s the record, now for performances you can dance around that. You can kind of feel the room and play the chameleon. – Not that being a chameleon is disingenuous, I think is important. It’s similar to talking to you right now, I can have in my mind what I am going to answer but if I don’t feel like they are connecting I need to revisit those answers. Again, it’s all about the human connection all preconceived notions of concept aside… and somehow managing to still please yourself, to have it all sit right with yourself. There is art as creation and art as recreation…I don’t think they need be mutually exclusive.

B411: Well if all you are going to do is please yourself – you can do that in a room and not involve anyone else. Is that ‘concept’ of creating something of your own one of the major attractions of making music for a living, or is it a pressure point of your chosen career?
GN: One of the things that is so cool about what I do for a living is that there is no pressure to recreate anything. If I get to work on this next record it can be a serious documentation of where I am as a person or as an artist.

B411: Isn’t that what they are?
GN: They are supposed to be, but if you look at some guys like Chuck Berry and had gained a lot of success he is being told that the kids want that rock & roll beat…he had to play that ‘Johnny B. Good’ rhythm in so many songs. I guess when you become an icon like him or Bo Diddley it can get changed.

The other important thing is to have a sense of humor. Life in general is wacky, inconsistent and life in an emotionally driven art form is life on steroids.

B411: Isn’t all art emotionally driven?
GN: Good art is. We have to agree on our definition of art, but yes. Yet I think there is an element of social construction to it. What I mean by that is maybe someone doesn’t get appreciated in their own lifetime because the social milieu isn’t open to it. So eventually a handful of movers and shakers will come together and make things happen but it’s not easy if you are out on the edge.
Human knowledge doubles every thirteen months. When the arts present something new it has to go through a lot of stuff to get heard or seen. There is so much stuff out there, we are being bombarded every day. So what do you do? I think you don’t try to second guess what people want, that’s not the answer. I think more of it is being yourself and honest and the people will hopefully come around to what you are doing either now or long after you are gone.

B411: I think that the folks in our little world are more aware of what is real and what is not. I believe they know more than the general pop fan-dom base out there today. I am not sure they want or care to have real music at a certain level they want a beat, images and to be entertained.
GN: Well yeah, there is a manufactured road to success and an assembly line mentality that is driving pop music these days. I grew up in Flint, Michigan where we have or I should say had assembly lines for cars and that analogy fits perfectly. When you find something that resonates with the public and they consume it you keep grinding it out and milk it for what you can. Then when they change you re-tool, or you fall by the wayside.

B411: Let’s re-tool and go down another road. Different people like different things, but as you mentioned social mores are also a factor…
Let’s take ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’, one of my favorite songs still to this day. Yet is it still viable today. Is it inappropriate with today’s standards?
GN: Ah yeah there are certain understandable elements of stigma around suggested pedophilia in these modern times. As crazy as some modern pop tunes can get I can’t think of any that seductively offer lyrics about a grown man be attracted to a school aged girl. Unless Pete Townsend has got a new record coming out… Oh man, that one was bad… I do apologize. In all seriousness, you are asking if it is inappropriate? We live in a different time for sure and the meaning of the words and such phrases also clearly change throughout time. I certainly don’t wish to judge the great Howling Wolf. The context was altogether different. And I have to think that if someone were to do such a cover today the nostalgia in a person might allow them to forgive. At the same time you have to ask yourself (and given all the people who don’t understand the historical content) if we are trying to bring new people in to this particular genre is it appropriate and/or maybe too anachronistic for any real shared meaning. Or should art really worry? It’s a tough question.
Digging deeper… oh man I hope I don’t dig myself in too deep here <laughs>… Is it even art to just recreate verbatim songs from a long past point in history? While song interpretation is very important, in my humble estimation, to keep the rich heritage alive, isn’t it sometimes a bit odd to draw on archaic blues and folks lyrical references. Or is it? I guess I just have to hear the modern song or reading in question. Matt Hill, for example, does amazing readings of Howling Wolf and if he does “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” I am sure he does a fantastic and righteous job presenting it. So maybe it is how it is done rather than what is done. For me personally, I don’t feel comfortable singing certain songs about excessive violence in general, but part of that could be me growing up in Flint, Michigan the second most violent city in America. <laughs> We laugh to keep from crying…Regardless, I’m not into censorship, or political correctness to a severe level. I do feel there is no harm being reasonably sensitive about these things… hope that makes sense. Sorry if I rambled and vacillated a bit…you really ask some deep questions… you’ve really got me thinking here, not sure if that is a good thing <laughs>…

Part 2 to follow after we return from the Blues Music Awards. May 10, 2012 8:00 PM.  They will be broadcast live on SiriusXM B.B. King’s Bluesville #70 starting at 8:00PM. Turn on, tune in and join us as we celebrate the mother of all American Roots Music.

***Be sure to visit Greg’s website for up to date info at: http://www.gregnagy.com/ oh and by the way Greg will be performing at the Raise The Roof Online Concert & Benefit for the campaign to for the Blues Hall Of Fame Museum! LIVE WEBCAST & PPV! Sunday, March 24, Club Fox in Redwood City. For tix to the webcast show go tohttp://bit.ly/V28cxD or for tix to the live in person show go to http://clubfoxrwc.com/ - Greg is additionally doing many shows on the west Side of town., check out his schedule on site.

 

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
chefjimi
©Blues411.com 2012/2013
photos: courtesy of artists, Jarrett Gaza, Leslie K. Joseph

The 411 in 15: Memphis IBC Sampler Plate – Music That Is

What a great time we all had in Memphis at the IBC’s – truly a remarkable event that EVERY blues fan should attend at least once in their life.

Music everywhere on Beale Street, just like back in the day. Blues ringing out of each club and venue – all styles and forms, electric, acoustic, jazz tinged, Mississippi based, Chicago electric, Texas thumpers damn it was just like a bit of blues heaven right here on earth in the home of the blues – Memphis.

One thing I thought was super was the amount of artists who had sampler discs to hand to fans, other artists etc., a nice way of showcasing their talents and sharing their vision of the blues. So since I glommed a few of these from artists that I was not familiar with I thought I would share my take on them with y’all.

 

The Kirby Sewell Band: Bought Myself a Hammer
http://www.reverbnation.com/kirbysewellband

A very large presence both on the street and in the Canadian Blues world, Kirby is a solid vocalist who presents a variety of -what he would call – not blues. Now I am not sure about this but understand where he is coming from. With the seeming slant toward a ‘purist’ point of view being the reigning POV on the street, Mr. Sewell was somewhat hesitant about being categorized. Yo’ bro’ don’t worry, what I am hearing is the blues and that’s enuf for me and a whole bunch of others.

The title track ‘Bought Myself a Hammer’ rocks out with a feel of solid rock blues but not of the current vein. More like the early days of blues-rock when there were no acid etched lines in the concrete of the genre. Think Pacific Gas & Electric but with the ability to play the instruments and to sing with real feeling not overzealous vocalizations.

‘Own Way Home’ is a ballad of loneliness – a deep felt and overwhelming emptiness that occurs in everyone’s life. It is this universal theme that, to me, qualifies this as the blues – universal feelings from the inner soul.
Three other cuts fit nicely into this world of ‘blues-not-blues’ – the world of the common human experience laid right out on the table for us to hear and relate to. Tunes shrouded in simple yet complex musical frames that are new yet familiar to us. Nice job big guy. I like it.


Markey (self-titled)
http://markeyblues.com

Gotta love it when someone goes by one name – yeh bring it on. Markey is a sultry voiced singer/songwriter out of Nashville and lives up to the ‘country side’ of the blues.

Opening track ‘Rock Me’ is a full disclosure anthem about her and her requirements for the would be lovers. Oh yeh, this has the spunk and attitude of some of the past blues ladies who demand a sixty minute man who can roll the dough and make some good ol’ jellyroll. ‘Comin’ Home’ features some nice slide and harp work that definitely has the Nashville flavor to it. Just a little bit twangy but with a dose of funk lying there in the bass lines to make ya think twice.

Slowing it down to a slow blues burner ‘When It Rains It Pours’ has the guitar licks that we know and they make us take notice. Markeys’ vocals are spot on and as has been the case with many a lady blues singer a few more years and that voice will be right where she wants it – with a bit more grit and desperation tinged making it just perfect. She has the feeling and depth now and belts it out in the style of Tracy Nelson – not too shabby here.
The Bo Diddley paced ‘Sweet Corrina Shine’ is her tribute to Bo whom she states was one of her heroes. True to the man the cut has some nice slide work added to an almost gospel Bo Diddley beat.

A nice sampler that offers us a good look at what she is doing in the Nashville end of the blues, and it is as welcome as fried chicken for breakfast (which is a really good thing).

Julia Magness: Take Me Home
http://myspace.com/juliasblues

Recorded live at Antone’s Nightclub and the Poodle Dog Lounge in Austin. This sampler gives us a live taste of the talented Ms, Julia Cruz (Magness). I must say I wish the sound was a tad better on this sampler – a bit muddy and bottom heavy, which tended to muffle her fine voice.

Starting with ‘Little By Little’ the band shuffles along as Ms. Cruz sings deep and true one of the most popular standards of the blues world. She offers just enough attitude to make her point that “…your love is slipping away’. With a solid cover of Freddy Kings ‘Someday After Awhile’ she proves her self up to the task of covering classic blues tunes with surety and aplomb that allows her to show off her fine voice. One more cover of Memphis Minnie’s ‘World of Trouble’ really allows her to use her vocal skills to paint a desolate picture of a life turned to the bad. Accompanied by tasteful and well appointed guitar work this may very well be the best of her tributes – it seems closely held by her and it rings true in her voice and delivery.

She offers us two originals ‘Play on Player’ which features some sparkling keyboard work on a jump dance inducing song. On ‘Home Town Blues’ she again lays down the law with lyrics and delivery that shows promise for the future of Ms. Cruz in the world of blues. As the crowd testifies, she has the pipes and can use them.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
chefjimi
©Blues411.com 2012

Dion The Wanderer Comes Home to The Blues: Part One

By Don Wilcock

“Sometimes white guys are trying to get inside the blues. Blues guys are trying to get out.”

Dion Di Mucci makes profound statements like that in a Bronx accent that he delivers in a drawl that is the vocal equivalent of a mixed metaphor. It’s as though he were a Bronx borough kid who has spent the summers visiting his grandmother in Arkansas to get away from the street gangs and has become a bit of a hybrid.

He made the above quote to me in 2007 when he’d just released Son of Skip James, the second CD of the three in his blues trilogy. The first was Bronx in Blue. He releases the third, Tank Full of Blues, on January 24th. In the four and a half years since Son of Skip James, Dion has spent significantly more time working on that drawl which now plays a much bigger part in his persona, and he’s not sure he still believes blues guys are trying to get out of the blues.

“I might redefine it because I always said you don’t have to be a young, black guy to have the blues in the ’30s walking to the crossroads because John Paul II had them,” Dion says today. “(John Paul) was born in Poland under the Nazis, under Communism. His friends were dying on the streets so the guy had the blues. Maybe he didn’t define it like we’re talking. He didn’t have the form, the three cords, but he had it. You know what I mean?”

Dion is a complex person. The masses see him as the ultimate Bronx hipster whose late ’50s rock and roll hits “The Wanderer,” “Runaround Sue” and “Ruby Baby” made him one of the first rock and roll stars with all the baggage that went with it, drugs, sex and an attitude with a capital A. That said, he’s still married today at age 72 to Susan, whom he’s been with since he was 15.

Last year he published Dion The Wanderer Talks Truth co-written with religious writer Mike Aquilina. Dion is a life-long practicing Catholic who quotes scripture and is inspired by Psalms that he reminds me are songs in scripture.

To some in the blues community he is an interloper, a Johnny Come Lately switching musical styles late in life. Tank Full of Blues is going to change all that. While most of the songs on the first two blues albums were homages to the classics, this release is mostly originals by a “rhythm singer” as he calls himself who plays guitar with the kind of raw honesty that reminds me of Jimmy Reed.

Not so much that he sounds like Jimmy Reed, but more in that his fingers short circuit the brain and connect directly to his heart like Jimmy did. One cut in particular, “Bronx Poem,” tells his life story that is to blues what Gil Scott-Heron was to rap: fundamental, honest and true to the genre without mimicking its progenitors.

“I’ve never felt more relevant,” he says, “and that’s a wonderful thing. I’m very blessed in that respect because – at my age – I feel a lot of gratitude for that because I have a good mind. I have a good perspective, a good bird’s eye view of where I came from and the music, and how it evolved and the friends I have. I’m just very grateful because this music opened my whole life to travel, to meeting people and everything we think.”
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Don Wilcock for Blues 411: You and I did two interviews, one in 2006 and one in 2007. At that time you used the term “cartoon” saying that so many people from that era are viewed as cartoons, and when I do these interviews, Gene Pitney was another one. They’re so real that many people our age have taken what you did and what I listened to in the ’50s and it’s become a lifestyle that’s very meaningful and is much more than a cartoon.

Dion Di Mucci: Well, the thing is probably after that interview I made an album that was kind of an offshoot. It was called Heroes, guitar greats of early rock and roll, and you know when you get guys like Cliff Gallup who played with Gene Vincent and you listen to these guys, they were all into T-Bone Walker, and when you listen to even Chuck Berry’s riffs they come right out of T-Bone Walker riffs. All that Chuck Berry stuff he was playing. So you get guys who just flew under the radar.

B411: Yes.

DD: Like Paul Burlison who played for Johnny Burnett. When you listen to those guys, and they all were aware of the guys we’re talking about – as far as blues roots, they all had them. I didn’t even know how much I loved them until I recorded Bronx In Blue.

I wouldn’t even think of trying to sing like that at the Brooklyn Fox when guys like Bo Diddley and Little Richard, Chuck Berry and maybe Howlin’ Wolf were backstage. I wouldn’t even think of doing what the Rolling Stones did, like actually mimicking black people. It would have been like absurd. It would have been like what are you doing? What are you trying to do? What, are you kidding me? Why are you singing like that? You don’t talk like that, that kind of thing. So, who would even think of it?

So I guess recording stuff like “The Wanderer,” “Ruby Baby” and “Drip Drop,” they were all like blues songs, but what we did was go into a major key, and that’s rock and roll. That was rock and roll back then. You just turn blues into a major key, and you had rock and roll. And you put a little lift into the music. It was a little happier.

Even though “The Wanderer” is a dark song because the guy’s saying, “I roam from town to town. I go through life without a care. I’m as happy as a clown with my two fists of iron, but I’m going nowhere.” It’s really a dark, but we put such a spin on it. These were like cleverly disguised blues songs. So, some of those artists, like Cliff Gallop to me, people are very unaware of him. But he changed things. I think he infiltrated the culture of music, but he never wanted to leave Norfolk. He was a janitor in a school or something. He didn’t want to leave. He loved his wife, and he stayed there. He didn’t want to go on the road.

B411: I think you’ve transcended that chasm between people like your early self and Rolling Stones and the other side of the coin like Chuck Berry and the people at the Brooklyn Fox, particularly on “Bronx Poem.”

DD: Oh, you heard that?

B411: Oh, my God. You’ve found a voice there that’s authentic and not derivative of anyone. It’s so you.

DD: I always say I don’t sing black, and I don’t sing white. I sing Bronx. [Chuckle]

B411: In this particular song you’ve blown through to the other side.

DD: Wow. Thank you for that. I don’t know anyone who’s listened to that. You’re the first guy I’m talking to about it. But thank you ’cause it was totally free abandon stream of consciousness. There’s no melody. There’s no particular formula to the music. I just was playing and talking.

B411: So, that wasn’t written down in advance?

DD: Well, some of I was. Some of it was. Kind of what I do is with that I had some thoughts, and I fill it in. You know, it’s like I put some points, just to keep me in the continuity of it.

B411: Have you ever heard Gil Scott-Heron’s stuff?

DD: No.

B411: He came before the rappers, and he was the jazz guy. What you’re doing here reminds me so much of him. Knowing you as well as I do, it blew my mind. I heard it for the first time yesterday, and I think it’s the best thing you’ve ever don by a long shot. It’s marvelous.

DD: Well, you know, its’ funny. (Blue Horizon label head) Richard Gottehrer heard it and said, “You know, we should put that first.”

B411: Yes!

DD: I said, “It’s gonna throw people off.”

B411: No!

DD: I said, “That’s not a blues song.” I thought they’re gonna have the wrong idea about what the album’s about. It was kind of an afterthought, a meditation thing. It’s a funny thing. I was running it by my daughter. I said, “I want to do this.” She said, “Just make it three minutes. People get bored.”

B411: God, no.

DD: So, I don’t know how long it is, but I just kept going. Now that I listen to it, the weird thing about it is I could fill in, fill in, fill in, fill in. You know what I mean?

B411: Yeah.

DD: I could keep going. Good thing I just left it, but I tell you, even the guitar work on it has no rhyme or reason. Well, it does have a rhyme or reason, kinda punctuating the words, but it was just one time right through, and I left it.

I have two of the reasons I did this album. I have artist friends that I talk to, and it started with Jay Sieleman from the Blues Foundation. He’s not an artist, but he loves the blues.

B411: Yeah, I know Jay very well.

DD: Jay said to me, he said, “You know, Dion, what’s wrong? Today, blues is guitar driven. Only guitar. Everybody leans on guitar,” and we both agreed that’s what it should be. It’s blues. We’re going, “Yeah, okay. What else?” He says, “Back in the day, Robert Johnson had a story. There was some kind of narrative and some kind of genius about his writing,” and I said, “You know, I tell ya, Jay. I’m gonna lean in on the stories.” Maybe I made it too much of a narrative, but even “Tank Full of Blues.” “I got a woman who wants me and another who wants me gone.”

B411: Great line, a great line.

DD: When I wrote that line I said, “How come nobody ever wrote this?” There’s two women in my life, and I’ve finally had it.” That kind of thing. So a woman who wants me, and a woman who wants me gone. When I wrote the line I said, “How come nobody ever wrote this line?” You even get a line like that? What the hell?

Anyway, but then I had this vision in “Ride’s Blues” of me driving Robert Johnson to the crossroads. I figure the song is all about him being at the crossroads and trying to flag a ride from the crossroads, but he was in town. He asked me for a lift. So I drove him there, and I had this conversation with him and then I put that song together. I said, “I got some stories here.”

So, I started leaning towards stories and really drawing pictures. I love drawing pictures with words. Like even in “Holly Brown” it says, “I’m trying to get next to you any way I can. You’re like a soft wind summer breeze. When God made you he was really pleased.” It’s just a beautiful line to me that like, wow, okay, I got something now. “When God made you, he was showing off.”

Anyway, so I kept it up, and I thought I‘m gonna write these blues songs. I’m gonna lean on the narrative, the story, or the words. Blues is not a thinking man’s thing. I would never do a thing that’s contrived, ’cause I thought it came off really natural, so that was one of the things Jay told me. He said, “You should lean on the words a little ’cause people kind of toss them off. Jay was saying the words are the least important. It’s very guitar oriented. It’s very guitar driven which it should be.

I don’t know. I don’t listen to that much of new blues. So Jay was saying they kind of toss the words off. There’s certain things you hang your hat on that’s gotten me through the 72 years, out of the drugs, kept me married, kept me sane. That’s the other thing. One was the words. Jay was saying. “I don’t hear enough good story telling.”

This was a conversation I heard. Maybe he didn’t even say it the way I’m saying it. It was just a passing thing, but what I came out of the conversation with was why don’t you push the envelope a little with the writing of the words. So, anyway, I tried to lean on the story. That was one thing.

The other thing is in “The Bronx Poem” I do mention a lot about God. At 72 years old, I kid you not, I feel more relevant than I did when I was in my 20s making hit records, and you can hear it, and the reason is it’s like I’m connected a little. I open my heart to my creator, and however I choose to word that.

B411: How did you feel when (noted music journalist) Dave Marsh told you you were the most relevant pop star from your era?

DD: Okay, that’s the second thing. Jay told me about the story in the blues, and Dave Marsh told me about being the most creative and relevant over all these decades. He said, “You’re truly an artist for the ages.” I wanted to start arguing with him. I really did. It really encouraged me, and then what those two things did for me, Jay and Dave Marsh, was I wanted to start expressing who I was in this genre.

If you look at Tony Bennett, he does it great whatever he does, but he expresses it, or he interprets classics, and I thought that’s what I wanted to do on Bronx in Blue, and what I wanted to do on Son of Skip James. There are so many good songs out there. Let me go back and get some of these chestnuts. New people should hear these things.

Then, after those two remarks from Jay and Dave Marsh I thought, you know, let me express who I am within this genre. Let me start expressing who I am and what I can do in this musical form ’cause I loved the blues. I never realized how it was everything to me until I did Bronx in Blue. When I went in I cut that album in two days. I thought, “This is really what’s the center of my being.” I never knew it. I kind of overlooked it because of the era I came from.

That was the conversation we had a little while ago when I said the Rolling Stones did this and that, so I thought maybe it was a part of me, but I didn’t realize if it was another time, and I was born in another place. Man, that’s all I would’ve been doing, but it comes out on this latest album.

B411: Boy, does it!

DD: That’s only me on guitar. I’m the only guitar player. That’s me, and I thought, “I don’t know how to play a lot, but I’m in the groove. I like to play in the groove.

B411: Charles Messina is collaborating with you on a play called The Wanderer, The Life.

DD: Well, he’s writing it. I’m just giving him information. You know, I guess in a way we’re collaborating. Yeah, we are, but he’s a playwright. He’s a young guy. He’s almost 40, and he was born in the Village, and I relate to him because he’s a rhythm writer. I’m a rhythm singer.

B411: Can you define that?

DD: A rhythm singer?

B411: I know what rhythm singer means. What does rhythm writer mean to you?

DD: Well, he has kind of a pace that he – I don’t know. I just feel it. I was having lunch with David Gonzales whose writing a Times piece, and he was telling me his son put together a little essay, but he was trying to explain to his son you got all the facts right. You Google-ed, everything is in there, but now you gotta make people feel, and you gotta give it a rhythm,” and that’s what made me think, “Oh, really?” It’s a rhythm that takes you along, that connects everything, and it’s the rhythm of the streets and the rhythm of the city.

But I know when I’m reading it or seeing it, I know when I don’t have it. I always thought Bobby Darin was a rhythm singer. I go see Kevin Spacey doing his life story, drove me nuts ’cause Kevin Spacey is not a rhythm singer. He hijacked his songs. Yeah, he killed ’em. He destroyed the whole thing to me.

That’s why I think anybody could sing rock and roll, but I don’t think anybody could sing the blues. You need something in the blues. You need that feeling. There’s something about it. You need to be connected to it. I don’t think you can learn it.

B411: Do you think Mike Aquilina is a rhythm writer? [Author of the as-told-to autobiography Dion The Wanderer Talks Truth]

DD: I like him. Yes, I do. In a way he has his own – do you? You read some of his stuff. Do you like it?

B411: No.

DD: You don’t like the way he writes?

B411: No, I was disappointed in the book to be candid about it. I wanted more. You and I are always honest with one another, so I’m being honest.

DD: No, you’re honest. I’ll think about that next time because he is a religious writer. He was trying to get my rhythm. He’s a very heady guy. I was hesitant about answering that because I think he’s more of an intellectual, more of an academic writer.

To be continued

photos of Mr. Di Mucci provided courtesy of Joseph A. Rosen http://www.josepharosen.com/
other photos courtesy of artist

We at Blues411 are thrilled to have this in-depth conversation with Mr. Dion Di Mucci provided to us by Mr. Don Wilcock. Don is well known in the music world as an author and journalist with 40+ years of experience. We believe that his contributions to Blues411 are a giant step in providing you, our readers, with the most talented and insightful writers around today.
We would also like to extend thanks to Mr. Joseph Rosen for his soul capturing photos
of Mr. Di Mucci.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
chefjimi
©Blues411.com 2012
Part two can be found here: http://blues411.com/?p=3248

The 411 in 15: Scottie ‘Bones’ Miller

Scottie – how did you wind up playing with Ruthie Foster Band ?
– I met Ruthie while I was touring as Bo Diddley’s keyboardist. Ruthie came and played The Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis (my home town), shortly after that tour and she asked me to join them. I did 4 shows there and it’s been 4 years now I’ve been Ruthie’s touring keyboardist. I’m writing to you now from Odense, Denmark with Ruthie and the gang. Waiting to play a show at “Posten” with Ruthie, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Poppa Chubby.

Tell me more about ‘back in the day’ when you played with these/this classic artist(s).
–after my year at Berklee College of Music in 86′, I played- toured and recorded with various original projects. Around 98′ I joined Big John Dickerson and Blue Chamber. We toured Europe a lot and the east coast- southern USA blues circuit. We recorded an album together called “Arms of the Blues”; (Cannonball Records), produced by Jim Gaines. (I wrote and co-wrote 3 songs on that album). We had some really good times in that band, sometimes “too good”! I was exposed to a lot of great music while hanging with these guys.

In 2001 I went back to my own project, formed a new band and recorded “The Other Side”. 4 CD’s and 1 DVD later I met (keyboard legend) Johnnie Johnson in St Louis playing a gig at BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups. That led me to meeting with Henry Townsend, Robert Lockwood Jr and ultimately touring with Bo Diddley, (which again, led me to Ruthie!) All these connections are thanks to my friend and current owner of BB’s in St Louis; John May. He booked me a solo gig at BB’s on my way driving down to play the IBC in Memphis back in 06′. I’ve been playing there ever since with my band “Scottie Miller Band”.

Your live release seems to have resonated with the Blues audience – i think it captures your stage presence and feel for what you do live really well.
—-That’s the first “live” recording I’ve ever “released”. I’m happy if people are digging it. We recorded it at Famous Dave’s, in the twin-cities. I’ve recorded previous CD’s “live in studio” and it’s preferable to the more “overdubbed”, “produced” process for me. “LIVE” at a venue was even more rewarding. It was fun mixing, because everything is already there. You have this big blanket of sound from the room, and then the individual instruments and tracks from each of the guys.
The CD features my band of the past 12 years. With Mark O’Day on drums, John Iden on Bass, Brian “Zoot” Simonds on Sax, Scott Sansby on percussion and Joe Cruz on guitar, dobro and mandolin. It’s a true blessing working with such talented players. They are each versatile in blues, funk, jazz and soul. This is helpful with the variety of music and grooves I like to explore with my songwriting. Everything from piano blues, to caribbean- Spanish and Latin tinged jazz, to gospel influenced ballads, New Orleans funk and some road-house blues. That’s what you’ll hear on each of my recordings including “LIVE”.

—I have enjoyed splitting my time between my own band and with Ruthie Foster the past 4 years. I feel fortunate and truly grateful for the opportunity to play music in this world. I will return to Australia for my 2nd tour this coming January, and hope to elevate things in 2012 with another new release.

Thanks for everything you’re doing out there for the music Jimi.

And thank you Scottie !

For more about Scottie and what he is up to: http://www.scottiemiller.com/welcome.html & http://www.ruthiefoster.com/

NOTE:
With this first edition of The 411 in 15, I am seeking to capture somewhat spontaneous conversations/interviews with artists and others related to the Blues industry. Not too in-depth but basically a one-two subject chat that I feel would be of interest to us all.
If you would like to be considered for such a spot just drop me a line telling me why you think you should be featured in a ‘The 411 in 15′ and we see what we can work out.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
chefjimi
©Blues411.com 2011
photos: Leslie K. Joseph.