Joe Louis Walker Knows The Blues Part Three

After all these years in the business …

Jlwandbonnieraitt1Joe Louis Walker is still having fun.

“I am having fun because a lot of guys who taught me – so many guys who invested in me as a musician with a kind word; like Muddy Waters allowing me to open for him in Toronto … I feel as I solidified so many people’s faith in me. It solidifies my Mom and Dad‘s faith in me. My kids and my Grand-kids … To be able to say i am still alive and be allowed to do what I do. By the grace of God, I am not laying on a slab like so many musicians.”

Walker’s crowning achievement – so far, is the same as one of his mentors; Buddy Guy. Guy’s most fulfilling moment? Playing at the White House for President Obama following a youthful experience of pickin’ cotton …

” Same thing man … same thing!” Says Walker.” I was gathering produce as a sixteen year old and was watching my parents pick produce as a kid! I played for George Bush at the White House and seeing how the Blues got me from there to there – I know exactly what Buddy is talking about.”

Walker’s oldest daughter is a singer. She sings with him frequently and plays the keyboards. She has not recorded anything on her own but  Joe believes that is coming soon. Walker also has a Grandson. His birthday is the 28th of December, three days following Joe’s and ( according to Grandpa ) a great Christmas present (albeit a little late). Joe admits his Grandson is quite the harmonica player and would enjoy playing drums in the future.  According to Joe; ‘He beats on everything’!

Walker’s kid and Grandchild are the only things, music-wise – that Joe listens to under the age of thirty. The only music he listens to – on a regular basis …

JLW-StepsPortrait

” I don’t like Pop music because it just repeats itself and I don’t have time to listen to the radio. Once in a while I will listen to a Blues station on Sirius or something but that’s about it …”

He continues.

“I was with Ronnie ( Wood ) a couple of weeks ago, and he introduces me to these kids. To show you how unattached I am – I leave the room and people are saying wow you met those guys? They are the biggest group in the world! I say what …? One Direction … ? I thought Ronnie said New Direction! I was wondering ’cause New Direction is a Black group!”

Joe Louis believes that every musician must start at the bottom. He uses everyone in music history as a refrence to that. Anyone who is worth his weight in talent. Elvis, Muddy … they all got their experience through the school of hard knocks.

“When these guys started out – everyone who was groundbreaking; The Stones, Elvis, The Beatles, Jimi, B.B. … they all were vilified. Elvis got run through the wringer for playing ‘that kind of music’ played by ‘those kind of people’. People wouldn’t speak to him and wouldn’t let him  in hotels. I love what Mick ( Jagger ) says – he says; ‘ We used to be the band that everyone hated, now – we are the band that everybody loves to love’. You have to have a sense of humor about it – that’s the key. These guys had guts. Imagine playing that ‘ kind ‘ of music back in the fifties and sixties? In America? In the South?”

Walker believes the world is better off now although he still encounters racism once in a while. He believes the world is more dangerous in many ways, yet the new generation is able to see various people in positions of power. Various people in positions to make decisions. The young adults are seeing that a lot of things they were told as kids are not  true. According to Joe – the youth are realizing everybody has a brain, everybody’s blood beats red and the President of the United States is an African American but he also just happened to be –  the smartest guy in the room.

full

” I think kids today are shedding a lot of baggage that was given by my generation and they do not buy into it.” Explains Walker.” They do have a large task in front of them but they are prepared for it. They know they have to work on the environment, they know they have to work on woman’s and kid’s rights. They are less for war and realize that communication is a better option.”

He continues .

“They see that other people are not holding them back and they see wars are holding them back. They see that everyone deserves an education, not just rich people, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. Young people see that because they are experiencing it. They know they have to save the environment – they are aware that so goes the honeybees, so goes us. So goes the ice caps – so goes us. Young people have figured out that  Wall Street or whatever are the cause for many of the problems and that Wall Street is not a real purpose. A real purpose is to help people, a real purpose is not to have an agenda as a political party …”

Walker teaches master classes in places such as Spain and Turkey. He is surrounded by kids from all over the world and maintains a front row seat in his role as an observer of how  kids’ brains work …

“They all say ‘we have to save the planet’ and ‘take care of ‘humanistic things’ – not ‘materialistic things’.” Says Joe. “They believe if they have a billion dollars, maybe they should educate people to reverse Global Warming. Older people don’t care, they see a bear on an iceberg floating around by himself and they say; that’s a bear!” He laughs.” No! That’s not just a bear … that’s an icecap melting! That’s why there is a Tsunami every week! That’s why there is flooding in New Jersey and Colorado…”

Walker believes these problems will be rectified by the new generation just like his generation from the sixties had to deal with issues such as Vietnam and racism. It was not easy.

Joe_Louis_Walker_2007

” We did not buy into many things. We had to get rid of baggage but we had to march against it and fight. It wasn’t easy – people died for racism, people died for Vietnam and people are going to die now. People are going to die in Iraq, people are going to die in Afghanistan. If they get into Syria – they will die in Syria. You cannot go and colonize somewhere and live there. If you look  through history -usually the colonizer always has to leave.”

One guy who ‘left’ too soon (according to Walker) – was Stevie Ray Vaughan. A friend, a fellow blues-man and the only guy ( in Joe’s mind ) who came close to playing guitar like Jimi Hendrix. A man who Joe believes was just getting ‘soul’ in his voice before he passed away. Soul to match the feeling emanating from Vaughan’s guitar.

Walker’s all time favorite Blues guitarist and the man responsible for modern day Blues  – is B.B. King. His second choice …? Buddy Guy. Two players who respectively altered the way the Blues were played.

Joe Louis Walker’s recent album is titled ‘Hellfire’. A disc which is filled with fire and is reminiscent of the early seventies Stones’ sound. A dirty, gritty Blues album that combines classic riffs, feelings from the heart and a groove that won’t let feet rest …

In other words; a combination of B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Bo Diddley. In other words; a combination of every Blues player.

In other words; Joe Louis Walker …

Joe Louis Walker is at L’Astral in Montreal on Friday the 27th of September

Get tickets and info here!

The Stones – As Usual; An Event …

The Rolling Stones – fittingly, arrived on stage at the Bell Center last evening, practically fifty minutes late. Fifty and Counting …?

band-early-gig-600x399

As with every tour or show since 1989, they arrive in each city under a cloud of various predictions or guesses. Unlike their ‘solo’ contemporaries ( for reasons best left to the overweight, non – active, jaded and ‘I am stuck in a shitty life’ DVD armchair viewers), Andrew Loog Oldham‘s group – take the blame for getting old.

Non – gracefully.

Why can’t people ( veteran music writers raise your hands), accept the simple fact The Rolling Stones are continuing to do what they do best while struggling with Mother Nature and her cruel – aging ways. With the opening chords of ‘Get Off of My Cloud’ and the sheer presence of men historic beyond historic – everyone in attendance should immediately have tossed their critical pens into a vat of prime 1962 ink. After all, if a retired plumber takes two hours longer to fix a pipe – really, who gives a ‘wrench’ as long as the pipe is fixed.

‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’, ‘Paint it Black’ and  ‘Gimme Shelter’ were performed by the three – then four,  of the men who created the blue print. The template for everyone else to follow. How many people would pay six hundred dollars to witness Van Gogh or Picasso paint? Quite a few. Billions globally in fact …

The Rolling Stones have paid their dues. Enough to be able charge whatever they want if people deem the prices enough to witness history. Without their defiance – there is no Led Zeppelin. Without their willpower – there is no Jack White.  Without the Rolling Stones,  a society where popular music consists solely on Beatle and Beach Boy – driven ‘Coldplay’ and ‘Oasis’ tunes may exist. Imagine a world filled with nothing but Roses. Void of thorns. Void of spirit. An orb floating through space known as ‘ a weak peace – loving bunch of pussys’  by the remainder of the Rock n Roll solar system. Planet earth is blue and there would be nothing we could do about it …

rolling-stones-1965-live-ed-sullivan

The Rolling Stones have done something about it for fifty years and last night, they delivered a concert at seventy – five percent of their one time ability. Through no fault of their own.

Twenty – five percent missing. With the exception of Micheal Phillip Jagger.

The brother of Chris, the target of so much governmental hatred. The brilliant specimen of a man in so many ways, continues to sing as if he was frozen in time. His voice, dipping wonderfully into the Blues, the Soul and the R and B classroom from which he graduated. If the Stones were not playing every three or four nights on their current tour, Jagger – without so much as batting an eye, could dance around his famed tongue with ease. Therein lies the genius withing the man. Better to tone down each show than risk burning out and fading away. Time on one’s side – one thing. Physics – something else entirely.

A glance around the Bell Center last night and with a Chuck Berry ear to the ground – it is easy to discover Jagger’s own words ringing true.

‘Wild Horses’, ‘Honky Tonk Woman‘, ‘Happy’, ‘Miss You’, ‘Start Me Up’, ‘Tumblin’ Dice’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, ‘Can’t Always Get What You Want’, ‘Jumpin Jack Flash‘ and ‘Satisfaction’. Eleven classic songs played more often by the Stones in concert than the number of occasions Barack Obama has lied to the America People. Songs sung so often – a wonder that Jagger himself does not turn on the Karaoke machine and get Stephen Tyler todance for him.

The+Rolling+Stones+rollingstoneslivecolor

Every Stones tour, due to the very hard work the band put in for three decades, gathers moss. Grandparents tell their children and so on and so on. Thousands if not millions every year – wanting, yearning to attend a Stone concert to hear the songs for the very first time live. Eardrums losing their virginity to an inflatable penis long forgotten.

Diehard Stones’ fans do not like it yet – so diehard,  it just does not matter.

Within each planned concert set-list, lies the gems and the moments. The Keef – isms, the Bobby Keys’ Sax solos, the once – in- show moment when Jagger and Richards recoil to the two young boys meeting at the train station with Blues records in tow. The ‘Dead Flowers’, the ‘Emotional Rescues’ – the ( current old- now -new again) Mick Taylor riffs. Since the band first appeared in America in 1964, there is a fascination to see ‘the skinny guy with the big lips’ and his ‘scruffy’, unwashed  mates perform.

Every tour also contains the new songs. The tunes which – upon release, receive the ho – hum reception without the ‘glass of wine in hand’. The very same tunes which – once upon a time,  contained names like ‘Angie’, ‘When the Whip Comes Down’, ‘She’s So Cold’, ‘One Hit to the Body‘, ‘Terrifying’, ‘Love is Strong’ and ‘Saint of Me’. Ho-hums turned into ‘just more bullets’ in the Stones gigantic assault rifle. In 2013 – ‘Doom and Gloom’ and ‘One More Shot’ can now be added to the continuous war on the Justin Biebers of the world. A pair of songs which will somehow outlast the biggest hit a band like The Sheepdogs could ever shake from their soon – to- be dusty fur.

The Bell Center last night, rocked. The crowd rolled. The contingent containing the make – up of a family of Rock n Roll post – Pink Floyd picnickers – departed awestruck, pleased and ready to go back for more.

A feeling The Rolling Stones have left their fans with for fifty years. Fifty and Counting ….

IMAG0142

The 80’s – WTF? Part Two

The decade of non-decadence.

The ten year span which melted all genres of music into one simple genre, Seemingly.

An era which crafted one hit wonders by the dozen. People singing soft, people dancing and people carrying about to the much maligned sound of the synthesizer. The attempted killer of the guitar … for the most part!

The Pychedelic Furs – Pretty in Pink 1983

XTC – Senses Working Overtime 1982

Pete Shelley – Homosapien 1981

Men Without Hats – Safety Dance 1983

Simple MindsDon’t You ( Forget about Me) 1985

Big Country – In a Big Country 1983

Strange Advance – We Run 1985

Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love 1985

The Human League – Don’t You Want Me 1981

The Rolling StonesHarlem Shuffle 1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: