Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Conversation From Nowhere In Particular : An Interview With Blues Rock Guitar Hero Joe Bonamassa

Born in Utica, New York in 1977, blues rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa has been groomed for and preparing for the successes he's earned from a very young age. From the time he first picked up the instrument at age 4, and then toured with reigning king of the blues B.B. King by age 12, the blues have been a music which has been ingrained in him from the very start. First coming to national prominence with the band Bloodline in 1994, with whom he recorded at the age of 17 a solitary self titled album, he quickly gained a reputation as a blues rock guitar prodigy.

Moving on after several years of touring with the band, and subsequently inking a deal with Epic Records, in 2000 he released his debut solo album 'A New Day Yesterday'. Produced by the legendary Tom Dowd, it set the template for the first several solo albums - that of muscular, guitar heavy blues influenced by late 60's, early 70's British bands such as Cream, the Jeff Beck Group, Rory Gallagher and Free, with the guitar hero like pyrotechnics associated with Jimi Hendrix and the fluidity and tone of Eric Johnson taking the genre to another level.

The next several studio albums, 2002's 'So, It's Like That,' 2003's 'Blues Deluxe,' and 2004's 'Had To Cry Today' served to build and solidify his standing as one of the finest guitarists to ever grace the blues rock genre, the natural successor to such legends as the aforementioned Clapton, Beck and Gallagher. Picking up rabid fans due to his legendary playing and live performances which have been compared to having a religious experience by the faithful, Bonamassa also picked up some impressive compliments along the way. Guitar One Magazine stated that he "might be the best guitarist of his generation," with similar accolades being thrown about throughout numerous reviews and articles in print and online media sources alike.

Not one to rest on his laurels, since hooking up with master producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith,The Black Crowes, Journey) for 2006's 'You & Me', Bonamassa has broadened and expanded his sound. His 2007 studio offering 'Sloe Gin' showcased a more organic, acoustic based feel with the emphasis shifting more towards the song as a whole rather than extended solos. A move which has confused a certain portion of his die hard rabid fan base, it has at the same time allowed him to broaden his base, also allowing him to venture into opportunities both commercially and artistically not normally reserved for a blues guitarist.

Bonamassa has just released the live double album documenting his triumphant 2007 tour, 'Live From Nowhere In Particular,' a stunning tour de force showcase of this extremely talented musician's abilities. He was recently voted 'Best Blues Guitarist' for the second year in a row in the annual poll by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine. The album also features former David Bowie bassist Carmine Rojas, ex Kenny Wayne Shepherd drummer Bogie Bowles and Australian keyboardist Rick Melick, and at this writing is residing at #1 on Billboard's Blues Album Charts, his 4th to do so. The album has debuted at #136 on Billboard's Top 200 Album Chart, and #69 on the UK Album Chart - the strongest placings thus far in his steadily rising career.

A self admitted workaholic, he also finds the time between playing over 250 shows a year worldwide to host a daily blues radio show 'Daily Cup Of Joe' on Sirius 74 and conduct guitar clinics and work with schoolchildren via the “Blues in the Schools" program sponsored by the Blues Foundation. With that sort of strong work ethic combined with immense talent, it appears the sky's the limit when speculating on the future of "The New King Of The Blues," as he was recently coined by the UK's Guitarist Magazine. It's a term Bonamassa is clearly uncomfortable with, but nonetheless it does illustrate in what high esteem he's held by his peers.

Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Bonamassa to discuss the new album, what to expect from the upcoming 2009 studio release, how he's progressing as a guitarist and much more.
Special thanks go to Erin Podbereski at Jensen Communications for coordinating, and BIG thanks to Joe Bonamassa for doing this interview for Nightwatcher's House Of Rock! (Photo Credit : Ross Halfin)

Interview and text by Nightwatcher for Nightwatcher's House Of Rock

September 03, 2008

Nightwatcher's House Of Rock : You have a brand new album which has just come out, 'Live From Nowhere In Particular' on J&R Adventures. Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Now that it's out, how do you feel about how it turned out, and are you happy with what you're hearing from critics this time around?

Joe Bonamassa : It was a lot of work compiling it all, but it was definitely one of those things for me where I wanted to be able to look people in the eye and say, "You enjoyed the show? Well, here it is on a disc ". You can easily go in and fix it to death, but I think you can hear the difference. I wanted to wait and get that really truly good performance where the guitar was in tune, I was in tune, and the band was tight. I don't believe in fixing a live record.

NHOR : What was the criteria for performances being included? How did you and Kevin go about choosing the versions which made it onto the album?

JB : We ended up recording a bunch of shows. As opposed to... we could've flown Kevin up to the House Of Blues in Chicago in front of 1,800 people, then God forbid if I caught a cold, tripped and fell, or just plain sucked that night, which was always an option. Then you've wasted a lot of money, time and people's energy. You end up with a one shot deal. We decided to go the other route and just record a whole bunch of shows, make mental notes and logs of which shows were the best, which were the worst, things like that. Of course your instincts are, "Oh God this was a beautiful show", and you're writing it down as the best ever, but then you listen back to it and go, "Oh...that's not the best ever". And the ones you thought were marginal happen to be the ones with magical moments, and you didn't even realize that was happening at the time, which is pretty much how it always goes. So that was our criteria. It was a lot of shows. Some of the shows we couldn't use because say, the snare drum didn't get recorded, so that's out. Or the vocal was distorted. Something crazy like that. But we finally found one gig that made the bulk of the shows, and then we had another thing in Germany where "A New Day Yesterday" came from, which was the only track which was separate from the original gig.

NHOR : Are there any particular favorite performances that you have on the album, either musically or ones which conjure up the best memories for you?

JB : I think the version of "Sloe Gin" on the album has probably the best solo I ever played on it. I'm still chasing it. I don't know where I was, or how I got there, but I'm definitely not arguing that it's been recorded.

NHOR : You're coming off of a studio album, 'Sloe Gin', which is the most successful of your career thus far, spending over 10 straight weeks at #1 on Billboard's Blues Charts, and has been in the top 10 blues albums for 50 weeks now. Are you anticipating the same sort of success with this being a live album? What would make you satisfied?

JB : You never know. I hope it's successful, I hope people like it and as many people buy it as bought 'Sloe Gin'. I think ultimately that if the hard core fans buy it and they have it for their archives, I'd be happy with that. I'm just proud of the work. The reviews I've seen from the fans have been great. They think it's the best thing that we've done, especially the ones who come to the shows a lot. I really don't know what to expect with it, but we've got a good initial shipment out to retail and it's received a good initial response. It's kind of like the vibe that was surrounding 'Sloe Gin' when that came out, so knock on wood. (Laughs) I'm pretty happy, and it's just one of those things where you just keep striving to improve yourself and go from there.

NHOR : There was some criticism of 'Sloe Gin' regarding there not being enough guitar on it as on previous releases. How do you respond to that, and do you feel by putting out this live album most of those critics should be silenced, that you haven't gone soft so to speak?

JB :
Well, there's definitely plenty of guitar on this record. Then again, at some point, the twenty minute songs with eight gazillion bars of guitar just run the risk of repeating yourself. Because you are repeating yourself. What would be the difference between that or 'Blues Deluxe,' when that was basically the concept? Eventually you have to think about melody, and eventually you have to sing songs. I got tired. I can't rely on my good looks, and I got tired of just relying on the guitar playing. When you're opening up for bands like Steely Dan, these bands that have hits, with songs and melodies, and you go, "I want some of that too". It just doesn't make sense to not even attempt it. So that's kind of the mentality of it.

NHOR : Do those sort of criticisms affect you at all, or are you accepting somewhat to a certain portion of your audience not being able to grow with you musically?

JB : Honestly, I think it boils down to this : I have to satisfy myself first. And if I like the record, then I'm happy with it and I won't cry myself to sleep tonight. That's really the only litmus test that I use. Do you want to be universally accepted and loved by everybody? Absolutely. It would be great. Is it virtually impossible in this day and age of the Internet? Absolutely. To me it really boils down to just a simple approach, and going, "I believe in the record". And the good so far outweighs the few that thought I didn't play enough guitar, that I know I'm on the right track. The record's still in the top 10 of the blues charts, so obviously we did something right. We either broadened our base, or touched a few more people, and that's really it. Does it mean that the new studio album that we're working on currently that will be out next year will sound like 'Sloe Gin'? Absolutely not. I reserve the right to change my direction at any point. The good thing about being a solo artist who has his own label is that you can do what you want.

NHOR : Speaking of broadening your base, how are things going for you live? The last time we talked you mentioned you'd love to see more women coming to the shows. Has that happened?

: They're definitely coming out. I can't complain. (Laughs) This week we haven't done a show that's had less than 1,600 people. We did a show last night where we had almost 3,000, and 3,000 the night before. These are people who are paying to see us, not just a freebie, "come see the fireworks and there's Joe and the band" type of thing. That to me is a real accomplishment. The live shows have been going so well, and again I just wake up every day going, "Do I have a hugely busy day? Absolutely". I'm hosting two radio shows, all this stuff, but am I incredibly lucky? Absolutely. Incredibly fortunate? Absolutely. I'm a very lucky guy. I'm more lucky than talented, I'll tell you that. I'm just a really lucky dude.

NHOR : Well, in that aspect yes, there are so many who would love to be in your shoes...

JB :
Definitely. There are so many who would trade places with me in a heartbeat. That's why I always say that the bad hard can they be? Every day there's another 500,000 people that would be willing to trade places with me.

NHOR : You were coined "The New King Of The Blues" by the UK's Guitarist Magazine. How comfortable are you with that sort of tag?

JB : Very uncomfortable, quite frankly. Because when you're the underdog, then your poster's not up on somebody's wall tacked to a dart board. When you're called "The New King Of The Blues"... yes, I'm honored by their article, and I love Guitarist Magazine, and it was great, but it certainly didn't go to my head. To me ultimately, it means now I'm the guy to beat, which is a weird position for me to be in because I've never been that guy. Now the work is really being put under a bigger microscope than it was a year ago, so it's critical that we have to be good and keep striving to better ourselves, to never get complacent, never get satisfied. That's what that kind of press buys you. You've got to keep working. I'm a workaholic, I work every day and I'm happy to do so. You just keep racking your brain to get different ideas, how to put things together differently and not be the same old blues band. And there's a lot of same old blues bands. (Laughs)

NHOR : I don't think it can be said that you're just a same old blues band by any means...

JB :
Well, we're trying our very, very best to sell tickets and with the tickets that we do sell, that people walk out not only having seen a good show, but a great show. And then they'll tell their friends and bring more people next time. That's really what it boils down to.

NHOR : Originally I believe Kevin had mixed out practically all the crowd noise on the album, then added some more in later on, which was a cause for delay by a couple of months. As it is, there isn't much of the crowd being heard throughout the discs. What led you to go in that direction? Usually live, you can't get fans to stop screaming ....

JB : It was the basic idea of having to go back and forth a few times in the mastering, and the final order of things. Because a lot of it had to do with if I could have my technological dream, it'd be one CD where you'd just put it in, and it is how it happened. Invevitably there's going to be some bit of cutting up of the actual event which goes on because there's no way you can get an hour forty five minute show on one disc. The order in which the songs appear on the two CD's is not the order in which we played it, which is fine. Back in the vinyl days bands would play two hour gigs, release a double LP and you'd end up getting 62 minutes of music.

We had to go back and treat a few things. One show we had, the crowd mics didn't get recorded as well as we wanted, and there was a bit of inconsistency there, so we ended up having to take a crowd response from another show with the same song and kind of paste it on there so that it sounded consistent. The recording machine that we used, I would never use it again. I won't tell you the brand, but they sold us a bag of glass. Kevin had to do a lot of work to just make it consistent because the sounds would change in real time. So he did a lot of work, for instance we had to add some more bottom into a kick drum that wasn't working. For some reason it just stopped. That's what kind of took the crowd noise away.That's the problem because you want to make it sound really, really good. You can refine a bootleg any day. In some cases we had to take crowd noises out because it became distracting. There were times when we had to shut the crowd mics off and just let the music speak for itself, which ultimately is what it is. People don't buy a live record to hear people cheer.

NHOR : Kevin has been preparing the album also for a vinyl release as well. The plan was to have it tracked at 18 minutes per side, but with the total time being close to 100 minutes, are there going to be any songs left off, edited, or are we talking a 3 album set?

JB : It's going to be six sides, on three albums. We initially went back and said, take "Django" out of of it and "Just Got Paid" is eleven minutes. Well, we need to make that seven minutes. So ultimately by doing that I'd be charging people for a neutered version of that song. To me... it costs us more as a label more to do three albums, a six sided package, but to me it's all about maintaining a reputation of putting out a quality product that's honest. You don't ever want to compromise that. If it means six sides then fine, eight sides, great. If it meant that we had to personally come over to somebody's house and play the whole show to make that work then we would've done that too.

NHOR : You and Kevin have also been busy recording the upcoming studio album which has the working title 'The Battle of John Henry'. How is that progressing? What can you tell us about the album and when do you think it will be released?

JB : I think the album's going to come out in February or March of 2009. Don't quote me on that but I think that's how we're gonna roll. The record features a bigger ensemble. We've got a rhythm guitar player, Blondie Chaplin from The Rolling Stones playing. I think this record could be the one that I definitively come out and say, "This is what I sound like". It's blues rock, it's refined blues rock. It's not as acoustic based as 'Sloe Gin'. I went back to basics, but it's basics in the fact that you can't make 'You & Me Pt II', you can't make 'Blues Deluxe Pt II'. I think this hopefully will be another milestone record for me where it'll be here's another one where people will want to hear a second version.

NHOR : You've been playing an electric version of Mississippi John Hurt's "Spike Driver Blues" live as of late. Is that somewhat the vein that the album will be in?

JB : That's the vein, pretty much. I mean, it's not all dropped C, it's not nĂ¼ metal. (Laughs) It's that kind of blues. We're just trying to do a real honest cohesive piece of work from start to finish.

NHOR : You've been talking for some time now about doing a World Blues Album, going around the world recording with local musicians. Is that still an ongoing plan or is that on the backburner for now?

JB : We're still kicking it around. It'd be a lot of logistics, a lot of work. The problem is, we're booked so far in advance, and Kevin's booked so far in advance and he has so much going on it's hard to get everybody in the same place. To make a lap around the world... quite frankly, the other musicians also have successful careers...

NHOR : So that would be more of an ongoing project...

JB : It would be an ongoing project. I really want to do it, and I think it'd be really cool. I know Ry Cooder did it, but I want to film a concert too, film a DVD of it. Do it more from a British blues angle than maybe what Ry did. It's about trusting a cohesive idea that's different. You never want to copy somebody else's model, I don't think that's worth the money.

NHOR : In April of this year you played in Bahrain at the invitation of the Crown Prince, you actually got to meet Eric Clapton and George Lucas, and Eric told you he loved the last two did that make you feel, knowing you have the respect of Clapton regarding your work?

JB :
It makes me feel extraordinarily good, honestly. But also, he's my hero. It's very, very hard to quantify what something like that means to you.

NHOR : So the inevitable question I have to ask here then would be, did you and Eric discuss possibly collaborating on anything in the future?

JB :
No...We were at a party, and I'm not that kind of guy. (Laughs)

NHOR : You also have the daily blues show on Sirius 74, " Daily Cup Of Joe". In what ways have you seen that increase your visibility and popularity?

JB : You know, Carlos Santana thought I was a radio show host. He didn't know my music, but he knew my show. I'm like, "Dude, that's not my normal gig". (Laughs) He asked me, "You mean you're not like a show host?" I said, "I do, but my main gig is guitar". He said, "Oh really? That's funny". But it's been really a cool experience doing it. I was actually recording a show before we're talking. It's a lot of hard work to get it all organized. Literally, I've recorded shows in Bahrain, India, Paris, London...Kansas City...wherever. We do them in the back rooms of the bus. We're lucky to have a bus. (Laughs) For me, that's been a real blessing, and I'm really honored to work with Matt and everybody at Sirius because they really are nice folks and they do a very good job.

NHOR : You're at the point now where you're the one who's influencing young players just like Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, Danny Gatton, Paul Kossoff etc. influenced you. Does that give you an added sense of responsibility, knowing that there are kids taking notes?

JB : The whole thing is, a lot of kids come up to me with guitars and tell me, "I have all your albums", and I'll go on YouTube and I'll see, "This is my version of "So Many Roads" and they're playing the solo to it and I'll go, "Wow". That's the kind of stuff I did when I was a kid, with somebody else. It's more of an honor than a responsibility. I think my responsibility is just to keep trying to go forward, improve myself, and also carry myself with a dignity and not go down a path of self destruction. When people admire you and look up to you, you have a responsibility to them to keep yourself from letting them down. That's the mentality I have. I've lost a lot of weight because I got tired of looking at fat pictures of myself, and now I'm living a healthy lifestyle.

NHOR : With your increased visibility as a player, being voted 'Best Blues Guitarist' two years running in Guitar Player Magazine's Reader's Poll, having your own column in Guitar World, appearing on Comcast, conducting clinics etc., you certainly must get a lot of kids and adults coming up to you asking you about your playing. What is the most prevelant question you get asked? Is it about technique, instruments, equipment, tone?

JB : A lot of it is more about equipment. They think that's the key to the sound. Yeah, I bring a lot of gear out there, and I'm lucky to be able to not only afford one set, but two sets of it, but I keep telling them, "If Eric Clapton plugged into my rig, he'd sound like him". If I plugged into his rig, I'd sound like me. If you plugged into my rig, you'd sound like you. And vice versa. It's a sound in your head. You have to figure out what you want to sound like in your head, then you can alternatively start dealing with the gear. Because the gear ultimately is just a conduit to make something easier. They ask me about technique, and I'm not a real music theory guy, never have been, probably never will be. So when I go into G.I.T., I just give them the overall approach. I say, "Okay, this is what I do and what works for me. I'm not necessarily saying it's right, or necessarily saying it'll work for you". I just give them a stepping point, a place to kind of go from.

I always tell people at the end of my clinics, "Look at me. If I can do it, you can too". There's no trick here, it's just hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck involved. Which if you ever saw me gamble in Las Vegas, you'd realize I'm a very unlucky gambler, so I don't have a whole lot of luck on my side. (Laughs) That's really the key, hard work, retail politics and fan building. You have to literally walk into a place, do a meet & greet, sit there for an hour or two, meet a few hundred people, shake their hand, take pictures with them and say, "Thank you for coming". Anybody can do that, but you actually have to mean that. There's an honesty factor that you have to have. People see through non conviction. But they'll grab onto conviction and genuineness.

NHOR : It's been another do you feel your playing is progressing these days, personally speaking?

JB : I went back to my home in Georgia, sat in my house for two weeks, and I realized that I left all of my Jazz III Dunlop picks in one of the production cases. Jim Dunlop's nice enough to make them with my name on them, which is neither here nor there, but it is cool. I said, "Well, I can just go to the store and buy some Jazz III's and just have them around the house". But I decided, "You know...I'm not going to use a pick for two weeks and see where that takes me". And I did. I'll tell you what, I've got a lot more feel and my phrasing has gotten better because of it. I feel more connected to the guitar not using a pick as much.

I think ultimately what I want...when you hear B.B. King play one note, you know who it is. Clapton plays one note, two notes, or a phrase and you know it's him. Same thing with Angus Young. Those are the true upper echelon, iconic players. Jeff Beck, the same way. With Jeff, he can play a note in 1968, 1978, 1988...for five decades, and even though each note sounds different you know it's Jeff Beck. Those are the kind of things you strive for. I've copied all my heroes. I've been able to sit down and work my butt off and get that going. But ultimately, it boils down to, "What really do you want to do here?" Do you want to be the guy who copies everybody? Or do you want to be the guy who blazes his own trail?" Sure, everybody's a product of their influences, but you've got to start trying to think of a more simple, original approach.

NHOR : What is your take on video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band? As a guitarist do you feel they're a good or bad thing?

JB : I think it's a great thing. I'll tell you what...there are a lot of kids these days who would never know who Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith are. I think even Molly Hatchet has a song on one of them.Those kids wouldn't know who those bands were. It's real music on there. If it was say, an electronica band, I would've thought, "That's just making something kind of dumb, dumber". They're not playing real instruments, but they're getting to understand what real music is. And they're becoming fans of the music. That's what you need is a new generation of fans. They have Eric Johnson on 'Guitar Hero'. How many 10 year olds in the last several years would've discovered Eric Johnson on their own versus how many 10 year olds who are going to discover Eric Johnson by proxy due to 'Guitar Hero'? I think it's a real asset. I think it's really helping classic rock and I think it's really helping music in general get back to where it should be, a rooted, soulful thing.

NHOR : It's great when you can go into a store and hear Eric Johnson's "Cliffs Of Dover" or Deep Purple's "Highway Star". It's not something you'd normally hear every day, and it's certainly not the usual muzak...

JB : I think every kid should learn...I've been seeing some digital stuff for guitars lately, and whether it be a self tuning guitar, or a slide where all you have to do is press on the strings and it does the tuning for you, or the Line 6 guitar where you can tune it to any tuning you want, or any sound of any guitar you want, the strings are very flat and you can tune it to any tension you want...and there's something to be said about learning how to tune your own guitar. Learning how to recognize that your guitar is out of tune and then correct your playing. I think that does musicianship a bit of a disservice, but the fact that kids are playing again is great. Because those same kids come and see the shows.

NHOR : Since Gibson has put out the limited edition Joe Bonamassa signature Les Paul, have you been approached by any other companies to develop any other instruments, guitar software or effects?

JB : I've been working a bit with a few companies unofficially under the radar, with them coming to me and asking, "Hey, what do you think of this sound or program we have?" I'm not a hugely computer literate person, but when you develop a guitar software, you can learn to differentiate, like, "Yeah, it looks like a Fender Twin, and by and large it sounds like a Fender Twin, but when I close my eyes and turn the computer screen off do I feel like I'm playing through a Fender Twin?" Or a Marshall. That's the kind of thing that I've brought in on several occasions, more of "What do you think?"

NHOR : You have your own label, J&R Adventures with Roy Wiseman, which you have released 'You & Me', 'Sloe Gin', Crosby Loggins' album and now this one. How is it running your own label, and have you received any promising demos from any artists, or signed anyone else since we last talked?

JB : I get tons of demos in. I try to listen to all of them, because that's my nature. Having an artist on my own label with Crosby Loggins, I never thought in a million years that I'd do that. It's a good organic thing for us, and for Crosby. He won a singing contest on MTV, and is going to be a big star one day. I'm just a small part of it. I'm not Clive Davis, I'm not a star maker. I'm the kind of guy who will cue up the ball for you, then run with it and find a real label that will be able to dedicate 100% of their time. We only have 6 employees at the office, which I'm not saying that's not a lot of people, but those 6 are basically devoted to my life, whether it be on a personal side or professional side.

NHOR : What albums are you listening to these days Joe? Has there been anything lately that's made you just go "Wow, this is great?"

JB : Actually I haven't really been listening to a lot of music lately. It's been strange. Moving back and forth between California and Athens, Georgia, then the workload has been outrageous. I need a vacation really bad. By no means am I burnt out, but it'd be nice to have a vacation. The sounds of silence on the bus, driving down the highway at the end of a very long day is usually a good sound.

NHOR : Do you feel like you're making inroads with the so called blues purists?

JB : I don't think so. I think the blues purists respect me for what I do with kids, and bringing the blues to the kids. I don't know if they respect the message that I bring to them, which is the blues is a giant umbrella, and Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson all sound like the blues. But I think ultimately blues purists have some soul searching to do. The writing's pretty much clearly on the wall. Do we want the music to grow or do we want the music to stagnate? If they want the music to stagnate and just have their own private little club, then certainly, buy the building, put a gate around it, and just make it your own club. But if it's going to be in the public domain, and you want it to reach as many people as possible, then there definitely are some better ways of getting it out there. There's better ways to support young artists than they're doing. Ultimately, it's their choice. We're going to move ahead regardless. We don't really travel in the well worn blues paths anyway. We're a blues band, and I'm proud to call us a blues band, but we travel down a lot more avenues than a normal 9 - 5 blues band. With this live record, there's a lot of blues on it, but it's not a traditional blues record from start to finish.

NHOR : Is there anything else you'd like to say to all the fans out there?

JB :
I'd like to give a heartfelt "Thank you" for making a kid from Utica, New York's dream come true. It's been an absolutely wonderful two years. Never in a million years did I ever think in my lifetime that I would have a Gibson guitar with my name on it, #1 albums on Billboard's Blues Charts, be able to travel the entire world, and be able to make a living playing music. Never in a million years would I have thought any of that was possible. I always hoped it would happen, but the fact that the fans have allowed me to do this for yet another year is just a tremendous honor.

For more information on Joe Bonamassa, and to find current tour dates, go to or

Joe Bonamassa performing "India/Mountain Time" live at the North Sea Jazz Festival :


Libbysmail said...

What an absolutely BRILLIANT interview Keith!! Once again, you've hit it out of the ballpark. I LOVED EVERY SINGLE WORD. Thank you for being so aware of the questions on our minds.....and for asking them. And JOE, thank YOU for your thoughtful, honest, thorough and interesting answers - and, as always, for just being JOE BONAMASSA, supremely talented, humble, grateful, and OUTSTANDING human being.

:) Libby

Pittsburgh Jeff said...

Absolutely Brilliant writing Keith. I read the whole thing which isn't like me. But you know the right questions to ask, what his fans want to know. AS always, Thanks so much. Jeff

Joe Bonamassa - LIVE From Nowhere In Particular said...

Great interview Keith!! As always Joe, you are a fan's dream, thanks so much and so proud of all you do and who you are! ♥ pattyluvsjoe

Crush said...

Excellent interview! So many internet music sites have lame interviewers who ask totally standard or just plain stupid questions. This one is the antithesis of all that and then some! Joe Bonamassa is a smart guy with more talent than he will ever admit to having. He may disagree, but I think he plays circles around Clapton, even in his heyday with Cream. Plus, Joe is constantly progressing, while Clapton's playing has been in a holding pattern for decades.
Thank you, Nightwatcher, for the best interview with Joe I've ever read. We need more writers of your caliber!

Jeremy Spencer 2014 US Tour