Any of blues standards have any real personal feelings for you and what are some of your favorite?
Hundreds! The playing of Freddie King, Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Roy Buchanan have in different ways intrigued and inspired me but then so have John Martyn, Taj Mahal… Skip James, Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan, I don’t really have favourites; it doesn’t work like that for me. Blues is a tradition really, tunes are passed down. People borrow, build on, and steal even what they hear. It’s a bit like a bank; you build up your account with all that you hear, then consciously or unconsciously you call on this account in your playing.
Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?
The best: working with Mike Vernon; the worst: not getting enough gigs.
What characterizes the sound of Mick Pini? Do you think that your music comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?
No idea; it’s for others to say. Blues with a feeling, I will let my fans be the judge of that. It comes from the heart and soul.
From whom have you have learned the most secrets about blues music?
If pressed. Freddie King (probably Eric Clapton, Peter Green too) but it’s a massive oversimplification. Like I was saying earlier blues is a tradition and you’re absorbing stuff all the time.
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Blues from Skiffle and British Folk to Jazz and Psychedelic music?
Folk Blues 1960s again living through this period, we had the small clubs from my home town to London, being a much bigger city in size, with a hell of a lot more people, being in the middle of the folk blues. Les Cousins bunjies club where performers were asked to get up and play, and do their spontaneous thing, and poet reading 1965 the Radio Alexis Korner, who brought the blues to radio, with a wonderful radio blues voice, as he announced the new blues coming through. Alexis could be seen playing in Les cousins, a small club in Soho, where else could a club like that exist. It was the center of London. Musicians passing through the folk blues scene, Chris Barber and Lonnie Donegan, the earlier artists of skiffle and jazz blues. The folk artists that where around, music from the roots, to become world famous, they had to start somewhere and this was where this all started and grew in London. John Martyn, Fairport Convention, Robert Plant, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, so many artists, and in America Bob Dylan, and on TV and Radio, was the new media 1970. Even Psychedelic music with its folk roots. They all started from these roots and expanded to other forms of expressing their music.
What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of past? What touched (emotionally) you from the busking era?
The intimcy of a small gig and seeing that artist live, I refer to earlier Freddie King, it’s an experience, and also to meet the artist, which I did, and get to talk to them and learn about their experiences and how they came to do what they do. The experience of that moment of seeing that artists, like Freddie King just blew my mind. I never heard anyone play the blues with such passion and feeling it was something that completely changed my life in the way Freddie playing Blues guitar. He blew me away and I still can’t get that out my mind. I realized you had to be that good, else give up, or throw the thing away. Freddie did something that will stay for the rest of my life, which the same as Peter Green, he had that special thing in playing the blues guitar, and to some extent. Eric Clapton opened up possibilities in the sound of the guitar him being the first. From the beano album 1966 John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton and Peter Green later. Their interpretations of the blues of the likes of Freddie King to B.B King, J.B Lenoir, Robert Johnson. Even when B.B King played the Fillmore 1967, he could not believe the white kids would love it. It was just accepted and listened to, it was incredibly new, but to the black audiences the Blues wasn’t a big thing.
What is the impact of Blues music and culture to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?
We have a big Media Cooperate, TV Phones, TV screens, Computers it`s all change. It`s in your face day and night, switch it on switch it off, nonstop. The world is a smaller place, we can reach each other in seconds, minutes. We believe what we see on TV because we see it, they tell it, and we believe it. It’s the information age it tells you what to believe, it`s instant, it`s also dangerous and conflicting bringing anger among different communities, almost despair at the lies and truths of our own beliefs on the ground. The second and third hand information distorts, without even realizing some common ground to base facts on.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?
Chicago, 1950s, 1960s, the Blues Clubs, the music the stories around the artists like Howlin Wolf, Little Walter Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Buddy Guy, Freddie King ect. What a time, I would have loved to have seen and heard the blues music in them Juke Joints and small clubs. I guess it would have been dangerous, being a white guy, but the stories and lives of people who lived through that time, from that era. Yet I guess being a black musician or a person living his daily life routines and the racial hate that was around then, even to this day, has not been sorted. The Blues it never went away!!
Mick Pini - UK Blues Legend - Home
Recorded April 2017 in the UK
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