Any Good Stories/Personal Experiences Meeting a Blues Guitar Hero

Larry F

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I used to see Buddy Guy and Junior Wells at the Checkerboard on 47th in Chicago. Buddy tended bar, while Junior sat drinking cognacs. I once asked Buddy if he would be interested in buying my 1954 Strat. He passed, but as I was walking away, he asked again what year it was. Like a numbskull, I just took him at his word and didn't try to bargain. Super chill, head down kind of guy.

Quintus McCormick was a blues guitarist who recorded on the Delmark label. He took an acoustics class with me at Columbia College, Chicago. He was funny, mildly disruptive, and was the hit of the class. Stopped seeing him in class, and learned that he had punched out some kind of attendant.

Gloria Hardiman is a Chicago blues singer who had moved to my town in Iowa. After hearing me sit in with another band, she wanted to see about starting a band that would incorporate me. We sat in the dining room and she suggested All Your Love. I knew it but never physically played it. Because of my earlier years playing clubs, I was able to manage it without problems. Sometimes I wasn't sure of something, so I kept the beat and groove going until I got back on track. She told me that everybody in the local blues scene had been talking about a professor who could play blues. I told her that was me. I'll always hold these words close to me, as she said, "Well, you don't play like a professor."

Sadly, she had legal problems with her housing situation. She had to serve a year or two in prison. Prison.
 

Telekarster

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I knew Honeyboy Edwards personally and performed with him on a few occasions including a gig in Chicago, which was one of the highlights of my time in the blues scene. He was one of the sweetest, kindest, men I ever met and his life experiences were the stuff of legends. We first met at an art fair more than 23 years ago. As a Delta player (the music I got into by shear chance when I left country), it was extremely rare in those days at most venues, we bonded on that level and hit it off immediately. It was my honor to know him, perform with him, and I miss him greatly even now. He passed almost exactly 1 month after my Father passed i.e. I lost 2 great men in my life in a month. That year was very tough for me. Suffice it to say, I'm proud that I got to know him and I'll treasure my time with him always. The last of the old blues men from an era long gone, and the only man alive that knew all of my blues idols personally, which was quite a treat for me. He was sharp as a tack and a passionate Delta Blues performer to the very end, literally. RIP Honeyboy, miss ya man.

For those of you who might not know who he is, you can read about him here:

 

El Tele Lobo

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I have several.

Tinsley Ellis - One of my favorite blues guitarist, singers and songwriters. He tours a lot! I saw him in New York a couple years in a row. I went up to him at the second gig and introduced myself, saying, “you probably don’t remember me but I saw you…“ He said, “I remember you.“ I saw him several more times over the years (He always remembered me) and after becoming a fairly accomplished player, sitting in with a lot of peoples bands and playing tons of jams, I rather boldly (ah, youth!) asked if I could sit in with him during one of his visits to my town. He respectfully declined, but said that if I had a tape or a CD of my band that he would do everything he could to get it to someone who might be able to help me. And he meant it.

Jimmie Vaughan - He played a gig at an outdoor venue in my town that was about equivalent inside to a large club. A crowd formed after seeking autographs, pictures and a few minutes to chat with him. He stayed until he had met with every fan in line, then walked off into the night holding his girlfriend’s hand. Humble guy. I know because I was third from the last in line. I got to chat with him a little bit about his unusual fingerpicking technique and also got an autograph and a picture out of it.

Hubert Sumlin - For one of the most important and seminal guitarists in first-wave electric blues, he was an extremely humble guy. Met him on a blues cruise and he talked to me for nearly an hour. He struck me as someone who had never quite gotten comfortable with fame.

David “Honeyboy” Edwards - Played a small club… More of a room, really…in New York City, just him, an acoustic guitar and a bottle of whiskey. I met him afterwards. For a contemporary of Robert Johnson’s and a seminal Delta blues artist, you would never know of his renown by his attitude…extremely humble and down to earth (seeing a pattern yet?). I asked him if he would autograph my acoustic guitar and play a few notes on it. He happily obliged. Sadly, the signature got rubbed off when my stepbrother borrowed it and the guitar itself got ruined in a recent mildew incident. But I still have the memories.

Samantha Fish - I met her after a fairly large club gig in Florida and she autographed my CD. I was starstruck (and honestly, rather lovestruck). She was very gracious and very humble. It was the album before she got the really vampy image with the bobbed hair and wild makeup. She was a sweaty mess (post gig meetup) but my heart was racing (it’s racing now just thinking about it!). What a woman! What a musician! Zowie!
 

Rick Lanahan

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Played with Bo Diddley at the Cow Palace in the 80's. Our band and horn section for the show. I'm on guitar, far right.
BD2.jpg
 

VonBonfire

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It's usually more fun to keep the stories to myself I think, but I have gotten to meet and jam with some name players on my blues adventures. I've jammed with one bigger name who was all out of sorts on who knows what substances and his pop too and gigged with some medium names, one of whom tried to throw me under the bus on the first solo. Haha didn't work. I've jammed with some only-blues-guys-would-know their names at jams around the country. All part of the experience. Never did get to meet or jam with any of the big legends though. That was before my time mostly. Just pickin' up the pieces.
 

Telekarster

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just him, an acoustic guitar and a bottle of whiskey. I met him afterwards. For a contemporary of Robert Johnson’s and a seminal Delta blues artist, you would never know of his renown by his attitude…extremely humble and down to earth (seeing a pattern yet?). I asked him if he would autograph my acoustic guitar and play a few notes on it. He happily obliged. Sadly, the signature got rubbed off when my stepbrother borrowed it and the guitar itself got ruined in a recent mildew incident.

Yep, that was Honeyboy alright. FWIW if he had known the autograph was rubbed off, he'd have re-signed it if there'd ever been a chance for him to do so. That's the way he was. Very cool that you got to meet him man. He was a heck of a guy to know.
 

Masmus

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I have met quite a few over the years and to a person they were all very nice. My sound guy, who is a large guy, saw Ritchie Blackmore came around a corner slammed into him once at the Namm show and almost knocked him down (on accident) Blackmore just said "oh excuse me" and we were all on our way.
 

Chuckster

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Disclaimer: I am not a fan of the blues.

Now that we got that out of the way...
After spending a lot of time with The Chameleons UK and The Mighty Lemon Drops in the late '80s, I became friends with their lead roadie, Spoon (Paul).

He would often tour with other bands, and he'd call me whenever he was in the Boston/Rhode Island area.

He was working a show at The Paradise for Rory Gallagher so he gave me a ring. I met him at the club for soundcheck then we had a beer after.

We went back in the club and he opened that case. Good Lord. The neck was amazingly smooth. I put it back quickly because I was afraid I'd muck it up somehow.

A little while later, Rory appeared and Spoon and I tried not to look guilty. He was pleasant and soft spoken. I grabbed a pad of paper from the bar and he left me with this:
IMG_1705.JPG

His show was blistering, and I got to see it from the side of the stage. Cool memory.
 

buddyboy

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I "met" Mick Taylor in 1982 when he was touring with John Mayall, John McVie and Colin Allen. The band played the Northstage Theater in Glen Cove, NY and my friend and I waited behind the forum from mid-afternoon until the doors opened. Sure enough, at round 5:00, up pulls a limo and the band jumps out. I, all of 18 and a HUGE MT fan at the time, gushed at him. He was very cool, thanked us for coming to the show, gave us a thumbs up and left. The other guys - not so cool.

I "met" Ritchie Blackmore (not really blues, I know) a good number of times in the 1980's as he was living in my hometown at the time. In fact, I saw him almost every week for a bit as he would come into the grocery store I worked at with his smoking hot wife and shop! Nasty dude! I think he still lives on Long Island to this day, but in a different town (Mount Sinai).
 

KokoTele

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Met Jim Weider and Kenny Neal, both great players and nice gentlemen.
Simon Nicol also really a nice guy and also a great singer and player.

Many, many moons ago, I was riding back from an all-day jam with another TDPRI buddy, who needed to stop to see the other guitar player in his band. The other player just happened to be Mark Giammattei of Pure Sixty Four amps, and when we arrived Jim Weider was there working on some tweaks to an amp, playing his '52 Telecaster loud as hell in that small space. He was super nice, and we made small talk about gear and things for a bit. I remember him saying how the OCD pedal was really good, and I was like "I know, I just got one!"
 

Big_Bend

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Dunno if you count him as a "blues guitar hero", but I met Bo Diddley once. It turned out to be one of the greatest performances I've ever seen, although I'm probably the only person who saw it who thinks so.

It was at a 40th anniversary party in Aspen for some rich guy who booked out a fancy hotel and three bands- Bo Diddley, the Spinners, and a regional function band who also did a set as Bo's backing band. At noon, they brought in a lunch buffet for the crew and we sat down to eat. Before long Bo walked in, alone, wearing the hat and carrying a square guitar case. He looked around, and said "I'm playing here tonight, mind if I grab a sandwich?" I told him there was a green room down the hall for the bands that had better food, but he shook his head and said "naw, I don't want that bull***t, I'd rather just eat with y'all if that's OK".

So, I had lunch with Bo Diddley. We just kind of made small talk, but he said "man, I hate these corporate gigs. But the money's too good to pass up, you know?" I said, "why do you think I'm here?" and he laughed. Later at soundcheck, he tried to get the pickup band to learn some new songs he'd written. He even provided lead sheets, but they were NOT into it. I worked with this band about a dozen times, and they always sucked. They were very polished and professional though, so they got a lot of high dollar function band work. Finally Bo just gave up. At showtime, Bo tried his level best to put over some kind of spirited performance for the monied elite of Aspen, none of whom gave a single crap about him or his music. The pickup band just kind of thudded along unenthusiastically behind him.

Then, it happened. Bo broke a string. No big deal, it happens. But Bo didn't turn down his amp. Even though the FOH guy took him out of the mix, Bo managed to blast that beautiful ballroom with the sounds of a man repeatedly throwing his guitar in and out of tune- it soon became obvious he was doing it on purpose. The pickup band shot each other nervous glances like "WTF is he doing?" Finally, guitar still out of tune, Bo approached the mic. He began wailing on the guitar like a madman and screaming. Not vocalizing, screaming. Like a banshee. Sonic Youth would have been impressed with the noise spewing from Bo's amp. It was madness. It instantly threw the room into chaos. People ran for the doors, others clapped their hands over their ears and glared at the stage. They were finally paying attention to him, all right.

The pickup band looked terrified like deer in headlights, until the drummer kicked into the Bo Diddley beat. The band then fell behind Bo, trying to make order from the chaos, which just made it crazier. It was beautiful. It was the most rock 'n' roll thing I have ever seen. Bo grabbed the mic stand and started playing wild, out of tune slide with it. At this point, the room was empty except for the band and crew. As a finale, Bo leaned his guitar on the rented JC120, raked his hand across the knobs to crank them all wide open, and walked away. It wailed for a good minute before the pickup band guitarist gingerly switched off the amp. The silence afterwards was deafening.

I saw him arguing with the meeting planner in the corner of the room, until she grudgingly handed him a check. Bo grabbed his stuff, and in seconds had disappeared out the side door into the night. The other guys in the crew snickered about it later, but I knew we'd seen a performance for the ages.


I love this story!!! Thanks for sharing. Bo was going to get paid lol. :)
 

redhouse_ca

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Does Clarence Gatemouth Brown count? He always hated the whole "blues" label...


Anyway after attending an awesome show of his I ran into him in the men's room. I was in my early 20s and tipsy, and I asked him what he listened to when he was my age and he smiled and said "the BIG bands, man, the BIG bands!"
I think everyone counts if you dig em, but CGB gets you +1 experience points. Cool story. I wonder which big, big bands he was referring to.
 

24 track

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I got to work sound for a very young Jeff Heally at a blues palace in Vancouver called the Yale Hotel
He had Jack lavin ( of powder Blues and Jack Lavin and the Wailing Demons ) Big Joe Duskin on Piano,
the kid blew me away he was so good , got to meet him afterwards , my gawd that kid could play and what a nice kid!
 

Telekarster

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Met SRV thanks to Caesar Diaz during his "In Step Tour" in OKC. Caesar was the bass/keyboard tech. during that tour.

Sadly Stevie passed just a few weeks afterwards.

Great guy, very friendly...

View attachment 995711

Man.... I remember the very moment of the very day he died. I nearly wrecked my pickup truck, when the news came over the radio. I had to pull over. I sat there in a vacant parking lot listening to the breaking news, in shock. Never met him but I knew at that moment, whatever music we had from SRV, that's all there would ever be. Made me very sad indeed, and still does when I think on that day. Anyway, don't want to derail the thread on all that, but thanks for sharing that picture and story man! Very cool you got to meet him.
 

dougstrum

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I got to hangout and play with John Jackson back stage😎
A harmonica player had friends in Remington VA that always had a summer party, and he talked me into playing. They had a nice old barn with a stage, nice atmosphere and party. Didn't know John Jackson would be there. I only knew him from funky college radio stations. He was a really nice guy, glad I got to chat and play a bit with him~
 




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