Blues and jazz pulled me away from what was left of my family.
In those days, between the ages of 12 and 18 you meant nothing. You were the extra place at the side table if someone came to dinner. You were of no interest to anyone.
I had always intended to make a living out of playing blues. But I never admitted it to myself. I don’t suppose I could have given a logical reason for it ever becoming possible to do so.
If the same phrase in the same place created the right effect, I was perfectly prepared to use it every time. I wasn’t worried that I wasn’t improvising.
When I reflect on how things have changed, I can’t help but laugh.
The parallel development in American blues to the British movement has resulted in Johnny Winters.
Since the age of 12, all my musical thinking has been influenced by Afro-American music.
Once you became associated with a children’s show, you’re finished.
In 1940 I came across a record by Jimmy Yancey. I can’t say how important that record is. From then on, all I wanted to do was play the blues.
I was considered as a jazz man rather than as a blues player. There were no blues players-you played one sort of jazz of another sort of jazz.
I wanted to be able to play guitar. I wanted to be able to make music hurt.
I must have been heavily schizophrenic all my life. The me who hears what the other me can’t play is the dominant one.
Every musical movement that is big enough has to produce some good musicians who wouldn’t have had the incentive to start playing without it.
I’m a compulsive musician, but it’s also a bloody good way out of having to do anything else.
The British feel of blues has been hard, rather than emotional. Far too much emphasis on 12 bar, too little attention to words, far too little originality.