Kenny Wayne Shepherd
by Paul Guy
Interview for FUZZ #1/96
© Paul Guy, 1996
At age 19 Kenny Wayne Shepherd is already a candidate member of the blues guitar elite
club. His first record, Ledbetter Heights, stayed at number one on the Billboard
blues chart for 20 weeks (!), he has played with blues legends like B.B. King and
Buddy Guy, and has been highly praised by all.
Comparisons with the tragically dead Stevie Ray Vaughan are of course unavoidable.
And sure enough there is a connection - when Kenny Wayne was 7 years old he saw Stevie Ray in concert in his home town of Shreveport, Louisiana. Stevie lifted him up on to an equipment case on the side of ths stage so that he could see better. "He blew my mind", says Kenny. His only problem is that he doesn't feel ready to sing yet. There
is of course a lot of pressure on him to take the microphone - if you are going to
be a blues guitar hero, it's almost mandatory that you also have to sing.
This summer Kenny Wayne Shepherd played support to the Eagles on their European tour.
I met him before the Stockholm gig.
Hi Kenny, and welcome to Stockholm.
It's great to be here.
I understand you started playing at age 7, listening to Muddy Waters was there anybody
else in particular you listened to at that time?
Well, I listened to a lot of Albert King, and Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, I listened
to a lot of Buddy Guy, we even did, like, when I was 14, and we were doing demos,
you know, before I even got the record deal we did a Buddy Guy song, and we did a
lot of that stuff in our sets because before I signed the record deal and we didn't have
a lot of material, we did like three sets a night like every other blues band, a
lot of blues cover tunes, but we always tried to do ones that nobody had ever heard
before. We didn't want to be playing Mustang Sally every night and stuff like that, we
wanted at least the music to sound fresh.
So anyway, I went back and listened to Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson and
all those guys too , you know, the older guys, but really, you know, the Howling
Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy era, Albert King and all that, that's my favourite
time of the blues, I think.
BB was putting out some killer stuff too I think right in the 50s and 60s he was
doing some of his most incredible stuff. I don't know, I think that things were really
happening back then, kinda like they are right now, except that it's a little different.
You must have had a guitar to play on?
I had to ask for it, though because nobody in my family has ever played music -
my dad was in radio for a long time...
So the listening to the blues came first, and then you wanted a guitar?
Yeah, I mean my dad listened to blues and stuff, and R&B, when he was a kid, so when
I was hanging out with him when I was a little kid I was listening to it as well
and normally, I guess, people say that kids don't usually like the music that their
parents like, but I always loved it. So then when I got my guitar, it was just like a
kind of obvious thing for me to start playing the blues. But it took me like six
months to get a guitar, because my parents didn't really think I was serious I
was only seven years old and then they got me this Yamaha, this real cheap electric guitar,
it was kinda like I had to prove I was serious before they were going to get me a
real guitar. And so I kept working at it on my own, I never took lessons or anything,
and I always played by ear, I can't read any music or anything like that. But I did it all
on my own, my parents never pushed me and said you have to do this, or you need to
take these lessons or anything like that.
You did it pretty good, too. I like the way you play. I've been in this business
over 30 years, and I've heard a lot of guitar players, but I mean, your record -
there's been guys in my age group sitting in my shop listening to it, like - "Hey,
what'd he play there? Wind it back! Hey!"
All right! That's cool!
Yeah, stealing your licks and God knows what!
Yeah, that's what I like, because I remember just sitting there stealing everybody
Exactly! that's what we all do.
Yeah, and I mean when I was learning to play I could only dream that somebody else
would be trying to learn my stuff, and now I get letters, I get fan mail from young
kids that are learning how to play, and they're all saying "oh, I'm trying to figure
out this song and that song", and it's just really, it's exciting to me, because I never
thought anybody would be trying to play something that I played, but they do, and
that's a major compliment to me.
Well, it's the feeling that comes across. But there's a lot of flash guitar players about,
and I like to listen to some of them, as I'm sure you do?
Oh yeah. But you know, I mean it's like you gotta respect Eddie Van Halen for what
he's done, you know what I'm saying, he's all flash, but at the same time he created
his own thing. And Gary Moore, you know, he's trying to do his blues thing, but he's
got a little too much flash, I don't really get into his music, but he's one of those
flashy players. I don't think there's room for Eddie Van Halen licks in the blues,
or for what Gary Moore does. But anyway, yeah, I agree, feeling is much more important,
because that's what this music is all based on. It's from the heart and from the soul,
and that's really where it should come from, and I feel like if you try to get too
technical with it you can sterilise the music almost, and it gets too perfect and
it's not improvised enough, and it kind of takes away the whole feel of the music, really.
We tried to stay away from that in the studio when we recorded the record we tried
to make it sound as live as we could, so that it sounds like you're listening to
a band playing rather than it sounds like you're listening to a bunch of guys that put
tracks down on tape.
I think you succeeded.
Well, we tried and a lot of that had to do with the mix, the guy that mixed the
record did a really great job. A lot of the tracks in the studio are the original
tracks, you know what I mean, I tried to do the least amount of overdubbing that
I had to, and there's three or four of the songs what you hear is the first guitar track that
I put down, and that's it. I didn't overdub anything on a lot of the songs.
You went on stage the first time when you were 13, I read - is that correct?
Yeah, in New Orleans.
Did you do many gigs while you were still at school?
Yeah, I did a lot when I was still at school see, we formed the band when I was
about 15 years old, me and the rhythm guitar player put the band together. We started
doing club gigs, like I was saying, but we pretty much limited the shows to weekends,
because of my school during the week. So we were doing like three hour sets a night,
playing from 9 till 2 or whatever, and you know, it was cool, and I don't think I
would like to have skipped that part of it, because that's kinda like what you have
to go through.
You gotta pay your dues...
Yeah, exactly. And I'm still doing that. I mean I'm only 19, so I got many years left,
you know what I'm saying, but like I said, I would not have liked to have skipped
that and gone straight to this, because there's tons of experience that I got doing
that that you just can't get anywhere else.
I hear you. When did you finish school?
I graduated in May of 1995. I didn't go to college, it was just high school. I would
be in college right now, but I'm doing this, and I mean, I would not rather be doing
anything else. I really couldn't see myself trying to become a doctor or anything
Oh, I was the same, I left school as soon as I could, 16 years old. Soon as I got
a professional gig, pfft - out.
You have received some very major attention at an early age, the up side of this is
pretty obvious, but what is the down side, if any?
Well, there's not too many down sides about it, because all the recognition that you
can get is really good, and all the recognition that I have gotten has been good,
from people like B.B. and Buddy, they've had really nice things to say about me,
and the record has got really good reviews, so I'm really happy with everything. But you know,
it's kinda like people don't realise, that, like, this is my life now, it's an
everyday thing, I'm on the road all the time rather than being at home sitting on
my butt, chasing girls and partying and stuff like that.
You got the girls chasing you instead ...
Yeah - (laughs ) yeah! But you know, it's kinda like a give and take situation, but,
I feel like I'm much more fortunate getting to do what I'm doing than I would be
if I was some ordinary kid sitting around and partying my life away.
If it's in your blood, it's in your blood ...
Yeah, exactly. And you know, like I get to do so many things, like play with B. B.
King, and play with the Eagles, and stuff like that, that nobody else gets to do,
so I'm just very happy doing what I'm doing.
Is this your first time outside the States?
Yes this is our first time out well, I mean, we've been to Canada, but you know,
it's not it's like right up there, but this is our first time overseas, and the
whole experience has been just amazing, because we get to see all these beautiful
places. This is the most beautiful city we've been in. To date, really. I mean, it's nice.
The buildings and everything, it's so nice here.
You're lucky, you came at the right time, you got the weather for it! But yeah, it
is a beautiful city.
We went to Dublin, and we went to Paris, and we went to London, and Rotterdam, and
Baden-Baden in Germany, and Hamburg, and then here, and it's like every city is so
different, and it's a wonderful experience. The biggest pain in the butt, though,
is exchanging the money you know, always having the right money in the right country and
all that stuff. But the people here are just unbelievable to you, so we're already
trying to make plans to come back and make a club tour or something like that, and
just spend a little bit more time getting to actually see the cities, because we had the
day off yesterday, and that's pretty unusual, because usually we drive in, play the
show, and drive out that night, so we don't get to see very much.
Is being on the road with a big tour, like with the Eagles, like you imagined it would
Oh, it's much more than I thought it would be, because they have treated us, just
totally unbelievable, I mean they've rolled out the red carpet, and they've given
us everything that we needed and, a lot of times, people don't get sound checks,
Yeah, you only get to use half of the PA, and some of the lights ...
Yeah, exactly, but they've got their light guy doing the lights, and we've
got our own mixing boards and stuff like that, and our own equipment, they give us
sound checks, everything that we've needed they've taken care of, they've just been
a real pleasure to work with. It's been unbelievable, and I really think it's the best
way to introduce me to Europe, to cover that many people at one time. Like I said,
a lot of people think it would be better to do a club thing, but we're going to come
back and do that, and then we'll already have at least some awareness going, you know,
so that some people will know who I am, and when we do the club shows, people will
come out and check it out.
How long has this band been together?
About four between four and five years, I guess, since I was 15. I'm 19 now, so
it's been about four years. The rhythm guitar player and the keyboard player and
myself are the original members from the band that I formed when I was 15, we had
a different drummer and a different bass player, and they've changed a few times over the years,
but the bass player who's with me now played on the record, and the singer that's
singing now sang on the record, but before, Joe [Nadeau, rhythm guitarist], the bald-headed guy, he was doing all the vocals, when we were doing just straight blues stuff,
'cause he's got a really good blues voice, real raspy. But then when we made the
record, I didn't feel like his voice was suitable for the music that I was writing,
so that's why we brought Corey [Sterling] in about two years ago to do all the vocals.
And it's the same lineup that's on the record that's playing tonight?
Yep, except the drummer, he's not with us any more. This is a new drummer, his name
is Chris Moore.
"Ledbetter Heights" is your first record, right?
Yeah, and in case you didn't know, or couldn't tell, "Ledbetter Heights" is related
to Huddie Ledbetter, "Leadbelly", and Ledbetter Heights is actually a part of town
in Shreveport, where I'm from, the city that I live in in Louisiana, and it's kinda
like a suburb, I guess. It's a really bad part of town, though, it's not somewhere you'd
want to go. But they named it after him because this is where he hung out a lot,
he was from that area, and so they named it in honour of him, so I named my record
that to pay tribute to him, and to our home town, you know what I'm saying?
I hear you. What part do you play in writing the songs?
I do lyrics and music, both.
So all of the songs are collaborations in everything, lyrics and music?
White blues lyrics often stray away from traditional blues - they're usually far more
"macho" - whereas real genuine black blues, it's like "ma big fat mama treat me bad".
Was it a deliberate choice to write those kind of lyrics, or did it just happen naturally,
without thinking about it?
Well, mainly it was just the natural thing, because I grew up listening to the black
blues, really. I mean, I listened to Stevie and Jimmy Vaughan and all those guys
and the Texas players and stuff too, and I love all that, but when it comes down
to it, what I love is the traditional, you know, the original stuff, and so that's why there's
like "Shame, Shame, Shame" which is real traditional, and, you know, there's not
a whole lot to the song, but it's a great song. But yeah, I write lyrics and music,
and normally I just start off with a guitar riff or something, and then I'll come up with
some words to it, and I have people that I write with too, I have songwriting partners
that help me out.
Yeah, Joe Nadeau, your rhythm guitar player, right? And Mark Selby is another guy
you write a lot with?
He's a friend of mine that lives in Nashville, he's a blues player, he's got his own
band together and stuff, but his main thing is actually songwriting, and, you know,
I got introduced to him whenever I went I to Nashville the first time, and me and
him hit it off really well, and so we've written a lot of songs together, some that didn't
even go on the record. See, when we made the record, we recorded 27 songs, but we
only put 12 on the record cause you got so much to choose from, you can weed out
the bad songs, find the good songs, it's kind of like a set list really.
The first song there, "Born With A Broken Heart", the first time I heard it, I got
the feeling that the lyrics were a kind of a tribute to Stevie Ray.
Yes, they are. And the guy that I wrote that with, his name is Danny Tate. But anyway,
yeah, that song was meant to be a tribute to Stevie, because you know, the rhythm
of it, the chords and everything, is a real Stevie sound and stuff, and, you know,
all the words, are really pretty much written with him in mind, and Hendrix in mind, a
But it's got a lot of, you know, I don't know what you'd call it, but like, uh...
Yeah, exactly! Because like the train represents the blues, you know, and it's the
slow-rolling train, and you jump on it "Why do the good die young", you know, like
Stevie and Jimi and all those guys and so, you know, it's pretty much written about
Stevie and Jimi.
Well you got it across, it hit me first time I heard it, I said "He's talking about
Yeah, that's cool, that's good, I'm glad you realised that.
"Deja Voodoo" was a big hit in the States.
Yeah, it was, it was in the top five on the rock charts, it got to number five. Stayed
in the top five for a long time. And then "Born With A Broken Heart" was the second
single in the States, and it went into the top ten, and right now, we're on "Aberdeen", you know, and it's just now entered the top ten and it's working it's way up. But
"Deja Voodoo", like there's radio stations that are still playing it that added the
record, you know, back in September, almost a year ago. And so it's done really well
for us, I mean better than I ever expected, because I always thought, like, when we
recorded the song in the studio, I thought it was a great song and everything, but
then I was kinda like, you know, everybody was like "Wow, this Deja Voodoo's gonna
be a hit, it's gonna be a hit" and I'm going "Well I don't know, man, you know, I really
don't know if it's going to be a hit,
It's a good song, but you know, who knows." And then when whenever we finally finished
the whole record, and then we took it and we got it mixed, and I got a tape of it
and heard actually the way it came across on tape, I was like "Wow! It sounds pretty
good!", you know? But you never know how the audience is going to react, but obviously,
you know, it was a good song to get a reaction.
Yeah, it's a really good song. One of my friends said, about "Deja Voodoo", "That's
got to be the intro of the decade!"
Haha! Thankyou, man! See, when we did that, I had written it two different ways. I
had written that music, like about a few weeks before we actually wrote the song.
And see, "Deja Voodoo", and "Born With A Broken Heart", and "Let Me Up I've Had Enough",
and I mean there's a few others, but I can't remember they were all written right
in the middle of the recording session. They weren't even written before we made
Oh, so they were fresh
Yeah, exactly. Because we went in the studio and we did 14 songs, and then we took
two weeks off to do some writing. And those two weeks is when I wrote those songs,
and then we came back and did 13 more songs. But anyway, yeah, they were real fresh,
and I don't know, I guess that's just what it took.
"Aberdeen" You know, I put the
[Bukka White] original on last night...
Oh, really? Yeah I've got it at home, too
Yeah, from 1940!
Your version, the way you do it it kind of reminds me of Elmore James there in the
beginning was that kind of the idea?
Well the main thing was that, I mean, I never really played slide, at all. I played
slide two days before we recorded that song. And like, trust me, I don't consider
myself a slide player, I mean I think I'm much better now than I was when we recorded
it, because I figured out stuff, you know, just from messing around with it. But for the
longest time I would try to do it, and I couldn't get down the vibrato technique,
and I just said, forget it, I'm not even going to mess with it, you know what I mean?
And then when they brought the song to me, I mean, you know, I had the song on record
and everything, but somebody suggested, "Well, but what about "Aberdeen"?" And I
was like, "Well I'm not a slide player, we're going to have to have somebody come
in and play slide", and they said "why don't you try to do it?" and so I figured it out, and
I tried to figure out just the most simple way that I could. To where it still sounded
really tasteful and really nice, and you know, the beginning, I really wanted it
to be I wanted to have a Mississppi Delta sound, you know, to help give the album a
whole broad aspect of the different kinds of blues, you know what I mean, I didn't
want it to be all Chicago-sounding, or Texas-sounding, or whatever. So I wanted the
intro to be real original and authentic-sounding, but then again, I knew that whole song
couldn't be like that, because then there would never be any chance of getting it
played on the radio.
Yeah, it really hits you the first time you hear it, when the the drums and bass come
in, and all the filters open up.
And I think it's a real 90's approach to it, you know, it's got a real rock edge to
it, and it kinda sheds new light on the subject.
I hear you. Are you playing the Dobro on that?
Oh, yeah, I played man, in the studio, I played like about 12 different guitars
on it, but the main one that you hear is like an old 1920-something Dobro. It's not
mine, we rented it, but I wish I could have bought it, but I didn't have the money
at the time.
How did you tune it?
Well, it's tuned it's like an open E chord but it's in the key of F, so it's open
F, really. But it's just like a major E, you know what I'm saying, like if you're
tuned to open E but you just tuned everything a half-step up. That's the biggest
thing about slide playing, I can't figure out all the tunings and stuff like that.
Howlin' Wolf's song, "I'm Leaving You Baby (Commit A Crime)" you quote the "Smokestack
Lightnin" riff in there, that was obviously deliberate?
(Laughs) Yeah. Yeah, I mean I've been a huge fan of Howlin' Wolf's as long as I can
remember, and I love so many of his songs. Actually, Stevie did a version of that
song on he has a live album, "Live Alive" and, not a lot of people really have the
record, I mean, it's out there, you can go buy it, but just not a lot of people bought it.
But he did a version of it on there, mine's a little similar to it, but it's a little
different at the same time. And I mean, that is just one of the baddest guitar
riffs that I've ever heard, you know (sings) da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da You know
what I'm saying?
Oh yeah. Who's the harp player?
Well, he's a friend of ours named Al Amble. He's from Shreveport, but he lives in
Memphis now, and we recorded the record in Memphis. So he was there, and we needed
some harp on the record, I felt like, so I just called him up. He's not anybody real
famous or anything, he's just a musician friend of mine, but he did a really great job.
You know, he doesn't play with us live, we don't have a harp player that plays live
with us or anything, but he came and sat in with us last time we played in Memphis,
and he'll probably be playing on the next record too.
On "Riverside" was that the same Dobro?
No, it's a different one. That was a brand new one that had just came out, it was
like Seafoam Green! A Dobro that was Seafoam Green! (laughs) I mean, it was pretty
weird! But I remember that it had real bad buzzing, like string buzzing noise, you
know, on the tape, like with the slide, and so we had to spray this silicone stuff on the
strings to keep it from buzzing. But I didn't actually play slide on that, another
friend of mine, named Buddy Flatt, he's from Shreveport, and he plays in a band with
the guy that played harp, they're all in a band together. But anyway, he played slide on
that, and I played the other part with the Mu-Tron effect on it.
Is that a Mu-Tron Bi-Phase?!
Yeah! Yeah, exactly! It's actually Prince's, it's his pedal - well, the producer who
produced my record is the guy that produced all of Prince's stuff, and "found" Prince
and all that, and so he had this big Mu-Tron, it's like this
big , you know , and he pulls this thing out, he says, "Here, try this", throws it
on the ground, and I'm like, "What is THAT?" , you know, and he's like, "check it
out!", so I did.
I've got one of those ...
Yeah, only I rack-mounted it into a 19 inch box.
Oh really? All right, that's cool!
You can have the old case if you want, if yours is getting beaten up!
(Mutual laughter )
Do you get time to listen to any music while you're on the road?
Oh yeah, you know, in the bus, we listen to all kinds of music mainly, you know,
me, I still listen to my blues and stuff, but the guys in the band, like the drummer,
he listens to all kinds of like alternative stuff, and metal stuff, and a lot of
the guys listen to a bunch of different stuff, so I hear it all, pretty much. But if I'm
throwing a CD in it's going to be blues, you know what I mean.
You ever listen to the English blues players at all?
Oh yeah Clapton, you know, he just put out a really great record, Stevie Winwood,
I listen to a lot of his stuff. I mean, I don't know if you consider Jeff Beck a
Jeff Beck is my main
Oh yeah? Really? He's incredible. He's really happening. Have you ever met him?
A couple of times, a long time ago, but only to say hello, you know. He's a very private guy ... at least, I don't know how he is now... But nowadays, of course, poor Jeff, I mean, he's got tinnitis, like something rotten. Stevie blew his ears out for him. Stevie Ray.
Yeah, really. Yeah, I know. I heard his ears were getting really bad.
Yeah. That's a drag.
I'm a little worried about mine because I don't wear earplugs, and I turn all my
amps to 10. I just crank it up. And everybody is always bitching, "Aw, it's too loud,
it's too loud, it's too loud" and I'm like, "deal with it", you know. Cause, I
mean, I play through a Twin mainly, and those amps are so clean, you know, in order to get
some sustain and stuff out of it you gotta turn it all the way up. But man, like,
on this tour that we've done? I think I've blown up about four amps so far. Four
Twins I mean, I blew two up in one night, and then I blew another Twin up before that, and
then I blew up a Vibrasonic that's with me, and they're all 100 watt amps, you know,
and I'm blowing them up like crazy. It's nice. I mean Fender can't make a Kenny Wayne-proof amp yet, I guess!
Do you want to say anything about singing?
Well, I mean, I sang "Riverside" on the record.
Yeah? All right! But that must be a bit of a pain really, being pressured to sing ...
Yeah, it is because, you know, I've always been uncomfortable singing. And I mean,
I've always wanted to, because everybody wants the total package, the singer/guitar
player/songwriter stuff, but I've always been really shy about it, I've always been
really shy with my voice, and I don't have a whole lot of control over my voice yet.
And I'm also only 19, so I feel like my voice still has a little bit of time to change.
Sure. Is that why you smoke?
Yeah! (Mutual laughter.) Exactly but I mean, I'm working on it, and probably by the
next record I'll be singing a little more, but I just don't feel like I could front
the whole band singing yet. And you know, eventually, maybe that's what'll happen,
but for right now, it's something I've got to work on, and I feel like I'm much better
playing guitar than I am singing, so... But I'm not really discouraged by it. It's
like my voice isn't necessarily the voice that I want to hear on my songs, because
it's not the voice I that I hear singing those songs, you know.
Your main instrument's an old Strat?
61. Sunburst. It's pretty much all original, but I like jumbo frets you know, like
6100's and it's all stock, pretty much. But I have the graphite saddles on it,
that's the only thing that I really changed about it I put those on all my guitars,
and since I've had those, it's amazing, I haven't broken hardly any strings since I put
them on there. And for a while there, right before we finished doing our three sets
a night thing, I was breaking like four or five strings every night, you know what
I mean, and then I got these saddles.
Those old Fender saddles are bitches for that.
Oh yeah, you wear down the finish, and then it just cuts through the string. But anyway, that's my main one.
Mind you, vintage guitars, nowadays, oh boy. The prices ...
Oh, it's the same in the States. I mean, my guitar, I just got it about two years ago, and it was like, you know, the prices on those things are unbelievable.
15 or 20,000 dollars for one of those these days, right?
Yeah, it's nuts.
Do you think they're really worth it as a guitar?
Well - they sound so much better... I think the vintage guitars sound a lot better than
the new guitars that are coming out like the new Strats and stuff like that, just
because of the wood being aged and the finish setting in, and it's like it's a whole
piece, rather than a bunch of pieces stuck together, it's had time to just sit there
and do its thing. So there's something to be said for the age that's there, but like
I said, it's just really sad to see all these guitars that are out there that need
to be played, because that's what they were made for in the first place, but people are
like buying them up, and using them as collector's items and putting them on walls,
and charging the price tag of a car for them.
You know, I've got a theory about that. I've got a feeling that the most expensive vintage guitars, they're the ones that nobody wanted to play when they were new ...
I think they were the worst ones, the ones where they've still got the tags on, in
the original cases ...
I agree! I agree, because I've played a lot of them, I mean like going to guitar shows
and stuff, they have huge guitar shows in the United States where there's nothing
but vintage stuff everywhere, and I go up and pick up and with me being a kid, too,
it's like I go up and try and pick up a guitar that's got a 15,000 dollar price tag
on it, and these guys are going "Wait a minute, wait a minute ", and I'm saying,
"Look man, I've got 20 guitars at home, don't tell me how to hold this instrument",
you know what I'm saying? And you know, you pick up the guitar and it's 20,000 bucks, and it's like, they really don't play that great, you know, most of them don't. Mine is just beat to hell and back, you know, and it's amazing.
Yeah, they're the best ones.
And then - are you familiar with the Relic series? It's like a Strat that Fender's come out with at their Custom Shop? It's like a brand-new Strat, but it looks old. And you know, I have the prototype, they sent me the first one that they made.
The Mary Kay model?
No - well, yeah, I guess it's a Mary Kay model, but it's a little more yellow than
it is pink. It's got more of a yellow tint to it. But anyway, it's the first one
they made, and Keith Richards has actually played it on the last Stones tour, and
then he sent it back to them and they sent it to me. But I'm gonna put a left-handed tremolo
on it, like Stevie had. It's just a lot easier for me to use, I think, because it's
farther away from the strings, you know, so you can pull it up above the strings
and use it. Whereas if it's lower, you pull it up, and like my hands go down on the strings,
and it always ends up muting the strings instead of letting them ring.
I don't hear you using the vibrato arm much...
I don't use it too much, because, you know I like using it on the end of songs and
stuff, and it's really nice when - because we do Voodoo Chile sometimes - is this
an indoor show tonight?
No, it's outdoor.
Oh, it is? Okay, then we'll do it. But you know, I use it in Voodoo Chile and stuff,
cause it's really nice for the feedback and the stuff like that. But otherwise, in
other songs, I don't see where it would fit, because it's like you don't want to
over-use it, you know what I mean? You want to let your fingers do most of the work.
Do you always tune in E flat?
Yeah. I play heavy strings, too, I play 12 through 58, Ernie Balls. So you have to
do it, to compensate for the tension in your strings.
Do you use any effects?
I use - I have an original Tube Screamer, one of the old ones, and I have a Vox wah-wah
pedal and an Octavia - and sometimes I have a Uni-Vibe that I use, but it's at home
broken right now, I've got to get it fixed, cause it's so old and that's really
pretty much it, just an A/B box.
Is that a Roger Mayer Octavia?
Oh yeah. The pedal that I got was actually autographed by him on the back, he signed
And you use Fender amps?
Yeah, I have a couple of Tone-Masters, and a couple of Twins, and then I got a Vibrasonic that's 1 x 15, it's 100 watts, it's pretty nice.
Well, I see the lady from the record company hovering, so I guess they're going to
start hustling us soon, but it was a real pleasure to talk with you. Thanks a lot
for taking the time.
© Paul Guy, 1996
Interview for FUZZ #1/96