( John Mayall and Point Blank ) of John Molet and Yves Phillipot
Thank you for your patience and your collaboration !
here is the interview for you, sorry it took me so long!--Bud
RTJ Questions for Interview Buddy Whittington. ( English version ) www.roadtojacksonville.com
RTJ : Hi Buddy,
The last time we had the great pleasure to meet you, it was this year in june with the Point Blanks friends. But before speaking again of all those things, can you relate your musical way,
in order to better know your careers evolution since you were a kid?
I grew up in the 70's in and around Fort Worth, Texas, and there are a great many musical influences and styles to be found there, jazz, rock, blues, country, just a LOT of ALL kinds of music, it was and is a great place. My sister's record collection was a big help, that's where I first heard The Beatles, Stones, Temptations, Four Tops, Jimmy Reed, Slim Harpo, and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. My mom and dad were big fans of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys...Western Swing music. Its another influence that I cherish and love today as an old man, but when I was young I wanted to ROCK!
RTJ : You are well known and very much appreciated through your shows with John Mayall.
What encouraged you to play with this Big Man of the Blues?
I was very fortunate to be in the opening band, our local D/FW group called 'The Sidemen' at a Bluesbreakers show in Dallas, that's where I met Mr. Mayall in about 1992, He asked if I would be interested in maybe doing some recording with him when he secured a new record deal. then I didn't hear much from him for about 2 years, until about the time that my friend Mr Coco Montoya was planning to leave The Bluesbreakers and embark on his solo career. John asked me if I'd like to join The Bluesbreakers and I haven't looked back for 15 years! And I hope to go for 15 more.
RTJ: The other day, I was watching videos with you on YouTube, and I was noting that you are not only a very good blues guitar picker, but that you like very much Big Rock
(Led Zeps Whole Lotta Love, for example). As a guitar player, do you feel more
blues or more rock?
I just like to play MUSIC. I love it all, and try to play a little bit of all the styles, I'm a little better at some styles than others! But I must say that The Blues is at the foundation of just about any kind of music that I know how to play.
RTJ: Who are the people or the bands that led you to play guitar?
I had a guitar at a very early age, as did LOTS of kids in Texas, at the time, it was just a natural thing to have a guitar around the house...We used to have locally produced country music television shows, in Fort Worth it was the 'Cowtown Jamboree', and in Dallas, the 'Big 'D' Jamboree. ALL the country music legends of the time appeared on one or both of those shows, and a lot of great local players too. I was about 8 years old when I began to get serious about playing, I LOVED The Ventures, I had the 'Play Guitar With The Ventures' albums, they would play the same song 3 times, once without the lead, once without the rhythm, and once without the bass, then they would teach you all 3 parts! The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, all my sister's records, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band with Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, and I loved Roy Nichols that played guitar with Merle Haggard, Don Rich with Buck Owens, you know that great Telecaster twang. Still love it, don't play it too well, but you should hear my friend Terry Downs play like Roy or Don. Check him out at www.terrydownsmusic.com, he's a great player and a great guy.
RTJ : Some point Blanks fans had a great pleasure discovering you at the time of the bands come-back in june. Right now, John ODaniel used to say often that you know you for a long time. How did you know the band, and what represent for you people like Rusty, John, Phil,
and so on... ?
I first saw Point Blank in about '75 or '76 opening for the fabulous ZZ Top in Fort Worth, And I thought, Man, what a GREAT band! Rusty and Kim were TEARIN' IT UP with that 2 part harmony guitar thang they were famous for, they played 'Free Man' and 'Uncle Ned' with Johnny O. singing in that great gravelly voice of his with all the highs and all the lows, Phillip and Buzzy layin' it down, just a great memory. Then I found out that Rusty Burns lived about 3 miles from me in the next town up the road, and I couldn't believe I hadn't run into him before then. Rusty's a little older than me and he went to a different high school than I did so I didn't know him way back then, but I started seeing him play more often and the bands I was in were playing some of the same places Point Blank was playing later in the 70's. I also knew John O'Daniel from seeing him with The Stratoblasters, Jimmy Wallace's band in Dallas that John STILL sings with when Point Blank is off the road. And Phillip was coming to see 'Rio', another real good local band I was part of, with aspirations of managing us! Phillip IS a natural manager, you know, and continues to be the 'business' guy in Point Blank. Its great working with all those fellas.
RTJ: Do you know Kim Davis?
I'm proud to say that I do know Kim, I don't see him much these days because he's busy on the road. I WISH he'd come back and play all the Point Blank gigs, as I'm sure ALL of his fans wish!
RTJ : Do you know why he doesnt wish to communicate about Point Blank
(even without speaking about playing again with the band!)?
Well, Kim works very hard and has built a very solid reputation for himself, as I said, nobody hears from him much because he's busy on the road all the time. We Love you Kim!
Come back and play the tour! Or at least teach me how to play your part to 'Part Time Love'!
RTJ: Point Blank should logically realise a new CD very soon. You are close to the band, so can you reveal what could be in the aggregate the atmosphere of this CD, and is it question for you to write some songs for this album?
We have played Marc Benno's 'Down on the Bottom' on some of the shows, Great song! It w
ill most likely be there, as will a great song that Johnny O. and Dan Toler of Gregg Allman's band co-wrote called "Heart Made of Stone". I haven't been involved in the songwriting process
as of yet, I've been very busy with my own CD project, and with John Mayall, but at some point I hope to become involved if time allows.
RTJ : Last question before we talk about your CD : whitch Blanks albums do you prefer ? Are you closer from Second Season or from Airplay, for example?
I like them all! The sound changed somewhat in the 80's with Bill Randolph (RIP) and Bubba Keith, but they are ALL great records. 'Nicole' was a regional radio hit and I still hear it all the time on local Texas radio. But I must confess the first album REALLY got my attention!
RTJ : So, your solo album is recently out. What does it represent for you, an issue or just another step in your career ?
Everybody I knew, especially my wife and kids, were after me to finish some songs and record them. I'm glad I finally got it together, it took a LONG time to get around to doing it, but not
long at all once we were in the studio. I'm really happy with the results, now I have to write some more tunes!
RTJ : How did this recording proceed, and who are the guys who worked with you?
I've been working locally in Texas with Mike Gage (drums engineer/producer par excellance, Wayne Six (bass), and Mouse Mayes (guitar and vocals) when time off the road allows, just another bunch of great Texas boys that play their collective asses off! We have a great time working together. My old buddy from 'The Sidemen' Rex Mauney who is currently on the road with Toby Keith's Easy Money Band contributed some stellar B3 organ parts via email since he couldn't be in the studio with us!
RTJ : Through this album, what do you expect? A personnal recognition of your work as a musician?
Well, I'd like to make a mortgage payment, maybe a car payment....pay the light bill!
I'd just like to thank everyone for listening.
RTJ : I have to confess that listening titles like Young & Dumb (yeah, great guitars, man!),
"Pay the Band", "Second Banana" or "Romance Classified » (of course!) made me feel enthusiastic, but on the side of the lyrics, what are the theme generally approached by Buddy?
Oh, just songs about what is happening out in the world, sometimes maybe a little too 'preachy', sometimes just trying to get the joke across. And of course I had to include my favorite ZZ Top tune, 'Sure Got Cold After The rain Fell'...I hope Billy G doesn't mind, I've been playing that one since I was 16 and I still love that tune, Billy really touched some hearts with his playing and singing on that one.
RTJ : For sure, you have those super blues-rock titles, but we can found other atmospheres, like in "Every Goobye Ain't Gone" or "Greenwood". Should we think that all of that takes also part of your whole bluesy expression?
Well, with 'Greenwood' I was thinking of the great Peter Green. Didn't want to copy him, but I love his playing and singing, and that ethereal, reverby, minor key beauty in all his compositions.
He's the most soulful of the 'Big 3' Bluesbreakers 'forefathers' in my opinion.
RTJ : When you dont play with John Mayall or Point Blank, is it possible for you to play all that stuff at home in the Texas bars?
It depends on the band that we have on any given night! Sometimes we can pull it off, but sometimes we have a different drummer, or sometimes a keyboard player, and they might not know my original tunes, but we can always get the gig done, we're Second Bananas!
RTJ : I often asked Rusty about the difference between the Southern Rock (or Southern Boogie), and the Texas Blues. Can you give us your point of view about this question?
Its all 'Blues Based' music, with some rockin' guitars, and maybe a little country thrown in! I mean, I'm sure Duane and Dickey, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, Ed King, and later Steve Gaines were all aware of the 'Beano' album (John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton) one of the first Blues/Rock records I know of. I heard 'Statesboro Blues' (by Blind Willie McTell) first by The Allman Brothers, and I'll bet Duane heard Jesse Ed Davis playing it with Taj Mahal first.
THEN I heard about Blind Willie and went to look for HIS version.
RTJ : Do you appreciate bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, and so on...?
Love 'em all. I've played 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Gimme Three Steps' on every local gig I've ever done I guess. Marshall Tucker Band, I played with them once in Dallas, Doug Gray is a great singer and I was honored that he asked me to 'sit in' with them. Johnny Van Zant comes to a club I play in Fort Worth, his mother-in-law lives here so we usually see him a couple of times a year. Johnny and Donnie are having great success on country radio with their 'Van Zant' Band.
RTJ: Your guitar sound comes mainly from the Stratocaster.
Do you play sometimes with a Les Paul, or other fattier guitars?
I played a Les Paul for years, and I love to record with it but really the Strat is the most versatile guitar to play live, a real 'Swiss Army Knife!' It has everything you need. I have been playing some great guitars built in California by Scott Lentz, Check him out at www.lentzguitar.com and my favorite amps of all time built in Cleveland, Ohio by 'Dr Z'. www.drzamps.com
RTJ : Did you already think about recording a DVD ?
I have a great face for radio! Again, my friend Terry Downs thinks I should make an instructional guitar dvd, so I may do it if I can learn a new lick that everybody doesn't already know.
RTJ : Is there a question that I didnt ask and that youd like to include in this interview
(that will also take place in english in the english part of the RTJ site)?
I'd just like to say how much I LOVE and ENJOY the privilege of playing music for all the fine folks in Europe, I've been coming over w/ Mr Mayall for 15 years and it just keeps getting better for me. Great countries, great soulful, music loving people. Thanks to all!
RTJ : In the end, the classical question: if you had to finish your life on a desert island taking only five albums with you, whitch one would you take with you?
The Jimi Hendrix Experience 'Are You Experienced' and 'Smash Hits'
ZZ Top 'First Album' and 'Rio Grande Mud'
Albert King Live Wire/Blues Power
ANY Freddie King record!
'Country Guitar' Phil Baugh and Vern Stovall (my dad bought this one for me years ago)
I know that's more than five.....!
RTJ : Thanks for your contribution and you have to know that we are impatient to listen to the new Blank album and to see you again in Europe!
Keep on Blues Rock ! JOHN