How can a person say Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughan pose a problem? The problem is that I have a problem finding people to jam with. I could not help listening to and enjoying all sorts of rock and roll music. I enjoy the heck out of almost any rock music, it was what was, and it is the primary music played on the radio. I had my favorite rock bands. Led Zepplin still stabs me in the heart, especially ‘old Zep’. You can even read about some of my favorite guitar players here. One thing they all have in common is the blues. Often I hear the blues mixed in to many genres of music. Listen closely and you will hear. The Rolling Stones although commonly considered a rock band play enough blues for me to think of them as predominantly a blues band. Do you know of another band mostly known for some other genre of music who clearly have their roots in the blues?
I don’t jam very much with other players right now. I do go to my buddy Allan’s house and we noodle around and he teaches me a few bluesy rock songs here and there. Mostly we enjoy our company and have a terrific time playing off the wall stuff and talking guitars. Allan is a heck of a guitar player. He is too modest, he can play the blues and he knows more rock songs than anyone I have met yet. No mistakes here, I love jamming with Allan and will continue until he kicks me out.
I have chosen Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray as my leaders to guitar utopia. I have discovered that not a whole lot of folks, at least around my area do play that type of hi-energy string bending, heart piercing blues. While I portray myself as an intermediate player, finding other people who know this music well is hard. I don’t need Mitch Mitchell on Drums or Noel Redding on Bass. Like wise I don’ need Stevie Ray’s drummer and bass player, Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon as jam partners either.
I know I don’t have the chops yet to play at a level that allows me to play in a really good jam band. I can’t even find an intermediate to low level jam band to play with. Why is this so? I think perhaps because of the complexity and spontanaity of blues, maybe it is too hard to play or maybe the Mojo is not there.. It simply may not be in vogue with the young and terrific musicains and artists of the times. That is not so important because as I said earlier the blues has infected every genre of music whether you know it or not. John Mayer is one of just a few young excellent blues guitar players.
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks known as Taj Mahal is recognized world wide as one of the preeminent blues artists known for knitting world music together in his bluesy style.
It is not a big problem, as I mentioned in my last post: The “Blues” Is All About Being In An Emotional State of Mind.. I am becoming instinctual, not having to think as much and playing off emotion and spontaneity.
I don’t have a special room that is set up for guitar and music playing or any special equipment for effects or recording. It is all pretty basic stuff. Practicing or playing the guitar does not mandate that type of equipment. I don’t use many backing tracks and I don’t need tab or classically written music anymore (I don’t read music as well as I should anyway). It is about the emotion and you can’t write emotion into music.
The secret is my undying and extreme focus to learn and enjoy the music I have spent my whole life loving. Not even a hurricane can deter me from learning what I want to. Allan has been really instrumental in my rhythm education and learning some new songs that would normally not be in my repitoire. I love it and am grateful to have a friend like Allan. I want to clarify: There are not many people I call real friends. I know as a former business owner and employer we tend to call many people friends, but in fact most of them are acquaintances. Acquaintances are generally people you work with or have fun with for a period of time, but once the connection ends you may never see them again or for that matter care if you see them again and without hard feelings.
The bottom line is that I am not really interested in playing in a band. I would not mind jamming with more Hendrix and SRV lovers. I live for my play time, even if it is just to serenade or irritate my wife. What I hope is that Allan reads this and we can keep playing together and maybe do few more blues songs. Either way, I enjoy writing for Guitar Players Center and sharing my knowledge and experiences with you. Enjoy.