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Web Exclusive! Multi-dimensional Blues: An Interview with Joe Bonamassa

Every fan of Classic Rock should own every album and DVD ever released by Joe Bonamassa yet many in the rock world are unaware of him.

Every fan of Classic Rock should own every album and DVD ever released by Joe Bonamassa yet many in the Rock world are not aware of him. If you love amazing guitar solos, passionate ballads, blues based classics and all around guitar virtuosity then you need to check out Joe Bonamassa.

A one time child guitar prodigy, Joe has matured as both a performer and a player. He is having amazing success running his own record label and touring as his latest # 1 album on the Blues Charts, Sloe Gin, shows. Joe has gone from a kid who can play the guitar to a man who is at the top of his musical game.

In this interview we discuss the new album and Joe's take on the business of music. We explore how he went from being on a major label and being broke to taking his future in his own hands and becoming a success. Joe Bonamassa is gaining momentum in his career, expanding his fan base and giving a famous son of a musician a break and releasing his debut CD on his label. Read on to learn more about one of the hottest guitar players on the planet.


I went to the show in Wichita at the Cotillion.

Joe Bonamassa: That is an old rocking venue. It is an old school place. It has a band shell and that was made for when amps were twenty watts.

Your guitar playing has always blown me away but I have to say that you are getting better and better.

JB: Thank you. I have been doing a couple of hundred shows a year. Nothing satisfies me like playing. If I sucked last night in Kansas City then I wake up going, "I am a bad guitar player." If I do good tonight in St. Louis then I will wake up going, "I am an okay guitar player for now." I have the drive to better myself and my show. I want to keep falling forward and pushing ahead. You stay humble and you work on the stuff you are weak at. All of a sudden people like you start telling me that my guitar playing is a lot better than it was five years ago. To me, it is the same, in my mind. I have been playing for twenty-six years. The difference is that you are seeing the improvements. You see my phrasing is better and that I am having more of an emotional impact - which is what you want to do. I have a perfectionist attitude that makes me have to get it right.

Blues are based a lot out of the pentatonic scales. You are playing outside of the box and throwing in a lot of different scales and riffs.

JB: I like Spanish guitar and I like Classical. I also like the Indian Scale - I forget what they call it. I am not a big theory guy anymore; I used to be better. If I play the same pentatonic scales and the same 1/4/5 blues fast, slow and medium for an hour and a half then I get bored. If I am bored then the people are bored. You also don't want to be known as a one-dimensional artist. I can count on one hand the people that can play six licks or less and keep me entertained for hours. BB King is one of them. The first note he plays I am hooked. He is the king of the one note. He gets emotional impact from one note. You can't teach that. He has the ability to connect with people on a fundamental level. Albert King can do that and Albert Collins was like that. I think Derek Trucks is like that in a sense. One person who is not like that is me; I have to use what I have got. I am not in the blues business and I am not in the music business, I am in the entertainment business.

You feel you are an entertainer over a musician?

JB: You go to see a movie with Russell Crowe in it. Maybe you go there because you like him or you like some hot chick that plays a reporter who breaks the whole story. Do you go to appreci