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One Note Feel
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Family & Music
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Riot Act
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Blues History of Nepal - Article
Blues History of Nepal
Window - Article
Interview with Mick Clarke
1. How did you start playing the blues? And why the blues?
  • I was born in 1950, so when I was young I was able to listen to the very beginnings of British rhythm and blues music in all its different forms. I had two elder brothers who would buy pop records of the day, and sometimes on the B-sides I would hear this strange bluesy music. I'm thinking of records by Lonnie Donegan for example.. turn over from the big hit A-side and you get some great Leadbelly song or something like that. Or even Acker Bilk.. the B-side would be some great New Orleans type trad jazz blues. I loved all those strange bent wailing notes, even though I didn't understand them. So the blues started to creep into me. Then in the 60's the British beat groups came up.. all based on Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles etc.. bands like the Yardbirds, Animals etc. More blues. So when I tried picking up a guitar, around the age of 13, the blues just came out. It was all in there waiting to be played.

2. Who are your influences?
  • When I was in my teens it was a very good time for British blues guitar. Eric Clapton was with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and they came and played at my school fair one day! Also I could go into London and see Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart at the Marquee Club, or see Peter Green at the Nags Head at Blue Horizon Club in Battersea, playing to just a few people. I loved the powerful British blues guitar sound, and through those people I also learned about BB King, Otis Rush and others, and managed to get hold of some of their records. Over the years I was able to gain an all round appreciation of what good blues guitar is all about..

3. Define Mick Clarke?
  • Indefinable! The product of 56 years of life on earth with all its twists and turns, and all the different music that's got into my head and never got away.

4. What gears do you use? (Example Guitars, Gadgets etc)
  • Gibson SG Standard, made in 1963.. most parts of it have been replaced over the years. It's called "Gnasher". For slide I play a Fender Squier Strat with Texas Special pickups, and I also use an old Danelectro 2 pickup electric on records. My amps are Marshall.. usually my old 50 watt combo. No effects but I do use an MXR microamp to warm the sound a bit.

5. How many albums have you released so far?
  • I can't remember. It might be eleven as Mick Clarke, plus three with Killing Floor.

6. What is music to you?
  • It's a lifeblood. I think it is to everyone, although they may not realise it. Everyone uses music in their everyday life, even if it's just tapping their fingers in rhythm. Music is a fundamental need for the human race. I love all music, including classical, jazz, folk, country. But blues, and especially good blues rock fills a special need.
Mick Clarke Band Profile
Bonner Sommer, an open air blues rock party, Germany.
Bonner Sommer, an open air blues rock party in the very centre of Bonn, Germany.
7. Where do you see yourself a few years later from now?
  • Making music one way or another. If they'll let me I'll be up on a stage somewhere playing a gig, or if not I'll be at home playing to myself. Both are just as valid and important.

8. What do you think is the blues?
  • I have no idea. But I do know when it's right. When it's played without the feel it depresses me - I'd rather listen to something else.. But when it's done right it should reach inside you and give your heart a little squeeze. No other music can do that in the same way..

9. Did you struggle?
  • Still strugglin' mate.

10. What is the one thing you really desire to do on the later days to come?
  • I'm fairly relaxed about it. Obviously there are places that I've never played around the world and I'd like to get to as many as I can. If I can just keep playing a few gigs and making a new record now and then I'll be very happy.

11. Message to the young musicians?
  • Go for it! Like John Lee Hooker said, if it's in you, it's got to come out. Let that boy boogie woogie. (And girls).

12. What is your one secret of playing guitar?
  • Not telling you, it's a secret. Really I'd just say be yourself.. Let the guitar be an extension of your personality. But it's not that easy to do - takes practice.

13. What differentiates your music from the rest?
  • Hopefully my years of playing and listening to music, along with my own life experiences have created something that is my own. There are thousands or great guitarists in the world. Many can play better, faster, cleverer than I can. I just say that I play the best Mick Clarke style guitar in the world. That's all I can do.
14. What is the most memorable moment to you as a musician?
  • That's hard.. many many great moments over the year. One that sticks in my mind is the first time I played at the Marquee Club in London with my band Killing Floor in 1968. I was 18 and I'd been to the club many times to see Jeff Beck, Freddie King, Peter Green etc. Now I was standing on the stage and it was the only time ever that my knees shook. They were banging together with nerves! But only for the first few minutes!

15. What is one secret you wanna confess right now?
  • Why do you want to know all my secrets? Actually I don't really have secrets, despite my answer to number 12. I gave up telling lies, even white ones, some years back. Ask me a question and I'll tell the answer.

16. Are you just a musician or you have other jobs?
  • I've done loads of other jobs over the years. There have been periods when I was just a musician, but other times I have done most of the kind of jobs that musicians sometimes have to do - mini-cabbing - gardening - temp work. But I think that it's really good for a musician to experience real life.. especially for songwriters. Otherwise how can you write about it?

17. What do you like doing apart from music?
  • It really takes up all my time.. if I'm not actually playing I might be working on stuff in my home studio or planning tours etc. I enjoy maintaining the websites and keeping in touch with people. I love good food and drink - my wife's a great cook. I don't watch much TV.. I'd rather go on youtube and find some old Freddie King clips! In between I do love to just crash out in the garden with a book for a few minutes.. but not too long - I get bored!

18. What is the best compliment you have recieved?
  • Recently I went back to a gig I'd played in Sweden, two years before. Our driver Johnny, said to me: "Last time you were here you sat on that
    chair".. pointing to a chair near the stage. "Did I?" I said. "Yes, last time you were here you sat on that chair, and you played your guitar.. very quietly. It did something to me inside.. I can't explain it". That's good enough for me.

19. Some musicians claim to have survived the blues in different places? Do you think it needs to be survived?
  • Not sure what you mean by surviving the blues. We all have some bad times in our lives.. some people survive without blues music. I think it can help, even if it just brings out the tears.

20. Message for Rockmandu??
  • Blues is a feeling that can and should be experienced world wide. Thank you for promoting this great music in your part of the world. Keep Rockin!!!
-interviewed by Samik Kharel.
>> Mick Clarke's Profile
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