|Interview with Mick
|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
- 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?
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
|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
Mick Clarke Band Profile
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
- 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?
|10. What is the one thing
you really desire to do on the later days to
- 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
|11. Message to the young
- 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?
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
|20. Message for
- 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.