Home Page

Charlie Patton painting © Copyright 2004 Loz Arkle
Painting © 2004 Loz Arkle

Website © Copyright 2000-2011 Alan White - All Rights Reserved

Site optimised for Microsoft Internet Explorer

What is the Blues?
Background to Blues
Chronology of Blues
Artists & Bands Index
Featured Article
Blues Essays
Blues Memories
Blues Festivals UK/E10
Blues Festivals (UK) 09
Blues Festivals (UK) 08
Blues Festivals (UK) 07
Blues Festival Photos
Blues Movies
Blues DVDs
Masked Marvel CDs
Blues Internet Mags
Blues Video Clips
Streaming The Blues
Blues Masters
Blues Guitar
Blues Anthology
Blues Paintings
Blues Pilgrimage
Blues Courses
Best of British Blues
Top Twenty Blues
Blues Books
Blues Mall
Old Blues Adverts
Our Blues Links
Visitor Links
Blues Researchers
Cumbria Blues
Lancashire Blues
Lancashire Bands
Lancashire Links
North East England
The Midlands
Southern England
Hall of Fame
Resting Places
Blues Recipies
Guest Book
Blues Forum
What's New
Coming Soon
Search Me!
Search Google

Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Jon Amor, guitarist, The Hoax & The Jon Amor Band


© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     What are your first musical memories growing up in Devizes, Wiltshire?

Jon:      Music was all around me when I was a kid. I remember sitting on my Dad’s knee as he played the piano – that must have been when I was about 3! Dad could get a tune out of anything and was very musical. My brother Pete was also in bands and I’d hear him playing his guitar across the landing from my bedroom. 

Alan:     Did you always want to become a musician?

Jon:      Not at all – I always wanted to play centre-forward for Liverpool! In fact, my family were always trying to persuade me to take up an instrument, but I just wasn’t interested. I didn’t feel the urge until I was about 15. 

Alan:     How did you get started in music and who encouraged you the most?

Jon:      Pete, my brother, loaned me his acoustic guitar when I finally expressed an interest in learning, and he showed me my first few chords. He didn’t give me lessons, as such, he just got me started and encouraged me to practise. 

Alan:     What kind of material were you playing in the early days?

Jon:      Well, the man who inspired me to play guitar was Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, and I was completely obsessed with that band for a long period. It was all I wanted to listen to, and all I wanted to play on guitar. I wasn’t even interested in playing with other people at that point – I was content playing along with my Dire Straits records pretending to be Mark Knopfler! My brother eventually managed to persuade me to listen to someone else and pointed me to Eric Clapton. 

Alan:     What first attracted you to the blues?

Jon:      Looking back now, the first couple of Dire Straits albums were my favourites, and while I didn’t know it at the time, they were the most ‘bluesy’ – very JJ Cale. But it was through Clapton that I discovered the legends of blues like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and BB King. There was something brutally honest about their delivery that appealed to me. This was the late eighties, when mainstream music was highly polished and produced, so I think I loved the rawness and roughness of early blues recordings because it just sounded more real. 

Alan:     You once said 'liking the blues made me different', why was this?

Jon:      Well, nobody else was into it at school, and I liked that. I didn’t like running with the pack and still don’t! There was nothing else particularly interesting or different about me at that time – I was really boring, in my mind – but listening to blues music made me feel like I’d discovered something special, and I felt like I was part of a little club that none of my friends knew about. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     Who are your favourite blues artists?

Jon:      Of the original blues greats, the first names that spring to mind are Howlin’ Wolf, RL Burnside and Muddy Waters. If we’re talking about more contemporary artists, then Jimmie Vaughan is a real favourite of mine. I also love The Red Devils, and most recently The Black Keys. 

Alan:     What is your favourite guitar?

Jon:      That’s easy – my beloved 1992 red Fender Stratocaster. I paid for it in instalments, and my Dad sold his clarinet to help pay for it. I’ve never really been a guitar collector, as such. Having said that I do harbour a strong desire for a cherry red Gibson 335. 

Alan:     Are there any particular songs that you play that have special meaning to you?

Jon:      Yes, but I won’t go into details. I like the fact that listeners form their own ideas about the subject matter of songs and they figure out what it means to them, and that fascinates me. Sometimes, a songwriter revealing what a song is all about can change someone’s perspective on that song forever, and sometimes it can spoil it! There are songs on my albums which are very personal to me and I’m very proud of them. 

Alan:     Tell me about The Hoax, how did you all get together?

Jon:      Myself, Jesse and Rob Davey and Hugh Coltman all grew up in the same sleepy little Wiltshire village. We used to play football and cricket together before we even talked about music. Then Rob and Jess started getting interested in guitar music and they knew that I played, so they hassled me all the time to go to their house and jam. I wasn’t interested at first – I guess I didn’t think they’d be any good, or I thought that I wouldn’t like what they were into. Rob eventually wore me down, though, and we discovered we were all turned on by the same kind of music. I think Hugh had sung in the choir at school, and that was good enough for us so we roped him in! 

Alan:     How did The Hoax name come about?

Jon:      The way I remember it is like this: We had been booked for our first gig – a friend’s birthday party, I think – and they needed a band name to put on the invitations. We were panicking slightly and employing the classic method of combing newspapers for possible band names. In the local rag, there was an article about crop circles (of which there were a lot in Wiltshire at this time) and the article was claiming that they were all a hoax. We thought ‘The Hoax’ would do for now and we’d change it later, but we never did. 

Alan:     Why do you think The Hoax were viewed as unique by music critics?

Jon:      In the early nineties it was rare for young guys like us to be playing blues music. Other musicians our age were into Nirvana and Pearl Jam etc etc. So we stood out on the scene. The blues circuit wasn’t used to seeing a bunch of kids playing with such energy and enthusiasm, so we made quite an impact pretty quickly. I also think the band is pretty special because there isn’t a weak link in the band – it’s five strong characters who are all good at what they do. 

Alan:     Back in 1999 you all decided to go your separate ways, why was this, given you were considered by many as 'the best band ever seen'?

Jon:      Being good doesn’t necessarily make you happy! Speaking personally, by 1999 I wasn’t really enjoying it any more. I felt we’d run out of steam to an extent. It seemed that we all had different ideas about which direction we should go and I felt our live show had become flabby and too reliant on guitar solos. I was also feeling stifled, not only as a guitarist but as a songwriter, and I just felt like doing something different with some different people. I told the guys this at a meeting and I expected them to carry on without me, but as it happened Hugh felt much the same as me, so we decided to stop. I think Rob and Jess were disappointed – they wanted to do different things, too, but they wanted to keep The Hoax going in some capacity. That didn’t make sense to me – back then, I felt that if we weren’t going to give The Hoax 100% we shouldn’t do it at all. 

Alan:     The Hoax recently finished a mini tour to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary with rapturous acclaim from devoted fans, are there any plans for another tour?

Jon:      Yeah, we all really enjoyed the anniversary shows and the reaction from the public was amazing. We are talking about doing some more shows in the summer of 2010. 

Jon Amor Band © Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     Tell me about the Jon Amor Band, when did you get together with Dave and Chris Doherty and Simon Small (Si)?

Jon:      I disbanded my original ‘Amor’ line-up in 2004 and spent the next year or so recording my ‘Unknown Soldier’ album and just playing solo acoustic shows. Dave Chris and Si had become friends of mine in Devizes and I got on really well with them and liked what they did musically, so when the idea of doing a launch party for Unknown Soldier came up, they offered their services as my backing band and I was really excited about that idea. We did a great launch gig in Devizes in July 2006, and we enjoyed it so much we decided to do a tour the following winter, and I’ve been playing with those guys ever since. They’re terrific fun to tour with, and they’re a bit younger than me so it keeps me feeling youthful!  

Alan:     Who influences you the most in your music writing and playing?

Jon:      That’s a really difficult question to answer, because I listen to so much different stuff and my influences are changing all the time. Most recently, I’ve really enjoyed the guitar-playing approach of JJ Cale and Jimmie Vaughan – very minimalist and extremely soulful and melodic. Over the last couple of years I’ve really enjoyed listening to Ray LaMontagne and he’s definitely been an influence on my songwriting. 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     You popped in to the traditional late-night jam session at the recent Carlisle Blues Festival - a big surprise the fans, tell me about the session.

Jon:      Ha ha! Yeah, that was great. I was in Carlisle for the weekend playing some solo acoustic shows at different venues, and it was a happy coincidence that the Blues Festival was on at the same time. I remembered the late night jam from before, so I just rocked up with my guitar and had a great time. Sam Kelly’s band were holding it all together, and I really enjoy playing with Sam – he’s a great drummer and we had fun just bouncing off each other. I also got to play with my old band-mate Mat Beable. A great night! 

Alan:     Tell me about the making of your latest album 'Stories From The Crooked Room'?

Jon:      I had a bunch of songs that I’d written over the course of 2008, but I didn’t really know what to do with them. I had no record deal and no money, so I was struggling to see how I’d get any recording done. Dave Doherty suggested we use his recording gear just to demo the songs, so we cleared out my front room and set up a basic live recording session right there. I had ten songs, and I figured if I could get 6 half-decent demo recordings out of the two days we had, I’d be happy. Thanks to the fantastic contributions by Dave, Chris and Si, it turned out to be far more creative and productive than I’d imagined. Like I say, we had ten songs and 2 days to record them in, so in some cases it was literally a case of playing the song to the guys for the first time, giving them half an hour to work out the changes and the chords, and then hitting the record button! It was quite exhilarating, and I’ve never recorded like that before, but it really helped capture an energy and ‘live vibe’ that we probably wouldn’t have got otherwise. So, all of a sudden I had an album that I was really proud of! 

© Copyright 2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:     Some music styles may be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think this is?

Jon:      I think it’s probably because Blues is pretty much the root of all modern music, and in its purest form it transcends fashion and fad and trend. The raw honesty of the genre will always appeal to people and capture their imaginations. 

Alan:     How do you see the future of blues music?

Jon:      I think it’s looking pretty healthy at the moment, in the UK at least. There are a few good young acts on the circuit who will improve if they stick around long enough, and the internet is becoming instrumental in bringing blues fans together and creating a real community about the genre. Earlyblues.com is a great example of that. Musically, I look for originality and honesty and if there’s plenty of that the music will thrive. 

Alan:     What are your future plans / gigs / tours / albums?

Jon:      The next big thing on the horizon for me is a UK tour in April. We’re being very hip and 21st century and launching the latest album ‘digitally’, releasing it on iTunes and other internet platforms, so we’re going to tour around that. I’ve started writing again tentatively, and I have a few ideas kicking around, but I really want to make sure that the ‘Crooked Room’ album gets the attention it deserves.

Albums available from Jon's website:


Return to Blues Interviews List

Website, Photos © Copyright 2000-2010 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 2009 Alan White & Jon Amor. All Rights Reserved.
For further information please email: