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John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Mick Taylor vocals/guitar
with additional comments from Stephen Dale Petit

Mick Taylor & Stephen Dale Petit © Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Mick Taylor recently joined Stephen Dale Petit and his band as his Special Guest on a short seven gig tour in May 2009. I was privileged to photograph them at the famous Cavern Club, Liverpool and interview Mick after the gig:

Alan:   What were your first musical memories?

Mick:  First musical memories?  Well, listening to music on the radio.

Alan:   Did you always want to become a musician?

Mick:  Yes, but I didnít necessarily realise that it might be my destiny and I might be blessed with a bit of musical talent until I was 12 or 13.  And that was when I started playing the blues.

Alan:   So you started playing blues straight away?

Mick:  No, not straight away.  I used to listen to a lot of the music that the Liverpool groups used to play like Tamla Motown but through listening to that I started to have a curious and enquiring mind and tried to find out where this music came from and I realised that Tamla Motown was Detroit, Chess Records was Chicago and Duke Records was Houston.  John Mayall taught me a lot about that later.  A lot of people of my generation grew up listening to soul music, Otis Reading and a lot of stuff made in Stax in Memphis.  I had a lot of friends who went out and danced to that music every Friday and I just happened to be able to play the guitar as well.

Alan:   What was the best blues album youíve ever had?

Mick:  Well, the first one I heard and it made a lasting impression and even now itís one of my favourites was Live at the Regal by BB King. 

Alan:   Who are your favourites amongst the old blues artists?

Mick:  I canít limit it to one person.  Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Earl Hooker Ė a wonderful guitar player who played on the recorded version of You Shook Me for Muddy Waters. 

Alan:   What about favourites amongst current blues artists?

Mick:  Present company excepted (gesturing to SDP), I donít know.  Iíve heard a lot of the American guys but a lot of them sound like Jimi Hendrix clones so I canít really answer that properly.

Alan:   Who has influenced you most in your music?

Mick:  Probably John Mayall and Bob Dylan and the Stones.

Alan:   What is your favourite guitar?

Mick:  I know Iím mainly associated with the Les Paul but thatís not my favourite.  My favourite is a Fender Stratocaster.  I used to have an old one which I messed around with and customised, put different pick-ups on it but I lost it sometime in 1993 in Florida and I havenít really ever been able to replace it.  The white guitar I was playing tonight is one of my favourites.

Mick Taylor © Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   Are there any particular songs that you play that have special meaning for you?

Mick:  Loads!  Blues songs?  Itís not strictly blues, but definitely You Canít Always Get What You Want .  I really like the lyrics and I think Mick Jagger is a really underrated lyricist.  People go on about how rich he is and how many women heís bedded but Iím sure heíd rather have artistic recognition.  Thatís what most people crave really Ė how much money do you need to be successful?  I know him very well so I know he would probably appreciate some sort of artistic recognition.

Alan:   With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?

Mick:  I try to live in the present and I think Iíd have to say that itís whatever Iím doing now.

Alan:   How healthy do you think the blues scene is in the UK compared with the US?

Mick:  I donít know, I havenít been to the US since 2001.  It used to be a very vibrant blues scene in New York but I donít know if there is now. It does seem that the UK blues scene is starting to come to a boil again though, which is exciting.

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

Mick:  Itís got a huge future in terms of live performance.  It was always deemed to be an underground movement but now itís universal.  You donít have to come from the south side of Chicago to play blues, you can come from anywhere. One thing I can say since playing with Stephen, the blues is in good hands.

Alan:   Tell me about the Mick Taylor Band.  When did you get together?

Mick:  You donít want to hear about them Ė theyíre really boring!    Iíve known Max Middleton since 1975 so Iíve played with him on and off since then.  And the bass player Iím using at present, Kumar Horila, played on the first album I made after Iíd left the Stones. 

Alan:   Of your solo albums, which is your favourite?

Mick:  I donít like to call them solo albums and Iím not a solo artist.  To me, a solo artist is someone who goes on stage and can accompany themselves on the piano or the guitar for at least 45 minutes.  I need an ensemble, a group of musicians to play with.  I donít like that term.  When youíve been part of a successful band and you leave, people automatically think you are seeking a solo career but that isnít necessarily true.

Alan:   How did you come to tour with Stephen Dale Petit?

Mick:  We met at The Real Music Club in Barnet, North London in 2008 and it was my second show after a very long hiatus from not playing with my own band. Stephen met a friend of mine there and she put Stephen in touch with a guy called Jeff Allen, (MTĎs drummer & manager) who he happened to know anyway. I got a good vibe talking with him that night, and then I heard his music - weíve been seeing each other off and on since then.  Weíve been in the studio together (recording for SDPís upcoming album) and we also did a live session for the Paul Jones Show on BBC Radio 2.

Alan:   This is quite a small tour.

Stephen:  Itís quite a focused thing because Mick has his own stuff going on.

Mick:  Itís 7 shows and itíd be nice if there were more in the future.

Stephen:  It is what it is, and itís good.  Everybody has done incredibly well today.

Stephen Dale Petit © Copyright 2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:   It was magnificent today.  I really, really enjoyed it.

Mick:  It was loud!   But heís got songs which go from almost nothing to being loud and heís got so much material he could do any kind of show he wants to.  Stephen is the leader and we follow. Iím having a great time playing with him, itís great to do a guitar duo thing again, and all the band are fantastic too.

Alan:   Future plans?  Anything in the pipeline?

Mick:  I love gospel music.  One of the earliest albums I ever bought (which I still have, despite losing my entire record collection in a fire in the 1970s) was a gospel album by the Five Blind Boys of Alabama called True Convictions.  Most of the original Five Blind Boys are still alive and playing. Iíve started choosing songs for my next album which I hope to start recording later this year; Iíll be writing new ones, looking at some Iíve already written, and figuring out which covers I want to do Ė there may very well be some gospel songs on the new album.

Alan:   Youíve never seen my website, but itís got lots of information, essays and photographs on there and I try to get quotes on there about what people think regarding and promoting the blues. 

Mick:  You canít suddenly stop being influenced by blues music or influenced by the music that inspired your life.  But as you get older, you tend to create your own style, which is what Stephen has done, and they put their own personality into it.

Alan:   Thank you.  I really appreciate it, as itís late and you must be tired.

Mick:  Thanks for being patient.

Alan White

The Mick Taylor Band and Stephen Dale Petit and his Band will be appearing at the The Great British R&B Festival, Colne, Lancashire on Monday, 31st August - be sure to see them!



Stephen Dale Petit on tour with Mick Taylor - Photos

Skegness Rock & Blues Festival 2009 - Photos

Stephen released his new single 'As The Years Go Passing By' on June 15th via 333 Records.
His last single A Better Answer has just been named Track of the Day by Classic Rock magazine

Return to Blues Interviews List

Website, Photos © Copyright 2000-2009 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 2009 Alan White, Mick Taylor & Stephen Dale Petit. All Rights Reserved.
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