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

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

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Steve Roux


"Steve Roux has been there-done-that-played-with-them and has a blues CV even longer than the name of his Brass Knuckle Blues Band. This is a big band with a big sound and a growing reputation. Stylistically reminiscent of Albert King’s Stax recordings with ‘B3’ keyboard and three-piece brass section they impressed…"
(Gig review, Worthenbury Blues Festival, 2012 - Michael Ford, editor of Blues in Britain)

Steve Roux & The Brass Knuckles Blues Band at Blues on The Farm 2011


Alan:   Where do you come from and what are your first musical memories? 

Steve:  I was originally born in Southampton, then moved to a village north of London called Clifton and then up to North Wales from the age of 7 til 17. My first musical memories are records that my Mum and Dad played. 

Alan:   Did you come from a musical family - is there a long musical heritage? 

Steve:  There is. My Nan’s Dad was a classically trained pianist and my Grandad on my Dads side used to play piano and sing as the band leader of ‘Jack Roux & The New Manhattans’ in the late 20’s and 30’s. He always played at home and kept the baby grand piano that he bought in the 20’s right up to the day he died. I have that same piano in my house now. My Dad played Bass in the 60’s in a band called the Graduates along with his brothers Dave and Paul. They played across Germany including playing at the Star Club in Hamburg at the same time as Little Richard, Tony Sheridan, Gene Vincent and The Beatles. They shared digs with the Beatles at that time. In fact The Graduates were the first band to play the Star Club, not as popular legend would have it, that it was the Beatles. The true story is that they flipped a coin and the Graduates won and went on first. As it turned out that may have been the case even if they hadn’t as George Harrison turned up late anyway. 

Alan:   Did you always want to become a musician? 

Steve:  Out of the Blue I announced that I wanted a guitar for my 9th birthday. My Mum who knew nothing about guitars didn’t make it easy as she bought me a full size Jumbo wire strung acoustic with very high action and a cricket bat for a neck for the "princely sum" of £20 this sits in my fireplace to this day as a reminder. 

Alan:   How did you get started in music? 

Steve:  Well I started playing guitar in bands at school when we lived in North Wales. My good friend Nick Orrey and I were introduced one day at school and we hit it off right away discovering that we both played the guitar, we started to write and record together when we were about 15. We sent songs off all of the time the record companies and radio stations, we even ended up with an interview as song writers with Zomba music. We moved to Southsea, when I was 17 we busked and got gigs to pay the rent, never stopped playing since. 

Alan:   What kind of material were you playing in the early days and who were your heroes? 

Steve:  Always into the Blues. Early influences and artists that I admire, would have to be all the Alberts and all the Kings. The music that surrounded me when I was young was a magic mix of JJ Cale, Tony Joe White, Little Feat, Ramsey Lewis, Jimmy Smith, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, The early Stones, early Robert Palmer, Free, Clapton, Hendrix, Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Monassas, ZZ Top, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker.... a great mixing pot.... The thing that has always impressed and influenced me the most, is not necessarily any soloing virtuosity but the funkiness, the grooves and interaction within a band, great players listening to each other and understanding less is more..... 

Alan:   What first attracted you to the blues and what does the blues mean to you? 

Steve:  It was a natural connection, I didn’t have a choice, it is what I understand, feel and play, no contest. The Blues is one of the truest forms of music, it comes from within, it’s a feel, it’s a groove, its emotion. If I want to feel good I just stick on some good blues music and that does it for me. To play it, you can learn the notes, but you cannot teach someone to feel it, you either do or you don’t.  

Alan:   Your first album 'Steve Roux' was recorded in Memphis in 1992, tell me a little about the making of the album and how you got to record in Memphis. 

Steve:  Well, as John Wooler the head of PointBlank records said to me if you’re gonna make a Blues record where could be better.... We rocked up in Memphis, with Bernie (Fox) and Matt (Little) we got to stay in the Memphis’s most decadent hotel, The Famous Peabody, wow.... We rehearsed in Beale Street Studios where ZZ top played and recorded Eliminator. We were surrounded by history, met some amazing people. We were sat in a bar one night on Beale St. and in walked Albert King…… We got to record in Kiva Studios, we walked in and there were pictures, Gold and Platinum disc of Steve Ray, Albert Collins etc all over the walls. Jack Holder who engineered our album played and recorded in Albert Kings and Albert Collins bands…… not bad input… and he told some great stories..... 

Alan:   You appeared at the Cologne Music Festival where you were invited to perform with Albert Collins and Robben Ford, that must have been an exceptional experience. 

Steve:  It was! We had finished our set which went down really well and afterwards I remember standing at the side of the stage watching Robben Ford and his band and then later watching Albert Collins, and as he was closing his show I was summoned to the back stage area, grab your guitar you’re on... playing with Albert for his encore.... when I got to the stage sorting out my amp, who’s also standing there looking as excited as me, Robben Ford.... we got to play Albert’s instrumental ‘Frosty’ with him and his full band in front of by now an ecstatic audience, there were hats and beer being thrown in the air by the end we must have played for the best part of 15 minutes or more, all taking turns to solo, bringing the band up and then down quiet setting each other up for the change overs..... plus it was going out live on German radio..... I’m getting goose bumps just remembering it..... 

Steve Roux and the Brass Knuckle Blues Band playing "Rocket to the Moon"
Butlins Rock and Blues Festival Skegness Jan 2012

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

Steve:  That is difficult to answer, when I write I have always tried to write some thing with a twist to it and I guess all of the music I have listened to and love, must have got mixed in there somewhere. I always try to find a connection to the song I am writing, so I have the best chance of delivering it and the listeners getting it and believing it. This is a lot easier to say than do and is probably part of the craft we spend our lives trying to perfect. As far as playing is concerned I listen and learn, but I have never tried to play overall like anyone else because I can’t see the point, what is the point of playing like and being compared to anyone else, that is always a losing game. The best player I can be is me. This is a difficult lesson to learn, but a very important lesson. Realising your own voice and style, what you are best at, that’s the thing. When I was young I used to beat myself up thinking I should play like others, but this is stifling. The most liberating thing is when you can shake that off and be you. Don’t get me wrong here there will always be moments in tunes where influence may come through but I never feel like I’ve done it or myself any justice, maybe just paid some homage. What comes out naturally I guess is me and I hope my style has a sound or style to it, that people might recognise. 

Alan:   Looking back on your career so far, what are your fondest memories? 

Steve:  I have been lucky enough to play with some great Blues artists, stand outs as well as a couple of times with Albert are being on stage with Pop Staples, John Hammond and Terry Evans, playing the Pointblank/Borderline festival and other promo gigs at that time. Amongst my fondest musical memories are getting my first recording deal, also playing on stage with George Harrison at a private party, playing a selection of Beatles songs, George borrowed my 345 Gibson. Proudest moments are playing with Damon Hill and the Conrods twice at the Albert Hall, playing with that band at various Grand Prix and gigs around Europe raising money for The Downs Syndrome Association. Always playing in The White Knuckle Blues Band with Bernie and Rob and now finally releasing a CD together. And of course playing with The Brass Knuckle Blues Band. 

Alan:   What is your favourite guitar? 

Steve:  My 1962 Fender Stratocaster. 

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

Steve:  Can’t Change the Time that I wrote with Dad... The lyrics of ‘You can turn the clock back baby but you can’t change the time’ kinda sums up life, we are where we are, life is what it is....

Also the latest original tune It Might Just Be Too Late which I have written with Bernie and is the title of our latest CD. It is a modern blues song with a great groove and a hard edge to it, I love the recording and it has been working well with the Brass Knuckle Blues Band live, especially with the horn arrangement that Steve (Grainger) has written for it.

Incidentally the CD is to be released on Kross Border Rekords on October 15th 2012.

Alan:   Tell me about the time you formed The White Knuckles Blues Band. 

Steve:  Well Bernie (Fox) and I have played together since, I guess 1990, Bern played on the ‘Steve Roux’ release in 1992. A couple of years after the CD Bernie and I ended up playing in a band that Rob Vick was asked to join. Now I remember having never met Rob but knowing that he and Bern would be the best rhythm section I could possibly get to play with. A lasting connection was made and this was the start of The White Knuckles. We wanted to put together an uncompromising 3 piece blues band. We rehearsed and rehearsed sorting through blues material, being ruthless in how we wanted to play it, never taking the easy option of selling out and choosing to play any crowd pleasers, which we were often asked to do but never would. This was back in 1996 and we are still together now and have played thousands of gigs together. I would argue that they are amongst the best rhythm sections in the country. 

Alan:   In 2007 you then formed The Brass Knuckle Blues Band, how did that come about? 

Steve:  Bern, myself and Rob became involved with a band, ‘the sensational jonny deps’ it came together through ‘depping’ for other bands and of course our collective striking resemblance to the famous actor, not! Style wise think James Brown... good horn section… Steve Grainger on Alto sax and Jon Gooding on tenor, from this a master plan was hatched. We had always wanted to augment the line up of the knuckles with horns, Tom Edwards joined us on trumpet and at that time Josh Phillips but now with Cliff Chapman on keys. It’s a great band to play in, great players but most importantly great friends, we’ve had a lot of fun playing the festivals this year. It has been hard work and the economics of taking a 7 piece band around the country does not always add up, but the playing is what makes it worth while. Perhaps the one of the nicest compliments anyone has paid us, as a band, is from a Blues in Britain review of our set at ‘Blues at the Fold’ written by Michael Ford & Paul Stiles, the band being compared to having ‘the big-city sound of Albert King and Albert Collins’ …… that’ll do for me.  

Alan:   Some music styles may be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is? 

Steve:  Blues music will always connect with people as it’s a form of music that came about naturally, a way expression, of how people feel, to make people feel good and to entertain, not driven by money. It’s not music that has been manufactured for other means and therefore will always survive. 

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

Steve:  Well it’s been about for 100 years or more, enjoyed the highs continued blissfully unaware of the apparent lows. Blues lovers like jazz lovers, country or folk will always love and support their choice of music. The core journeyman musicians and I mean the core musicians and artists, the agents and promoters, along with the help, support and promotion of people like yourself Alan will insure that in another 100 years when dozens of fads/trends have come and gone the blues will be alive and well. So the simple answer is that I think the future of blues music is Good!! 

Alan:    Thank you so much Steve, I really appreciate your time. 

Steve:  Thank you Alan it has been a pleasure.


Steve Roux & the Brass Knuckle Blues Band play an original song
'Can't Change The Time' from Steve's Pointblank album 'Steve Roux'.
Blues at the Farm 2011



Return to Blues Interviews List

Website, Photos © Copyright 2000-2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
Text (this page) © Copyright 2012 Alan White & Steve Roux. All Rights Reserved.
For further information please email:

Home Page