Welcome to the first of what will be hopefully many interviews with musicians,
makers, artists and other.
First off I would like to introduce our first victim… sorry interviewee….
The superbly gifted Gary O’slide...
Gary is an incredibly talented French slide guitar player I discovered on instagram and who has already produced two great albums, Western and No Mans Land and regularly updates some truly haunting content on his instagram feed, instagram/gary_o_slide.
Jp - Gary, firstly I have to say many many thanks for agreeing to this, my blogs first interview. Tell us about your musical journey, where did you start and how old were you?
Gary - Thank you for having me. I started to play music at 12, when I was offered my first guitar, a Spanish classical. So I started to learn Flamenco, but my beginnings had been complicated. At that time, I only had two working fingers and my right arm in plaster after a wrist fracture.
The way I play with my right hand, with only my thumb and index (finger) comes from that period. After playing flamenco, my musical path has been through metal, rock, softly drifting into blues, folk, ambient and western. I use “drifting” because it was not intentional.
Jp -Who were your main influences when you first started playing guitar?
Gary - My influences have always been Blues and Folk… and their derivatives.
Jp - What led you into the style of blues you play now?
Gary - I fell in love with Blues after hearing Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters. I was too young to understand what blues was and what it meant, culturally and historically, and internet hasn’t reached my home yet at that time.
As I was growing up, in my teen years, I began understanding that Muddy Waters was a Bluesman, as I was learning his story, I made all the research I could about the style, the blues artists and everything approaching from near to far the in blues world.
Then I discovered the infamous Ry Cooder’s ‘Paris, Texas’. It was a revelation that still defines my style today.
Jp - Do the same influences still hold true today or has it migrated into other influences?
Gary - Yes, they still are, even if every other styles had played a role in my evolution. Blues is the core but can be influenced by any other style. I believe that an artist must keep an open mind to avoid being caught up in a same style.
Jp - You play and clearly own many cigar box guitars, whats the appeal of these instruments to you?
Gary - Cigar box guitars are incredible, they can be built for cheap and with a limitless imagination. With no rules, anyone can do anything. They are not only instruments, they mean, to me, a sense of freedom from which can emerge a rustic style but rich in its simplicity.
Jp - The political climate has become completely fucked up both here in the UK and the US, do you feel the same in France?
Gary - I am not very interested in politics, so I don’t think I could be a credible authority in that matter. I seldom watch TV or watch the news, so I dont feel I am very aware. However, on the internet, wanting it or not, you cannot miss the information, of the tTump era or the Brexit mess you are in I suppose. As I can see with my boeotian* eyes, I think mess is everywhere. But I think that everyone just wants a better life. But that is just my own opinion.
(*yep I had to look this up too… it means dull; obtuse; without cultural refinement.)
Jp - Have you mellowed as you’ve got older and does that influence the songs you write?
Gary - I’m not that old, (Ed, at 31 your positively a young-en!) but yes, my music is softer and more serene. I think it can be applied to everyone, except, of course, if you deal with a thirties’ (mid-life) crisis (lol).
Jp - Tell us about the blues scene in France?
Gary - I must confess I am not very interested in the blues scene in my own country. I am a solitary guy, not looking for information or keeping an eye on the state or evolution of the style. But I know they are, many blues festivals all over the year. Unfortunately, I think the selected artists are often not real bluesmen. So when a rare artist comes, you can afford to miss the jig.
Jp - Is the cigar box guitar phenomenon growing in France as it is in the UK and US?
Gary - In France, cigar-box guitars are growing slowly, sadly due to a lack of open-mindness
Jp - Music and tattoos are often intrinsically linked, has music inspired your ink or has your ink inspired your music?
Gary - My tattoos are the printed story of my life, reflecting my travels around the world. My music is the emotional story of those travels, and this brings this feeling of freedom into my compositions.
Maybe they also are the history of my life, but they would be only a specific period, some are happier and some darker.
Jp - Where do you hope your music al journey will take you in future?
Gary - What I hope for? for my music to be heard all over the world, and why not… and to be at the end of a great movie credits!
Jp - That about wraps it up… just have to say many thanks again Gary and I hope your dreams are fulfilled, with your talent they truly should be!
Gary - It was a pleasure for me also.
Well, thats the first interview over with and it was a pleasure to do, we have more coming both written and on camera, so don't miss upcoming interviews with the legendary Hollowbelly, the godfather himself Mr Chickenbone John, the sublimely talented Tracy Badger from across the pond, the technical pedal making genius that is Hubcap John, a personal friend of mine Mr Phil Philbilly Bye and much, much, more to come.
So I sincerely hope you will join me on this journey.
For more info on Gary see the following links
Spotify, search Gary O'Slide
iTunes, search Gary O'Slide