Exclusive Interview with Blind Dog Mayer
How did you discover the bluesharp?
~ I came across the Blues-Harp by accident while listening to a song on the radio. It was a reggae version of "I shot the sheriff" by Eric Clapton.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Paul Butterfield, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, etc.
What is your favorite blues harp brand / type and tell us why?
~ C. A. Seydel Harmonicas - their harmonicas are characterized by professional quality, great musical play-outs, great sound as well as a comprehensive range of keys and not least ,top service! These range from the Seydel Session Steel models to the 1847 Classic and Noble series
What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ From the beginning, I prefer a more expensive harmonica rather than low-priced models. This encourages the enjoyment of playing from the ground up. You should listen to the old Harmonica players and understand why they are still so important for successive generations of harmonica players. Sufficient self-discipline and always have an open eye and ear for necessary equipment, regarding the subject Blues-Harp. We would also recommend consulting a accredited Harmonica Teacher, when you need advice and tips and tricks from someone with many years of practice and experience, in order to move forward.
Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I prefer the "lipping" because it simply allows me to play more dynamically . Apart from the chord play, then the tongue is needed to cover the holes.
Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) blues harp player must buy.
~ - Harp and Soul (Little Walter)
- East-West (Paul Butterfield)
- Best of Fabulous Thunderbirds - Early Birds Special
How do you clean your harps?
~ My preferred method of cleaning is in the ultrasonic cleaner with the addition of some commercially available fat-soluble dishwashing agent. Clean both sides of the device for about 6 minutes, dry, dry and polish the harmonicas. - Coarse dirt can be easily removed with a cotton swab and toothpicks. Then the harmonicas are like new again!
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ Why do I prefer blues music?
My answer: Because blues can express in all its facets, any emotional state of a human being. (Joy, love, suffering, grief, longing, strength, etc.). This can not be expressed by any other style of music in itself stylistically. And I also identify with the blues.
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ I prefer for my kind of blues, the old vintage recording studios, which were still recorded with the original analog with room microphone etc. This also includes, of course, the originality and the accompanying comfort and the spirit of such "old" studios too.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ Something like stage fright I have never known thank goodness. However A somewhat nervous anticipation is good as this also enhances the performance of the upcoming concert.
What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ My most memorable days so far were when I was allowed to perform together with the following greats as a sideman or support: Big Daddy Wilson, Blues Company, Pete Lancaster, Michael van Merwyk, Dr Slide, Thomas Blug, Henrik Freischlader, Rudy Rotta, Louisiana Red and Aynsley Lister, Dudley Taft ...
This in itself ultimately confirms me as a musician for myself ,and also has increased my musical level in the European blues scene and music landscape in general.
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Answers given on November 20, 2016
Photos by Karsten Schuh and Heike Blum.