Exclusive Interview with Gerd Gorke
How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ My first harmonica was a Christmaspresent from my father, because he was a harmonicaplayer too. That time I'd played German folksongs. Later on I've learned organ and guitar.
If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ George Harmonica Smith is my favorite.
What is your favorite blues harp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I prefer the Seydel 1847 Silver most, because they are bigger and louder than the others. I'm playing in a walkin band without amplification so I realy need a loud instruments and a heavy breath too :-))
What are the most important tips you can give to someone who wants to learn to play the bluesharp?
~ First of all you have to discover and play all holes on the harmonica step by step. Than the tone is important ( no tone ? you better go home)
The acoustic tone will bring you the electric sound sound, no matter what amp or mike you're playing through. Watch old videos of Shakey Horton, George Smith, Little Walter. They played very often through the Pa System and the sound was amazing !!!!!!
Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ It depends what I'm playing, I'm using both techniques, for chromatic harmonica mostly tongue blocking.
Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) blues harp player must buy.
~ Little Boy Blue, Big Walter Horton with Ronnie Horvath ( Earl) JSP Records
Boogie with George, George Smith with the Mighty Flyers, Murray Records.
Black Top Sampler, "Blues Harmonica Spotlight" with Sam Myers, Kim Wilson, Lee Mc Bee etc.
How do you clean your harps?
~ Oh, should I? Sometimes but not very often with alcoholic cleaning tissues.
What is the question interviewers never seem to ask you and...you wish they would? (Please provide your answer as well.)
~ Would you think that the harmonica is a real, serious instrument?
Yes dummy it is and it brings so much fun, if you can play !!!
Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ A frigde with cold beer, nice people and a soundman who knows about my music and likes to hel pme out with all his knowlegde.
Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ I'm never nervous, because I love what I'm doing and the stage is like a home for me. I never drink alcohol before playin... but after !!!
What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ Playing with Sam Myers 2000, playing with Dave Myers( Little walter Band) 1998 and NO. 1 playin live on air at the radio show "King Bisquit time" in Helena Arkansas (February 2017), where all the big names had played before. YEEHAW !!
For more info about Gerd Gorke you can go to:
Answers given on September 13, 2017
Photo by Peter Wattendorf