Exclusive Interview with Mark Wenner

Mark Wenner How did you discover the bluesharp ?
~ I heard Jimmy Reed when I was a pre teen and loved that high and lonesome sound. Paul Buttrfield's first version of Born in chicago on the Folksong 65 Electra Records sampler set me in motion to seriously start learning to play.

If everything would be possible (waking the dead included), which bluesharp player would you invite for a jam session?
~ Never saw/heard Little Walter live. Would have been awesome.

What is your favorite blues harp brand / type and tell us why?
~ I play Hohner Marine bands. Started on them. I have some that are tuned by Craig Gaylor and one from Joe Filisko.

Tongue blocking or lip pursing, what do you prefer and tell us why.
~ I purse for single notes (started that way) and tongue block octaves.

Give us the 3 most important albums every (beginning) blues harp player must buy.
~ Best of Little Walter
Rainin in My Heart Slim Harpo
An Offer You Can't Refuse Big Walter Horton

How do you clean your harps?
~ Clean with rubbing alcohol or vodka

Describe the ultimate recording studio (not the technique but the facilities)
~ Studio in Baltimore called Invisible. Best collection of vintage amps and mics anywhere!

Are you still nervous before going on stage and if so, do you use any "rituals" to calm you nerves?
~ After more than 50 years I don't get nervous. Used to channel it into excitment.

What was the most memorable day in your musical career?
~ I got to sub for Jerry Portnoy a couple of days in Charlottesville Va and Washington DC with Muddy Waters. Did my show and opened Muddy's set with a harp intrumental. Stood in the footsteps of all the greats. Muddy is stil the MAN.

Mark Wenner

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Answers given on july 11, 2017