Jonny (Lang) be Good

Thomas Claypool
Mon Oct 13 08:31:28 EDT 2003

Give the guy a break!  When he first became a name, I met him backstage
at the Handys.  He was one of the nicest kids I had ever met.  He was in
reverence of the blues greats there, and every sentence had sir or maam
in it.  He respected the music and did a damn good job of playing it.
Over the years I have met most of the new guitar slinger sensations.
Most have been rude and felt their fesces had the odor of bouquets of
flowers.  He was not like that.

Two things are at work here.  Everyone has their own influences but also
their own interpretations.  Also, I think there is a motivation to play
to the larger audience.  It certainly happened to the revered SRV.  Is
there something wrong with wanting to make money and be successful?  It
may be cool and blueslike to busk in the street, but it doesn't pay the

The kid never proclaimed himself as a blues artist.  He said he liked
the music and let other people define it.  We are quick to allow fife
and drums as blues music, but gee, it doesn't have a National in the
band.  We play music to entertain; not to fit a certain mold.

As for the ticket, that's not up to him.  I think the Memphis gig may
have something to do with a town in Mississippi cancelling its concert
series (not sure).  The guy who runs this venue here would have a lot to
say about what the ticket is versus the cost of a band that might not be
playing a venue of that size normally.

It's not for me to tell anybody what kind of music to play.  Unless he's
changed, he's a nice guy with talent.  Let him do what he wants.  He
sure doesn't deserve all of this thrown at him.

Tom Claypool

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