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A Dirty Dozen with BUDDY WHITTINGTON from TEXAS SCRATCH – November 2023

| 28 November 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Texas Scratch is made up of three born-and-bred Texas guitarists – Jim Suhler from Dallas, Buddy Whittington from Fort Worth and Vince Converse from Houston.  This mighty threesome of big dog guitar slingers takes no prisoners when it comes to red-hot guitar performances, both live and in-studio. This trio of six-string guitar beasts are accompanied on the album by drummer Jeff Simon and bassist Nathaniel Peterson, both fine musicians in their own right. Their combined efforts have resulted in a debut album consisting of – obviously –  fiery, passionate guitar licks everywhere you turn, soaked in the blues and kicked in the ass by the blues-rock they all love to play.” We get guitarist Buddy to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Just some good, honest songwriting and playing, hopefully the listener can feel a little bit of the fun we had getting it together. One of my personal favorites is “Louisiana Cock Fight,” written by John Nitzinger of Fort Worth, Texas and released on John’s 1972 Capitol Records release NITZINGER. John is a local legend, and we all absorbed a lot of his music growing up. We just wanted to cover “Cock Fight” as a tribute to him.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

My older sister had a fantastic record collection, encompassing quite a lot of musical styles. There was always some kind of music playing in our house, be it The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, John Mayall, The Temptations,  Four Tops, Gary ‘US’ Bonds, Jimmy Reed, and Slim Harpo, and mom and dad were big fans of country music on the radio, and shows that was televised LIVE on Saturday afternoons from venues like Cowtown Jamboree and Big D Jamboree out of Fort Worth and Dallas respectively, I would always tune in to see what brand of guitars and amps the players on these shows were using. It was just natural to me to want to try to learn and play these tunes.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There have been so many. The first LP I remember buying with my own money was The Ventures Walk, Don’t Run and all the great instrumental surf tunes of the day. I must have been about eight. “Pipeline” and “Diamondhead” were tunes that were accessible enough for a beginner to figure out, and then their Play Guitar With The Ventures albums were also a big help.  Seeing Freddie King and ZZ Top in their heyday was also a biggie.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Not that I could ever play anything like him, but I would have loved to hang out and learn from the late great Eldon Shamblin of Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. Eldon more or less invented Western Swing guitar, especially rhythm guitar, as we know it today.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Family stuff. My lovely spouse Cathy accompanied me on a tour of Norway with my pal Trond Olsen’s band just a little before the pandemic, and we had a real nice time seeing a lot of that beautiful scenery and playing a Blues Cruise from Oslo to Keil Germany and back.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Well, you can only be a product of your influences, so I am a blues / rock with country tendencies kinda dude. I am a little uncomfortable with being classified a Southern Rock artist. Not completely incorrect, but Blues Rock feels better to me.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We generally don’t get to hang out together much, we just do the gigs and then it’s like “See ya next week.”

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Tommy Emmanuel. Tommy is a guitar genius and a true star, although he doesn’t act like he knows it.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

It’s been so long since I did anything else for a living, it’s hard to say. I had a background in electronics once upon a time and used what I learned doing that to keep my amp working, and I still do some of that, but most of what I once thought I knew has become obsolete.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Q: What is the difference between a musician and a US savings bond? A: A US savings bond will eventually mature and provide for a family. Getting a little bored with “Who would you have liked to sit down to dinner with?”  Heck I dunno, Emeril Lagasse? BAM

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

That kind of thing never happens to me, but a friend of mine bought some shares in Sirius / XM early on, and promptly forgot about it. Maybe ten years later, that same friend drove by the house in his new Jaguar, which he paid cash for with the proceeds coming from his forgotten shares. I could use a little of that kind of action.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall at Decca Studios London on the Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton aka ‘Beano’ sessions, one of the earliest examples—if not THE earliest— of a 50’s Les Paul into a JTM 45 Marshall amp courtesy a young Eric Clapton, who was playing on this session at his regular ‘on ten’ stage volume (which was unheard of at the time in the studio) and refused to turn it down saying “This is my SOUND,” thus changing the TONE of recorded guitars from then on. Heady stuff!






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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