D’mar Martin (Derrick L. Martin) is a multi talented artist, who profiles himself as a drummer with a spectacular and unique style. As a former elite gymnast, he jumps high behind the drums, while performing in concerts. Given a drum solo, he plays it all over the stage, on everything he can find to tap on.
This versatile artist is a composer, songwriter, producer, sound engineer, TV and movie actor, educator, music director and recording artist. Esteemed for his almost 20 years of experience in Little Richard’s Showband, he is a popular bandleader for many touring international artists. Yours truly met D’mar at the Skanevik Blues Festival in Norway several years ago. In July 2014 he was back as the bandleader for the legendary Soul/Blues artist Jackie Payne.
Are you actually from California?
– No, I’m originally from Jackson, Mississippi. But I moved to The Bay Area, about 4 years ago. Throughout the years I was living in Mississippi, I worked with Little Richard, The Williams Brothers, The Pilgrim Jubilees, Vasti Jackson, G.C. Cameron and various other musicians. Actually, before I left Mississippi, I was the assistant Musical Director for the Mississippi Grammy Shows. And I was the Musical Director for the Mississippi Night At The Grammy Museum, a few years back.
– Many people were telling me, if I was anywhere else but from Mississippi, my career would have been so much more. I heard that for years. But having the gig with Little Richard afforded me good financial opportunities. So I could go out, get gigs and see the world. Make the money, go back to Mississippi and live with a lower cost of living.
– But four years ago I decided it was time to move. And I ended up moving to California. And, Man! Since I’ve been in the Bay Area, it’s been such a blessing. I mean, I’m pretty much working as much as I want, you know, 6 nights a week. I’m working with Mark Hummel, Mitch Woods, Lara Price and the list goes on and on… Although I grew up in Mississippi, the home of the Blues, I’m getting better opportunities to play the Blues in California, more than I ever had. I just did an amazing show with Steady Rollin Bob Margolin at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco.
– The Bay Area is the home of Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop and all of these great Blues musicians. It has it’s great history and heritage in Blues. There are blues clubs with many opportunities to play the music. Traditionally and otherwise, everywhere. And it’s a situation for me, where I’ve been encouraging as many of my Mississippi blues musicians and friends to come out. Grady Champion has been out, quite a bit. Mr. Sipp is just coming out, he played Biscuits & Blues Festival too.
Was there any music in your family?
– Yeah, I was kind of born into music. My mother, Linda Marie Turner, was an actress
I used to go to play rehearsals with her. She had a very vast record collection, of R&B and jazz stuff. So, there was always music around the house. At about 4-5 I started showing an interest in playing drums. I was busy beating on couches, pots and pans and stuff. I think at about maybe 6 or 7, I got my first paper drum set, for my birthday. And I have cousins that are gospel musicians and the whole deal. Arts and music kind of runs through the family.
You know, acting, teaching and playing.
– Being from Mississippi, I had a very eclectic background. Because I was a gymnast, I took karate and ballet. I was doing all of those things, but in the 9th grade I had an accident. It happened when I was on a gymnastic track to be an Olympic gymnast. But I dislocated my elbow, in this really freak accident. But I think it was a divine invention, looking back on it. Because when my arm was in a cast for those weeks, I couldn’t actually play drums. And it really scared me. It was at that point. Once this healed up, I didn’t want to do anything else but play. In that very year, I was interested in computer programming, and that stuff. A school counsellor was the first person that ever told me; ”Whatever you do, when you choose a career, choose something that you love to do. Don’t just choose it because you can make money with it”! I told him that I didn’t love anything more than playing music. “There you go, you can choose that”! So, from 9th grade on, I made the decision, that music is what I wanted to do, for the rest of my life. Though I was too young to really understand the path and all that. It couldn’t tell, but I knew then that I wanted to be a musician.
Did you put your own band together?
– Well, my first musical experiences were all from an educational standpoint. I joined the school band when I was like 12. And I was in a marching band, a concert band, and a jazz band in high school. Then I went to collage in Jackson State University and I marched with the famed Sonic Boom Of The South Marching Band. Then I was involved in a jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, some orchestral things. It was actually in my senior year in high school and transitioning to college, when I joined my first band. Me and some school mates put a band together. Just kind of playing R&B stuff, that we heard on the radio. And we were really getting into a bunch of Metallica, Police and Prince. It was really an eclectic group of musicians and I was maybe 18. That band was called Full Circle, and it later moved to be called Infinity. We had a pretty good run there, throughout my sophomore year. We were playing around town, learning from all of the old guys. Mississippi was a really cool place to learn to play music. Because, being one of the homes of Blues, it’s like you can really learn from all these great musicians. And they all had a pretty stern hand. They didn’t really play with you, if you stepped outside of what was right. You could be yelled at on stage and that was embarrassing at a point. But it was like great character building, with lots of lessons to be learned.
– An interesting thing about that band Infinity, is that four of the five guys out of that band, all went out to play major gigs. And still tour the world as professional musicians today. It was really a special unit. There was Ezra Brown on saxophone. He has worked with Bobby Bland, Johnnie Taylor and tons of guys. And he is touring now as a solo artist, all over the world. Presently in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and back and forth to Japan. Tommie S’von Ringo, on keyboard, is presently in The Smokey Robinson Band. But he has worked with Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson. The trombonist, Robert Lambkin, was a band director and is a Principal now. He is a big shot in education. It was really a cool group of guys.
Did you record anything with that band?
– No, unfortunately there were no recordings. You know, we were learning to play, so we wrote a bunch of stuff. And recorded a lot, but there was nothing that was ever really released as a record. In 1995, my partner and guitarist in that group, Darryl Pete, and myself, formed a production company called Airtight Productions. We produced a rap group from Mississippi, called Wildliffe Society. They got signed to T.V.T./Blunt Records in New York. I had a studio at home. And that’s what I did everyday, just created music and wrote songs. We got together and rehearsed in the garage and made up all songs. I literally to this day have over 3.000 songs in my library. I have a storage room full of adat tapes with music. All kinds of music, all kinds of genres.
– I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with a lot of people. Actually, my first real tour was with Dorothy Moore, when I was 19. That was really cool, she was very gracious. We got a chance to do a cross country tour with her, that was really a cool experience. From I was 19 years old, everything just continued to open up, every year. At the same time, Vasti Jackson was one of my key mentors. He was the first musician I met in Jackson, who did music full time. Everybody else played gigs and had a day job. He told me; -“If music is what you want to do, you have to approach it like a business, a daily job”. To this day, he is very inspiring and very business minded, always sharing legal information, How to read contracts, and the whole deal.
– The blessing of growing up in Mississippi, I had the chance to play so many different types of music. I was in a calypso band. We had a reggae / calypso band called The Caribbean Connection, that was fronted by a guy named Hugh Davis. He was originally from Jamaica, but he had attended the London Conservatory of Music. A genius musician, who played flute, saxophone, keyboard, bass and steel pans. We put this band together and I was the drummer.
We had drums, bass, 2 guitars, 3 percussionists. It soon became this huge orchestra with horns. We got a gig at the Isle of Capri, the first casino that opened in Vicksburg, MS. We played four nights a week. I was maybe 20 years old at the time. The cool thing about this, all of these percussionists were like masters, with Mr. Davis from Jamaica upfront. So, I really got a crash course in playing calypso, meringue music and reggae music, the right way. We had hours of sessions with practising. One guy, percussionist Rufus Mapp, who actually was a member of Jimmy Buffet’s band, for years. Brother Mapp was very stern. He would yell at you; “You gotta play the one-drop like this”! I learned to play all these different styles, which have become a hallmark of my knowledge.
How did you start to freelance as a professional drummer?
– It started with the band Infinity, all members were loyal to the band. Tons of the local blues guys would start hiring our band to back them up. Everybody we played with, immediately made them better. Because we were young and full of energy, showmanship, and the whole deal. Then I started to get calls from other people. It was a guy, his name was Forest “Juke” Gordon. He was an older mentor of mine, who used to play percussion with a band called Wind Chymes. He would call me to sub a lot of his gigs. The more I got out and learned, my reputation grew as somebody who could play. The more I started to get calls. I might not even have been the best player around. But they always knew that I was gonna be on time, I was gonna be prepared, I was gonna look the part. It was always about taking care of business, they knew they didn’t have to worry about it. So, I subbed for different bands around Jackson. Henry Rhodes, King Edward, Cadillac George Harris, Eddie Cotton Jr. Big Jack Johnson, Vasti Jackson, Dorothy Moore and Billy “Soul” Bonds, you name them…
Then came Little Richard, right?
– In 1995, a lady named Linda Jacobs, who was co-managing a band I was in. She had booked for the Jubilee Jam Festival in Jackson, that Little Richard played. And Richard mentioned to her that he was looking for a young, black drummer. To add to his show, because he got these white drummers, he would like to have two drummers. She mentioned my name to him, so she calls me up one day and told me to call this number. It’s Little Richard, who’s looking for a drummer. I’m thinking I’m calling an office, whatever. But I call the number and Little Richard answers the phone. -“Hey Baby, how are you doing. Can you play my music”?
He told me to go to the store and get the Specialty Records Little Richard’s Greatest Hits. There’s a record company around the corner from my house. I went there, got the record, listened to it and called him back; -“Sir, I can play your music”. This was on a Monday, he called me back on Tuesday, and that Thursday I flew out to L.A. And just hung out for a couple of weeks
– I was in my junior year at college and up to then, all my professors were like protective. So, I went to school and was telling my teachers; -“Look, I got this call from Little Richard” They were like; -“Little Richard, Tutti Frutti Little Richard? Just make sure you’ll get a round trip ticket and go”! When I got there, it was supposed to be for my audition. But I was there for like two weeks and did not play anything. We just hung out with his stepson Danny, who is a year older than me. Richard took me out to concerts and stuff. Basically, what was happening, he was just checking me out, as a person. The day came, when we were supposed to go and play in a rented SIR rehearsal hall. But we got there too late, they had already removed the gear and closed down. So, we went by the guitarist Roy Gaine’s house. He had a little club in South Central off of Crenshaw. We walked in and there was an old honky-tonk piano. And a drum set that was barely standing. It was like a Quadro Central juke joint type of place. Richards sits at the piano and we’re just kind of talking. Roy pulls out his guitar and the bass player Charles Glenn was there with us too. We just started jamming, Richard and Roy was telling stories, about back in the days. We’re just playing and I’m not realizing that this is actually my audition. I’m just thinking that we’ll go back to the hall that we missed. We’re playing and I’m just a 100% being me. Just acting fool and having a great time.
– This goes on for like two hours and the interesting thing is, all we played was the Blues. We never played a Little Richard song. He just played Blues After Hours, Directly From My Heart To You, just playing all that stuff. After about two hours he stops and says; -“Ok, Baby, I gotta go. Let’s go get something to eat. This is cool, you know Baby, you got the gig. We’ll open for The Temptations next week in Cerritos. The bass player welcomed me to the band. And I thought to myself, what just happened? –“ But Little Richard, we didn’t play any of your music. But you could have hired anybody you want, in the whole world”!”? He just said; “Man, I’ve been checking you out. You’re a very nice young man, you follow instructions, you say yes Sir and no Sir. You got a good foot, good back beat. I gotta teach you everything I need you to know anyway. I created this music, I just need to know that you’re teachable. You follow directions, you’re a good man, you love your Mama”! So, the gig was actually me actually learning the gig on the gig!
– He was probably checking on my personality, I think it was part of that. Like I said, there was already a drummer there. He wanted to get his band back to what it was in the 70s. Basically two bands in one. With two drummers, two bass players, two guitars and the whole deal. In that two weeks period, prior to when I joined the band. He knew, in terms my work ethic and the type of person he viewed me to be. But as we started to play the gig, I think maybe the personality thing was probably telling. That was one of the things, he had heard about. When I was playing gigs down south with people. Older musicians would say; -“Boy, you may not wanna be so flamboyant”! Most singers would be intimidated and they would feel you’re trying to steel the spotlight from them. No, I was just trying to be me
– The gig was really cool, because it was a 10 piece band, a band of literally superstars. Everybody in the band. Like Jesse Boyles on bass, was in the famed Muscle Shoal’s rhythm section. Charles Glenn worked with DeBarge and was on Motown Records. Harvey Thompson was in Muscle Shoals also. The entire band were stars. Richards thing was that he wanted a band of super stars. The way he put it was; -“You guys can be superstars, but I am a QUASAR”!
– But he never ever discouraged anybody. Like, if he turned around and saw somebody was standing still, he just was like; -“ No, it’s not what we do. We come and it’s a 100%. We’ll entertain, but it’s all about the music first”! Most people don’t get that the dude is the baddest musician that has ever lived. Just playing the piano, he just one of the baddest ever. Vocally, he one of the baddest. But most people just thought he’s just the gimmick, whatever. But, he’s a musician first. Then the entertainment piece, the understanding, your presentation. Always engaging to the audience. He understands how to just wreck a house, how to get people in the palm of his hands. That’s how he inspired the band, he wanted everybody to feel free to be themselves. He would hear about how we played in Mississippi. And he said; -“In Mississippi you’ve been doing all this stuff. And you were doing such and such. Man, you can do that on my stage, just be yourself”!
Are you a typical blues drummer?
– The gig with Little Richard gave me confidence, beyond that. For anybody else I’m playing with. To understand situations, to see what needs to be done. Like, what can I bring to the table, to make this thing really just amazing. I get a lot of calls from people, to do stuff all the time. As a blues drummer, as a funk drummer, and so on. I don’t necessarily consider myself a blues drummer. Because of the fact that it’s a real heavy title. I think, to be called a blues drummer, it means that you are a master of a particular thing. Because, the Blues is at the heart of all forms of American popular music. So, if you can play the Blues, you master it and you can do everything else. I know some great blues drummers. And I’m not yet where they are, in terms of playing the Blues. I still got some more years, before I can really wear that title. It’s about to have that respect for the music. Because the more I learn about playing the Blues, makes everything else I do that much better
– The key is, and this is what I’ve always learned: The band is only as good as the drummer. The thing that most people don’t get about good or great drummers. It’s physical, it’s a lot of things, but it’s very intellectual. Most people think that the drummers job is just keeping the time. And that’s important. But, the fact is, that he’s gotta be as musical as everybody else in a band. Gotta be tuned in to everything, with whatever the other musicians are playing. Ever present, keeping an eye on the lead singer or lead instrument. It’s flexible, it’s organic, it’s a living thing. He gotta go with the bass player and lock that thing up. Because it’s always a conversation between all instruments, ever evolving. But the drummer is a director of that conversation.
– The best drummers are like the best record producers. I’m a great fan of Quincy Jones. He was a type of guy that produced, without producing. He just hired the right people, and let them do what they do. But you can say a lot, by saying little. I have students that like to play much and very fast. No – SPACE! There’s so much music in space. You can have so much power, by understanding how to use space. If the vocalist starts to talk, you have to play stuff that opens up space, for him to talk. It’s an ever evolving concept, an extension of your personality. It’s about looking for something new, that was never experienced before. Even if it’s a song that have been played a hundred times before. The drummer and bass relationship, in particular. Is to be open enough to lay down a solid groove, use space and let the ego go. Their job is to give the rest of the band something to stand on. Within that, all the types of things can happen, if they’re doing their job correctly.
I watched you with Jackie Payne, how you sing along with your drums.
– It’s a part of my personality. The truth is that I’m still just a big kid, and I really, really enjoy playing. As much now, as the first day I ever picked up the sticks. The other piece of that is developing an understanding that it is a conversation. That’s the way I learned to play in Mississippi. I played with this Lady, who is probably one of the greatest Blues singer that ever lived. Not many people have heard of her and probably never will. But her name is Patrice Moncell, and she’s in the line of Ma Rainey and Big Mama Thornton. She’s a trained opera singer and I learned so much of her. We played and she would talk to the audience. Telling her stories from the stage, like a comedian. When I played with her, she was teaching me that it’s all about rhythm. There’s timing, there’s a setup and there’s a punch line. As a drummer, I’m listening as she would say certain things. She taught me to go with her in the conversation. But she said that your instrument is your conversation piece. It kind of goes back to Vaudeville, when the drummer would use certain things, to accentuate whatever the artist on stage were saying. Always with different moods, it’s something that occurs naturally for me. If it’s funny to me, I can laugh with the drums. At that point, the drums become everything I am in the conversation. I can be jovial, I can be melancholy, I can respond with laughter, whatever. I can do it all from the drum kit, while we’re playing the show.
I suppose you read and write music?
– Yeah, I was educated, I started to play orchestra percussion first. I didn’t get a drum set until high school, even in junior high school. We had a band director, Jennifer Seaton, who did not allow us to play anything, that we couldn’t come to the board and write. That actually served me well. Going to college, I had theory and melody. I studied music history, and the whole deal. Even now, over 50% of the gigs I get, is because of the fact that I can read and write music. If somebody calls me about an artist coming in. Can I learn 20 songs in a week? When I get the material, I just write the stuff out. Most guys write chord charts, or whatever. For drums, I can write full drum charts. I’ve done it so much, that I can pretty much do it while I’m listening to the song. That has really paid off, it’s one of the things that keeps me working. And that is one of the things I always tell my students. Being able to read, only helps you. Particularly if you’re gonna be full time musicians. That’s a very valuable asset, being able to read music.
But you still play with the feeling?
– I kind of live in the middle of both of those worlds. Most musicians, that don’t read, will say that they don’t want to read. Because they feel like reading takes away the feeling. And the people that do read, that’s all they do. They don’t have the feel and the other things. I’m right in the middle of that, the feel and everything is first. But it’s nothing wrong with having a map, to understand the song. It makes me more comfortable, I can still communicate without being impeded by not knowing the song. Or nervous about the song arrangement, about what’s coming next. I think, having a bit of both parts is the most important thing.
What about teaching, do you do that in schools on regular basis?
– I have a non profit org. called Building A Better You. I actually formed that about two years ago, in the state of California. For the last 15 years, I’ve been teaching a program called Drums and More. In which I go into schools and I do lecture series on the history of the drums set in America. The cool thing about the drum set is that it did not exist until we all came to America, it was invented in America. I traced the linear of the drum set, from its inception in New Orleans, with Baby Dodds and Louis Armstrong. I start with traditional New Orleans music and entrance the growth of the drum set, through all forms of American popular music.
– I do it with kids from grade K, to 12 years. And throughout doing that, I do a lot of playing, talking and singing with the kids. The kids love the drums, because they can play loud and they get to dance around. But within that, I use the music and the drums, to teach them the importance of character building. Reading and communication skills, mathematics with counting and understanding people skills. So, I use the drums and the music as a way to teach life skills. I’ve been doing that now for almost 20 years and the program is still growing. I get a lot of requests.
– Recently, in the last three years, I joined forces with Fernando Jones. He’s a professor at the Columbia University in Chicago. He has The Blues Kids Of America, that he has done in Chicago for well over 10 years. I befriended him at the International Blues Challenge about five years ago. He invited me out, because he does Blues Kids Camps across the country. Where he invites professional musicians in, to spend a week with the kids. Basically, you get a band and you put the kids together in that week. They learn music and put on a show. But we have a chance to kind of teach them about practical sides of being a musician, learning the gig and playing. I have done that for him for the last four years.
– That’s really cool and I’m looking forward to growing my non profit. So we can get grants to do things, not only nationally, but internationally. In terms of educating and just keeping kids interested in the arts. And music in particular. The teaching element is very important for me. I had so many people and I continue to have many people that teach me. I feel it’s my responsibility to pass those things on and teach other people. In particular with the Blues and traditional music. That’s the only way that it’s going to survive. Many people say that young cats can’t play the Blues. They just want to play, they’ll grab on to whatever somebody says;
-“This is what I thought the Blues was”! They just grab it! Well, you can’t really blame them, if they weren’t taught by someone that knows. I realized that, every time I play, it’s a particular opportunity for someone to learn something.
What type of drum kit do you prefer?
– Let me tell you what I own. I have a Pearl Export kit with a 20“ kick drum, 10” and 14” toms and a 14” snare. I use that kit for small combo gigs. I own three Tama kits that I use for various things. I own a dDrum kit. I have to say, in terms of gear and that kind of stuff, I’m not the best cat to know. Again, going back to growing up in Mississippi, When I first started playing, I used to get hung up on certain kinds of kits. There was an older guy there, that I think used to play with Albert King. He was a great shuffle drummer, and he told me; -“It doesn’t matter about the instrument. You should be more interested in creating your voice.
And if you play buckets, you should still be able to get your voice out of those buckets. Don’t let the instruments limit who you are or define”. That always stuck in my mind. Most of the time I just sit down with what they have. As long as it is a professional line. Because when I toured with Richard, for 4 years, I had an endorsement with dDrum. But I didn’t resign. The whole endorsement thing doesn’t matter anymore. Whether it’s a Yamaha, DW, or whatever. That’s just dependable.
You’re not the kind of drummer who travels with his own snares, cymbals, and everything?
– I guess I could do that, but what I ended up doing was. Afters all those years with Richard and even playing festivals. I just bring my sticks and have my rider that says; “Let’s see what you have”. I just check them all out and I get to play different things. Maybe I change out the toms.
I do like smaller toms with a bit higher pitch, because I like the sound to be a bit tight. Other than that, I usually use everything else, I just kind of make it easy and roll with it.
What about recordings?
– I have a recording studio at my home, so I’m always recording. I’ve got maybe like 5 of my own R&B records that are out now. On iTunes, Amazon and various internet sites. One of them was released in 2011 and it’s called The Truth “I Gotcha”. I’ve also just finished mixing a record for a jazz artist named Tawanna Shaunte. She is the first artist signed to Cassandra Wilson’s new label. I’m so excited to be a part of that. Before that, I played on the new Jackie Payne record. Also on A.C. Myles new record and John “Blues” Boyd. I’m always recording something, so I have a D’mar project that’s coming out next year.
– I’m actually working on an instrumental kind of funk/jazz record, that I have maybe 20 songs already recorded for now. So, I’m finishing that and I’m gonna be recording a drum record, with Kid Andersen and some of the guys in the south bay area. The idea about that record is, it’s going to be a project, kind of me doing songs for a drum history record. Where I take particular types of feels. Like the 60s Boogaloo feel, or the Motown type groove, or whatever
– But I’ll be composing original music, based on those particular feels. So, it will be my ode to all these styles of drums. But all in an original format. We will be working on that record, starting at the top of 2015.
– I consider myself a scholar of the music industry, and where the music industry is at right now. The records are not selling, the way they used to. Actually, in terms of CD’s, Blues Musicians probably are like the last vanguards of people, that actually sell hardcopy CD’s. Because you can’t hardly only sell CD’s from the stage anymore. Nobody is really buying them, most people are buying downloading online. So, I realized that it’s no need just keep putting records out to lose money. You can’t just record the music, you have to have a visual component. It has to be a video piece, or an educational component tied to it.
– If I make a record and there’s a video, I want the record to take off. Then it make sense for me to put a band together, and GO! Do the work first is, try to put a band together, dealing with head aches, dealing with different people and trying to do it that way. Because as a sideman I get to see all of that stuff. If I’m going to do it, let’s create a reason to do it first. Yes, I’m always recording, and I have plans to probably release at least 3 records, next year. On myself, with different types of music. I’ll be spending the rest of the year just developing and put together all the other pieces in place. To make sure, that I can actually move the record, from a business standpoint.
– As a session player, I have recorded with Jake Nielson Trio, Paula Harris, Dexter Allen, Adib, Andy Hardwick, Pastor Haywood Hannah, Stevie J., Willie Clayton, Jesse Robinson, Jesse Primer Jr. Eddie Cotton Jr. On Michael Martin’s debut single, Facebook Friend, I played all instruments. And I starred as Muddy Water’s drummer Elgin Evans, in the movie Who Do You Love (2008). Keb Mo played Jimmy Rogers and David Oyelowo was Muddy Waters.
D’mar as Elgin Evans in Who Do You Love
Anything you want to add?
– The thing that most people don’t know. Like about me, I wear a lot of different hats. I’m a song writer, a producer, a musician, a performer and an educator. I have all these different careers. As a musician, I enjoy coming back to the many international festivals that I’ve played. Sometimes as a bandleader, or be allowed to suggest musicians for the headliners. Like, I’ve played with Big Jack Johnson, Mojo Buford, Tutu Jones, Ellis Hooks, Vasti Jackson, Norah Jean, Jackie Payne, in Skanevik, Norway. I played the Fuji Rocks Festival in Japan with Syl Johnson and Bobby Rush. We also did two nights at Billboard Live in Tokyo.. Other countries I played in are; Hungary, Great Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Schweiz, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Brazil. On January 3rd next year, I will play with Luther Dickinson from The North Mississippi All Stars, in San Francisco.
– It’s interesting how everything prepares you for the next thing. I’ve done the gig with Little Richard for soon 20 years now. The lessons I learned and opportunities I had from playing that gig. All the great people I met in TV, when playing at The Tonite Show, The David Letterman Show and tons of other great experiences. Being successful in this business, is not just about being a musician. On the stage, I can be the musician. But then, off the stage I gotta be a businessman, I gotta market it too. My job is to be user friendly. I’m here to play, I’m listening, but I’m not an autopilot. If this particular group of musicians decide to create something that goes this way. Okay, let’s go that way.
– The key, to me, is always remaining humble and understanding that all of this is a blessing. And it can all be gone, just like that. I like to think that people hired me because they know I can be dependable. Whatever they ask is gonna be done, all the small things. So, my job is, with whoever hires me, to make his job easier. As well as I’m doing my own projects, I want people to treat me the way I treated people, when I worked for them. I feel that your energy engenders energy. If I work a certain way and try to progress, as I’m doing my own things, I’ll attract that same energy. That’s what it is…