Blesok no. 43, July-August, 2005
Interview with Coen Walters
Playing in Skopje is probably your first gig in this part of Europe, your impressions?
– Yes, it was the first time we played in that part of Europe and hopefully it was the first of more gigs in South East Europe. I was amazed how well everything was arranged and how friendly the people were. The audience was great and we met so many nice people. We checked out a few local bands and I got some CD’s and I must say that the level of musicianship is incredibly high.
Something about your musical beginnings: what got you into music?
– I didn’t start playing guitar untill I was 18, but I was always intrigued by bass guitars. Before I started playing I wanted to be a luthier, building bass guitars, so I bought a cheap bass with the intention to disassemble it. I played a few notes and I was hooked. I didn’t like the gig, thick strings, so I tried a guitar and never looked back.
Was there any music tradition in your family?
– No, not at all. My parent don’t play instruments and music was never something important in our house.
Your early influences were…
– When I started playing I was really into Eddie van Halen. I still like that stuff, but nowadays I wouldn’t regard him as an influence on my playing. Maybe it’d be better to mention my influences when I started playing blues, some 10 years ago: Albert King, Albert Collins, Jimi Hendrix and, of course, Stevie.
Who would you regard as your biggest influence so far?
– I have to make a choice between Jimi Hendrix and Chris Duarte… I’d say Chris Duarte, but Hendrix is always there, too…
Is there anyone you would like to work with?
– Oh yeah, John Mayall. I’m a huge John Mayall fan and I’d almost give a leg to play with him.
What unfulfilled ambition you have?
– To play with John Mayall… haha. Well, there’s so many things I still want to do, but the main focus will be playing my music in front of many people.
What was the first record you bought?
– I honestly don’t remember that, but I know for sure I bought a lot of crap music back then.
– Fitchburg Street – Doyle Bramhall
Five desert island albums of your choice would be…
Texas Sugar/Strat Magic – Chris Duarte
Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix
The Quintessential Vol II – Billie Holiday
Spinning Coin – John Mayall
24 hours – Eric Clapton
Beside your material, which covers you usually do on stage?
– We do songs like “Going Down”, “Oh Well”, “Big Legged Woman” and “King’s Highway”. Occassionally we do a Hendrix cover in the encore.
What do you think about contemporay blues scene?
– It’s probably the most loyal scene there is. Music comes and goes, but there will always be Blues and Blues fans. The Blues never dies… … … … …
How's the situation regarding work in Holland where there's long blues tradition?
– The situation sure ain’t the same as 30 years ago. There’s still a lot of bands playing Blues, but with all the American bands touring in Europe, it’s getting harder and harder for domestic bands to play on the big festivals in Holland. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side for the promotors. The recent economic turmoil makes it harder for clubs to book bands. We’re focusing on Europe and Germany in particular, so we don’t play that much in Holland anyway.
You have shared the stage with some big names, any particular experience worth mentioning?
– On stage the “big name” thing doesn’t count. When you’re playing you’re a musician just like the other guys. With some of those people I developed a friendship and I’ve heard some great stories. I guess that’s the cool thing about those people… they know so many great stories.
Something about your future plans?
– We’re working on a new album now and I’m really excited about it. It’ll be released in the first half of 2006. I also want to do a live DVD/CD next year and I still want to record an “all Blues” CD. Just covers of my favourite Blues songs. Other than that, I’d like to tour as much new countries as possible.
What fact about you would surprise the fans?
– I build my own guitars and amps. I do have one factory Fender and one factory built amplifier, but I prefer my own stuff…
Visit Coen Wolters web site: http://www.coenwolters.com