Q&A: Simon McBride
Ireland has already given the blues two of her sons in Gary Moore and Rory Gallagher. Now meet the third, in the form of singer, songwriter and guitarist, Simon McBride. Although influenced by Ireland's blues legacy, McBride is the master of his own signature guitar sound, which he taught himself at the age of 15 - a year later he was good enough to be playing as guitarist for metal band Sweet Savage.
Yet, for McBride his heart lay in the blues and his solo career to date has seen him open for the likes of Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Satriani and Derek Trucks.
He on tour at present with a new album, Crossing The Line, and comes to The Maze in Mansfield Road on Monday, November 12...
Critics have compared you as the natural successor to Gary Moore and Rory Gallagher but how do you see yourself as a musician?
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I love those guys and I am definitely influenced by the passion and aggression in their playing, and stage shows. Gary Moore, in particular, I listened to a lot. We all of us borrow in some way from those who have gone before, but I don't think I sound much like either of them. I hope I sound like me! Also, you will hear hints of Celtic melody in some of my songs, so perhaps that is another reason for being compared to other Irish guitarists.
You are playing at the Maze in Nottingham. What are you looking forward to about this gig?
I always look forward to connecting with fans. Playing smaller venues such as the Maze gives an intimacy that I like. I have played some very big venues, which has its own kind of buzz, but it's also good to see the whites of the audience's eyes, if you know what I mean.
What can punters look forward to hearing from you at this gig?
We are going to be playing a lot from the new album, Crossing The Line. It's also become a bit of a tradition that I do something by Jimi Hendrix and include some audience participation. Also, I am introducing an acoustic interlude, a couple of songs of just me and an acoustic guitar.
Your latest album is called Crossing The Line. Can you give us an insight into the thinking behind it?
The title is a clue. The material on this album treads a line between blues and rock, and probably errs more to what most people would call rock. My main objective on this album was to concentrate on the songwriting and melodies, and I'm pleased to say that the music press and fans are liking it. There is only so much you can do as a guitarist. Ultimately you have to have songs that connect with the listener. With this album I also wanted to give it a retro sound, what you might have heard in the late sixties but brought up-to-date. To record the album I went to the USA to work at the personal studio of Paul Reed Smith. He has some amazing gear, for instance, the original reverb tanks from the RCA studios in Nashville that were used by Elvis and Bob Dylan.
Why is your music rooted so deeply in the blues?
Most popular music, rock, pop, jazz is rooted in the blues somehow. I can't recall who it was that said 'blues is a feeling' (I think a lot of old bluesmen including BB King have said it), but it is so true. I set out to evoke an emotion, and that's what all good blues is about. Though I don't play traditional blues, I have borrowed the "feeling". And as a guitarist, I try to impart that feeling through my guitar playing, as well as my singing.
Simon McBride, The Maze, Forest Tavern, Mansfield Road, Nottingham, 7.30pm, £10, www.themazerocks.com.