I included this interview in my 'Introducing' section, it's not so much an 'Introducing' piece, more of a quick chat with a legendary blues guitarist who was playing in Exeter as part of her UK tour.
Joanne Shaw Taylor blew the roof off the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre when she played, if you would like to read our live review, simply click HERE and the magic internet thingy will transport you to a new page. If you would like to read the interview first, carry on as you were!
We saw you at the Exeter show on the first date of your UK tour, how do YOU prepare for a tour?
We tour none stop pretty much so we're pretty tight. Usually we'll do a few days pre-production ahead of a big tour like this, shake up the set list and maybe my guitar set up.
Do you factor in ‘laundry days’?
Yes! That's none negotiable when you're living in a van with six people!
Do you have any favourite cities, towns or venues that you always look forward to playing?
My favourite parts of the UK are York and Cornwall so I always look forward to playing those areas. Hometown shows in the West Midlands and Detroit are always good fun!. Other than that my favourite country we've visited so far is Australia. The Byron Bay Blues Festival is probably my favourite gig to play.
I see that you have 2 dates in Bromsgrove, are these your ‘homecoming’ shows?
Yeah for this tour, though most of my family will be at the London shows as that's where the family home is now. Also our 3rd date of the tour in Warwick as I lived in Leamington Spa for ten years.
You must’ve played with some amazing people over the years, who would you say you learned the most from?
Probably Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics), he taught me the importance of being "an artist" i.e. he encouraged me to work on my singing and learn to write songs. I like to think I'm pretty open minded and down to earth when it comes to music and I think there's something to be learned from everyone I work with.
What is your favourite Joanne Shaw Taylor song to play live?
I think 'Diamonds in the Dirt' will always be my favourite or 'Tried, Tested and True' since they are auto biographical.
If you had to liken yourself to a cartoon character, who would it be and why?
Ha! I don't really watch cartoons other than the Simpsons I think we've all got a little Homer in us.
I read about your fuzz phase pedal failing when you played at the Diamond Jubilee event at Buckingham Palace and Stevie Wonder commenting on your ‘Clean, bluesy, understated tone’, did you ditch the pedal after this comment?
It was an overdrive pedal so not as over the top as a fuzz. I still like overdrive as I don't feel I can get enough gain from just the amp alone to pull off some of my heavier songs.
I can’t believe that you’ve never played Liverpool, are you going to head to The Beatles Museum whilst you’re there?
Yeah, we have a day off in Liverpool ahead of the show so I'm looking forward to fitting in as much sightseeing as possible!
Last question, what’s it like being a female guitarist……?
Basically the same as being a male guitarist except male guitarists don't get asked that question :-)
We'd like to thank Jo for taking time out of her hectic schedule to chat to us, the last question was more a poke at a previous interviewer who asked her the same question but received a rather more blunt answer involving body parts!
Please take a few moments to take a look through Jo's social media sites, they're all listed below, just point and click!
Interview by Steve Muscutt
Pic courtesy of Matt Roffe Photography