BRAD VICKERS INTERVIEW

 

When did you first start singing?


I began to sing in a group that I had with my brother when we were both just in junior high school. We did songs by some of the artists that I still love and “cover” today, like Jimmy Reed and Chuck Berry. We also did country songs. This was back when Willie Nelson was still known as “Little Willie.”  


What did your family do to encourage you?


 

My family was supportive, they told me not to give up. My father wanted me to have a hit record so that I could take care of him. (Sadly, he’s no longer with us.) My mother said, “If it feels good, do it.” There was music in my family, because my grandfather played drums and lap steel in country bands in the ‘20s and ‘30s. 


Who are your musical inspirations? 


I guess it’s obvious: Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Tampa Red, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and Leadbelly top my list. 


What kind of music do you listen to today? 


I still love and listen to this same music, and a lot of other old-time genres like mountain and Apalachian music, and—very important—the Zydeco music of Western Louisiana and the “Gulf-sound” pop music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. I listen to a lot of older jazz like Sidney Bechet and Louie Armstrong. But, of course, I love the Chicago Blues, having spent so much time playing bass with Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy Rogers, and Hubert Sumlin. I also like “Soul Jazz” such as the works of Cannonball Adderly and Gene Ammons. And I love the Skiffle music of Lonnie Donegan, and the Texas swing of Bob Wills. He’s almost a combination of Dixieland and Hokum music. I guess I’m all over the map.


What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player? 


I don’t have an MP3 player. But if I did, some of the most surprising songs you might find there would be the cowboy songs of Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers & Dale Evans.


Where would you most like to perform?  


I would love to get over to Europe, because I know that the audiences there also appreciate the music that has informed my work. It would be a most gratifying experience.


Who would you most like to open for? 


I’d love to open for one of those great artists who have come before me and synthesized American roots music, for example: Taj Mahal, Bob Dylan, and Los Lobos. It would also be wonderful to be on a bill with Keb’ Mo, Guy Davis, or the Heritage Blues Orchestra, all who are doing great work that resonates with my projects.


If you weren't singing, what would you be doing?  


Well, spend a lot of time writing poetry and prose, and do a lot of reading.


What genre of music can't you stand to listen to? 


Sleazy “Lounge” music is about the only thing I can’t stand. I try to find something I can take away from almost all other genres. As a poet, I understand rap. It’s just rhymes set to a beat. 


What hidden talents do you have?  


I used to do cartoon illustration, and I still enjoy drawing humorous situations.


Best track you've ever written and why?


There are many but I’d have to say “Traveling Fool” from my album of that title. It’s because I wrote it about my life on the road, at a time when I was out there a lot. I was crying out about the road’s negative aspects: not being able to get a foothold anywhere, places beginning to look the same, not having time for a relationship.


Which question I did forget to ask?


I guess how to get in touch with me. If any agents, concert promoters, bookers, or anyone want to get in touch with me, I’d be happy to respond via my website, www.BradVickers.com