Sly Steve gets caught up in the laidback, summertime drawl of travelling bluesman CW Stoneking ahead of his national tour.
So it’s been a while since we heard some new tunes from you (Jungle Blues 2010), what’s been happening?
Well, I took off to do some more touring for the Jungle Blues rekkid (sic). In 2010 we decided to go to Europe and spent half the year there, then we moved there the next year for a couple of years. Did a lot of touring and stuff like that. I wanted to play on the electric guitar, took me a few years to get me to sound any good on it, just stuff like that.
How did you find leaving Australia, was that your first move overseas?
Yeah it was pretty good, we were living in England so it was a bit cold you know, days were real short so that was probably the worst thing about it, but no we had a really good time there.
We’ve been digging the new record Gon Boogaloo, you’ve got a run of dates coming up in the new year
Yeah we’ve got the run through Feb and then we’re back over to Europe again in May.
Bit warmer for you by then?
(laughs) Yeah well on the road is different to living there, having to take the kids to school in the morning and all that.
Will you be taking the full band with you for the upcoming dates?
Well I’ve got a different band then I’ve been usin’ the past, I had the same band since about 2008 for Jungle Blues. This is a new band that I’ve put together just for the new rekkid. But we haven’t got sick of each other yet, speaking only for myself. I don’t know how everyone is keeping it together so good but I’m not so sure how things will look after Europe. It’s a seven week tour with four days off.
Wow, that’s a real effort. How do you keep the vibe going on the road, is there some tunes you like to play or take a good book with you?
No I don’t have anything extra I do, it’s pretty much just hoping the gigs are good, that’s about all there is to it. The thing with touring like that is that you get in the zone pretty good, rolling to another joint every day, get your routine set up an everyone gets real good at it. The shows come out real good from doing that you know.
It may have taken a while for the release of Gon Boogaloo but it didn’t take too long to record it down it in Victoria, how did it all come about once you got in the studio?
I could only get the full band together for two days, originally we were going to do it to four track, we always planned to do it live, but yeah we did it in two days. We did it primitive. There was only two microphones in it, straight to two track tape. We weren’t able to do any overdubs or anything even if we had wanted to. Basically one mic in front of the entire band and the four backing singers and then I had another one to sing into, just so we could make sure to keep the lead vocal up.
For Jungle Blues you had J Walker, from Machine Translations, behind the panel producing, did you get him involved this time or who did you work with behind the scenes?
No, just went to this studio, this young fella named Alex Bennett he’s got a cool little studio in Castlemaine. He just set it up last year, he’s into old stuff and I was looking to do something live and he was comfortable to do that which a lot of guys aren’t. So we just went down there and it worked out real well.
You’ve released this again through your own label King Hokum Records, how did you get your own label together?
I always did everything myself anyway, I did all the recording I handled everything. My first record I got talked into you know, ‘get a label even if it’s a small one, it’ll be better than none’. So my first record I let it go out on a label and they kind of screwed it up quiet bad, it was just annoying. So eventually I managed to get away from them and then I had some distributors with Shock at the time and they were keen to distribute my stuff so then that’s what I did and made it King Hokum records. Ain’t no point to cut a label into it, cause I don’t need the money off em’ to record, I just do it myself.
The new album brings the electric guitar to the fore, how did you pick up the electric?
I heard some music that I liked with it. I used to tend to write songs with it and I’d come up with musical bits you know, music melodies, designed for instruments not for the singing I mean. Dish it out to the band, then I just started to think that I should try and play it. Like I said I heard some rekkids that I liked with electric guitars, like some old gospel music and they all used it. Took me a few years you know it’s quite different, takes a bit of controllin’. You can’t just go at it.
Gon Boogaloo is out now on King Hokum Records and CW Stoneking plays The Soundlounge on Saturday February 14.