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5 questions with Artist of the Week - Gary Clark Jr., Son of Austin Blues

  • 5 questions with Artist of the Week - Gary Clark Jr., Son of Austin Blues
    08.03.11

    Gary Clark Jr. talks with Guitar Squid about his upcoming album, his love of Epiphone Casinos, and learning from Jimmie Vaughan.




    Who: Gary Clark Jr.

    Vibe: Blues, rock, hip-hop

    You Should Know: Clark Jr. was the only young up-n-comer chosen by Eric Clapton to play at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival.

    Bio: Growing up in Austin, TX, Clark Jr. was immersed in the city's famously vibrant music scene at a young age. He picked up the guitar when he was 12 and soon caught the attention of Clifford Antone, owner of the well-known blues club Antone’s. Before long he was playing with guys like Jimmie Vaughan and became a fixture in the music scene. In 2001, Austin’s mayor proclaimed May 3 to be "Gary Clark Jr. Day" even though he was just 17. Clark Jr. has won the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist three times. The 27-year-old has toured with artists like Jimmie Vaughan, Pinetop Perkins, and Doyle Bramhall II. He’s made two self-produced albums that showcase his various influences from blues and soul to hip-hop and rock.

    Gear: Clark Jr. is most often seen playing a cherry red Epiphone Casino. In the trailer for his Bright Lights EP, there’s a quick shot of his Fender Vibro-King amp, which he also used at Crossroads.

    Latest Projects: Playing at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival led Clark Jr. to sign with Warner Bros. Records. He is coming out with his major-label debut EP next week on Tuesday, August 9. His full-length WB album debut is expected to be released in early 2012. Below is a video of Clark Jr. playing his song "Bright Lights" with Doyle Bramhall II at Crossroads.

    Five Questions with Gary Clark Jr.


    1. Your EP is kind of a sneak peak to your major-label debut album that’s coming out early 2012. But what else can listeners look forward to with your upcoming album? Where are you in the album-making process, and what’s your approach to writing?

    You can look forward to some loud guitar, some sweet guitar. I’m trying to mix up all my influences in one shot, but not come out too crazy. Some old school blues, then kind of branching out into other things that I’m into, like R&B and rock ‘n’ roll music. I’m still writing. We’ve got a couple of tracks.

    I’m still trying to figure it out. There’s no real method or formula or anything. I’ll have something, like a little melody form the top of my head. I’ll stick with that for a couple of days and kind of mumble some stuff until some words come out. Then, I’ll sit around and play as much guitar as I can and kind of experiment. I don’t really write or record ideas. If it hangs with me for a couple of days, I think it’s a keeper. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be.

    2. Many recognize your red Epiphone Casino. What year is it, and what other guitars, amps, and effects do you play with?

    It’s pretty new, maybe 2005. I think [Epiphone Casinos] are the best guitars in the whole wide world. I think they’re great when you plug them in, and they’re acoustic guitars as well. And I think they’re just beatiful to look at. I catch myself kind of just staring at them. [Laughs.] They’re pretty versatile. You can crank them up and play some rock ‘n’ roll, or you can play some sweet jazz. You can kind of strum some acoustic, singer/songwriter type stuff. Anything that I really want to do, I can do it on it. It works best for me.

    My go-to amp is a Fender Vibro-King. I like the way that the three speakers kind of break up at low volumes. As far as effects go, I’ve got a Fulltone Octafuzz, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Malekko Delay, Analogman Delay, and a Crybaby Wah. That’s about it. Nothing too crazy.

    3. Living in Austin, you were able to hook up with Jimmie Vaughan and other great artists in the Austin music community. What were some things you picked up from them?

    Well Jimmie Vaughan never really sat down and said, “Hey kid you need to do this.” Just through example, he let me get up and play with him. He kind of taught a lot about space and letting things breathe. Space can be good. You don’t need to fill it all up with fancy licks.

    He actually picked me up from my house when I was a kid. I was living with my folks. He asked me if I wanted to go to lunch and hang out. I was like, “Ah, sure why not.” So we went to the music store, and he bought me a harmonica. You’d think a guy like Jimmie Vaughan would give me a guitar lesson, but we sat around on his truck for an hour or two and played harmonica. He taught me how to bend notes and different ways to play in different keys and things like that. So that was pretty special. So wasn’t what I was expecting form him. Nothing to do with guitar.

    4. It seems you’re on the road a lot, touring with artists like Doyle Bramhall II. What do you like about playing live and being on the road?

    I love everything about playing live. It’s a chance to see faces. You’re writing and creating music to put them out there and get some sort of reaction. It’s nice little nerve-wrecking test, letting your babies out into the world. I also like just throwing a party. Hopefully people are smiling and laughing and having a good time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    5. Through playing with some big acts and signing with a major label, you’ve moved up quick. What’s next that fans can look forward to? Anything else on your bucket list or anyone you’d like to play with someday?

    After we cut this record, we’ll be bringing more stuff back out on the road. Staying busy touring and playing live shows. It’s what I love doing. I talking to some of the guys earlier in the band about being creative in the studio, writing and all that kind of stuff. If I don’t get to collaborate or play on stage with them, I’d at least like to hang out with Stevie Wonder and Prince for a little bit and maybe some of that will rub off on me. But we’ll see. [Laughs.]

    http://guitarsquid.com/Latest/artist-of-the-week-gary-clark-jr-son-of-austin-blues.html

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on August 3, 2011 - 5:17pm

Gary Clark Jr. talks with Guitar Squid about his upcoming album, his love of Epiphone Casinos, and learning from Jimmie Vaughan.




Who: Gary Clark Jr.

Vibe: Blues, rock, hip-hop

You Should Know: Clark Jr. was the only young up-n-comer chosen by Eric Clapton to play at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival.

Bio: Growing up in Austin, TX, Clark Jr. was immersed in the city's famously vibrant music scene at a young age. He picked up the guitar when he was 12 and soon caught the attention of Clifford Antone, owner of the well-known blues club Antone’s. Before long he was playing with guys like Jimmie Vaughan and became a fixture in the music scene. In 2001, Austin’s mayor proclaimed May 3 to be "Gary Clark Jr. Day" even though he was just 17. Clark Jr. has won the Austin Music Award for Best Blues and Electric Guitarist three times. The 27-year-old has toured with artists like Jimmie Vaughan, Pinetop Perkins, and Doyle Bramhall II. He’s made two self-produced albums that showcase his various influences from blues and soul to hip-hop and rock.

Gear: Clark Jr. is most often seen playing a cherry red Epiphone Casino. In the trailer for his Bright Lights EP, there’s a quick shot of his Fender Vibro-King amp, which he also used at Crossroads.

Latest Projects: Playing at the 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival led Clark Jr. to sign with Warner Bros. Records. He is coming out with his major-label debut EP next week on Tuesday, August 9. His full-length WB album debut is expected to be released in early 2012. Below is a video of Clark Jr. playing his song "Bright Lights" with Doyle Bramhall II at Crossroads.

Five Questions with Gary Clark Jr.


1. Your EP is kind of a sneak peak to your major-label debut album that’s coming out early 2012. But what else can listeners look forward to with your upcoming album? Where are you in the album-making process, and what’s your approach to writing?

You can look forward to some loud guitar, some sweet guitar. I’m trying to mix up all my influences in one shot, but not come out too crazy. Some old school blues, then kind of branching out into other things that I’m into, like R&B and rock ‘n’ roll music. I’m still writing. We’ve got a couple of tracks.

I’m still trying to figure it out. There’s no real method or formula or anything. I’ll have something, like a little melody form the top of my head. I’ll stick with that for a couple of days and kind of mumble some stuff until some words come out. Then, I’ll sit around and play as much guitar as I can and kind of experiment. I don’t really write or record ideas. If it hangs with me for a couple of days, I think it’s a keeper. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t meant to be.

2. Many recognize your red Epiphone Casino. What year is it, and what other guitars, amps, and effects do you play with?

It’s pretty new, maybe 2005. I think [Epiphone Casinos] are the best guitars in the whole wide world. I think they’re great when you plug them in, and they’re acoustic guitars as well. And I think they’re just beatiful to look at. I catch myself kind of just staring at them. [Laughs.] They’re pretty versatile. You can crank them up and play some rock ‘n’ roll, or you can play some sweet jazz. You can kind of strum some acoustic, singer/songwriter type stuff. Anything that I really want to do, I can do it on it. It works best for me.

My go-to amp is a Fender Vibro-King. I like the way that the three speakers kind of break up at low volumes. As far as effects go, I’ve got a Fulltone Octafuzz, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Malekko Delay, Analogman Delay, and a Crybaby Wah. That’s about it. Nothing too crazy.

3. Living in Austin, you were able to hook up with Jimmie Vaughan and other great artists in the Austin music community. What were some things you picked up from them?

Well Jimmie Vaughan never really sat down and said, “Hey kid you need to do this.” Just through example, he let me get up and play with him. He kind of taught a lot about space and letting things breathe. Space can be good. You don’t need to fill it all up with fancy licks.

He actually picked me up from my house when I was a kid. I was living with my folks. He asked me if I wanted to go to lunch and hang out. I was like, “Ah, sure why not.” So we went to the music store, and he bought me a harmonica. You’d think a guy like Jimmie Vaughan would give me a guitar lesson, but we sat around on his truck for an hour or two and played harmonica. He taught me how to bend notes and different ways to play in different keys and things like that. So that was pretty special. So wasn’t what I was expecting form him. Nothing to do with guitar.

4. It seems you’re on the road a lot, touring with artists like Doyle Bramhall II. What do you like about playing live and being on the road?

I love everything about playing live. It’s a chance to see faces. You’re writing and creating music to put them out there and get some sort of reaction. It’s nice little nerve-wrecking test, letting your babies out into the world. I also like just throwing a party. Hopefully people are smiling and laughing and having a good time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

5. Through playing with some big acts and signing with a major label, you’ve moved up quick. What’s next that fans can look forward to? Anything else on your bucket list or anyone you’d like to play with someday?

After we cut this record, we’ll be bringing more stuff back out on the road. Staying busy touring and playing live shows. It’s what I love doing. I talking to some of the guys earlier in the band about being creative in the studio, writing and all that kind of stuff. If I don’t get to collaborate or play on stage with them, I’d at least like to hang out with Stevie Wonder and Prince for a little bit and maybe some of that will rub off on me. But we’ll see. [Laughs.]

http://guitarsquid.com/Latest/artist-of-the-week-gary-clark-jr-son-of-austin-blues.html

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