Bluesman Snowball Johhny says: “The blues is a curse you get to love!”

June 15, 2012

Snowball Johnny june 15 2012 interview by Professor Samuel Stone:


Provezzor: Why did you become a bluesman?

A: I didn’t choose anything, It just happened. I played classical guitar for 8 years, then when I was 18, I had so much blues I couldn stop it, and just played and played, up to today.

Q: Who were your influences, and why?

A: Lighting Hopkins, cause we didn’t have much money, we bought our records on sale and Lightning was allways there.. A friend tought me to use the bottleneck and I bought a holder for my harps. I got a book with sheets of Country and Delta Blues and just started to play in the streets, singing my blues away, like the old black guys I loved..

Q: So you became street musician, what happened and how did you evolve?

A; I started playing here in Rotterdam, but it gets cold and wet here, in 1976 I went to Spain, hitchhiking, I didn stop till I was in Malaga and lived there for 3 months. Malaga became my second home through the years, I still go there, my daughter Rosita lives there.. I learned to communicate with my listeners and open my deepest emotions to them that way, that’s how I became a bluesman.

Q: Do you play just blues or else?

A: I play most blues, my own songs or adapted coversongs, but I have played all kinds of music my second style is Rock ‘n Roll / Rythm & Blues like dancemusic, but blues remains my very heart and soul.. I even played bass and guitars in several punkbands in the early eighties, but allways got back to acoustic guitar and harps.. I wrote some poppy folksongs as well as blues, rock and some funky jazzy songs.

Q: How do you write songs, where comes the inspiration from?

A: I just start playing,  improvisating, like free music, whenever I hit a nice tune, I work on it, some songs are qiuckies, 1 day flies, others are long lasting projects those can go on for years, some of them parallel to eachother, only the best survive the tooth of time. I don’t keep large records but I must have written over 500 songs. The inspiration comes from daily life, love and it’s hazardous ways, my children, my globalist economic way of thinking and my love for anarchy and the road.

Q: What has the blues to do with anarchy?

A: Not much.. playing Blues is a way to get your blues out of the way so you can go on with life. Anarchy is a complete anti-authority life-style, which is hard to live in a world based on consumism and slavery, as I see it. It is hard to survive up against the stream, so I get the blues, and next I try to play it out of the way, so I can live a reasonably ‘normal life’. Blues gives you freedom I guess.

Q: How do you contribute to society, except from being a bluesman?

A: I don’t.

Q: So what does your ‘normal life’ consist off?

A: I eat, live in a house, I drink mostly water, I smoke American Spirit cigarettes. I have family, children, grandchildren, friends. I live, love and will eventually die. Mainly playing and breathing is what I do..

Q: Is it hard to live of the music you play..

A: Very hard but then again, it’s the trouble that makes the blues. I lived in squats all my life. I learned to live of extremely small amounts of money, I cook and eat vegan food only, allways get second hand clothes, yeah, I am the third world in Europe, but happy and proud to be like that. Never had a licence to drive or a car, hitchhiked all my life.. I got a racing bike I use for all my bizz, and a Human powered trike to do gigs. Got me some solar panels for energy and a mini-laptop to maintain my old school html website. I’m happy I am not the economist, I could have been.

Q: That sounds pretty hard to an educator with 5 jobs two houses, two cars, who eats a cow a year! Don’t you ever think of changing all, and going mainstream?

A: No I am a bluesman, that is my thing, it’s good for me. I wouldn’t want to be a slave like you.  I think you are anyway..

Q: I don’t think I am a slave, I took my own decisions and live by them.

A: So am I, but I am free.

Q: What songs are you working on right now?

A: I am working on a bluessong called “Hell Baby” a bit of a Hendrix like tune, I’m also working on a Leonard Cohen kind of Folksong and in the meantime I am trying to compose a 18/19th century like squaredance on Cello and Violin.

Q: That sounds pretty versatile for a bluesman, What instruments can you play?

A: I play most guitars, electric and acoustic, all in fingered style, I never use picks. I drum, got me one of those cheap digital sets for morning gymnastics, as I call it. I play a bit of violin and cello, bass. a little bit piano and I sing a lot.

Q: When is you next album out?

A I am working on that album right now, its name will be “Rotterdam” and will come out in 2013, propably around summer.

Q: Looking forward to it, hanks for talking to me, live well and prosper!

A: Same to you, thanks for having me, Love!

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