I've been a loner all the time throughout my life... I haven't been the best father... Many times... my children have accused me of not giving them enough attention. And, frankly, I never have been good at handling that.
Growing up on the plantation there in Mississippi, I would work Monday through Saturday noon. I'd go to town on Saturday afternoons, sit on the street corner, and I'd sing and play.
I bought my first electric guitar when I moved to Memphis; a Gibson with a DeArmond pickup which I used with a small Gibson amplifier.
I don't like anybody to be angry with me. I'd rather have friends.
Back when we was in school in Mississippi, we had Little Black Sambo. That's what you learned: Anytime something was not good, or anytime something was bad in some kinda way, it had to be called black. Like, you had Black Monday, Black Friday, black sheep... Of course, everything else, all the good stuff, is white. White Christmas and such.
It seems like I always had to work harder than other people. Those nights when everybody else is asleep, and you sit in your room trying to play scales.
My dad died, I think, at 87. So I'll be lucky if I make 87. But in a lot of cases, the younger people live longer than their parents. And they know more. My dad used to tell me he ate the hog from his rooter to his tooter. So do I when I'm not trying to lose weight.
I developed in my head that I'm never any better than my last concert or the last time I played, so it's like an audition each time. You get nervous just before going onstage. I still have that, but I think it's more like concern. You're concerned about the people - like meeting your in-laws for the first time.
I liked blues from the time my mother used to take me to church. I started to listen to gospel music, so I liked that. But I had an aunt at that time, my mother's aunt who bought records by people like Lonnie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and a few others.
I almost chopped my thumb off once. Just before I left home, I was about ten or eleven years old, and I was trying to open a bone. Can you imagine that? A bone! I was trying to get the marrow out of a bone, and I took the ax, and I went to chop it, and something slipped, and the ax went right down there and damn near cut it off.
In our local Baptist church, I sang in the choir and formed a gospel quartet. When our minister caught me messing with his guitar, he taught me three positions - one, four and five. After that, I taught myself to play.
I was born on a plantation, and things weren't so good. We didn't have any money. I never thought of the word 'poor' 'til I got to be a man, but when you live in a house that you can always peek out of and see what kind of day it is, you're not doing so well. And your rest room is not inside the house.
We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so.
The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.
As for my band, well, my mentors were Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, and no one had a band more smartly dressed than Duke.
Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy's playing blues like we play, he's in high school. When he starts playing jazz it's like going on to college, to a school of higher learning.
I'm trying to get people to see that we are our brother's keeper. Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.
The blues was bleeding the same blood as me.
I call myself a blues singer, but you ain't never heard me call myself a blues guitar man.
I've said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts, but I never noticed.