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Music's in my DNA, I think I've put it to good use says blues icon John Mayall, in Ipswich next week

PUBLISHED: 19:00 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 06 November 2017

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Chuck Flores

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Chuck Flores

©2014 Chuck Flores

John Mayall, the Godfather of British Blues, visits the Ipswich Regent next week. He spoke to Martin Hutchinson.

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: David GomezGodfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: David Gomez

John rose to fame during the 1960s’ blues resurgence when he formed the legendary Bluebreakers. The band was the catalyst for a boom in the genre and, during various line-ups, included the cream of British blues musicians such as Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood.

One member of The Bluesbreakers – Buddy Whittington – formed his own band and will be the special guests on the tour which stops by the Ipswich Regent on Tuesday.

John’s unique take on blues music helped him find fame in the US where he was lauded for his jazz, rock and blues fusions.

He received a Grammy award for his 1993 album Wake Up Call, which featured guest musicians Mick Taylor, Mavis Staples and Buddy Guy. In 2005 he was awarded an OBE for his services to British music just last year was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame – and not before time!

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Cristina ArrigoniGodfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Cristina Arrigoni

In 2008, John retired the Bluesbreakers name and has since toured with George Rzab and Jay Davenport as a trio.

Speaking from a very hot Los Angeles, I asked John if the title The Godfather of British Blues sits easily with him to which he replies: “I don’t even think about it, to be honest. It’s meant to be complimentary and I take it as such.”

He’s influenced generations of musicians, I wondered what had influenced him.

“Oh, that’s too giant of a question. I grew up with jazz and blues in the house so I guess that music is in my DNA and I think I’ve put it to good use.”

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: David GomezGodfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: David Gomez

His latest album - Talk About That, his 65th original album - has been out a couple of months and it appears to have been well-received.

“It’s had very good reviews and I’m very proud of it. It was great recording it too, we had Joe Walsh on a couple of tracks,” says John, who likes to keep his tour band in its toes.

“We play a different set every night drawn from a list of about 40 songs and no two sets are the same. I try to make it a good mixture and a cross-section of my career from the earliest songs to the latest. It makes it very interesting.”

Although resident in the US for many years, he still enjoys playing in Britain.

Godfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Cristina ArrigoniGodfather of blues John Mayall. Photo: Cristina Arrigoni

“There is always a phenomenal reception for us in the UK and Europe. I think it might be that we don’t play there very often. But I always look forward to playing in the UK as it’s my homeland, even though I moved to the US in 1969.”

Approaching 84, John still has no plans to retire.

“No, it’s not come up yet. However, if the day comes when I can’t get up on stage and give an energetic performance, that’ll be the time.”

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