jueves, 19 de enero de 2017

Black river bluesman (Jukka Juhola) interview

From a little finnish backwater village, playing strange stringed artifacts and singing the blues for dancing and party, GuerrillaRocanrol bring you today the Black River Bluesman aka Jukka Juhola...or just the opposite.
Listen while reading:

Hi Jukka! it's a great pleasure to do this interview, thanks a lot. Let's go!
I play the blues too. I feel it is "my own folk" music...but i share nothing
historically or culturally with the folks that created it. I read Corey Harris being quite sharp and clear about how the blues can't be separated from the black people culture and their background.
Have you had any doubts about the cultural aspect of being a white and european blues player?
When I listen to the Blues played by the people who lived under the circumstances that created the Blues, it is a totally different thing compared to the Blues played by the people born and raised in the modern society -even though  the music may sound the same. We still have a whole lot of problems, difficulties and  troubles in our societies and  especially on personal level but we are not in the America in the days of old.
And that is where and when the real Blues emerged and you certainly hear and feel it in their Blues. In that sense luckily the Blues is dead. I have talented and skilled musician friends all over the world in countries like  Nepal, Thailand, Brazil or even Finland that play great MUSIC that you with a good reason can call the Blues.
Blues as a music genre luckily never dies but we can not go back in time. Hard to explain in English but one example: You can recitate speeches like Martin Luther King's "I have a dream"  or Fidel Castro's "Letter from Che" but nobody's getting goose bumps. Why? It is not in it's historical, political and cultural context and you did not live, experience and create it - it would be only words. 
Here I would like to modify Fred McDowell's words and turn them upside down: "I don't play no Blues, it only sounds like it." 

Do you earn your living through music biz?
If not, what do you do for a living?
We have a small seasonal gardening business. We grow and sell potted herb plants of legal varieties during the planting season from March to July. The rest 8 months of the year I am a traveling musician. I am writing this interview on a tiny island in the middle of the Bay of Bengal between India and Indonesia.

Left to right: Bad Mood Hudson & Black river bluesman
Most "roots music sceneters" relate Finland to the band Deltahead.
They are missed by many. I do play "Don't move to Finland" in my gigs, what are
they doing now? Are you related with any of them in any way?

 They were the greatest rock n roll band ever and of course they are Swedish. Great guys and superb musicians. I booked them once to the Floating Cockroach festival that I arrange and met them again in France at a festival but after that they split. I don't know what happened, I never wanted to ask. They even had recorded a new album that was never released if I understood right. Now you can see in Youtube David playing great music but more like chanson/theater/Swedish "visor"-type of music. Still makes me very sad they quit- their live performances were the best I've seen and I've seen many!

Is the Black river Bluesman a savage? do you live in a remote and natural area?
Yes, Wrestling with bears and taming wolf puppies is what we do when there is no snow shoveling. Black River Bluesman is a country boy from a small village of the Black River. So small that I bet you would not call it a village at all. I am just a Finn - it is I need my every day woods and lakes for the peace of mind. And oops then I escape the bad bad winter for a better climate. Summer is short. Last year it was Monday and Tuesday.

There is a big crisis of interest and businesswise in the live scene in Spain.
It has to do with the crisis but too with the unreasonable taxes that shows pay
here and (has to do) with the lack of interest of the youngsters for
rock'n'roll. Does something similar happen in Finland?
Rock n roll will never die.

Why do you think younger generations are less interested in live music or playing
in bands?
Yes I think so. My son is 14 and none of his friends or school mates are playing in a band. Social media gives you easier ways to get girl friends.

How's your album "Moonshine Medicine" going?
What's the weirdest review you have had about it?
The album was released as a vinyl LP, CD and a download code (also included in LP). The sound on vinyl is by far better. We've got loads of overwhelming reviews. The weirdest thing is that the blues critics say: "It's not a blues album but we love it." And the rock critics say: "It's a blues album but we love it."

Are you going on tour soon? How do you book the shows and set the tours up?
I do some of the booking myself but I must admit that I am lazy. There are blues agencies in different countries working on tours for us so let's wait and see! We'd be happy to play Spain too if you only say: "A gig!", and we'll be there!
The next show is going to be at the Finnish Blues Awards gala in Helsinki in January. In February we'll have a couple of shows in Estonia, including the premier of the documentary film of my latest trip to the USA and to perform at the Deep Blues festival in Mississippi last October.

Do you feel there are some exhausted topics in the "roots scene"?
i'm thinking of repeated looks; dust bowl era folklore, "hillbilly" or Mississippi jargon,
(even when most bands aren't for the South) or bands that just put
together an open tuning, some shouts and pretend they are  playing "deep blues"...
No friendly fire please! I'd rather be more of a peace negotiator in the Blues scene than to judge other people's way of making music of any kind.
I was happy when all that punk wave came about in 1977. Everybody's allowed to play! You don't like you don't listen, fine! You want to wear hats and shades and play Mustang Sally, fine.

What genres did you play before becoming the Black river Bluesman? Were you a
metalhead anytime for example?
I was a blues fanatic from the very beginning in the early 70's. Some of the first albums I bought then among all those blues LPs also included Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin etc. I have always been a big fan of Neil Young, Tom Waits, etc. and I've had my hippie music making period too. Punk, grunge and avant garde jazz too are among the genres I like. But the Blues always remained as an essential part of my life. I used to have bands like one called "Help! I'm a Rock" that played my originals in the spirit of Hanoi Rocks.

Besides playing lowebows, do you play "normal" guitars in your shows? what tuning
do you use?
I only play Lowebows at our shows when we perform as Black River Bluesman & Bad Mood Hudson. The Lowebows are the fundamental foundation of our duo's sound and music. I've already got five very different models of Lowebows (one, three, four and six string guitars) and I tune them to various power chords and some quite weird tunings depending on the song. I also play regular lead guitar in a blues band called the Hard Road that obviously plays John Mayall covers and other blues classics. There I am mostly using the Fender Stratocaster which I bought in 1979. Mostly standard tuning but also open tuning in slide guitar tunes like "Dust my broom" (open E) or "I be's troubled" (open G).

If you were offered a "Devil's pact" (sorry for the topic, it's catchy) which
bluesman style would you like to master?

I never really listened to any song trying to learn guitar licks note by note.  So I guess I am not very interested in learning any master's guitar playing style in particular. But if the Devil's pact would give me the credibility of Howlin' Wolf, I'd certainly climb the stage curtains up and down during every show. Well  if I really had to answer your question I'd say, although not a bluesman: Marc Ribot.

The underground circuit is tough and weird for many reasons. You can see professional
musicians mixed with occasional players, good promoters and well appointed venues with
right the opposite. Good people on the road and heartless bastards that are
looking to screw you up...what's your take on it? is it positive or a bad one?
Many of the promoters are the kind of persons that are hyper active and have one million  projects going on at the same time. They do get a lot of done but also sometimes forget and mess up things...I don't think I ever met any guys with real bad intentions. 
I rather avoid playing in wrong kind of venues like pizzerias or cafes not built for live music. 

Would you change the Black river for the big Mississippi? Have you been tempted?
Got any plans?
I have plans and yes I could change for the Mississippi but not for good. The Black River is good during the non-skiing season (especially if it happens to be on a weekend) but I need my dip in the Ganges every year as well. In the near future I'll probably be spending much more time down by the Mississippi and the Ganges than the Black River.

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