Somewhere in the middle: Guitarist gears up for Toledo gigWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Guitarist Joe Bonamassa might have a special connection to the lucky No. 13.
His 13th album “Driving Towards The Daylight,” released in May, is his most successful to date.
“I think over the years you just learn how to do things a little bit better,” Bonamassa said. “I’m really happy that it’s been so well-received. More so than me, it’s how the fans relate to it. I don’t make the records to listen to myself; I make the record for the fans to listen to it.”
Bonamassa will perform at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., on Nov. 13 (coincidently sticking with the lucky number). The show is at 8 p.m. with tickets starting at $62.
Although some consider Bonamassa a rock ‘n’ roll artist, his album is found in the blues section of iTunes. He said, “the truth lies somewhere in the middle.”
One thing that can be said for certain is his love of guitars. He is partial to his Gibson.
“I’ve played guitar 31 years of my life,” Bonamassa said, now 35 years old. “I’ve had it in my hand since I was four. Every day I get excited about picking it up and when the day comes that I don’t, then I need to quit.”
Growing up in upstate New York, Bonamassa said he fell into blues music due to circumstance.
“[Blues] is not big anywhere,” he said. “The climate dictates, you know? It’s a long winter and there’s lot of rain and I just love the guitar so I had an ample amount of time to practice.”
Bonamassa has pictures of himself with a guitar when he was 2 years old. He was inspired when he was younger by artists like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
“I look up to all guitar players,” he said. “Anybody that can do it for a living has got my respect.”
Bonamassa is flattered by being called a “guitar icon,” but downplays it.
“Again, the truth lies somewhere in the middle,” Bonamassa said. “Some people think I’m an overrated loser.”
Originally part of the band Bloodline, Bonamassa’s solo career began in 2000. He still talks to his Bloodline band members, but they are scattered across the country.
As a solo artist, Bonamassa recently performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The performance was filmed and released as a live concert DVD. He said the event was a milestone.
“It would be for anybody,” Bonamassa said. “Even if you graduated high school and had your celebration there, that’s a milestone. Just to be in the building.”
Blues guitarist B.B. King serves as Bonamassa’s mentor.
“I think a lot of people in our genre does,” he said. “I’ve known him for 25 years. He’s helped my career immensely. He’s a one-of-a-kind individual. And supremely talented.”
King has given advice to Bonamassa, such as always be kind to people, appreciate what you have and strive to make the music better.
Bonamassa’s Toledo show is one stop of a seven-week tour. At the time of this interview, Bonamassa was preparing for a show at the Fox Theater in St. Louis, adding Chuck Berry cover songs to his set list for the rocker’s 60th birthday.
“Set lists change on a weekly basis,” Bonamassa said.
Bonamassa said he enjoys performing more than recording.
“If I suck tonight, there’s always tomorrow night to redeem myself,” he said.
A recent review in the Orange County Register predicted Bonamassa was “destined to be counted among the greatest of all-time.” To that, he again said “the truth lies somewhere in the middle.”
“I find myself pretty average on occasion,” he said.