Today we are Meeting the Blues with Mick Pini in a guitardoor article interview. The Blues and Mick Pini have a long relationship His music goes back to the mid sixties when he went to shows like Taste with Rory Gallagher, Keef Hartley and Killing Floor.Mick was a regular at the venue ILRondo on Silver Street in Leicester where bands like Cream with Clapton and other famous artists like Howling Wolf played.
He told me he was a real blues fanatic and that he couldn’t always afford it but somehow managed to get into the shows. He had been through the good times, but with the love of the blues he “Got It Bad” – which is the first track to be featured here on this guitardoor interview . As Mick says: “It was a time of rough Teddy boys and I was of Italian descent and the blues shows were a great escape for me, as I was concentrating on my
art studies in the hope of moving to London. “
That dream may not have work out the way he wanted it to at the time but being great on the Guitar has seen him through many adventures over the years.
WELCOME TO ANOTHER GUITARDOOR INTERVIEW MICK.
SO HOW IS LIFE TREATING YOU AFTER OVER 58 YEARS SINCE MEETING THE BLUES?
“Life is generally great, but 58 years in the music industry takes its toll and teaches you many things. I have learnt a lot about negotiating, because if you let the promoters call the shots you are going to end up broke like many other professional musicians.
Health-wise like anybody my age I can no longer live the rock and roll lifestyle and have a few dietary restrictions, but I am still able to do live shows as that has been my career of choice these past few decades.
WHEN WE SPOKE, WE JUST HEARD KIM SIMMONS OF SAVOY BROWN HAD DIED WHO YOU WERE A BIG FAN OF. HOW HAS HIS MUSIC IMPACTED YOUR MUSICAL CAREER?
Chris Youden who I previously worked with
on my first album “Mick Wildman Pini”,
took the place of Brice Portious a great
British black vocalist.
Kim Simmons was on lead guitar, while
Martin Stone on second guitarist was quite
an inventive player. There was John O’Leary
on hrp (who co founded the band with Kim).
I think the drmmer was leo mannings with
Bob hall on paino, but I can’t remember the
After the first Savoy Brown
blues band Lp the singer became Chris
Youlden and there were further changes in
I did meet Kim Simmons when the Savoy blues band were looking for another guitar player they eventually got Lonesome Dave on guitar. I went to Kim’s flat in London but it was not the right time, especially as none of the band were there work things out with another guitar player.
Kim struck me as a very nice guy and quite competent player Martin Stone was the second guitar player and he went on to join The Action and then Mighty Baby (who incidentally featured Paul Carrack). It’s been a long long road, so I guess it reads like a story which began in 1966 and I am still doing the latest chapters now. I loved it then and still love blues as much as ever.
I am always doing something new with the blues whether it be a fat soul funk riff or whatever. It’s the feel and the creativity that counts. I love Bob Dylan to Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Robert Johnson the Delta Blues, Skip James and of course Freddie King.
The blues was my inspiration from my early days of the Blues Boom 1966-67 which was the year John Mayall’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, after he left The Yardbirds and before Cream. Clapton would be later replaced by non other than the guitar legend Peter Green who I have made a tribute track to called “Blues for Peter Green” which you can hear below.
Peter was another absolutely inspirational player, We thought Clapton could
never be bettered after The Blues Breakers “Beano” album, but Peter Green
did ‘Hard Road’ and offered something different.
If you ever heard Clapton’s sound at all, the live Clapton with Otis Rush recordings is an unbelievable sound as is the Beano album and live Clapton stuff.It revolutionised that sound then Peter Green did it his way with the BB King sound with beautiful textures and phrasing. Then unbelievably John Mayall discovered Mick Taylor.With those 3 guitar players alone. The UK blues boom took off and many must go to producer thanks to Mike Vernon who produced everything, while establishing his blue Horizon label.
Mike also brought Otis Spann the Chicago piano player over to play with Peter Green and then Freddie King. It was an unbelievable time of wonderful blues music and Mike Vernon brought the best to the European music blues scene. It was tremendous, black and white players together, it was a new dawn.
There was a great crossover between the US, UK and Europe between 1966 –1971 and further on to 1975. Mike Vernon was responsible for a lot of players including me getting the chance to establish themselves and express their blues.
WE LOVED THE WHOLE PROJECT WITH AUDIO 54 – CAN YOU TELL US HOW ITS PERFORMING AT THE MOMENT?
Yes it’s a complete new adventure with Craig Marshall and Audio 54 for over 3
years and both of us are still enjoying the music. Audio 54 aka Craig sends me ideas and I also send ideas to him and it works really well. It was nearly the end of 2019, I was still playing live gigs but COVID put a stop to that.
It was just right Craig asked me if I could help him with a particular number Papa Voodoo. And I liked the new approach which incorporated my guitar on the number. That’s how it started. It was a challenge and since I love challenges it worked and has been like that for 3 years.
Mike Vernon was a fundamental inspiration with blue horizon records. He first worked for Decca and as I said cut the John Mayall Beano album which was on Decca. He later established Blue Horizon. I was so glad I recorded and discovered Mike Vernon in the late 80s. What he did for the UK, American and European blues it was incredible. I knew Craig from being in bands in Leicester and we were a little different in music styles, but not that far apart as long as the music has feel.
Call it whatever, but after Papa Voodoo, it’s just carried on with new ideas, new challenges and its still I guess the blues. It’s like ‘Green Onions’, you either love it or hate it, so I will leave you with me performing the Booker T classic used on the Aldi commercials in the UK and Ireland.
Meeting the blues of Mick Pini is easy you can find most of my music history on my Website Mickpini.com also you can hear my tunes on my YouTube channel and upcoming shows, clips and reviews are on my Facebook fan group.