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In Conversation with Josh Smith

Adam Leaver: May 3, 2023
Full transcript below!

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Legendary blues/rock player Josh Smith pays us a visit here at the Village and discusses all things guitar: his influences, playing tips, and unique playing style.

Full Transcript

is this your first time to guitar village it is my first time first time to farnam as well what do you think so far the town and the well i haven’t got to see the town that much yet i got here in the middle of the night last night and then was teaching all day today but it looked nice from the walk just now down to here and the shop itself is amazing man you know what a setting for yeah we’re very fortunate it was built in 1467. wow it’s older than america [Laughter] yeah so you are on a break now so you just finished touring the uk i just finished touring the uk i am here to do guitar breaks for a couple days go home for three days and then start another tour immediately oh my god so you you who are you talking about at the moment i am yes so i was touring with him all of this past month of october yeah came straight here to do my tour go right back and do another month with him yeah oh well what’s it like uh touring with bonamassa well this is the first time i ever toured with him you know joe and i work together a lot and we’re really close friends but i’ve never played like in his thing you know in his show and his band so it’s it’s uh a new thing for me it was fun man you know mostly it’s just fun being on the road with your friend joe’s you know we’re really close friends and we do a lot together so so do you use joe’s band when you tour with him would use your own back i’m not using i’m in his band yeah so that’s why this is it’s all new like i never you know gone on the road with him like this before we produce we kind of have a production team together we produce a lot of records together and uh but yeah i’ve never like been in his band before or anything like that so obviously you play with joe eric johnson some other big guys if there was any anyone you know alive or dead who would it be you’d want to play with um she’s alive or dead i mean i i would really like to have played with uh i mean it’s cliche but i would have liked to play with bb king and albert king i mean they’re my biggest heroes you know uh danny gatten two was another massive hero that’s one that joe holds over my head all the time he got to he got to hang with him quite a bit he he’s like man you you would have loved him he would have loved you he says i i wish i would have loved to have met him he was massive influence so is that who got you into guitar then or what got you into guitar uh my parents bought me a guitar when i was three years old a long time you played a long time and i started playing really when i was six taking some lessons and really starting to figure it out and so i mean yeah i’m 42 now so 36 years i’ve been playing guitar that’s what i’m talking about nobody plays it was just a kind of a random thing so when you’re younger you know you’re three you’re kind of just picking up bits and pieces at that point and then when did you when would you say you got more serious about guitar what sort of age oh six six oh wow so then you are every day then you’re playing every day every day when i was six i asked my parents uh for lessons because i had been carrying the guitar around the house and just you know beating it up and messing with it and then yeah at six i started taking lessons every week and i got really serious really fast i just fell in love with it oh that’s brilliant when when you’re on tour in the uk what um what gear are you using what backline do you use for that this tour i used backline from the guy who booked the tour the promoter my friend dudley ross so luckily he has some good amps oh okay well absolutely he had a two rock and a lazy j so i use those and they’re good amps obviously i have a two rock at home that i use sometimes i know them very well i’d never use a lazy j before but it was a good amp yeah they’re local they’re just in guildford up the road so good amps though good good kind of tweed styling things like that um and you you obviously release quite a few albums and so you write a lot and you produce as well what do you do when every guitar player goes to this point when they kind of plateau or they get in a bit of a rut with their playing what’s your way of getting out of that normally when i get stuck like that i i try to just learn some songs it always gets me out of the rut because i remember why i’m playing music in the first place because it’s awesome you know so it’s like if you’re stuck man learn an earth winning fire song or something you know like just you’ll learn some new progression you never thought of you hear something in a different way it’ll light the fire again you know next thing you know you’re not thinking about it so did you go over old stuff that you may have learned years ago that maybe you didn’t learn as accurately or oh yeah sometimes yeah i’ll go back and relearn it like for real as opposed to just you know the way the kid learns it by ear you think you got it yeah yeah i’ve definitely done that a few times um so if you weren’t playing guitar you were in the music business what would you do i i don’t know um the only two things i ever wanted to be was second baseman for the yankees or a guitar player and i was way better at guitar than baseball so i don’t know what i would be doing man it’s been my whole life you know this is a tough question to answer and obviously with changing times kovid’s just happened you know it’s still happening uh would you have any advice for young musicians who are just kind of trying to break into the scene themselves well i mean my advice is always play as many gigs as possible but that’s difficult because of coving there haven’t been any gigs you know up until now it’s starting to come back a little bit but that’s still pretty much the best advice i can give you is take every gig whether it’s you know for 50 bucks backing up singer song writer friend from school or you know reading real book charts playing jazz even if you don’t know how to do it or playing a blues jam where you got a solo all night long or classic rock or whatever all those gigs you know when you’re young are what turn you into a professional you know every little bit of that you know seasoning and and constructive criticism that your peers give you listen you know when you play with older guys and they’ve been doing it a long time they may say just a couple words to you it could it could mean a lot you know and so every gig is a chance for learning especially when you’re young you should never turn down any gig any gig every night of the week if possible if possible that’s what i did and you’re still playing a lot now aren’t you you’re still uh yeah you know how many how many nights a week do you normally do when you’re on tour oh well we just did you know nine in a row with no breaks but i don’t know it tends to average like four to five a week normally yeah yeah do you find that the more do you have downtime right when you’re when you’re back home you’re not touring maybe when in between writing stuff yeah when i’m home i’m usually producing records that’s that’s become a really busy thing for me um either on my own or joe and i together producing records a lot lately so my schedule oftentimes revolves around that i’ll have gigs and then when i get home i’ve scheduled either a session in my studio or you know for something i have to produce or somewhere else you know for another artist or something yeah nice what’s the first thing you do when you get back from school well it depends where i’m coming back from like coming back from here probably go eat mexican food you know i live in california you know so i’ll probably go eat some real mexican food uh but i mean you know i guess you know more than that say hello to my wife and my son that does help you well thanks for answering the question it’s been real pleasure to meet you as well man happy to be here thanks for showing me the story absolutely no problem at all well i’m glad you liked it and that’s a great looking l5 as well this is a great looking l5 uh a sharp cutaway blonde l5 i don’t think it gets any better looking than that


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