After the gig in my hometown I went back stage to meet Walter Trout and have a talk about his new album and lots of more stuff.

But first we started with our famous Rockunited questionnaire...

What is your most embarrassing tour moment?

“Over the last 40 years… well some of them are not fit for publication… Well, you know when I was in Canned Heat I was very thin and I had really nice clothes, such as custom made pants, tight pants. Actually they were too tight so I could not wear under wear. We played in Virginia for 25,000 people and during the opening song I walked to the front of the stage and I made a deep knee bend and I ripped the entire ass out of the pants.. It ripped from the front all the way to the back and so my complete ball and ass area was hanging out and I had to play the entire show like that and that was pretty close to being the most embarrassing moment…. It was certainly rock and roll and it was way back in 1981! Now, I have other moments but I am not telling them.”

Was is the best town/venue you ever played in?

“My favourite gig still remains the Paradiso in Amsterdam.I don’t know what it is about that venue, but every time I play there we have a great gig and I feel a deep connection to the audience. I just really love that place. I read a book about the Rolling Stones some years ago and they ask Keith Richards that very same question and he also answered The Paradiso. So, yes, it is special although I cannot put it into words; it is always magic. The first time I actually played there was with John Mayall in 1984.”

Suppose you have Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Snowy White and Joe Bonamassa in a balloon and you have to throw one out as ballast, which one would you pick and why?

“I am not going to answer that, as they could also decide to throw me out. So, somebody asked me last night: “Clapton, Bonamassa or you, which one is better?”, and I said, what a stupid question is that? That is if asking who is better Van Gogh or Rembrandt, Andy Warhole or George Bush; after a while it gets fucking ridiculous, it is art, it is NOT sport. This is not about who can jump the furthest, no, it is fucking art!”

What is your dark secret?

“That’s also not for me to publish as I am not going to tell my dark secret to the public. This is another one I really don’t want to answer. Maybe my weird secret is that when I am at home I listen to people like Barbra Streisand, Mozart or Placido Domingo. I do not listen to new music, but I love to play it. When I listen to music I go back to what inspired me, like old Freddy King, Buddy Guy, Cream or B.B.King. Stuff that really inspired me!”

What is the best thing about being a musician?

“You get to follow your passion and live your dream. Someone asked my oldest son (17) what his definition of success is and he said: “make a living by doing something that you love”. And when he had said that I knew he had really been watching me. It is very important to follow your passion, something you love and then go for it. And then it is NOT like work; doing something just for the money that is work, but if you are doing it if you love it then you would also do it for free. It is a tough life; I have had 3 days off now in 7 weeks as I have played in 53 cities in 56 days! In March 2011 I will be 60, so it takes its toll, physically I mean. I also know that I would not trade this for anything!”

Worst thing about being a musician? Being on the road?

“No, being on the road is fun; I love it, but you have to keep a balance. The road is fun and I like to travel. I actually enjoy the time in my hotel room by myself. I drink a cup of tea, watch TV or I read some e-mails; I like the solitude after the show. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones that like touring, but this 2 months tour is too heavy as I am burned out physically; 50 nights in a row is too much. After so many shows I really need the audience for inspiration as I start to run out of ideas and that is not fun. This is definitely the last 2 months tour ever!”

What song must be played at your funeral?

“I never thought about that…mmm how about….mmm Tutti Frutti sung by Little Richard, there you go. I mean bop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boo is about as profound and Bob Dylan could not have written it any better, you know!”

How did you get involved into music?

“When I was a child I was very lucky that my parents were aficionados. I will give you a list of the kind of stuff I heard when I was a kid: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis, Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Man, they listened to everything, they loved it all and played it all the time and when they saw that I enjoyed it also and told them I wanted to play the trumpet they loved it. For my 10 th anniversary I got to spend a day with Duke Ellington. Later on I got more and more interested in playing the guitar and so the trumpet was left in the closet. So my passion for music started at a very young age.”

Could you mention three words that describe yourself as a person?

“Thankful, aspiring and loved. I am very lucky that I have a beautiful family that loves me. If I could put it in a sentence I would say that my rebellion against the world is to play my music with sincerity.”

Three albums that you would take on a deserted island?

“That is not difficult at all, I would take The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, his second album from 1963, then The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1965) and last but not least Karma by Pharoah Sanders. No new albums, only the old stuff inspires me.”

With what song do you indentify yourself with most?

“Well, lyrically… a song that sums up the most important things in life is Alfie, composed by Burt Bacharach; it is an all time favourite. Listen to the Dionne Warwick version on You Tube and check the lyrics. That song is as good as it gets!”

Plans for the future?

“Well, I have to play 4 more shows in The Netherlands then I go home for Thanksgiving and spend some time with my family.”

Your last album Common Ground got great reviews, did you expect that?

“Of course, ha ha, no, it is my 20 th album and still I get great reviews, I must do something right. I really do not know where the inspiration came from, I had some crises in my life and I put it all in there. The title track was something special as I tried to make it a political song, but now it is more a song against the human race. We need help, we are facing severe crisis but nobody is doing anything. Nobody gives a piece of shit as long as they can watch their favourite soap or but their new Lady Gaga trash. We need help as a species. Some people say: Save The Planet, but it is NOT the planet that needs to be saved, it is us!! Planet earth has been there already for millions of years and the planet will live on. We cannot beat nature, mankind has a big fucking ego to think that. The earth is saying I see what you are doing to me and it says fuck you. We will kill ourselves as a species and life will start over again.”

Thanks for you time, Walter.

“You were very welcome!”

Martien Koolen for
11 December 2010