The B.B. King Chat

25-04-2000/ 2pm-3pm PDT

Webmaster: Welcome everyone! Come on in and make yourselves comfortable. We're 
           glad you could be here! We're out here on the tour bus with Mr. B.B. King and
           he is ready to answer your questions, so let's get started.
B.B. King: I'd like to say hello and thanks for your interest in speaking with me,
           and I'm ready for the first question.
Question:  How important is it for you to meet your fans? I was able to meet you after a show 
           in 99 and I was so impressed how gracious and kind you were to myself and
           everybody you came in contact with.
B.B. King: It's very important to me to meet my fans. I get a chance to kind of know
           what they're thinking, and whether I'm doing a good job or not.
           I just get a chance to meet them and it makes me feel good!
Question:  At Filmore West, around 1969, you told the audience that Lucille was stolen 
           and you hoped to get her back. Can you tell us more?
B.B. King: Well, Lucille had been stolen, and I never did get it back. I got another one,
           and it was stolen years after that, but I was able to get "that" one back.

            But the first one I put out rewards, and put out rewards, and begged,
           but I never heard about the first one. Not till today.
Question:  I am a 15 year old guitar player and I was wondering how long did it take
           you to develop your great vibrato and was it something you had to work on or did it
           just come natural to you?
B.B. King: I'm still working on it! I hope it won't take you that long. But yes, 
           I've had to work on it, and I'm still working on it.
           I still think there's something missing. You're young,
           you've got many things to help you do what you want to do,  
           and I think you can learn in a third of the time that it took me to learn.

Question:  Who have you most enjoyed performing with during your career? 
           Is there anyone you still haven't performed with that you would like to?

B.B. King: Well, I believe I could answer that question much easier if I were asked if 
           there was someone I would "not" like to record with. My answer would be, 
           "I can't think of anyone I'd not like to record with."

Question:  Mr. King: I am compiling and editing the memoirs of the late Atlanta 
           blues player Piano Red. 
           Red spoke highly of you, apparently you and he ran into each other 
           occasionally on tour. 
           What do you think of Red and his music?  Thanks, and thanks for the great music 
           over the years.
B.B. King: I thank you very much. My one answer about Piano Red would be - fantastic!
           I would like to thank you for letting people know about Piano Red's music.
           I did know him, did run into him from time to time. I'm happy somebody is still
           putting his name out there.
Question:  What is your secret to a long and sucessful career?
B.B. King: LOL! Oh! One of the things I think that has kept me out here has been
           a group of people that have really

            been my, shall we say, guardian angels - my manager, Sidney Seidenberg,
           the agency that books me, ABC,

            the record company that records me, MCA,
           my band that's been with me from 10-22 years,

            and the people that work for me privately.
           I think they are the ones that have made me be out here that long.

            And a little talent from me. I try to live pretty well, healthwise.
            I'm a vegetarian,
           I try to eat foods that are pretty good for me, and I don't smoke,
           and I only drink about once a year,
           at Christmas and New Year's. Other than that,
           I try to get dressed, and that's all about it!
Question:  What stands out as the most memorable moment in your long career?
B.B. King: It's kind of hard to say, I've had so many things that stood out in my mind  
           when you asked.

            But I would have to say meeting two presidents in office, 
           President Bush, President Clinton,

            and then meeting the Pope two years ago. And I just finished recording with 
           Eric Clapton.

Question:  What can you tell us about the upcoming album recently recorded with 
           Clapton in LA?
B.B. King: I think it was some good work, some of my best work, I think.  
           The inspiration was always there.

            Eric Clapton is one of my dear friends, and in my opinion 
           Number 1 as "the" rock and roll guitarist,

            and he played blues as well as I do and as well as most of us. 
           He's a fantastic person!
Question:  Mr. King, I've noticed that you never put the lyrics to your songs in the CD case. 
           Why is this?
B.B. King: I never thought of it that way, but maybe in the future we will.

Question:  After all the great things you continue to do, is there anything 
           you haven't done musically that you would still like to do?
B.B. King: Yes! There are several things I would like to do musically. I would like 
           to make a CD with just
           the rhythm section doing things I'd like to do. Also, I'd like 
           to have a big band with me playing lead guitar on contemporary tunes...

            Maybe The Beatles and many of the other contemporary artists 
           that have made tunes that have
           beautiful lyrics. And one last thing as far as music's concerned,  
           I'd like to do a gospel album. I did one years ago, and I'd like to do one more.
Question:  Did you ever think your career would have such longevity with
           all the different styles of music that have passed?
B.B. King: No, I never dreamed it would be such. I'm pleasantly surprised!

Question:  Hello there Mr. King, I would like to know how you learned this 
           fabulous electric guitar technique,
           where this was a very rare instrument in your younger days, was it not?

B.B. King: When I started, for many many years, we lived in the country, 
           so there was no electricity.

           All I had to play was acoustic guitar, and I played that many years 
           before I had a chance

           to hold one that was electrified. So, I guess, I can say I could still hear 
           what I was trying to hear

            when I was playing the electric guitar, I could still hear some of the things 
           I was trying to do on the acoustic guitar.
Question:  I've see you play a few times before and the blues just pour from you. 
           It seems that with so much emotion to spill,
           many shaping experiences have influenced your mood towards the blues. 
           Some blues is very sad and moving (actually all blues is moving but) 
           but most of your gigs seem
           more peppy and involving. What most influences you and the blues that you play?

B.B. King: Well, I have had many experiences, yes, but I don't know if that really 
           makes my music be what it is.

            I think that you put yourself in what you're doing, and you try to play
           as you feel at the time you are doing this.

            Because I know many great blues players, many musicians,
           who never picked cotton, never plowed with a mule,
            never hoed cotton, so I know a lot of people have never done any of these things,
           and I know they sound as good or as better than I do in most cases.

            So, I think the answer to that us to put yourself into what you're doing,
            and I think when you enjoy it, so will your audience.
Question:  Mr. King you of course being a pure Blues player id like your opinion on 
           the guitarist in popular in
           particular Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen arguably the two most 
           innovative guitarists over the last 25-30 years
B.B. King: I think that Jimi Hendrix, while he was alive, became the number 1 
           rock and roll guitarist.

           And Van Halen, a close second. And then after Jimi Hendrix died,
           that's when my opinion went to Eric Clapton.
  Would like to ask B.B., what do you like to do before a show to get prepared?
B.B. King: Well, I try to read, maybe fan mail, or talk with friends, chat with some 
           of the guys in the band, or fool around with the computer.

Question:  Who did the album cover art for "Makin Love Is Good For You"?
B.B. King: The name I can't think of at this time, but the person that was in charge
           of the artwork is named Vartan.

            I call him "Mr. V." Mr. V was in charge of the art work. He works at MCA.
Question:  Can you describe an average day on tour? Sleep? Meals? work? Relaxing?
B.B. King: Each day traveling on the road is different, each different from the other day.  
           For example,
           this morning I left St.Louis, Missouri, I had a little bite to eat on the bus, 
           Norman Matthews
           is the gentleman who fixes food for me, so, as we came 361 miles, I believe,

            we stopped a couple of times on the way for fueling up and the driver 
           to take a small break, and we finally made it here to Fayetteville.  
           We stopped in St.Louis last night to break the trip

           from Cleveland, Ohio. So, each day is somewhat different. It's hardly a routine, 
           with the exception of you get up in the morning, and you ride 
           from 200-500 miles per day on the bus, which is fun for me.

            I like to sit in the back of the bus and see the greenery, see the beautiful hills
           and pastures on the side of the road. It seems to be a kind of therapy for me.
Question:  B.B., is there a way a fan can send you a letter? If so, how would I go 
           about doing this?

B.B. King: We are on the internet That's one way. 
           My manager's office, 
           1414 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10019.
That's another way. 
           And then my private office is in Las Vegas

            3170 West Sahara Ave., Suite D17, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89102.
Question:  Hello Mr. King: I have been collecting your music for well over 30 years, 
           and I was wondering 
           if you ever played on any of the sessions for your Blues Boy Kingdom label.
B.B. King: No, I did not. I guess I missed that opportunity, but at that time I was 
           under contract at a major label
           and I wasn't free to record anyplace I wanted to and at the time I never 
           thought to ask them 
           if I could record something with one of the people on my own label. 
Question:  Who should play you in the BB King movie? 
B.B. King: LOL! Oh boy! Well, there are several guys that I think could do me 
           much better than I could do myself. I think Corey Harris, and Little Jimmy King, 
           and some others, but I can't think of names right now. But there are so many 
           who I think could play me and be much better than I really was.
Question:  Hi B.B.: You are great.  Your CD Blues on the Bayou was wonderful and 
           contemporary is this new one in that style? Thanks. 
B.B. King: Yes, it is similar. We did it at the same studio, and in the same amount of time, 
           because we had to work in a hurry because we only had a few days off 
           just like in Blues on the Bayou. It was something I wanted to do
            because I rarely get a chance to record with my traveling band in the studio. 
           So, I had an ok from the office, MCA's office, that at this time I could record, 
           and so I was very happy that I had a chance to do it, so we did two CDs... 
           One right behind the other.
Question:  Has using a computer had any impact on how you create music?
B.B. King: Yes! Using the computer, I've got Cakewalk software,
           that I can compose and also tutor myself with it. I have at this time what they call 
           the Cakewalk Pro Audio 8. It's very good! 
           whoever put it together knew what they were doing musically. 
           So yes, the computer is a real friend.

Question:  I understand Makin Love is your second to produce. Why did you take 
           so long to produce your own CD with Blues In The Bayou?
B.B. King: Sometimes, it just takes time for things to happen. My early years, 
           I produced quite a few 
           of the records that I recorded, but then asked for recognition on them. 
           And today, everybody concerned was so happy, seemingly, to give me credit on 
           The Bayou one and two.
            I always think that if you get good music, that's important, 
           and if it has to do with me,
           it doesn't matter who did it. But I'm glad they gave me credit for it.
Question:  Mr. King, are there any other styles of electric guitar you enjoy playing 
           other than Lucille?
B.B. King: I'm a one-woman man! I have to retract a little bit, thought, 
           because on this new CD with Eric Clapton, 
           he's such an influence, so he decided we should do what he calls 
           the unplugged style
            on a couple, and I went along with it, and of course I enjoyed it. 
           But I don't put Lucille down often for anything or anybody. 
           So that lets you know that he's a very special guy.
Question:  Of the new generation of blues guitarists (15-25 years old) who 
           do you see as having the greatest potential?
B.B. King: It's hard for me to say, because people that are starting, the potentials 
           are like from the earth to the sky.
            Every player that I'm hearing today are playing well. 
           And most of them are playing things
            I wished I could play. And I feel that if they continue as they are going, 
           you won't miss B.B. King at all 
            when I'm not around any more.
Question:  B.B., I'm in England and saw you in London (Royal Albert Hall) 
           last year when you were just fantastic.  
I am going to see you again in June this year.  An obvious question, 
           but I am wondering 
           what drives you on every night, and what gives you the energy to be so 
           brilliant and also so amusing 
           and chatty to the audience?
B.B. King: A person like you! One of the main reasons that keeps me going 
           because I love meeting people 
           love to talk to people. I love to see the emotions and 
           watch the people watching me when they see me play.
           I could have retired when I was 65, and I think lived pretty comfortably 
           for the rest of my life.
            But, I enjoy playing. I meet people all over the world. 
           That itself it sort of like food for a hungry man, 
           and I stay hungry for an audience all the time. I thank you 
           for reminding me of the great Royal Albert Hall - 
           a place I love playing! I guess that's all I can say about what keeps me going.
            I could live pretty well without doing it, but I'm having a ball! 
           I'm having the best time of my life!
Question:  Hail to the King! I went out at lunch topday and bought the new CD. 
           It is really great. Lateley, 
           you usually say what your favorite song on the album. How about on this one?
B.B. King: I've got two or three, it's hard to say which one exactly this time,
           so I have to make a choice between a couple. One of them, 
           "Making Love is Good For You" and
            "Since I Fell For You." A third one would be "I've Got To This Woman." 
           It's hard choose between the three. I hadn't thought of it yet...
           Maybe you can help me.

Question:  B.B., you travel all the time. Would your music be different if you 
           stayed in one place?
B.B. King: I think probably it would be, because as I travel I get a chance to see 
           what the USA is like
            and what the world is like. I've played in 88 different countries around the world,
            and I've found that there some people in every country that are alike, 
           they live alike, they do the same things, they love, they love to be loved, 
           and a lot of them wish things were better for the world, 
           and I think that's in every country. That gives me a chance to chat 
           with some of these people
            and find that we are not alone now, a lot of people think as we do.
If I stayed home and didn't go out, I wouldn't get this opportunity to 
           meet those people.

Question:  B.B. - your are the King! How many countries have you played in 
           over the years? Do you have a count?
B.B. King: I've played in 88 different countries around the world.
Question:  First of all, thanks for you!! You have won so many awards over the years. 
           Is there any specific one that 
           you particularly cherish, and why?
B.B. King: All of them! I cherish all of them and the reason is that people are 
           gracious enough 
           to honor me with these awards, and I know that when people do 
           something for you
            they generally mean it, and are not asking anything of you. 
           So, I'm grateful to them, and I cherish them all. 
Question:  What was the largest audiance you ever played in front of?
B.B. King: It was in Chicago, Illinois, when I played the Blues Festival there, 
           I guess it's been five or six years ago. 
           They tell me that it was something like a quarter million people at 
           the festival that time. 
           I think that's the largest I've ever played to. 
           I was down in Brazil and they said it was close to a million but 
           I didn't get statistics on that one, 
           but I did see it in the papers in Chicago.
Question:  What sort of things did you do to develop such a beautiful, 
           singing vibrato technique?
B.B. King: I think it came by accident, really. I've always liked to hear people play 
           with a slide
            or a bottleneck on their finger. They have some steel pieces that they 
           do it with today.
           I could never do that, use a slide or a bottleneck on the finger, but 
           I liked the sound of it. 
           The Hawaiian guitarists... I hear them play, they have such 
           beautiful sounds, 
           they sound like they're playing with slides. The country musicians 
           play with steel guitar sound, 
           and they do something with them that goes through me like a sword. 
           So I could never do any of that,
            and I would put my hands on the guitar and kind of shake it a bit. 
           My ear says it sounds similar to what they were doing. So, I would 
           continue to do that, 
           the first thing when I picked up the guitar I would trill my hand to 
           try to get that sound.
            So, today I can't pick up a guitar without doing it. And that's 
           how the style began.
Question:  Mr. King, you're the reason I became a Blues one will ever 
           fill your shoes! 
           Who are your favorite Blues ladies?  (Your duets on Playin' with my Friends are 
           some of my all-time favorites)
B.B. King: I never dreamed it would become what people say it is today. Sfkfan... 
           Each lady that was on the CD we did, 
           on there we had Coco Taylor, we had Ruth Brown, we had Thomas from 
           New Orleans, 
           and there are so many great, great great blues ladies. Katie Webster 
           is another one. 
           And there's Etta James. Nobody sings better than her, than she does, for me.
           There are a lot of them, and I admire them all. I wish I could record 
           with all of them. Bonnie Raitt's another one.
Webmaster: Well Mr. King, I see our time is almost up. Are there any parting 
           words you would like to give to your fans?
B.B. King: I'd like to say thanks for being so good to me through the years. 
           Gosh, I hope I deserve all the praises they've been giving me all the years.
            I will work hard to try and be worthy of them.
God Bless them all. Thank you! Well we're going to have to close now. 
We want to thank everyone for coming in and for all your great questions. 
           If you want to keep on talking about B.B. King and the blues just head on 
           over to We'll see you all again soon. 
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