WALTER DANIELS & WIDE DRIVER page
JACK O'FIRE page
(Capinch Zine #5 - Feb.2005)
of all I was wondering…how old are you? When I listen to you playin’ I think
you have 60 at least!!!
thirty-nine years old.
How in much bands, projects and records do you taken part till now?
records- partial list:
Go- Devils—“My Girl, Her Name is Ralph”- compilation on Glitch Records.
Poor Man’s ZZ-Top” 7” single on Matako Mazuri Records.
Waltz Across Dress Texas ep on Toxic Shock
Store in a Cool Place- self released cassette.
Ramblers “Itch to Floss” 7” single on Double Naut Records.
Chester Devil in Me cd on Sympathy
Chester Tabernaclin’ cd on Sympathy
7” single on Only Boy Records
St. Nick’s Farm 7” single on Only Boy
Ass-Minimums, G. Sportscasters “Only Bowie” cd Only Boy
The Pawnshop Years cd Rykodisc
Jones & her T. J. Hookers
cd Honey Records
Come On! cd Unclean Records ‘
Daniels & the Gospel Clodhoppers
a Soldier “ 7” single on Undone Records
Slop cd on
Emperor Jones Records
Sessions Volume 2 Boxholder Records
Doug 7” single on Rectangle Records
Night is Saturday Night Sympathy
it yo’ mammy if ya wanna …. Cd Sympathy
any your records you most like? Why?
proud of a number of records- the newest one by South Filthy especially.
South Filthy is Msr.Jeffrey Evans, Jack Yarber, myself, “Blind” Lary Warner,
and the great Mike Buck. Just out on Sympathy and I think it is really cool.
I’m very proud of the Texas Sessions Volume 2- if you aren’t familiar with
Eugene Chadbourne’s crazy improv-country-freak out music, I highly recommend
it. I am proud of my version of Roy Acuff’s “This World (Can’t Stand Long)”
with Evan Johns on slide guitar on the Au-Go-Go single Outta the Closet.
song “Devil in Me,” from the Big Foot Chester cd is one of my favorite
Did you learn a lot working with great
personalities like Tim Kerr, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans, Oblivians,
Revelators/Hard Feelings and others more?
enjoy playing with lots of different players and I try to learn from them
all. The Memphis guys are so inspiring- home recording for example- just
blew my mind. I remember placing a tiny lapel microphone (the kind people
used to wear on talk shows) onto a tiny single powered battery amp and
digging how strange it looked.
feel at ease playing with Jeffrey Evans, Jack Yarber, and Greg
Cartwright- they are great players, singers, stylists. Tim Kerr is an
awesome producer and guitarist and much fun to play with. He has advised me
recently concerning production
is very generous with his knowledge!
I play with
the Hard Feelings a lot- they rule!- Schooley is a great slide player and
has turned me on to a bunch of good records. Last March I recorded with the
Howling Guitar from Japan. I wasn’t really able to talk to them but we could
make some rockin’ sounds. If I play with a band- hopefully I can learn
something about how they record, practice, write songs,etc. Eugene
Chadbourne has challenged me as much or more so than any musician- he plays
with top-notch players and always produces beautiful wackiness.
The covers by Jack O’Fire were really wide and various. From Blind Willie
McTell, Little Walter,Hound Dog Taylor, to Pretty Things, Sonics, Small
Faces then to Joy Division,Wire,...Negative Approach….Was it the result of
different listening of each?
out most of the punk tunes and british invasion songs and I selected some of
the blues numbers.
you started interesting in blues? And playin’ harmonica?
to High School in Texas I saw a Public Television documentary about blues
and it showed this tremendous player, Johnny Woods, playing harp on his
porch. I remembered that I had a harmonica from many years ago and grabbed
it and started to mess around.
Later, I saw a rock show (The Midnight Special) with two harp players
John Mayall and Paul Butterfield
they both sounded tough. Later, I started listening to Muddy Waters, Johnny
Winter, and John Lee Hooker.
a bit about your harps… How much do you have? What kind do you play? What
I own lots
- 20 or 30
or so. I play Hohner Big River harmonicas
they are very affordable. I used to play the Hohner Marine Band and they are
still a good place to start. I’m playing chromatic harmonica these days and
it is very challenging. You can play in any key
played “Star Spangled Banner before a hockey game recently on the chromatic.
the harmonica-players that most influenced you? And bluesmen?
Butterfield, Magic Dick (of the J. Geils Band), Sugar Blue, Stevie Wonder,
James Cotton, Junior Wells, Little Walter Jacobs, Carey Bell, Junior Parker,
Sonny Boy Williamson. Locally there are a bunch of great players
Roddy, Gary Primich, Michael Rubin, J.P. Allen
great players that will talk technique and/or music with anybody.
is perhaps my favorite singer of all time! I love country blues records by
Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson (a new South Filthy single on
Records will have our version of “Soul of a Man”), Charlie Patton, Skip
of music you also listen over the blues?
honky-tonk- old timey classic country, free jazz, bebop, punk rock- Hank
Williams, Merle Haggard, Django Reinhardt, Buck Owens, Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra,
Charles Mingus, Rashaan Rolank Kirk, Patti Smith, Roger Miller, even
checking out a Mozart Clarinet concerto. Started listening to Jesus & Mary
"Bring me the head of Jon Spencer" was the title of first Jack O’Fire e.p.
It became a slogan for me! I think all his stuff (and that of much more
fashionable personalities) have nothing to do with the blues… Why that title
Tim saw the
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion opening for the Jesus Lizard and said Spencer
played some harp. At that time, we’d only played as Jack ‘O Fire a few
Later, I met
Spencer while I was touring with ’68 Comeback opening up for Boss Hogg.
Spencer looked me over and asked if I was Jack ‘O Fire- like he was angry.
Of course, Jon Spencer isn’t a bluesman- dealing more in irony- and he has
made some cool records.
O’Fire’s adventure definitively closed? Will you ever make a reunion? More
If Tim Kerr
wants to do Jack ‘O Fire, then it will happen. I’ve spoken with Dean and
Josh and they are for it. I think it would be fun; Tim is a busy guy, and
since I’m raising two girls, I am very busy, also.
there any good band’s recordings that haven’t been pubblished? Have you get
out all good stuff that you’ve recorded?
working on a version of Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips,” but hadn’t spent a
lot of time on it. It could have been great. I have a few live tapes- some
are terrible- and a few are really good.
Do you think so-called "punk-blues" has become a current fashion and then
sooner or later it’s going to end or a new way has opened to r’n’r? There
are a lot of bands that sound garage like Oblivians, Jack O'Fire, Gories,
I don’t know
if punk-blues will ever become “trendy.” I hope it continues. I want blues
to be interpreted in many ways. Eric Clapton SUCKS! The White Stripes are
cool- Jack White is really into Blind Willie McTell. Lee County Killers are
doing it upright! I’ve played with them a few times and they are great
people. I don’t think the blues can be trendy- somebody prove me wrong!
Do you think it’s important to born in particulaires geographic areas, black
and livin’ in misery for playin’ true blues? Is the blues a painful
aptitude, a way of life or musical forms…a genre?
Chicago and Texas- places with a great blues traditions- but the real thing
can come from anywhere. Miles Davis- check him out trading licks with John
Lee Hooker on the Hot Spot soundtrack- claimed that he had never been hungry
a day in his life, but he could play the blues. Another thought: Ray Charles
says, “ Just because Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone doesn’t
mean Ray Charles can’t use it.” As long as a person can make an original
statement in any style- conjunto, reggae, country, punk rock- fine, just try
to swing it, man. However, simple music can be surprisingly
deceptive:someone like Jimmy Reed is a perfect example- very simple, but can
anyone but him get that sound?
the blues and garage scene in Austin? It’s a town with a great musical
some great bands in Austin. I produced the Crackpipes cd for Sympathy,
“Every Night is Saturday Night,” and they are a ripping band. I played some
sax on some recent recordings with them, they might do a single with Estrus.
I totally dig the Kodiaks- they sound like the Oblivians a lot. Super band.
There isn’t a lot of blues around Austin, but if Ted Roddy is laying it
down- it is the greasy, real deal. Finally saw the Total Sound Group and
they are very cool- many other fine bands are keeping garage rock happening
What do you think about Memphis and Detroit garage scene of today?
with anyone of them?
My wife and
I love Memphis- we might go there to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Great music,
food, soul- I hope to keep visiting there as much as possible. We thought
about moving to Memphis, but we’re in Austin for the foreseeable future.
Never been to Detroit, but it seems like a vibrant scene. Met Mick Collins
at the Vegas Shakedown and he is a really nice guy.
A lot of
people wants to known what your future plans are. What your next issue? What
your next band? Tours?
plans- I am hoping to attend a Fat Possum session with Paul “Wine” Jones-
Jack Yarber is going to be the drummer on the date. Sometime in the new
year- it would be a big thrill. I jammed with “Wine,” T-Model, and Spamm at
Beerland during South By Southwest last year- too much fun.
interested in touring Europe with South Filthy during the summer. I’ll be
approaching some promoters and seeing if this could happen. I’ve been
playing with a great drummer, Wade Driver, as a blues/free jazz duo. We’ve
done some home recording, and one proper studio session for a compilation.
We’ve talked some with Tim Kerr about producing us and he seems interested.
I’d like to record another South Filthy lp and keep plugging away with Big
Foot Chester- Mike Buck has been playing drums with us lately.
Please list your all-time all-artists favourite discography.
list of favorite records- Beasts of Bourbon- Axeman’s Jazz, Gun Club- Fire
of Love, Poison 13 –self-titled, Little Walter Jacobs- Boss Blues Harmonica,
Johnny Bush- Green Snakes on the Ceiling, Paul Butterfield- Lost Sessions,
Compulsive Gamblers- Gambling Days are Over, Charles Mingus-the Black Saint
and the Sinner Lady, Hank Williams- Moanin’ the Blues, Minutemen- Double
Nickels on the Dime, Howlin Wolf- Sun Sessions, Amos Milburne- Let’s Have a
Party, Patti Smith Group- Horses, Sonny Boy Williamson/Memphis Slim- Live in
Paris, Hickoids- We’re in it for the Corn, U-Men – Step on a Bug, Elmore
Williams/Hezekiah Early- It Takes One to Know One, Deadly Snakes-Love
Undone, John Coltrane- Soul Trane, Junior Wells- the Chief Recordings,
Johnny Paycheck- the Little Darlin’ Years, Eugene Chadbourne- Country
Protest, Tex and the Horseheads- Life’s So Cool.
word ‘bout the blues to the readers?
will endure, but I hope people are willing to take chances with the form.
Someone told me they didn’t like blues because it was predictable
they liked punk, which can be pretty predictable. Matter of fact, there are
many similarities between blues and punk- many of the really great stylists-
innovators are gone. Listeners are left with more traditional minded
players. However, that could change tomorrow. If you don’t like a blues
record- remember that there might be another artist or record that really
delivers the goods. Jeffrey Lee Pierce really left a big mark on my style
and it was fun to do an unreleased song of his, “LA County Jail,” with South
Filthy to show the great debt I owe to musicians like himself and the
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JACK O'FIRE page