Il mio carrello

0 articoli nel tuo ordine

Albert Lee

"We all looked for that perfect gig ya know?.. I've had a constant career and I've influenced a lot of people and I've been making great music. I'm too old for regrets now."

Recent Episodes

All Artists

Transcript

Albert Lee:
I used to listen to the radio a lot when I was a kid. I'd hear Doris Day and Guy Mitchell and all those things. I guess I had an interest in music at that time.

Albert Lee:
I think Christmas of 1958, I was 15. It was a Hofner archtop guitar. I actually played that for about a year, year and a half maybe. I was really making good progress. I'd become a big fan of Gene Vincent and his guitar player, Cliff Gallup, and Buddy Holly. I'd seen The Chirping Crickets album, Buddy Holly's first album, and he had this guitar with three pickups and a weird kind of tremolo on it. I thought, "Wow, that's amazing." And I was in the West End of London, there was a music store there, and they had a guitar that looked very much like it in the window.

Albert Lee:
So I'd go into [Selma's 00:01:35] on a Saturday, go up there and look at the guitars and say, "Well, what would suit me best?" I didn't know at that time. Lo and behold, this guy heard me playing in the store. He said, "Oh, you're good. Are you in a band?" I said, "Well, kind of in between. Why?" He said, "well, we're looking for a guitar player. You won't need a guitar. We've got one already, you can use." So I went over to his house and it wasn't too far away. I opened up this guitar case. And there's a Les Paul custom, with a bigsby. I thought, "wow, okay, I'll join your band."

Albert Lee:
I was listening to the rock and roll that had come in. Bill Haley was really big in '56, '57 in England, but soon after that we had Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent and The Everly Brothers and Elvis, of course. I was a big fan of all these guys and I just loved the sounds of the guitars and tried to copy a lot of the solos. And I did quite well on some of the simpler ones.

Albert Lee:
I was playing in the 2i's Coffee Bar. It was a coffee bar, right in the west end of London. I became part of the house band there. It was just three of us. People would come in and get up and sing songs, and just play things on the fly, and no rehearsals or anything. It was a good time. And a lot of musicians came through that club. When I used to play there, Jimmy Page used to come in and we became good friends and went to his house and he came to mine and we'd play records. He was a big James Burton fan and I was more into Scotty Moore. By the time I was playing at the 2i's Coffee Bar, I realized I was earning more money playing the guitar than I could paint spraying or whatever.

Albert Lee:
I've got kind of a reputation around town. I mean, there were some good players around. I didn't really know Jeff Beck at that time, but Jimmy went on to play with the Yardbirds with him. I joined Chris Farlowe. That was a good step forward. I played at lots of clubs and we were based at a jazz R&B club in the center of London called The Flamingo.

Albert Lee:
I took the pickup cover off of the rhythm pickup of my Telecaster and I broke the windings. And I thought, "that wasn't a smart thing to do." So I thought, "what am I going to do now?" You couldn't walk into a store and buy a pickup in those days, in the early '60s. I took the middle pickup out of this SG and put it on the Tele. I liked to think I was one of the first people to do that. I remember doing a tour with Chris Farlowe in the mid '60s. We were on a show with the Paul Butterfield band, and Mike Bloomfield saw my tele with the humbucker on it and he said, "boy, that's a great idea, I've never seen that before."

Albert Lee:
I found out that there were some bands around London playing in pubs that were playing country music. And the one night I decided to go, was this really good band and a good guitar player who also played steel guitar. So I used to make a regular trip to this pub when I wasn't working myself and sit in with these guys. And I thought, "whoa, this is great. I love this." The singer with the band said, well, maybe we should put together a little band, which we did. It was a four piece and we called ourselves Country Fever. I got that name from a title of a Ricky Nelson album he did, called Country Fever. A lot of the people in the pubs would say, "oh yeah, you guys are good, but you're not as good as the Americans." And I knew we were.

Albert Lee:
Well, actually, I should back up a bit because you'd like to know about Ernie Ball, of course. So when I was playing with, with Heads Hands & Feet, Ernie heard our Country Boy record on the radio. It was getting played a lot. So he and Sterling came to a couple of gigs and we got to be good friends. And they said, "oh, you should come down to the factory," which was in Newport at the time. What I used to do is buy a set of strings, it was an expensive way of doing it, buy a set of strings, throw away the bottom strings, move them all down one and then put on a really light first string. And then I'd have a rock and roll set. But then of course I discovered the Ernie Ball strings and Sterling would have a go at me, "oh, when you're going to start you using our strings?" So I did eventually. And that was how long ago? 50 years ago, maybe almost.

Albert Lee:
So I did this gig with the Crickets. At the end of the gig, they said, "oh, that was great. You want to do the whole tour?" I said, "okay, love to." I was still hanging out with the Heads Hands & Feet guy. Our manager at the time was managing Joe Cocker. Joe had supposedly been rehearsing for this major tour. It was meant to be his first big tour after Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Some of the guys had a big fight and they needed a guitar player and drummer immediately. And the tour was about to start in two weeks time. They were headliners around the US. I joined the band with the drummer from Heads Hands & Feet, and off we went on the road with Joe.

Albert Lee:
I flew back to England to work on a record and who should be on the session, but Eric and half his band.

Speaker 3:
For video purposes, Eric who?

Albert Lee:
Oh, Clapton.

Speaker 3:
Just in case.

Albert Lee:
Is there any other? [crosstalk 00:09:42].

Albert Lee:
So there was in England recording this album with Eric and Marc Benno, and at the end of the sessions, Eric's manager came up to me and said, "Eric did a tour without a rhythm guitar player, without a second guitar. Would you be interested in going out with Eric?" I thought, "wow. Yeah. Why not?" That was early '79. So off I went on the road with Eric. At that first rehearsal, that's when he gave me that Les Paul. He was a lot of fun in those days and he still is fun, but in a different way now.

Albert Lee:
I got this call from a guy named Terry Slater who worked with the Everly Brothers, and he said, "well, looks like the guys are going to give it another shot and they're going to do this reunion concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Are you available?" And I said, "well, yes. Great." And apparently, they both agreed that I should be one of the guitar players, which made me feel really good. And I thought, "well, this is great. I'll get to play with the Everly Brothers." In the back of my mind, I thought, "well, how long is going to last?" Because it was a pretty volatile breakup that they had. To everyone's surprise, it went on for 26 years.

Albert Lee:
We all look for that perfect gig. It's the way I've looked at it. It makes me feel better, not having a million dollars. At least I've had a constant career and I've influenced a lot of people and I've been making great music. I'm too old for regrets now. I could have done things a little differently in the '60s. I should have done... But the guitar players that I knew back then were focused on the blues, like Eric and Jeff Beck. That was the time that I got waylaid by country music. So I still like what they were doing and that kind of music, but I was still influenced by the country side of it.

Albert Lee:
My style kind of covers a lot of ground. I'm influenced by country and I use my fingers a lot. I find that I can play most things, but I like to think that I've mastered a really nice technique over the years. I've always been adaptable. I could play along with Eric. In fact, he gave me lots of solos in those days. When I was playing with, with Joe Cocker and Bill Wyman and Chris Farlowe, I was playing a lot of R&B. I like to think that my playing is melodic and tasteful and it seems to fit in with most things I'm asked to do.