Interviews Music

Ambassador of the Blues

First of all, what influence did Robert Johnson have on you as a musician?

I think the Robert Johnson influence on me has taken on the aspect that it made me more of an acoustic guitar player. I still think of myself as primarily an electric guitar player who plays acoustic guitar. You know, when you're a kid learning, everybody wants to be the lead player. Everybody wants to solo.

You played a show with HoneyBoy Edwards and Robert Lockwood JR, two musicians who actually knew and played with Robert Johnson in the 1930s. How important was it to you to earn their respect?

Incredibly!!! I can't tell you how important it was to earn their respect. Until Mr. Lockwood's untimely death, Mr. Lockwood and Mr. Edwards were as close as you could get to Robert Johnson being alive. They both knew and played with Robert Johnson. Mr. Lockwood received his first guitar from Robert Johnson for his 11th birthday. He lived in the same house as Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was dating Mr. Lockwood's mother. After getting compliments from Mr. Edwards and Mr. Lockwood I thought I could retire and get a straight job. I had taken this as far as I could. The night of the show at The Fairfield Theatre in Connecticut, Mr. Lockwood said, "In all my 91 years, I've never seen anybody look or sound more like Robert Johnson than you. I'm about to adopt you!" My heart soared! It can't get any better for me.

{mosimage}Lay’sPotato Chips used your photoon the bags of their Memphis Barbecue flavoured potato chips.

They printed over one million bags! They were on the market for six months. It made me the first Black American blues musician to be on a national product in the history of America!! I'm very proud of that!

Any plans on performing in Finland in the future?

I'd love to play Finland. Anybody want me to come play Finland? Just call or e-mail me and I'll be on my way! I want to play every country that will have me. We all have the blues.

Photo by Erik Remec


Rocky Lawrence

Blues Guitar Player

New Haven, CT, USA


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