Lupkin...Hard Pill To Swallow
am really happy that I was asked to do this interview. I fell in
love with Bill Lupkin's harp sounds when I first met him at BB's
Jazz Blues and Soups during the Harmonica Hurricane. You remember...Bill
came into town for a gig and John May had a better idea to put on
a harp show. It was great! I was hooked! Hey! The Harmonica Hurricane
you say? Yep, that's also where we met up with Nick Moss. I found
out thru this interview that Bill and Nick are good buddy's...they
go way back. Could be why Nick is producing Bill's newest CD, Hard
Pill To Swallow. And Kate Moss (Mrs. Moss) did the artwork. She
is really a good graphic designer. She also had the idea for the
old time bottle on the cover of the CD. Makes me want to send her
a project. (laughter) Nick and Bill have played together in Chicago
before Bill moved to Indiana and have continued to play together
forever. Nick plays guitar on this new CD. Another musician we have
heard about is Gerry Hundt. He's one of the Flip Tones. Gerry also
plays guitar on this CD and Victor Spann, another F.T., also has
a part on this CD. Tim Wire plays the keyboard on all but one track
and has been friends with Bill for many, many years. And Steve Lupkin,
Bill's brother is playing bass. Brothers in arms and music! How
great is that?
When I spoke to Bill over the phone for this interview, I asked
him if he'd ever been likened to Rod Piazza. NO? My thought is,
he sounds like Rod in the “early years”. Bill actually
met Rod when he was in California many moons ago. Most people listen
to Bill and hear the likes of Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers. Bill
thinks so too. Let's you know where my ears are, eh? (laughter)
Many of you reading this interview may clearly understand some of
Bill's growing pains as he works hard to raise “TEENAGERS”
(YUK) and tries to keep his music going strong...need I say more?
(laughter) But Bill Lupkin has prevailed and with Hard Pill To Swallow
as the title for his newest CD, you can imagine where he gets his
inspiration. (laughter) Actually, Bill likes to talk about Little
Walter, Jimmy Rogers, and many others. You can hear these influences
on many of the songs he writes and plays.
As with Nick Moss, Bill, too, loves to write songs. He wrote all
of the music on this CD. This CD is the third since 1999. Bill has
great confidence in his writing, with the likes of Nick Moss and
Gerry Hundt and the influences of Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers,
and the ability of his musician friends to come to the table and
play hard, serious, blues,... he has found the right mix....friends
are what it's all about!
talk to Bill Lupkin and see what he says about the making of his
latest CD, Hard Pill To Swallow.
Hi Bill! What do you like about song writing?
BL: I just find it very satisfying. I really do
enjoy it. You can be very creative at times. I like song writing.
I like the way you can write a song like track #3,Bad Luck, which
I do some different things, it gets a lot of air play on the radio.
MV: I like track #6, Elgin Bounce. It's a real
toe-tapper!. This whole CD will get you tappin' one thing or another!
(Laughter) You're harp playing is great!
BL: I'm surprised you said that! I've gotten lots
of comments from people about this song. It's a toe-tapper. (smile)
MV: In your bio, it mentioned that you have been
influenced by Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers. I said Rod Piazza.
BL: No! That's a first! But I did get to play at
the same gig in California years ago. (Big Laughter) Many people
have pointed out the influences of Big Walter and James Cotton.
I have to say that Jimmy Rogers was the MOST influential of anyone
in my life. I find myself going back to that influence over and
over again. I also like trying to get a little more “laid
back” on my vocals. It keeps me from getting my throat too
sore. (Big Laughter) I'm trying to mellow out in my old age. (Big
MV: I really like the “laid back” vocals
styles on this CD. I think what you “down play” in vocals,
you pick up and “wail” on the harp. It really plays
out in this CD.
BL: Thanks! I like that take on it.
MV: I spoke earlier in this interview about the
musicians you have on this CD. The multi-talented Gerry Hundt, Victor
Spann ( a really great drummer!), Nick Moss, Tim Wire, and let's
not forget your brother, Steve. (laughter) Who will you bring with
you when you come to BB's on Thursday October 18th.?
BL: It will be my regular band, my brother on bass,
Mark Fornek on drums, and I have a new guy on guitar from Denver...his
name is Jerry Vasquez, he's a really terrific guitar player. Barrelhouse
Chuck and I have started working together again, but he could not
make this trip. We'll be back in January at BB's, possibly the 20th
or 22nd, it all depends, and he'll be here on that trip.
(Bill and I agree that Barrelhouse Chuck is GREAT on keys! He's
the authentic deal!)
MV: You have a “Thanks” to John May
on your cover. Tell me about how you hooked with up him?
BL: Keith Doder was the first guy to get me down
here, oh geez that was a long time ago. He was playing with Jimmy
Rogers, at the time, and told me to come on down here. Keith is
a great guy! I met John thru Keith. One night we were down here
and supposed to play a gig somewhere else, but it got cancelled.
John May had us hooked up in no time. He's a life saver! We've loved
coming to BB's ever since. He's always willing to give you what
you need to make it into town. BB's has a great sound. We love playing
there! Some places we've been to the management just doesn't respond
to your needs. It makes the gig a little more difficult, but John
has always come thru for us. He's the man!
MV: He's got some connections, eh?
BL: Yeah! He can wheel and deal, 'em. (laughter)
MV: What did it take to put this CD together?
BL: It wasn't too bad. In fact it went kinda easier
than the last one. Nick was able to get a lot of tracks done at
one time, I had a lot of the material...we cut the CD in two days.
BL: Yeah. We were doing really good there. It was
good! It makes it very spontaneous. The thing is to know the guys
you are playing with and get comfortable.
MV: You didn't second guess yourself on the CD.
It sounds really good!
BL: I've heard that from a lot of people and I
thank you for saying that.
MV: What do you like best about this CD?
BL: I like the overall quality and the fact that
it blends really well together. I like the tunes and the lyrics,
very much. I really like it! I'm really pleased with it and I hope
the next one is even better!
MV: You have a tendency to keep it real and focused
and that's very cool!
BL: Well thank you very much.
MV: No, I mean it. I'm going to take a nap before
you get here so I can stay up all night!! (Big Laughter)
“Warning” label on the back of this CD says it best..”.Warning:
May cause intense movement of the legs and feet. If music remains
in your head for more than four days, don't be at all surprised!
like to thank Bill Lupkin for his time with this phone interview.
We had a great chat! (Big Smile) He's a funny man and a great performer
on stage. And once again my “Thanks” to John May. The
October band schedule really ROCKS!
will really enjoy this newest CD, Hard Pill To Swallow! It's a real
toe- tapper, Folks! I know I want to get up and dance!! I find it
very interesting to see so many musicians interacting with each
other’s bands and CD's. I am REALLY looking forward to the
gig, Thursday October 18th, at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups!! Bring
your dancin' shoes!!
out Bill's websites for more music and info at...www.billlupkin.com,
supporting the music ya'll!