Hittin' The Web with Dusty Sommers

A Interview with Dusty Sommers

Articles / All Topics
Posted by Dusty on Nov 08, 2005 - 12:00 AM

...About a year ago, Pam gave Me 10 questions, and I thought 'this will be fast...' but the more I did it, the longer it got! and I guess it touchs on all My Life...so how could it be short....
So till I get Miz Pammy to edit it up a bit here's a teaser...on the early Newport Folk Fest's & my first meeting with Brother Duane...

Okay 10 questions....

1. Why do you feel it is so important to keep the old style of blues alive?

Well..Hi there Patty, thanks for asking!!! but, I didn’t realize it or never planned to do any thing except play music. and. it was one of the first types of music I really listened to ....aside from the Beatles and Surf music..
…...growing up in RI, we had the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals...and when I was a kid ,about 14 or so..., I was a surfer,loved big waves and had brass cohunes and played drum’s and some guitar...I hung around with guys who were 17, 18 , cause I was a real good surfer and drummer,so they liked me....and before I was driving they would pick me up... and I'd go were there would go...so I ended up in a lot of situations in the mid 60's were kids my age missed out on.....
Now the old style of Blues,,,watching the Old Guys ( Lightin' Hopkins, BB, Son House Bukka White,Skip James and Muddy ect ) at Newport in 65, 66 or so... scared the heck outta me,,,,It was ‘BB’ who introduced me to Son House, I had no clue who he was, But ‘B’ said something like ‘boys, I want you to meet the King of the Blues, Son House!!!!’ and it was early afternoon and he was dressed in his Sunday suit and tie and smelled of booze, but he pulled me aside, asked me my name and when I told him ‘Dusty’…his eyes kinda widened… and told me ‘look here now, your not like the rest…you be a good boy, go to church and read the bible…’ and I had no clue, what was going on or what he was getting at…
… It was about 30 years later that I found out one of the names Robert Johnson used was Dusty..(Still kinda freaks me out to this day)….
But back to that day in Newport,,,As we were talking my friend was telling BB and Son that we or we thought we were Bluesman…and sitting in the backround was a big Man with a gold LesPaul,, and a gold tooth, drinking from a long neck Bud , and started laughing…’’Bluesmen , Bluesmen!!! that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard…hahahaha…you white boys aint no bluesman hahaha”’ and Son said ‘Hush now Lightin’ , leave the boys alone….’’’
So we were getting ripped on by Lightin’ Hopkins and had Son House covering our back hahaha….
That was the start on the Path of my search for real Blues music… and started to listen to every album of blues I could get my hands on…and what I found was to me’ the truth’.. That pain and suffering were universal…and all people had,have and will suffer in Life…no matter what the race,religion age ect…but these old guys,,, had a very hard life… something a skinny longhaired Swamp yankee white boy had nothin’ to compare to…
Seeing Skip James play ‘I’m so glad’ and then later… hearing Cream do it,,, to me validated my ‘quest’ if ya wanna call it that…and the same with the Allman Brothers, I had seen 'T Bone', do’Stormy Monday’ and we would do a version of it,,,,in 69 when I first saw the ABB in Boston…. It was one of the songs they played,,, and it was like’Wow, a T bone song.. These guys are cool!!!’
… but I could go on and on first meeting Duane(I don’t talk about it much, and only to certain people but with this past weekend 11/29,I did alot of soul searching and meditation), and talking music and slide with him…he was taken back by my knowledge of the Blues and knowing BB, Son and Muddy ect…. And we quickly bonded and became good friends… he use to call me ‘Little Brother’ ,, and he never forgot me,, and always made sure and even went out of his way, to get me into their early gigs up East!!
But I feel uneasy about mentioning my friendships with any people for any type of personal gain….Just the way I am….
But this is Hittin' the web,,and maybe some will find it interesting... so I’ll start from the beginning,,,

...it was a warm late summer evening ,after Woodstock 69 ,up at the Boston Tea Party and Frank Zappa and the Mother of Inventions was gonna play there,,, was up there with the guys in the band I was playing with at the time,,, Johnny 'Moondog' Mel and Noel‘the fog’Nelson both were the guitar players in the band and we were doing a double lead type of thing,,,trying to copy the Jazz men we saw at Newport and I was playing drums and a bit of slide on a few songs then,,,,now we had checked and it was suppose to be only Zappa,, with no opening band,,, which we usually blew off, cause we didn’t like to hear opening acts,, cause most of them sucked and we could cut them …and we were good and knew it…
When we got there we found out some band was opening,, so we went to the back of the tea party for a few smokes and to drink some wine….and to look for some chicks… but when we got in back , there was 2 guys passing around a bottle of Boone’s farm Strawberry hill wine, and when they saw us light a smoke,, walked our way…so we started to talk.. And found out there were in the opening band, I remember we were by the side of a beat up white van with Georgia plates….So the more we talked ,,, the more I like the guy,,, and we had a lot in common music wise and both kinda looking like each other,,,( check out my pic in the media section from 69 and draw ya own conclusion lol) ..
So ,, I mentioned we had just returned from Woodstock and the cat mentioned they got stuck in traffic and turned back, seems they were in the studio making a album in NYC and had some gigs down there, and got a call to open for Frank, from the owner of the BTP and blasted up.. to play then head right back to NYC…those day ,,there was no radar,, and the speed limit was 75….gas was about 25 cents a gallon...Life was easy then...
So the more we kept talking,,, and hit on the Blues,,, I had been going to the Newport’s Festivals,,, for years,, and had seen many of the Big Names in both Blues and Folk… aside from meeting them at the Sunday workshops they had at Newport… and had meet Son,,Muddy,and BB King was very cool to us and was like a guardian and we knew 'B' pretty well ,,,seeing him and chatting for a few years….So he would introduce us to more people I can remember… but I remember Skip James in the back round,, eyeing us with suspicion,, a twisted smile on his lips,,,he kept to himself , even with his own crowd… but had a strange aura around him,,,,,very intensive….
But as Im telling this guy,,, he goes "WOW !!!!,
Man! you met all these guys!!! Wow you know Muddy!!!..You know BB??!!!!".I definatly got his attention and when I said we were in a band and I played durms and slide guitar,,, He went nuts hahahaha,, "WOW Man. I play Slide too!!!" And he went into a rap about the tunings,, G E ect,,,…and I went ”woaw man,,, I’m just playing some Elmo riffs in standard…on a few songs,,," but we keep talking,,, and he said, "Man Ya gotta check us out,,,,",, and I was kinda like’yea sure,,’, we were still looking for a few chicks….lol… but he had won me over,, I had a feeling that this cat,, whose name was Duane
loved the Blues as much as me….
. my friends were talking to who we found out later to be Berry Oakley…and Duane introducedme to him but it was just me and Duane swapping stories and music ,,standing there passing around a smoke and a bottle of wine as the sun was beginning to set all nice and reddish orange..kinda like Stanley’s barrels I took earlier…lol…then this guy with long blonde hair walked over to him and told him it was time to go on..and he introduced me to his Brother,Gregg…. And we shook hands and mumbled "nice to meet ya",,or sometime like that,,,but I couldent understand a word so I nicked named him ‘grun’t after that for years,, sorry, Gregg,, I can get away with just one poke at ya right????,wada expect from me, Bro,, ehhh !!! but as there leaving Duane ,, keep saying ’Man now come in,,, check us out out,,,,check us out!!!" And laffing….
So after about five minutes or so…. We headed inside….
And walking down the darken cool hall…I could hear a bass riff…. Boom Boom Boom…….I walked to the front of the stage…a small riser about 3 feet above the ground in front of Duane… and he gives me a big smile…. Then Gregg stared…’’ woke up this morning,, put on my walking shoes…’’ and the first thing I noticed the simplicity of it… but every one was right locked in tight…then it worked in to that Slide solo..Duane took a step up .its just me and him ,, and hes 3 feet way. And looks down at me . smiles and closes his eyes….and to this day,, I get chicken skin everytime I think about that solo…he finished it looked and me again, by this time my jaw was on my chest….smiled like’ I told ya so’ smile and went back to the song,,,, I knew I had never heard anything like that in my Life before….and was totally blown away…!!!!
I went back to my friends,, and watched the rest of their set… and that was it for me… Frank came on,,and after the first song,, I headed out the back door… but the van and truck left in the dark of the night,,,and it would be a few months till our Paths crossed again......

More to come real soon ,Folks....

This article is from Hittin' The Web with Dusty Sommers

The URL for this story is: