Local live music pillar Scott Keeton sounds off on the blues, Bo Diddley and ‘suck-ass’ six-strings

Scott Keeton
9 p.m. Saturday
Oklahoma City Limits
4801 S. Eastern
http://www.oclimits.com
619-3939

Oklahoma Gazette: What was the first blues record that hooked you?
Scott Keeton: There are way too many to list but “The Best of Muddy Waters” and The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ first record were huge.

OKG: What about the most recent blues album?
SK: The last blues-based album I really wore out was the CD that John Hammond gave me of him doing all Tom Waits covers (2001’s “Wicked Gin”). It is awesome.

OKG:
Tell me about your first guitar.
SK: A 1968 or ’69 Kay Conqueror. Great name; suck-ass guitar. I took it apart to see how it worked, and it never worked again. Then I got me an Electra. Not as great a name, but a better guitar. That was 34 years ago. But I did not really start playing serious until I was 11 or 12.

OKG: Do the best gigs come when your mind is free and clear, or when you’ve got something on your chest?  
SK: I wish I knew. If I could know when it is going to be great or suck, I would just write the manual, sell it and stay home. The excitement of playing is still there and always will be. The excitement to travel by van, bus, or plane left about 400,000 miles ago.

OKG: What did you learn from working with Bo Diddley?
SK: The two main things Bo taught me were to have fun so it transmits to the audience, and to have confidence in myself. This guy should be on the Mount Rushmore of rock ‘n’ roll, and he is calling me one of his sons. That can help a person’s self-esteem tremendously.

OKG:
How did your relationship with “Monty Python” comedian Eric Idle come about?
SK: My good friend Kenny Phillips did the whole production for Eric’s 2000 show, called “Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python.” I was the monitor guy and Eric’s guitar tech. Within a couple of weeks, I was playing in the show offstage and a week later, we were all in the show onstage. I went out with Eric again in 2003 as his guitar player for another tour, and on that one, he was writing “Spamalot.” He’s just a fantastic, funny man. One day, I am playing to 20 people; the next, I am onstage at Carnegie Hall with Art Garfunkel. It was very surreal.

OKG:
You teach guitar lessons, right? Is blues a good way to introduce kids to the instrument?
SK: I do teach, but it is a handpicked group. I just don’t have the time like I wish I had for it. Blues is great for beginners, but anything that turns them on is cool. Some of the best gigs I have ever done are at geriatric facilities for dementia patients. They will literally stop the crazy stuff they are doing and listen. Trauma centers for people recovering from terrible accidents that come up crying and really appreciate the fact that we took the time to play music for them. It is hard to stay crusty when that happens.

OKG: You’ve used a beer bottle as a guitar slide. What else works?
SK: Oh, gosh, I have used just about everything: ashtrays, two-gallon bottles of Jim Beam, pool cues, cell phones, and at all-ages shows, I let the kids play my guitar, and they love it. Just about anything to get the audience’s attention. Not to set the world record for clichés, but my shows are always ultimately about the music, but they do call it a “show,” not a “listening.” Know what I mean? “Joe Wertz

Joe Wertz

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

Related posts

*

*

Top
WordPress Lightbox