American guitarist-based in Sweden, Chuck Anthony talks about the blues, Hendrix, Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti.

"What I miss most, is the chills I used to get from music, when I heard something new!"

Chuck Anthony: Deep Soul Sacrifice

Chuck Anthony is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He's born and raised in Chester Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. Chuck is well-known for playing with Jazz musician Roy Ayers. He shared the stage and recorded with Jazz, Blues, Funk, Pop, Soul, Reggae and Folk musicians, including: Eric Bibb, Derrick Big Walker, Luciano, Club 8, Annabel Fay, Ace of Base, Glen Friscia, Dr. Alban, Sylvia Striplin, Brian Kramer, Fela Kuti and many others. Chuck Anthony inducted to Sweden, Blues Hall of Fame in 2015.               Photo by Lennart Brorsson

"My sound is what it is, I can't describe it. It just comes out when I'm in the situation. Of course, I'm very much influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Edwin Birdsong, Jerry Garcia and other explorer's. But when the groove hits, I can only say it’s an Anthony thing that I got from my father."

Chuck Anthony talks about the blues, Swedish scene, Jimi Hendrix, Edwin Birdsong, Brian Kramer, Denniz Pop, Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

What I learned about myself and the blues, is that from the time I was around 10 we use to laugh at the grownups listening to some very old blues music, after their long day working construction and other hard labor jobs. Little did I know that this feeling they were getting was a part of me and always will. It’s a deep soul sacrificing feeling, it keeps you Honest!

How do you describe Chuck Anthony sound and what characterize your music philosophy?

Hmmmm, my sound is what it is, I can't describe it. It just comes out when I'm in the situation. Of course, I'm very much influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Edwin Birdsong, Jerry Garcia and other explorer's. But when the groove hits, I can only say it’s an Anthony thing that I got from my father.

What were the reasons that started the Soul / Funk / Jazz and Blues searches and experiments?

Actually it started with playing rock music, learning all the latest riffs, well a least most of them but when I moved to New York City and got a gig with Edwin Birdsong. I found out that I had to re-learn what it was to play guitar. Birdsong and Roy Ayers taught me how to connect to my inner voice. It was scary at first, but wow, what i got from those guys was assurance to believe in what you know at the time.

The Blues exploration came much later after I moved to Stockholm Sweden, and got on the Blues bus with Brian Kramer. It’s funny because all those times when it was time for me to play a solo with Roy's band, I was so nervous, and they said Chuck its simple just play the blues. And I didn't know how to connect, but it was in me all the time. I enjoy playing with the Jazz cats because their rhythm is so cool. I guess that's one of the reason why Roy Ayers liked my playing. My rhythm was spot on.

"What I learned about myself and the blues, is that from the time I was around 10 we use to laugh at the grownups listening to some very old blues music, after their long day working construction and other hard labor jobs." (Chuck & Brian Kramer/Photo by Sofia Sanchez)

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?

Meeting Ronald "Head" Drayton (former guitarist for Edwin Birdsong), and Denniz Pop. What advice? Well a lot of people always told me believe in yourself, it’s ok.

Are there any memories from Roy Ayers and Fela Kuti which you’d like to share with us?

Wow, that tour with Fela and Roy, changed everything at that time. Fela showed me rhythm's and melodies that were totally alien to me, and to see how they danced to these rhythm, woke something up inside me, I guess I'll never forget that, it’s a part of me now. Thank you Anikalpo!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

What I miss most, is the chills I used to get from music, when I heard something new!

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

Make the human benefit from music greater than the profit need.

From the musical point of view what are the differences and similarities between European and US scene?

There are none. Everybody wants to have a good time! Musically, it doesn't matter.

"I enjoy playing with the Jazz cats because their rhythm is so cool. I guess that's one of the reason why Roy Ayers liked my playing. My rhythm was spot on."

What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the music circuits?

Well let’s see, oh, yesterday I was listening to Third Stone From The Sun by Jimi Hendrix. Only thing was that this was the version from DeLane Lea studio, the dialog in the beginning had me laughing on the floor

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

Maybe the day I was born. I don't why, maybe just to see how life began for me.

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