Q&A with Arizona-based Black Cat Bones (Charles Pitts and Jeff Daniels), a five-piece Blues/Rock band

"Blues transcends any and all racial inequality, it pulls you in to a place where you can identify with the writer and what they might have been going through. Those struggles that we identify with fit any class or race of people. Which is one reason that Blues will never die."

Black Cat Bones: Blues Rock Experiences

Black Cat Bones is a five-piece Blues/Rock Band Formed in 2004, with core members Charles Pitts and Jeff Daniels. Band’s latest album released in 2019 and titled “Tattered and Torn”. Set out to form a band that would stand the test of time and enable them to grow as songwriters and performers. Their fist CD released in 2006 'Firecraker' is a blues/rock live recording of all Original material. The lineup of members has changed, and the Band has matured as evidenced by the 2013 Release 'Too Far Gone' Which explores other elements like Jazz, and Soul and is a culmination of 6 years of preforming live and writing music along the way. The 2015 Release 'Blues For Now' is the latest offering which features Local musician guests such as Tom Walbank, Connie Brannock, and Tom Fetter.

“We set out to form a band that would stand the test of time and enable us to grow as songwriters and performers. The Band has matured over the years and released four albums which incorporate musical elements like Blues, Rock, Jazz, and Soul. Our influences include Blues greats B.B. King, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters and the like. Plus, Blues/Rock kings Johnny Winter, Savoy Brown, and ZZ Top. Our stage experience includes many festivals, club dates, and mid-sized venues in the Southwest region and club dates on the east coast. Our dual lead guitars, soulful vocal stylings, and tight rhythm section make up Black Cat Bones. We are committed to bringing our fans Modern Blues/Rock that is on the cutting edge, for years to come!”

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Charles: It has made me run the gamut of music I’ve been into in the past. I started being into blues rock when I was in my teens but before I started playing (about the age of 26) I had toyed around with heavy rock and punk rock and what not. This music encompasses a little of everything I love and it has allowed me to travel a band spread the love with people who enjoy it as much as I do.

Jeff: It has influenced my reaction to what goes on more than my views in particular. Blues music in general is an expression of a good feeling, or an outlet for a frustrating one. Playing Music in general opens your horizons and begs you to go beyond your immediate surroundings and share it with as big of an audience as possible. Which is what we've done with the release of "Tattered and Torn".

How do you describe Black Cat Bones' sound, music philosophy and songbook? What is the story behind band's name?

Charles: It is a combination of blues; heavy rock soul and jazz primarily and generally borrow from those. Of course, there is the nod to sounds in the past, but we try and make that as current as we can. I have to confess I simply stole the name from the U.K. band not aware at the time of how easy it is to look something up on the internet, but it is a type of African charm.

Jeff: We draw our sound from the artists that have inspired us, but try not to trap ourselves inside a box. We're careful to not be cliché when picking cover songs and focus more on a particular groove than just a popular song. Our philosophy is to create songs that connect our music with a feeling, a story or an experience.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Charles: One of the greatest experiences was playing the local blues festival, which we get to do again in 2020. Watching Clay Brown, Hurricane Carla and Amochip Dabney play sax in the studio was great to witness.

Jeff: In 2017 we played the Tucson Blues Heritage festival with Big Llou and his blues review, which featured many well-known and talented players Bob Corritore, Jimmie 'Primetime' Smith, and Johnny Rawls to name a few. That was a BLAST!

"It is a combination of blues; heavy rock soul and jazz primarily and generally borrow from those. Of course, there is the nod to sounds in the past, but we try and make that as current as we can. I have to confess I simply stole the name from the U.K. band not aware at the time of how easy it is to look something up on the internet, but it is a type of African charm."

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

Charles: I don't know a whole lot about the latest music, but highly based on the personality. I like the way there was a certain anonymity to some of the music in the 70's and 80's.

Jeff: I miss that fact that mainstream music used to have a real Rock and Blues presence on the radio. Now there is Classic rock and New rock (which is mostly hard rock) on mainstream radio. But it seems that whole genres are left out of the playlists and it's not as easy as it once was to discover new music. As an example, you won't hear us or anyone in our genre (on mainstream radio), because we don't fit in either category. Regardless we will keep doing what we do for many years to come.

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

Charles: We'd hit it big! Aside from that I would not make it so demographic. Music should be for everybody.

Jeff: It's hard to know the credibility of some of the industry folks that are out there. In a world of what is now largely DIY. There's a lot of conflicting information, and It's hard to know who to trust and if your business decision is going to pay off. We have independently released four records now and have a lot of solid contacts in the industry. If there was anything, I would change it would be to have better information regarding music business contacts, the services they offer, and how to best utilize those services.

What would you say characterizes Arizona's blues scene in comparison to other US local scenes?

Charles: The only other place I was at for any length of time was on Cape Cod and where we were at, we didn't see much. But I have noticed the bands in Arizona are kind of dressed down. The other guys in other places like to wear suits and top hats and the like.

Jeff: Arizona has a very good music scene. Blues is appreciated and celebrated in the State of Arizona. There are many great players and bands on the scene here. I would hate to live anywhere where it wasn't like that. I have Heard that Los Angeles is not like that, which is surprising to me. When we played there, I got the sense that there is a lot of great talent there but maybe just not a lot of venues that support the scene and the musicians that live there.

"I miss that fact that mainstream music used to have a real Rock and Blues presence on the radio. Now there is Classic rock and New rock (which is mostly hard rock) on mainstream radio. But it seems that whole genres are left out of the playlists and it's not as easy as it once was to discover new music. As an example, you won't hear us or anyone in our genre (on mainstream radio), because we don't fit in either category. Regardless we will keep doing what we do for many years to come."

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

Charles: That if you want something to get better it takes a certain work ethic. As a kid playing music, I never wanted it to be like school or a job. I have a somewhat more mature attitude towards it now.

Jeff: Lessons come at every turn in the music business. There's a fine line between having fun and remaining professional and experience in those matters are hard lessons for some. although I will say that there is still learning and adapting even after many years in the business.

What is the impact of Blues n' Rock music and culture on the racial and socio-cultural implications?

Charles: I think it brings people together by presenting a type of music that is basic and has roots and that everyone can enjoy.

Jeff: Blues transcends any and all racial inequality, it pulls you in to a place where you can identify with the writer and what they might have been going through. Those struggles that we identify with fit any class or race of people. Which is one reason that Blues will never die.

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