Q&A with France-based band of Same Player Shoot Again, formed by the cream of Parisian blues musicians

"The blues is a music of sharing that we play with our guts or that we listen to with this feeling that touches us deep inside. The blues creates emotions and therefore when you feel them with several people, it inevitably creates strong links. Obviously, blues is a music that brings people together."

Same Player Shoot Again: King Blues

In 2018, this young band formed by the cream of Parisian musicians decided to record a tribute to the king of blues guitarists Freddie King. "Our King Freddie" was such a success for a first opus that the band was pushed to the limit... A Cahors Blues Festival 2019 Award and a great tour later, they are back in the studio, this time for a tribute to Albert King... "Our King Albert" is released on June 4th, 2021. Same Player Shoot Again was founded by Romain Roussouliere (guitar) and Max Darmon (bass). The band was later joined by Vincent Vella (vocals), Florian Robin (keyboards), Steve Belmonte (drums), Jérome Cornelis (alto sax) and Loic Gayot (tenor sax). The band grew up in this music. One could even say that the blues is endemic in some of them. The choice of the artist to pay tribute to is natural, the selection of titles is collegial, rather happy and each tribute highlights with great virtuosity titles sometimes rare or even unknown to the public.                                   (Same Player Shoot Again / Photo by © Laurent Sabathé)

In 1974 Freddie King released the album ‘Burglar,’ in which point we noticed a fusion of blues and funk. It is that same album that inspired Same Player Shoot Again to record their previous album ‘Our King Freddie’ (2018) with the same common idea trying to rekindle the sounds of an era. The band’s name – ‘Same Player shoot again’ – is a reference to the pinball world of the seventies. The original artwork for the album covers is by the well-known and talented Frank Margerin.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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

MAX: I have done some traveling indeed but it didn't take me that many miles to discover the world of rock and blues. Since I was young I used to go to a mythical club in Paris called L'Utopia. This magic place welcomes all the references of the blues in France and I had the opportunity during many evenings, to listen, play, discuss with great artists. It's also thanks to L'Utopia that I met Romain, so thank you.

ROMAIN: The Blues culture gave me a very interesting way to approach American culture. I think we can analyze the whole history of the United States and that of black culture through that of blues music. I loved discovering the United States, living this experience for real.

VINCENT: Black American music has been with me every day since I was a child. Without ever having been to the United States, Soul, Blues and rock music have made me travel for more than 30 years from Chicago to L.A. through Louisiana and Texas. The generosity and the sharing of this style of music convinced me to make music in group rather than solo. I hope that one day Same Player Shoot Again will take us to play in the original lands of the Blues.

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

MAX: All recording sessions and concerts are different. You live magical moments and then sometimes you don't realize it. There are so many of them. The funny anecdote I'm thinking about as I write this, I remember one day at a festival dropping my bass amp behind the stage because it was so loud. Great discomfort when you have no sound in the middle of a song but very funny.

ROMAIN: Memories of studios or concerts are always memories of human sharing. Smiles, bursts of laughter or anger. This is really what I like and what I will seek in this profession. Above all, human sharing. We are lucky to be a band that is also a bunch of friends and I think that sums up our philosophy well.

VINCENT: There are plenty of memories and anecdotes to share when you do this job. So many meetings that often take us even further and even change our lives. The best one for me : After several months spent in a music TV contest, a woman contacted me saying she loved my music and would like to meet me. I agreed. We are now married for 5 years and have a 2 year old son. What could be better?

"The sound of SPSA is constantly evolving. We are a cover band so it is very important for us to find the right mix between a unique sound and the respect and understanding of the artist to whom we refer. The name was born from an idea of our producer who thought that the vintage side of the pinball machine suited us well." (Photo: Same Player Shoot Again)

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

MAX: Personally, I like the blues of the present as much as those of the past. However, I find that the current albums sometimes lack the roots sound.

ROMAIN: I miss nothing in the blues of the past. What is done is done and what is to be done is to be done. On the contrary, I only feel positive feelings with regard to the blues of the past. It is a wonderful source of inspiration that shows us a way and charts a way for the future !

VINCENT: Personally, I don't miss the blues of the past because it is still there, present everywhere in the form of heritage and influences for so many contemporary artists. The 3 Kings, then Hendrix, Clapton and now "Kingfish" or Marcus King : Blues is alive, long live the Blues.

Why do you think that the Kings (Albert, Freddie, B.B) Blues continues to generate such a devoted following?

MAX: The virtuosity as well as the simplicity of their guitar playing.

ROMAIN: The story with these three is quite special. Particularly for us Europeans because many white Europeans artists have played this music we allowed this repertoire to become popular, I could take the example of Eric Clapton which is the most obvious but there are many others. I think these directories have become classics of 20th century music and will remain so.

VINCENT: The 3 Kings’s music have greatly contributed to make the blues a popular music known throughout the world. They are pioneers, they are also legends.

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

MAX: Never forget the pleasure and joy you give to the audience even when you are tired. Never forget where you came from when you started and share your experiences and knowledge.

ROMAIN: Everything is a question of love and passion.

VINCENT: For me, music is about passion and pleasure, love and friendship. Like every profession, being a musician requires a lot of work and sometimes concessions or even sacrifices, but this is nothing compared to the happiness and the luck we have to get up every morning to do this job.

"The story with these three is quite special. Particularly for us Europeans because many white Europeans artists have played this music we allowed this repertoire to become popular, I could take the example of Eric Clapton which is the most obvious but there are many others. I think these directories have become classics of 20th century music and will remain so." (Same Player Shoot Again / Photo by JY Bouchet)

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

ROMAIN : The sound of SPSA is constantly evolving. We are a cover band so it is very important for us to find the right mix between a unique sound and the respect and understanding of the artist to whom we refer. The name was born from an idea of our producer who thought that the vintage side of the pinball machine suited us well.

What is the impact of Blues on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

MAX: For me, the blues is a music of energy. It gives energy, it asks for energy and it plays on energy. It has therefore a role of link between the human beings.

ROMAIN: There is something very spontaneous in this music, it is a cry from the heart. I think that in the difficult times that we are living, it is music that can resonate with a lot of people.

VINCENT: The blues is a music of sharing that we play with our guts or that we listen to with this feeling that touches us deep inside. The blues creates emotions and therefore when you feel them with several people, it inevitably creates strong links. Obviously, blues is a music that brings people together.

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

MAX: What if we decided with the whole group to go to the same place at the same time to live the Same Player Shoot Again spirit in the great Blues era?

ROMAIN: August 18, 1969, somewhere in Sullivan County ...

VINCENT: Maybe 150 million years ago to see for a day what the Earth looked like without any trace of civilization and see one or two diplodocus.

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