Q & A with Harmonica Player Alan Glen of Yardbirds, Nine Below Zero, Barcodes, and Little Axe

"I love ALL roots music - and do many recording sessions for both Reggae and Blues artists."

Alan Glen: Original barcode of Blues

Alan Glen is a British blues harmonica player, best known for his work with The Yardbirds, Nine Below Zero, Little Axe, and his own bands, The Barcodes and The Incredible Blues Puppies. Glen started playing harmonica after seeing Muddy Waters, and the 'American Folk-Blues Festivals' which visited London in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

His early influences being Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Junior Wells. Early bands he was involved with were Crowjane Bluesband, The Radical Sheiks and Brothers Grimm, before going on to join Nine Below Zero (1991 - 1995), and The Yardbirds (1996 - 2003 and 2008 - 2009). Glen has played on over 50 albums and recorded/performed with: Alannah Myles, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Slash, John Mayall, Steve Lukather, Skunk Baxter, on the Yardbirds' album Birdland and he recorded six albums with Little Axe. In addition he appeared alongside Alan Barnes, Jim Mullen and Roger Cotton on the With Friends Like These album for the Barcodes, which also included Zoot Money. He played with Peter Green, Paul Jones, Junior Delgado and Hubert Sumlin at the Long Beach Blues Festival. With Dr. Feelgood he recorded the album On The Road Again. Other collaborators include Art Themen, Pee Wee Ellis, Dub Syndicate, Paul Cox, Alan Barnes, Little Axe and Gypie Mayo. Glen has played at Montreux, Brecon Jazz Festival and Nice Jazz Festivals, Hollywood House of Blues, the Hilton, Las Vegas, and The Royal Albert Hall, as well as various television and radio performances.

Interview by Michael Limnios

When was your first desire to become involved in the blues, who were your first idols & what does Blues offered?

After seeing the Muddy Waters Band in London 1968. Idols - Little Walter, Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf 

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

Best career moments - 1994 - With Nine Below Zero - 12 nights supporting
Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall 
Recording with Jeff Beck at his house studio - 2000
Performing with 'Slash' and Steve Vai in Austin,Texas - 2003

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

Musically most interesting period - 1993 - 2003 - Recorded albums with Nine Below Zero / The Yardbirds / Little Axe / Junior Delgado / Dub Syndicate / The Barcodes - performed at Montreux Jazz Festival, Hilton Las Vegas, and Hollywood House of Blues.

What are some of the most memorable tales with The Yardbirds?

Recording the 'Birdland' album at Steve Vai's studio in Hollywood - 2002

What's been their experience from Nine Below Zero & Dr. Feelgood?

Nine Below Zero - Touring the USA & Canada / Dr Feelgood - Recording the 'On The Road Again' album.

Tell me a few things about your meet with Gordon Smith, how do you characterize him?

Gordon Smith - legendary singer / guitarist - I have recorded 2 albums with him - The Essential Gordon Smith' - and ' Gordon Smith 'Live' ( New - 2012 )

How did you first meet Peter Green, what kind of a guy was Hubert Sumlin?

I performed with Peter Green at the 'Long Beach Blues Festival' - California -in 1998

Hubert Sumlin was a nice guy and a great Guitarist - I love his playing with Howlin' Wolf.

What’s the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

Memorable Gigs - 1993 - with Nine Below Zero supporting 'Sting' at Sporting Lisbon Stadium in front of 100,000 people.

2003 - With The Yardbirds - playing at Hollywood House of Blues - with Steve Vai, 'Slash', Skunk Baxter, and Steve Lukather as guests.

2009 - With The Barcodes - playing at Brecon Jazz Festival - with Zoot Money & Jim Mullen as guests.

Would you mind telling me your most vivid memory from Little Axe?

Little Axe - Dutch TV show - 1996 / British TV - 1997 / Womad World Music Festival - 2011

What do you think of DUB , REGGAE music & how close are they to the BLUES?

I love ALL roots music - and do many recording sessions for both Reggae and Blues artists.

The Barcodes Home



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