Q&A with Japan-born blues guitarist Hiromasa Suzuki, toured more than 15 countries in America, Europe, Africa and Asia

"If everybody in the world are purely curious with no ego, war will disappear from this planet."

Hiromasa Suzuki: Rising Sun Blues

Guitarist and singer Hiro Suzuki born in Chiba, Japan. 1981 started the career as a professional musician in Tokyo Japan. 1992 moved to the U.S. and played with NYC bands such as Moose and The Bulletproof Blues Band, Jerry Dugger and Black Pearl, Christine Santelli Band, Oxford Blues, Roxy Perry, Last Tribe, Lil' Mama, Frank Bay, Ed Dicapua & Big City, etc…. 1997 played with Sam Taylor Blues Band, Jimmy Vivino, Leslie West, Nick Gravenites, Bill Sims, Little Milton, Tod Wolfe, Shemekia Copeland, Son Seals, Elvin Bishop, Johnnie Johnson, Richie Cannata, Little Sammy Davis, etc. In 2003 started the Original project “Grumpy Juke”. Joined Deborah Coleman’s backup band as the rhythm guitarist. Toured more than 15 countries in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

(Photo: Hiro Suzuki / Photography by John Phillips)

Played with Magic Slim, Kenny Neal, Arthur Williams, etc. In 2004 joined Deborah Coleman’s recording session for the album “What about love”, worked as the recording conductor, and played all of slide guitar parts and rhythm guitar parts. 2006 toured in Japan for 3 weeks with Grumpy Juke. Played with one of the most innovative Japanese guitar player Shinji Shiotsugu. Started working with “The GasHouse Gorillas”. Toured with Joe Louis Walker's band. In 2008 Released The first album From Where I Am, joined The GasHouse Gorillas’ recording session for the album Five Gorillas Walk into a Bar.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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

I am nobody but just myself. The best tool for explaining myself.

How do you describe Hiro Suzuki sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

Blues, Bluesrock, Rockblues, Countryblues, Blues-influenced-country-guitar, Jazzblues, Swingblues, Jumpblues, Blues-influenced-any-kind-of-music-guitar...I don't know....give me some gigs in Greece, so that you'll know. Any music includes blues and any instruments includes guitar are just tools. The point is how and what you create using all of those tools.

What were the reasons that a Japanese musician started the Blues/Rock researches and experiments?

Because it's cool.

"I am nobody but just myself. The best tool for explaining myself." (Hiro Suzuki / Photo by Christian Murdock)

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences?

Bill Sims. If I could pick more, D.B. Rielly, Sam Taylor and Dicky Betts.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

"Sing a song." by Bill Sims.

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

If everybody in the world are purely curious with no ego, war will disappear from this planet.

Are there any memories from Little Milton, Son Seals and Magic Slim which you’d like to share with us?

I have very interesting stories from all of those three giants. They are all too long to tell you ...

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

Audience!! Hope; to be available to answer "Musician" for the question "What is your occupation?" till I die. Fears; to lose my dream.

What has made you laugh and what touched (emotionally) you from Nick Gravenites and Elvin Bishop?

Nick; Laugh; smoke so much weed touch; smoke so much weed
Elvin; Laugh; I can't pick one because he always make everybody happy and laugh. Touch; always gives his original band big respect and never will to do his show with any pick-up bands.

Make an account of the case of the blues in Japan.

Great instruments players, great audience, great music venues. They need more good singers.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

I say the one thing can be an answer is it's wrong if you disrespect somebody just because of his/her skin colors, it's also wrong if you overestimate somebody just because of his/her skin color.

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

If you let me to pick up three whole days, August 15, 16 and 17, 1969, Bethel, White Lake, NY. If you still insist me to pick up only a whole day, August 17, 1969, Bethel, White Lake, NY. Because, you know why.

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