Q&A with Spanish musician Javier Vargas, has earned the merit of being a living legend of the electric guitar in Europe

"Music raises the collective conscience and the doors of perception open to us music unites peoples and tames beasts."

Javier Vargas: From South to Your Heart

Over 24 studio albums, eight platinum albums, international tours and performances with the greatest of music legends; In almost three decades of his career, Javier Vargas has earned the merit of being a living legend of the electric guitar in our country. And far from standing still, he does not stop; After publishing 'King of The Latin Blues' in 2018 and 'Move On'  in 2019 – of the Vargas & Jagger project -, he now returns with his Vargas Blues Band album called 'Del Sur' (2020), an album consisting of 12 songs that will leave nobody untouched. 'Del Sur' was one of the most successful songs in the career of this guitarist and that is why he chose this name for the title of his brand new first-ever instrumental album. On this album he blends his blues guitar playing with the Latin touches of Spanish acoustic guitarist Juan Gómez 'Chicuelo' recreating a different yet equally tasteful version of the song 'Del Sur'.

Apart from southern root influences, one can hear and feel an intense masterful touch of latin blues on songs like 'Spanish Wine' which is the first single from the album that is set to become a classic as are his songs 'Blues Latino' and 'Buenos Aires Blues'. In short, this is a new project in which Javier Vargas makes a display of melodies throughout 12 carefully handcrafted songs, filled and sealed off with the acclaimed mythical nuances that this bluesman stands for. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Interview by Michael Limnios              Javier Vargas @ blues.gr, 2011 Interview

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

I started playing the guitar when I was 14 years old in Argentina from the moment I heard Hendrix, I think the Woodstock festival and all the artists who performed and what Love Union Peace meant had an influence there I met Santana or Ten Years After and at that precise moment I decided that I wanted to dedicate myself to blues and rock and travel with my band and take my music to another level.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound comes from my fingers and my heart for me music is the heart of a heartless world my influences come from Jazz, blues, rock, flamenco and Latin music my creativity comes from what surrounds me I capture the energies and turn them into sound and melodies with a deep base of blues.

What moment changed your life and career the most? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

At the moment that Carlos Santana chose my song Blues Latino to include it on the Santana Brothers album. It was a great boost to my career, the best advice they gave me was to find the music that comes from your heart when one heart speaks, there is always another that listens.

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

The important thing is to be humble, generous and enjoy every moment and always give thanks for what life gives you because even from the bad you learn.

"My sound comes from my fingers and my heart for me music is the heart of a heartless world my influences come from Jazz, blues, rock, flamenco and Latin music my creativity comes from what surrounds me I capture the energies and turn them into sound and melodies with a deep base of blues." (Photo: Javier Vargas & Junior Wells)

Are there any memories from Roy Buchanan, Carey Bell and Junior Wells which you’d like to share with us?

I met Roy Buchanan in Nashville in '75, I saw him play several times and I spoke with the about telecasters and sound, with Carey Bell, I played in 8 shows with him and he recorded with me on two songs on the Madrid Memphis album with Sugar Blues and Junior Wells was the Best than I've heard playing an harmonica also with Junior Wells I also recorded and played live the day I met him, I took him to the hotel and from 7 in the morning until 12 he told me the whole story of the blues in Chicago and of Muddy Waters life that was his mentor was a fun and generous guy a great person.

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

The greatest of blues unfortunately left us but there are still blues musicians who have followed the legacy of the greatest, incredible guitarists and musicians who keep the blues in good health, I am not afraid I look to the future with hope.

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

That the music industry will treat musicians better I think we are the weakest link in the chain being a musician is not enough you have to know the business if you want to make a living from the music.

What are the differences and similarities between European and Latin American blues scene?

Currently blues fans are the same everywhere, in my opinion we are a large minority who love real music, Buenos Aires is the capital of blues in Latin America, there is a great tradition of musicians and fans of this style.

"The greatest of blues unfortunately left us but there are still blues musicians who have followed the legacy of the greatest, incredible guitarists and musicians who keep the blues in good health, I am not afraid I look to the future with hope."

(Photo: Javier Vargas, Beale Str, Memphis TN)

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

Music raises the collective conscience and the doors of perception open to us music unites peoples and tames beasts.

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

I'd like to appear in New York in '48 and see Charlie Parker perform in a club.

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