"Go Back to Yesterday, Learn How and What to Say, and Make Your Statement"
Eugene Hideaway Bridges
Eugene is a nomadic musician living his life on the road. His home is wherever the next performance takes him, and every year this is from America through Europe, to Australia with many other stops in between.
Born in 1963, son of the blues guitarist Hideaway Slim, Eugene is the fourth child of five. His mother was from the Bullock family (the same as Anna Mae Bullock better known as Tina Turner) and Eugene claims he got his guitar skills from the Bridges side and his voice from the Bullocks. At five he was already playing with his father around Louisiana. With his brothers as The Bridges Brothers he sang gospel and was the musician of his church touring with the Pastor, Elder A A Edwards. At thirteen Eugene was entering R&B talent shows and had formed his first R&B band The Five Stars.
Eugene moved to Texas to join the Air Force at sixteen, playing in the Air Force band for the next three years. On leaving he joined The New Chosen on guitar and vocals and went on to play with The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Following a move to Houston, Eugene released Blues, Gospel and R&B recordings by the three bands he was running at the time. These included the first line-up of the Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges Band. They toured the USA from coast to coast.
Eugene then travelled alone to Europe, where B B King Bassist Big Joe Turner spotted him in Paris and offered him the position of Guitarist / Vocalist with Big Joe Turners Memphis Blues Caravan.
A year later Eugene left to work under his own name again and formed The Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges Band. Signed to the Blueside label, Eugene recorded Born to be Blue, produced by Mike Vernon. In 2000 Eugene signed to Armadillo and released his next CD, Man without a Home, which got worldwide airplay. In September 2004 Eugene recorded his next CD, Coming Home, the Texan guitarist and friend Rocky Athas joining him on two cuts. After four CDs recorded with a full band, for Eugene’s next self-titled release, Eugene ‘Hideaway ‘ Bridges, he went into the studio with friends and fellow musicians, met on the road. March 2009 saw Eugene in San Antonio to fulfill his fans wishes for a Live CD.
The new CD ‘ROCK AND A HARD PLACE’ is Eugene and his big band; the horns again led and arranged by long time collaborator and maestro Seth Kibel.
Blues, Soul, Jump, Funk, Gospel, Rock and Beach music make Eugene’s latest CD an upbeat journey through all the musical influences that have made Eugene the seasoned and versatile performer we have today.
Eugene, when was your first desire to become involved in the blues & who were your first idols?
I WAS 2, ABOUT TO TURN 3 WHEN MY DAD SAW ME WITH A PLASTIC TOY SHOVEL WITH ELASTIC BAND ON IT. THERE WAS A SOUND IN MY HEAD, AND I NEEDED TO GET IT OUT SOMEHOW. I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT BLUES, ROCK OR ANY TYPE OF MUSIC, JUST SOUNDS… I GUESS THAT IS WHY MY MUSIC IS NOT BLUES ONLY. OVER 46 YEARS, I NEVER PUT IT IN ONE PLACE.
AND THE ONLY GUITAR PLAYER I KNEW WAS MY DAD, ‘HIDEAWAY SLIM’.
MY FIRST GIG WAS WHEN I WAS 3 AND I WAS PLAYING BACK UP GUITAR FOR DAD. ONLY IN THE DAY TIME AS I WAS ONLY 3, HE TAKE ME BACK HOME THEN GO OUT AND PAY THE RENT WITH HIS GUITAR ALL NIGHT.
THE FIRST SONG I LEARN WAS A HONKYTONK LIKE A JIMMY REED RIFF, DADDY SHOWED ME ONCE HE SAW ME WITH THAT TOY. TRYING TO MAKE A SOUND COME OUT, AS I DO WHEN I HEAR A HORN ON A FORD, OR A TRAIN HORN. THAT MADE MUSIC IN MY HEAD.
What does the BLUES mean to you & what does Blues offered you?
THIS WILL SOUND LONG, BUT I NEED YOU AND OTHERS TO UNDERSTAND….YOU KNOW WHEN A FARMER PLANTS HIS FIELDS. HE USE THE BEST SOIL THAT WILL YIELD THE BEST THAT YOU CAN GET FROM THE LAND…WELL THE BLUES IS THE TRUTH OF LIFE, OF WHAT A MAN HAD TO GO THRU EVEN WHEN THERE WAS NO OTHER OUTLET… SOME CAN SAY WELL EVERYONE GO THRU BAD TIMES… THIS SOIL THAT THIS BLUES IS GROWN FROM COME WITH BLOOD, HARD PRICE THAT CAN NEVER BE PAID BACK, AND THRU PRAYER. IT IS A TRUE STORY ABOUT REAL LIFE WHEN IT’S DONE RIGHT & IT IS A WAY TO SPEAK WHEN I HAVE NO VOICE
Do you think that your music comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?
ALL… WITHOUT ANY OF THE 3 YOU GOT A RUBBER STAMP… AND YOU CAN MAKE MILLIONS BUT HAVE NOTHING.
How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?
I SING TO THE PEOPLE. NOT AT THEM. IF YOU CAN’T GROW FROM MY SHOW THEN I WASTED 46 YEARS OF MY LIFE… THERE MUST BE A MESSAGE IN THE MUSIC. ALL THE TIME NOT JUST A SONG TO GET YOU TO BUY THE CD, ARE YOU SICK OF THAT? I BEEN SICK OF IT FROM THE START. I’M JUST OLD SCHOOL.
THE WORST OF ANY THING IS THE GIMMICKS & GAMES PEOPLE PLAY IN THE MUSIC WORLD….
IF YOU EVER HEAR ONE OF MY SONGS, THINK OF HOW YOU FEEL WHEN YOU HEAR IT… WELL THE BEST PART OF MY CAREER IS THAT I WRITE THAT JUST TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN 365 DAYS A YEAR FOR OVER 46 YEARS.
AND I WILL NOT STOP. IT CAN’T STOP. IM ONLY IN TOWN OVER NIGHT, BUT MY MUSIC WILL BE WITH YOU FOREVER, GOD HAVE BLESSED ME TO DO THIS.
hich artists have you worked with & which of the people you have worked with do you consider the best friend?
MY BEST FRIENDS ARE MY BANDS IN AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND, THE USA, SETH KIBEL, MY AGENT IN ENGLAND, MY GUITAR. .. I HAVE WORKED WITH SO MANY PEOPLE,,, ALL OF THE GOSPEL GREATS GOING BACK, ICE CUBE, SOME OF THE HIP HOP TOP NAMES. IN ROCK MICK JAGGER, JACKSON BROWNE, ZZ TOP,,, IN BLUES ,,, JUST DID SOME DATES WITH THE KING OF THE BLUES BB KING, WITH TAJ MAHAL, JAMES BROWN BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY, … MAN… THE LIST GO ON AND ON, AND THEY ALL ARE WONDERFUL PEOPLE. NEVER HAD A BAD NIGHT,,, EVER
Are there any memories with Mike Vernon, which you’d like to share with us?
I LIKE WORKING WITH MIKE AS HE KNEW I ALWAYS KNOW WHAT I WANT IN A SONG BEFORE WE EVER GO TO THE STUDIO.. SO WE WORK SIDE BY SIDE AND HE HAVE A HISTORY IN MUSIC AND I WELCOMED THE CHANCE TO HEAR WHAT CAN WORK WITH IDEAS I HAD TO MAKE A GREAT CD. WE DID NOT LOOK AT A CLOCK AS WE WORK. HE GIVE A LOT OF GOOD IDEAS THAT MADE THE SONG EVEN BETTER. I TRUSTED HIM. AND WISH TO WORK WITH HIM AGAIN SOMEDAY, NOW THAT I’M WITH ARMADILLO MUSIC
What kind of guys is Mike Vernon?
MIKE KNOWS HIS STUFF. WE TALK AFTER THE RECORDINGS, AS IN THE STUDIO, HE IS FULL ON, ON TOP OF THINGS, KNOW WHAT BASS MAN TO GET TO DO THIS SOUND, OR WHAT HORNS PARTS TO GO TO THAT SOUND.. IF ANYONE GET TO WORK WITH HIM YOU GOT GOLD.
ANY AMUSING TALES WOULD BE ON THE ROAD TO THE GIGS, AS IN THE STUDIO OR ON THE GIG IT IS FULL ON WITH NO PLAYING AROUND AT ALL. IN AUSTRALIA WE FLY SOME AND DRIVE SOME, AND THERE ARE SOME TALES ABOUT THAT BUT IT’S BETTER IN PERSON THAN ON PAPER. SORRY
Describe the ideal sound of rhythm section to you? How do you characterize your project and your sound?
ANYONE IN THE BAND FIRST HAVE TO KNOW ME, WHAT I’M ABOUT, WHAT I LIKE AND STAND FOR, THAT’S NOT HARD, THE DRUMMER MUST GIVE ME A FULL TICK TOCK WITH A BACK BEAT, THE BASS MAN NEEDS TO GIVE ME A WALKING GROOVE WITH ITS OWN ID. EACH SONG HAS ITS OWN ID. WITHOUT IT, IT IS LIKE SAYING ALL YOU PEOPLE LOOK ALIKE. DON’T GO THRU THE MOTION…. GIVE ME EMOTION.
What were your favorite guitars back then, where did you pick up your guitar style?
I LIKE 335 GIBSON, AND IF I’M DOING ROCK THEN A STRAT OR LES PAUL.
I HEAR SOUNDS IN MY HEAD AND I MATCH IT AS I DID WHEN I WAS 3, EVEN TODAY, ALL I DO IS MATCH WHAT IS IN MY HEAD.. I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT I DO AS IT HAPPENED SO FAST THAT I NEVER TOOK TIME TO FIND OUT HOW I LEARN TO PLAY
FROM LIFE… LOOK AT LIFE AROUND YOU AND THAT ALONE CAN TEACH YOU EVERYTHING IF YOU ARE LOOKING. I HAVE NEVER BEEEN A FOLLOWER… BUT A LEADER. MOST PEOPLE YOU KNOW TOOK A CD OR RECORDING AND PLAYED IT OVER UNTIL THEY PICKED UP SOMETHING AND THEN START CALLING THEMSELVES A BLUESMAN… IT JUST HAPPENED ONE DAY. NO LESSONS, NO RECORDINGS, I STARTED CREATING MUSIC. SOME BLUES, SOME COUNTRY, ROCK, HIPHOP, GOSPEL… JUST MUSIC
What advice has given Hideaway Slim, which memory from him makes you smile?
TO BE A GOOD LEADER, YOU MUST BE A GOOD FOLLOWER. … WHEN YOU PLAY FOR SOMEONE, LISTEN TO HIM, NOT HOW THE SONG SHOULD GO. BUT TO THE GUY WHO IS THE LEADER. NOW WHEN IT’S YOUR TIME TO LEAD, THEN YOU LEAD AND KEEP YOUR TIMING.
I wonder if you could tell me a few things about your experience with Big Joe Turners Memphis Blues Caravan.
I MET JOE IN PARIS. HE WAS THE HOUSE BASS MAN, AFTER I GOT THE JOB MY 2ND DAY THERE, HE TOLD ME ABOUT HIS BAND OVER IN ENGLAND, AND ASKED ME TO LEAD SING FOR HIM. I GOT TO BE SEEN OVER ONE AND A HALF YEAR TO PEOPLE AROUND EUROPE, AND IT WAS TIME I GOT BACK TO MY WRITING AND PUSHING MY NAME, JOE HAD A SOUND AND GROOVE ALL OF ITS OWN. EVEN WHEN I HEAR SOME OF THE OLD BB KING SONGS,,, I CAN HEAR THE ONE JOE PLAYED ON AS HIS STYLE STANDS OUT. HE’S PASSED ON NOW BUT HIS RECORDING WITH BB CAN STILL BE HEARD
Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is? Give one wish for the BLUES
YOU KNOW WHAT IS GOOD AND DON’T NEED TO BE TOLD WHAT IS GOOD MUSIC OR BAD MUSIC . BUT IF THE POWERS THAT BE ONLY GIVE YOU FILLERS THAT IS ALL YOU WILL GET USED TO. WHEN MUSIC IS NOT TRUE… EVEN IF ITS BLUES… IT WILL NOT LAST. BUT WHEN YOU ARE TRUE, YOU CAN BE PUSHED OUT OF THE SUNLIGHT BUT IT WILL CONTINUE TO GROW AND LIVE
Which of historical blues personalities would you like to meet?
SAM COOKE AND T-BONE WALKER.
FIRST TIME I DROVE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CAR AND THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD WAS WITH JOE TURNER FROM LONDON TO NEWPORT, WALES. AS I WAS CHANGING GEARS, I TOOK MY HAND OFF THE SHIFT LOOKING FOR THE SHIFT WITH THE OTHER HAND, AS IN USA I’M USED TO MY RIGHT HAND SHIFTING. IT WAS COLD AND RAIN AND I NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE THAT DAY. AFTER HITTING THE ELECTRIC WINDOWS OVER AND OVER, I GOT IT. NOW BEING ALL OVER THE WORLD WITH LEFT HAND DRIVE AND RIGHT. IT ALL GOOD NOW
How do you describe your philosophy about the BLUES?
GO BACK TO YESTERDAY, LEARN HOW AND WHAT TO SAY, AND MAKE YOUR STATEMENT.
Who are your favorite blues artists, both old and new, what was the last record you bought?
OLD…..BB KING, JIMMY REED, T-BONE WALKER,
NEW… EUGENE HIDEAWAY BRIDGES, I HAVENT BOUGHT ANY NEW CD IN YEARS.
What’s the best jam you ever played in?
I LIKE ALL JAMS, THE ONES IN MUSTIQUE, OR THE ONES ON BEALE STREET.
What are some of the most memorable gigs you’ve had?
1996 LONDON ROYAL ALBERT HALL WITH ME AND BB KING.
2011 SYDNEY STATE THEATER ME AND BB KING ON MY 45 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TOUR.
ALL OF THE BYRON BAY SHOW I EVER DONE.
EVERY SHOW AT PERTH BLUES CLUB I EVER DONE, EVEN WHEN I STOP BY AND SIT IN. I WISH EVERY BLUES CLUB TAKE A PAGE FROM PERTH BLUES CLUB, FOR ME THE LOVE NEVER STOPS.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE… BUT… YOU CANT STAND HER?... WELL THAT IS WHAT THAT SONG WAS ABOUT,,, LOST LONELYNESS. IN THIS RECORDING SESSION I WANTED TO GO THRU ALL THE DIFFERENT PART OF WHO I AM, DOO WOP , BEE BOP, GOSPEL, HARD ROCK, AMERICANA, BLUES, AND TO SAY THANKS TO BB KING AS WE JUST DID SOME WONDERFUL DATES IN AUSTRALIA 2011
LOVE SONG LIKE IT HAD TO BE YOU I DON’T HAVE SOMEONE TO SING THAT TO, BUT SOMEONE DO, AND IT WAS FOR THAT PERSON I WROTE IT
I’M HOLDING ON ABOUT NOT GIVING UP WHEN THINGS GET YOU DOWN. STAY STRONG THRU IT ALL.
How did you first meet Rocky Athas, are there any “blues memories” you've had with him?
I CAME TO DALLAS TO DRIVE TO AUSTIN TO RECORD. ROCKY WAS SIGNED TO ARMADILLO AND I WAS TOLD HE WAS A GREAT GUITAR PLAYER, AND WE MET AS HE WAS IN THE STUDIO RECORDING WITH LARRY SAMFORD HIS SINGER, AND THEY WAS GREAT. HE TOOK ME AROUND AND SHOWED ME WHERE TO GO IF I NEED ANYTHING, AND I LIKE WHAT HE DID ON HIS CD. WE ASKED HIM TO COME DOWN AND PLAY ON COMING HOME CD AND HE SET UP SOME SHOWS FOR ME TO PLAY IN DALLAS FORT WORTH, AND WE WORK GREAT TOGETHER. AND NOW AFTER EUROPE, AUSTRALIA, USA , WE TRY TO MEET UP WHENEVER WE CAN. HE IS LIKE A BROTHER. AND LOTS OF RESPECT WITH HIS MUSIC TOO. ONE DAY I WAS AT THE GUITAR SHOW IN FORT WORTH, AND HE WAS SHOCKED TO SEE YOU AS I DID NOT TELL ANYONE I WAS IN USA AND WAS COMING THERE. WE PLAYED A FEW GUITARS TOGETHER THERE… SOMEONE SAID YOU GUYS SHOULD PUT A BAND TOGERTHER… WE BOTH LOOKED AT EACH OTHER AND WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT WE SAID… WE ARE BOTH SIGNED TO ARMADILLO MUSIC.
If you go back to the past what things you would do better and what things you would avoid to do again?
I WOULD NOT GET MARRIED… JUST FACE GOING TO JAIL…. I WOULD DO MY MUSIC THE SAME. REAL LIFE IS WHAT WRITING ALL ABOUT, YOU CAN MAKE UP LIFE AND THAT IS WHAT IT WILL SOUND LIKE, BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU ARE ON A COMP CD OF ONLY THE SONGS YOU HAVE DONE THAT WAS NOT A FILLER. TO ME A FILLER IS WAITING UNTIL YOU CAN DO YOUR OWN JOB RIGHT, I DON’T HAVE TO WAIT.
Any final comments…
I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE AT ARMADILLO MUSIC WHO ARE DOING EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO HELP ME WITH THIS MUSIC ALL OVER THE WORLD.
THANK YOU TO THE AGENTS WHO ARE WORKING WITH ARMADILLO MUSIC AND ON THEIR OWN TO KEEP THE MUSIC GOING. TO PAT MANSKE FOR THE WORK HE IS DOING PRODUCING, MIXING AND ALL THE STUDIO WORK. I LOOK FORWARD TO BRINGING YOU GREAT MUSIC EACH TIME I GO IN THE STUDIO.
Photo Credits: Alwyn R. Coates Armadillo Records
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