An Interview with Chris Spedding, one of the UK's most versatile session musician

Chris Spedding should need no introduction for any fan of British rock . One of the most gifted and versatile guitarists of his generation he has straddled pop, rock, jazz and punk for almost half a century. He’s done this with ease whilst finding time to play with many major figures of music scene such as Roxy Music, Elton John, John Cale, Little Milton, Memphis Slim, Tom Waits, Ginger Baker, Joe Louis Walker, Billy Lee Riley and Paul McCartney. 

Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Chris Spedding has been a mainstay of the British session scene since the late 60s, playing with just about everyone from Nucleus, Jack Bruce, John Cale, Elton John, Mike Batt, to Paul McCartney & The Bay City Rollers (anonymously!).

In 1975 Spedding had a hit record called "Motorbikin'". In the late 70s he moved to the States and worked with Robert Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Dick Rivers and Johnny Hallyday.

Since 2001, Spedding has been playing live with Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, The War Of The World and R.Gordon / D.Rivers, of course.

In 2011, he releases his 12th original studio album "Pearls"

Interview by Michael Limnios

Chris, when was your first desire to become involved in the music & who were your first idols?

About 1956. Skiffle, Lonnie Donegan and later Elvis etc.

What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned?

I listened to records and learned from them.

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

It’s all been good.

What does the BLUES mean to you & what does music offered you?

The blues was and is an ethnic American musical form that has been very influential.

What do you learn about yourself from music?

That I’d like to be able to do it better.

Do you think that your music comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?

All of the above.

How would you describe your contact to people when you are on stage?

I don’t think about it. If the audience is happy then I’m happy.

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD musician?

The fact that I’m not very good at much else.

Which of historical blues personalities would you like to meet?

Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and the 3 Kings.

Media or talent plays the most important role for an artist to get discovered?

All the above plus luck.

When did you last laughing in Studio and why?

I laugh when something sounds better than I thought it would.

What turns you on? Which things do you prefer to do in your free time?

I like to read. Non-fiction, history, and some detective novels.

Describe the ideal rhythm section to you? Three words to describe your sound & your progress

Morris Jennings on drums and Andy Fraser on bass. 3 words? “Get it right!”

How did you begin playing music and when did you know you would do this for a living?

I began by listening to records and I knew by age 13 that I would do it for a living.

What were your favorite guitars back then, where did you pick up your guitar style?

I always wanted Gibson but it was a long time before I could afford one. My first proper guitar was a second hand Hofner Senator. My style came from copying records.

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about music?

No one. I taught myself.

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us. Why do think that is?

I don’t know. There are many styles of music that are not influenced by the blues.

Who are your favorite blues artists, both old and new, what was the last record you bought?

Albert King. Muddy waters. I rarely buy records anymore. The last song I downloaded on iTunes was Crazy Arms by Jerry Lee Lewis.

What do you feel is the key to your success as a musician?

It’s the thing I’m good at.

From the musical point of view is there any difference between rock, rock n’ roll and blues music?


Do you have a message for the Greek fans? Give one wish for the BLUES

I wish that the blues will continue to be popular and influential. If I have any Greek fans, thanks for your support and I hope to see you all soon.

Are there any memories of these entire GREAT musicians which you’d like to share with us?

I remember that I’ve had great enjoyment and lots of inspiration from many wonderful musicians.

What do you think is the main characteristic of your personality that made you a musician?

That I try to get it right.

How do you get inspiration for your songs & what musicians have influenced you most as a songwriter?

Too many to mention

Of all the people you’ve meet, who do you admire the most?

If I told you , hundreds of people would hate me!

Why did you think that Chris Spedding, continued to generate such a devoted following?

I don’t know. If it's true then I'm very grateful

Chris Spedding's website

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