Q&A with Hungarian guitarist Little G Weevil - authentic style heavily influenced by vintage blues, funk and soul music

"I would stop free online music streaming. These corporations came up with a way so they don`t have to pay the artists. It is a total rip off."

Little G Weevil: The Blues Of Adventure

Little G Weevil is a Hungary born guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer living in the United States. He is known for his authentic style heavily influenced by vintage blues, funk and soul music. Little G Weevil was born with a soul for adventure. He always had such a drive and passion to perform that after seeing him jamming on three different stages on a single night, a fellow musician dubbed him "Little G Weevil. He formed his first band in 1998 and began touring mostly in European countries before moving to the South of the United States in 2004. He spent time in Birmingham, AL and Memphis, TN doing any jobs he could to get by as he absorbed the music. He washed dishes, cleaned rooms, and did construction work as he tried to establish himself on the local scene. Finally, he got his break with a steady gig on Beale Street in Memphis and his reputation started to grow. Today Weevil is a highly esteemed member of the worldwide blues community. He won the Blues Foundation`s International Blues Challenge in 2013, and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award and a Blues Blast Music Award.

Due to family reasons Little G Weevil returned to Budapest in December 2018. He spent most of 2019 on the road touring his home country Hungary and also Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. During the first year of the covid pandemic he wrote a novel - based on real life - titled "Játssz Tovább" (meaning Play On, the adventures of a Hungarian blues man around the world), which is now distributed nationwide in Hungary. The Play On album featuring singers from the United Kingdom and Hungary. In February 2021, Little G recorded a 100% acoustic, 100% live solo set for Hunnia Records. The 17 songs set was released digitally in April as "Live Acoustic Session". The album was nominated for Blues Blast Music Award in the "Live Blues Recording of the Year" category.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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

The Blues to me is the deepest musical genre there is. However, I don`t take the Blues as music "only" but as part of a very rich and fascinating culture.

Understanding the Blues is like learning a language. So I have spent the past 22 years studying the African-American culture, trying to understand the people, why they do what they do, why they say what they say: the history, the beliefs, the habits, daily life, etc... It was necessary to me - as a Hungary born musician-  to be able to represent a culture I was not born into. I`m not black but at least I took time and effort to try to see their point of view which is an absolute must when you play this music. Without that, my blues would be meaningless.

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

My first influences were John Lee Hooker and Albert Collins. The first 10 years I played electric blues then I studied the acoustic blues. Specifically, the North Mississippi style, like Fred McDowell, R. L. Burnside. I always liked drums and the beat and this North Mississippi style carries more of the pure African influence with hypnotic grooves and heavy drums. That`s my thing. I released 5 albums so far with original songs. My style is a big mix of old school southern blues, funk and soul with a hint of Afro rock in it. To me, it`s all the same thing really. As far as creativity...If you are a person with strong opinion about human conditions and life in general, you should not have any problem with creating. I write down what I want to say and add a few grooves and chords to it. I don`t make it very difficult just want to keep it real and the message to come through.

How do you think that you have grown as an artist since you first started making music? What has remained the same about your music-making process?

Well, I spent the first 10 years studying the music and and learning about the culture behind the music. I started gigging in 1996 but I did not write any original songs until my time in Memphis. It was in Memphis where I started developing a Little G Weevil sort of sound around 2005, mixing electric blues with acoustic, North Mississippi and Alabama blues sounds. I mean, I wrote my first songs in Memphis. I wasn't sure where I'm heading musically but performing on Beale Street several nights a week and meeting all those genius local musicians set the bar super high. I felt honored walking those streets and playing those joints. Although I relocated to Atlanta in 2009 there is not one day when I don't think of Memphis. I can honestly say that. It's some sort of love and hate relationship, I guess. As far as the music-making process... basically it remains the same since day 1. I come up with a riff or melody on the guitar and follow up with some vocal lines. Once I know what I want to sing about, the lyrics come fairly easy for me. It's like having a conversation really.                                    (Photo: Little G Weevil)

"I just do me, trying to stay true and credible as a Europe born blues musician. I have the highest respect for the original ancestors, and I do believe that's the right way to approach this music. I just want to create my own music that I hope people will love enough so at the end of the day I can buy groceries."

How do you describe "Live Acoustic Session '' songbook? What touched you from the sound of acoustic blues? Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album Live Acoustic Session (2021)?

Playing acoustic blues it's just as pure and authentic as it gets. I was never really into Delta blues or Piedmont style because it had some country, folky flavours here and there and I can't stand country music. Lol. No offense. But I always loved the beat. My first instrument was drums, I was 11 when I had my first kit. Hearing John Lee Hooker, Fred McDowell, R.L. Burnside made me fall in love with acoustic blues because they had that hypnotic sound that reminds me of African music. Man, I love it so much. One chord, one groove, one message. Bang!

The Live Acoustic Session is basically the most spontaneous recording I have done in my life. There was zero preparation to be honest. In the middle of the covid19 curfew I received a call from Hunnia Records CEO Robert Hunka. He wants me to come in and do an acoustic set, 100% live, no editing. We have been under total lock down for months at that time. It was early February or something like that. I haven't had a gig in 4 months... My acoustic guitar was not even in recording shape, so I had to borrow one on the recording day. So, I went in, popped a beer. What now? Robert was like, just go ahead and play, we won't stop the tape. And please introduce the songs like you do at live gigs. I'm like, really? And I started playing and it just felt so good. I just felt so happy playing again.

Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?

I listen to so much African music these days, it's crazy. Going way back. The history of black music and culture truly fascinates me, I can't seem to get enough of it. Very inspiring and eye opening. I have spent 14 years down South in the US. Somehow, I have a feeling a trip to Africa is next for me.

"I think European blues has come a long way and these days it is very exciting. Most European blues musicians study all genres within blues, they don`t only play one style of blues. On top of that, many add their own countries` musical influences to their compositions and that blending creates a fascinating sound. It is different from the US sound but still super cool." (Photo: Little G Weevil)

Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Perhaps the most important experience in my musical career was "getting schooled" in Memphis. I spent two years there, playing on Beale Street on my own and as a member of Ms Zeno the Mojo Queen Band. That was like a blues university back then. That`s where I received the best advice, too. "G, stay in the pocket". I said, "okay, okay". Now, 13 years later once I get into a groove you do not, ever see me move away from it. Once in Memphis I was told to stay in the pocket, so that`s where I will be. Haha.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There are way too many to list. I played over 2000 concerts in my career so far. I just feel blessed to be able to spend my life with what I love doing. Having a talent is a blessing. Everybody has some kind of talent. You just have to discover what it is. Dentist, barber, mechanic...Whatever that is. I do music. I always encourage my son to discover his talent so he can find his purpose in life. I believe that is the right path towards happiness. 

Are there any memories from Neville Brothers, Johnny Winter, and Sam Myers which you’d like to share with us?

I opened up for the Neville Brothers in Memphis. I think it was the Voodoo Music Festival. They used my amp. Man, that amp never sounded so good, so when they were done, I ran up there to see how they did the settings. I use the same settings ever since.

I opened up for Johnny Winter in Budapest in 2008. He was in real good shape that evening and played fantastically. After the show he let me pick up his legendary 1968 Gibson Firebird guitar. I still have a photo of that. Johnny was way cool. Didn't say much but he was just cool.

I had the honor to jam a good 30 minutes with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets with Sam Myers when they toured Europe and touched on Hungary for a few gigs. It's 2003. That 30 minutes and the day we spent traveling played a big role in why I moved to the USA in 2004. I was blown away by the band and the entire feeling. To me, they were the best blues band out there those days. Every note they hit was right on the money. Absolutely amazing.                        (Little G Weevil / Photo by Palotai Misi)

"I listen to so much African music these days, it's crazy. Going way back. The history of black music and culture truly fascinates me, I can't seem to get enough of it. Very inspiring and eye opening. I have spent 14 years down South in the US. Somehow, I have a feeling a trip to Africa is next for me."

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

I just do me, trying to stay true and credible as a Europe born blues musician. I have the highest respect for the original ancestors, and I do believe that's the right way to approach this music. I just want to create my own music that I hope people will love enough so at the end of the day I can buy groceries. Lol.

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

It`s hard to be objective on this topic without causing damage. But I can tell you that I always loved what strong characters these blues men and women were back in the days. They had the charisma, they had something to say, they were powerful, real and extremely creative. They had the drive to stand out. They were HUNGRY! It was an absolute must to come up with a new sound, a new riff, to build a legacy on their own. They did not want to be copycats. They did not want to sound like the other. That`s the way it should be. The genre and its performers have to move with times and continue creating music that sells. We are not tribute acts. At least I am not. So, the industry must open its doors to new way of thinking in blues so this genre not only can stay alive but be successful all over again.

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

I would stop free online music streaming. lol. These corporations came up with a way so they don`t have to pay the artists. It is a total rip off. I cannot blame the audience, who doesn`t want free stuff? But hey, these online music providers should pay the artist right. We don`t see a dime from any of this. 

"Understanding the Blues is like learning a language. So I have spent the past 22 years studying the African-American culture, trying to understand the people, why they do what they do, why they say what they say: the history, the beliefs, the habits, daily life, etc... It was necessary to me - as a Hungary born musician-  to be able to represent a culture I was not born into."  (Little G Weevil / Dora Photography)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from the different between European and US scene?

I think European blues has come a long way and these days it is very exciting. Most European blues musicians study all genres within blues, they don`t only play one style of blues. On top of that, many add their own countries` musical influences to their compositions and that blending creates a fascinating sound. It is different from the US sound but still super cool. Of course, there are the purists, the hard core European blues musicians and you will not be able to tell where they are originally from. They have the licks down just as good as the Americans. It is nothing but a feeling. You either have it, or you don`t.

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

This music completely has changed my life as soon as I first heard it at the age of 16. I`m 40 now. I was able to travel and perform in 18 countries so far, meet people, see places and experience different cultures. These are beautiful things. Seeing and experiencing give you an open mind. It makes you understand other nations and races and you learn to respect all the differences around you. And for that I`m extremely grateful.

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

I don`t like to go into politics, it is not my place. But this would be a very interesting conversation at a blues workshop or conference.

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

Just one day??? Maaan. I would have loved to spend a day with John Lee Hooker. In case he`s busy I`d choose Martin Luther King. lol. Learning is good for you, you know.

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