Q&A with British keyboard player George Glover of Climax Blues Band - flown the flag with tremendous passion and style

"Listening to different music whilst travelling around the world is an education in it self and even if you don't speak the language you can communicate with music. Perhaps the politicians of the world should do the same then maybe there might be less problems in the world."

George Glover:

Keeping the Keys of Climax Blues Band

Founded in the 60's, by Colin Cooper, Climax Blues Band has always focused on its roots, a unique combination of jazz and blues. After 50 years, 18 albums, the classic world-wide hit "Couldn't Get It Right" and tours of the UK, Europe and the US, Climax Blues Band are now touring with a new album of original material and still playing the blues in a creative way that has always been synonymous with their name. The Climax Blues Band of today carries the same standard of quality as it did when the band formed back in the late 60s and achieved such great success and recognition through the 70s and 80s, huge selling albums like FM / Live and Gold Plated, the 1976 hit single Couldn’t Get It Right (from Gold Plated) and I Love You in 1981, the reputation carrying right through until the tragic death of founder member Colin Cooper in 2008. Colin’s death could have meant the end of Climax Blues Band but his desire was for the band to continue creating the fine blues blend that the band has been associated with since its formation, and that desire has been accepted with relish by the remaining members of the band.

(George Glover / Photo by Gernot Mangold)

George Glover has been at the keyboards in Climax since 1981, very much part of the nucleus of the band, Lester Hunt on guitar joined in 1986, drummer Roy Adams in 1987 and Neil Simpson on bass in the early 90s. This solid unit has flown the Climax flag with tremendous passion and style. Now there is a spring in their step, taking the band forward and already pleasing crowds throughout Europe, the ‘seamless’ transition in carrying on creating the unique Climax sound is the result of hard work, disguised by a band having a great time making music. George Glover joined the band on keyboards and backing vocals on tour promoting the ‘Flying The Flag’ album and has remained there ever since. George’s colourful background included playing the famous Star Club and Top Ten Club in Hamburg the same time the Beatles were out there and eventually moving there in the mid-60s. Returning to England to join the Cyril Dagworth Players with David Parton, touring and playing on his hit single ‘Isn’t She Lovely’.

Interview by Michael Limnios

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

Very much so. Listening to different music whilst travelling around the world is an education in it self and even if you don't speak the language you can communicate with music. Perhaps the politicians of the world should do the same then maybe there might be less problems in the world.

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

My excitement in playing music is my Drive it makes you feel good if you do it for real and I do...Its certainly not for the money. Creating music and writing can also be very satisfying.

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

Thats a difficult one, but you should never think you have learned it all its impossible and never Stop learning and listening otherwise you will stand still.

"I'd like a time machine to be able to go back in time to different musical periods Jazz & Blues, Dance Bands in the 40's & 50's then further back to the classical days and to go and check Bach and Mozart out, amongst many many more. so I would need more than a day." (George Glover / Photo by Haluk Gurer)

What does the blues mean to you? What's the balance in music between technique (skills) and soul/emotions?

A huge fan of blues music and personally think it's equally important to have the feel and emotional input as well as some technique helps. Some people can stand up and sing unaccompanied with soul and passion, their voice and heart is all that's needed. 

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? 

I've come a long way since I first started making music and hope it keeps progressing that way. Always listening and practicing.

How did you hook up with Climax Blues Band? What moment changed your music life the most?

A long story really but the short version is I knew some of the guys in the band they were reasonably local to where I lived, and they were after a keyboard player for a small tour that turned out to be nearly 6 weeks. Playing with different musicians changed my musical direction and musical life removing blinkers (if I even had any).

Why do you think that Climax Blues Band music legacy continues to generate such a devoted following?

I think Climax BB has always been a Good Band Live and nearly always delivers and sends its audience home happy. There are the odd exceptions, but none spring to mind.

Are there any specific memories or highlights of your career with CBB that you would like to tell us about?!

These days my memory bank ain't what it used to be its nearly full need a bit more storage space !!! But gigging festivals are still an excitement for me. Pyramid stage Glastonbury, Reading Festival and the famous Montreux Jazz festival still rank well up there. Many also in Europe, wonderful.

"A huge fan of blues music and personally think it's equally important to have the feel and emotional input as well as some technique helps. Some people can stand up and sing unaccompanied with soul and passion, their voice and heart is all that's needed." (Photo: Climax Blues Band - George Glover with saxophonist Colin Cooper and guitarist Peter Haycock, Jimmy Page's studio c.83/84)

What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome as a person and as artist and has this helped you become a better musician?

Loosing close members of bands over the years (through ill health and other reasons) and it never gets any easier. Whether that made me a better musician I doubt? but it made me more determined I suppose.

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

The world is a strange and beautiful place but sadly these days I think we are abusing it, and the human race seems to be bent on treating one another worse than ever!!! If that's at all possible. That's a heavy question.

Why did you think that the British Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following?

Its good time music...

Life is more than just music, is there any other field that has influence on your life and music?

Yes, eating good food and my full-time hobby !!! is cooking it, using all different influences from all countries around the world especially the ones I have travelled to, I've been very fortunate in that way and appreciate it.

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

Many memories too many to write down they are all somewhere in my memory bank stored in my head and sometimes difficult to remember. Playing for Chuck Berry in front of 20,000 Spanish people and doing a TV show with him. Playing at Glastonbury in the 80"s with Climax BB on the Pyramid Stage. Playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival and hundreds of other Festivals. Doing a Blues tour through Italy with Climax and Albert Collins and Pine Top Perkins and a few names I can't remember great times.

"My excitement in playing music is my Drive it makes you feel good if you do it for real and I do...Its certainly not for the money. Creating music and writing can also be very satisfying." (George Glover has been at the keyboards in Climax Blues Band since 1981 / Photo by Haluk Gurer)

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

There were more gigs available in the old days so you could go out and learn your profession. But young Musicians today don't have that chance today so its harder for them in some ways but they do have more available things to learn from with computers and teaching YouTube videos so they can learn the technical side if they want to. and its also easier to write and recorder their own songs but its playing Live Music for me you get one shot at it if you mess it up you can't stop that way you learn to get it right...No pun intended.

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

That sounds a very heavy loaded question my friend and not one i can answer just in a few sentences. We would need to sit down around a table with a few beers and I'm sure we can put the world and everything right... Until the next morning … 

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

Staying Young and not just in my mind....ha ha...!

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

Thats hard...I'd like a time machine to be able to go back in time to different musical periods Jazz & Blues, Dance Bands in the 40's & 50's then further back to the classical days and to go and check Bach and Mozart out, amongst many many more. so I would need more than a day.

Climax Blues Band - Home

(George Glover / Photo by Haluk Gurer)

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