Nelson, Paul (July 2004)

Paul Nelson - "Playing With Blues Legend Johnny Winter"

Paul NelsonMuzikMan: Everyone is probably wondering what it was like playing with a legend like Johnny Winter. You back him on his new album I'm A Bluesman; can you explain to your fans and Winter's what the process was like recording and getting to know the man and his music? I don't expect a short one paragraph answer on this one Paul!

Paul Nelson: In a word amazing! I mean he is the man, a true legend of the guitar! I have known Johnny for some time now and when he and producer Dick Shurman told me they were looking for a song for the new recording I began writing "Shakedown." I had Scott Spray come over to the studio and we laid it down as a demo. Johnny heard it and loved it so much so that he asked me to accompany him on it. This led to me co-writing one more song and another which was to become the title track "I'm A Bluesman." Next thing I know, I'm in the studio sitting face to face, guitar to guitar with Johnny recording the rest of the album for Virgin records.

Johnny Winter - I'm A BluesmanMM: You will be touring with Johnny to support the new album, when does the tour kickoff and how long is it? Do you plan on touring overseas after your U.S. gigs? Will there be opening bands or is it just Johnny and his band playing?

PN: Johnny has asked that I join him once he begins performing songs from the new CD (June 15th) and the band begins working on the new material. So I have agreed and am just waiting for the word. But right now I'm just enjoying being part of his new recording. I do know that the plans are for worldwide touring and he does use opening acts. On 2 shows I recently played as part of Johnny's band, Coco Montoya was the opener. I think that was at LA's House of Blues.

MM: What are some of the other projects you have been involved with over the last few years before hooking up with Johnny?

Paul Nelson - LookPN: The WWF's XFL, my solo CD Look, session work with producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, The Wall, Kiss, Aerosmith, Jane's Addiction), as well as many guest appearances on CDs like Jason Becker [tribute CD] Warmth In The Wilderness on Lion Music, a recent Uriah Heep tribute out now on Century Media [and Roadrunner Records], A Return To Fantasy, clinics, lesson columns, other session work, producing and arranging in Denmark, and touring. The list goes on and on, all the details can be found at my web site

MM: Since you will be receiving more attention by playing with such a high profile artist as Johnny Winter, is your plan to go into the studio after the tour and record your own blues album? May as well strike while the iron (or six-string) is hot right?

PN: Funny thing - I'm currently doing just that, I will keep you posted! You must know me by now!

MM: Do you think that major labels will die off eventually due to the new self-reliant web savvy artists and their ability to sell, record, and market their music on their own? Do you think that the corporate greed that many large labels are known for is the reason there are so many bootlegs and people downloading music and that this bad karma is finally coming back to bite them in the ass?

PN: It's a catch 22; self-promotion is great and I'm all for it, as you know, but it takes a long time to build. But nothing beats the instant promotional push of a major label, but even in that situation you need to stay on top of things. So if one is fortunate enough to get on a major they are more prepared and will benefit even more. Bootlegs are still a way to make a fast buck; believe me the labels are well prepared and able to adapt very easily in dealing with pirating with the kind of numbers they do.

MM: What's in common rotation in your stereo these days, Paul? What new talent has impressed the most and whom do you think will be around for many years to come still making great music? I am thinking of bands like Yes, Jethro Tull, etc. Nobody seems to stay together very long anymore, what do you think is the reason behind that?

PN: Well currently I listen to a lot of blues because of you know who; Sonny Boy, Light'in Hopkins, Magic Slim, Gatemouth Brown, Muddy Waters, Elmo James. But I listen to everything in general. Too many one hit wonders I'm afraid no one has a long shelf life anymore.

MM: How many guitars will you take on tour with you? How many will you play in one set?

PN: 2 guitars when I tour and about 15 in the studio and a ton of different amps. For real!

MM: How is the Internet and new technology going to help Paul Nelson advance in his career? Do you think you could live comfortable into retirement by being a D.Y.I. kind of guy or do you still believe you need a major record deal and sales in the mult-millions to get where you want to go? Or maybe you don't desire "getting there," wherever that is, at all?

PN: The Internet was built for the independent artist as far as promotion, but to make a living at this you have to be versatile, very versatile, and I've been fortunate in my pursuits. A major deal doesn't hurt.

MM: Anything that you would like to close with besides "Hi Mom!," like our last interview?

PN: Hi DAD! Hah... Got cha!!!

Leige Lord - Burn To My Touch (1986)
Metal Blade Vol lll (comp., w/Liege Lord) (1988)
Liege Lord - Master Control (1988)
PV/Paul Nelson
Fernando Pierreia - Live From New York (guest artist)
PV - Create Your Lover (guest artist)
Wendy Reno - Matter Of Perception (guest artist)
Guy Vali - Mediterranean Love Affair (guest artist)
Return To Fantasy (Uriah Heep trib., contrib. 'Too Scared To Run')
Powermad 2001 (2001) (comp. cd, contributed track)
Warmth In The Wilderness (2001) (trib. cd, contrib. track)
Look (2001)
Wacken 2000 - Special Report (VHS/DVD)

plus guitar work and music for the [then called] World Wrestling Federation's XFL-NBC/TNN/UPN

Added: July 6th 2004
Interviewer: Keith "Muzikman" Hannaleck

Artist website:
Hits: 1761
Language: english

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