//////((( Interview with Black River Bluesman and Bad Mood Hudson )))////
Rick Saunders, Real Deep Blues, June 2016
RS:: (Rick Saunders) : It was great to see you guys at the Deep Blues Festival in Clarksdale. You were amazing. What was that experience like for you?
JUKKA: Thank You. I have been a big blues fan since early 70's. Mississippi was a place of my dreams that I was not sure if it even exists. Just to finally get there not to mention to perform there I cannot describe by words. One of the shows was on a porch at Shacksdale by Hopson plantation. In the middle of our show, a spotlight caught fire in front of us. It was quickly put out, the shack didn't burn down, I survived the electric shocks I got from the microphone and the music never stopped.
HUDE (=Andy the Bad mood) : I was born in the 70's and Clarksdale is an is amazing place! I really enjoy to be there! Great place to organize festival! It was great to be part of it!
JUKKA: The Deep Blues Festival has been the best festival ever and we'd like to thank everybody who made it happen. Special thanks go to Chris Johnson, John Lowe, Mary Anne Norwood and Stan Street.
RS:: Jukka, you play Lowebow guitars. Could you tell me how you found out about John Lowe and his Cigarbox guitars, how many of his guitars you have, and what makes them
JUKKA: We played at a festival in Scotland 2008
and met a Danish guy who was playing cigar box guitars that he had made by himself. He told me he had visited John & Bev Lowes' shop Xanadu Music & Books in Memphis. That time there was nothing much about John or Lowebows in the internet but I managed to get in contact with John and mail ordered my first Lowebow – Purgatory Hill Harp # 30. Now I have four of them. The Hill Harp, a Double Decker Triple Necker Baritone # 1, a Cresting Wave # 1 and a Cathead Diddly Bow. Yes – two number ones!
Lowebows are not only just the same old cigar box guitars. The Cresting Wave has a solid body but the sound is still the genuine, distinctive Lowebow sound. John makes the pick-ups himself by hand which certainly is part of the secret. Most of his guitars have one bass string and three guitar strings with separate bass and guitar outputs for separate amps which adds to the sound.
HUDE: I like the sound of Lowebow's so much I couldn't help but buy me a Hill Harp and a Diddly-bow too!
JUKKA: It is the unique sound. I play only Lowebow's now as I like to sound the same all the way. And yet there is variation from the four
RS:: Do you use pedals? If so what kind? What kind of amp set up do you use?
JUKKA: No, I don't use pedals - Lowebow sound is good enough. I trust in the over-drive that comes from the amp. I have a distortion pedal just in case a venue provides amps with only clean channels. Lowebow's are equipped with two outputs - one for guitar and one for
bass amp. So I always need two amps. My bass amp is Ampeg BA-115 HPT. I have two home made (no brand name) all-tube guitar amps, one small modified Epiphone and a Peavey Delta Blues tube combo.
RS:: You've played in the states a few times now...three? Four times? Is there a difference between U.S. gigs and the shows you do in
Europe or are the people pretty much the same as far as the reaction you receive? Folks seemed to be kind of in awe of you guys at the Deep Blues Festival.
JUKKA: I have played five times in the States since 2009. Three times with Bad Mood Hudson, once with Livia Noisance Monteleone and once with Washboard Jackson. We have played mostly in the deep south, but also in Minnesota.
I think the audience reactions are more different venue to venue than between the continents. We feel more comfortable at deep blues stages, rock clubs and punkier bills than venues where people are expecting moody easy listening blues by candle light. But yes, I feel that in the USA people at our gigs are more open and find it easier to come and talk to you and say
”Awesome show guys!” At least here in the cold North people are more reserved. We don't tell you you were great until we are very serious about it, really mean it and - drunk enough. I have started to learn a little about these differences, like you are not expected to tell about your family/health issues to a waiter who asks ”How you doing?” We have always felt very welcome in the States.
HUDE: Same and not the same, it depends on the place often, but the audience is much more social in U.S
RS:: What's the music scene like for your kind of blues in Finland? Are there a lot of places to play, and has the local arbiter of blues correctness, the blues society, approved of what you guys do, or is it too much for them?
JUKKA: There are not many blues bands that play what could be described as deep blues – well, just a couple. Although talented and skilled, many of the Finnish blues bands tend to be not so alternative. There are some great bands that are making international career too. Some blues bars prefer more mainstream blues and rock clubs are a little suspicious if there is a b-word in your stage name.
We perform more abroad but sure have played all the blues festivals in Finland. And they are many – big and small. We started an alt.Blues society in 2007 to promote deep blues in
Finland. We have arranged five fests called ”Floating Cockroach Festival” and have booked bands like Deltahead, Johnny Halifax and the Howlin' Truth, Dogbreath, Dirty Trainload, Bullfrog Brown, Dave Arcari and many more. Awesome parties! And I plan to put up at least one more in 2018 when I will be 60....
We've got some big fans in the Finnish Blues Society but I really don't think all of them like punks like us. Anyway, we were chosen by the Society to represent Finland at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. FBS is publishing one of the oldest still existing blues magazines in the world (since 1968). They have written
articles about us and reviewed all of our records and all the reviews have been most positive. All the other Finnish blues media too have published interviews and positive articles about us. So I guess we kinda have been approved. You can tell by the reviews we get that the blues people think:
”They are not a blues band but we love them” and the rock people say: ”This is as blues as it can get but we love it”.
HUDE: I think blues audience keep our music too ugly today, but some people still love it! Good for them. rockers is also found in our music and it's a good thing!!! We have a lot of clubs and festivals in Finland and Europe.
RS:: Let's talk influences. I hear metal, and some punk, definitely Howlin' Wolf, R.L. Burnside, T-Model Ford, Mr. John Lee Hooker, but its contained in a tight fist of blues tone and rhythm, it never truly sounds like metal or punk, just the vibrancy, the urgency, the passion of, yet it retains the blues form.
JUKKA: Actually I don't listen much to heavy metal so the "metal" influences must come from my childhood when Black Sabbath were the most important band to me. And I still like their three first albums very much. Punk too is obvious. In the end of the 70's punk came to Finland and a lot of bands started to pop up. But of course the blues has always been the main thing in my life. First the British blues
invasion, then I found out about Chicago blues, Delta blues and so on. Hill Country blues became my favorite and later also the deep blues movement. If I had to mention only one favorite band I would say Deltahead.
RS:: I'm glad you mentioned DeltaHead. An amazing and underrated band. I think the ever-dying blues music genre is in an interesting place right now. Italy and Sardinia has a little scene of amazing guitar players and singers, UK's always got something happening, your area has a few bands that have a lot of similarities, You guys, Deltahead, Dogbreath (if either of those two still exist) have a lot of similarities.
Have you played with other "alt-blues" (whatever that is) bands in your region or elsewhere that we should know about?
JUKKA: The "alt.blues" scene is very small and marginal at least in Finland. In Europe there are bands that play very different blues from each
other so I don't know if they have a common thing or if there is a special European style that is different from American deep blues. Except that America has awesome bands in every block - we don't.
RS:: Last question: Imagine I'm coming to your house today to listen to some music. Give me five songs you'd play for me.
JUKKA: If you put the question that way I would probably choose some of my favorites that are maybe a bit lesser known. That's why no Black Sabbath, Bukka White, Ramones, RL Burnside or Johnny Lowebow in this list.
1. Deltahead: Don't move to Finland.
2. Hanoi Rocks: Tragedy
3. Chicken Legs Weaver: Your enemies cannot harm you
4. Mr. Tater: A walk in the park
5. Kollaa Kestää: Kirjoituksia kellarista
JUKKA: I'd like to change the last song to another old Finnish "punk" song. (Yes these bands were called punk bands back in the day!)
5. SE - Ei asfaltti liiku. I been singing that song all day, that' s why the change.
RS:: I dig your first pick for number 5, too, so I'm keeping it.
HUDE: Delta Head: Don't move to Finland
Kaaos: kytät on natsi sikoja.
Terveet kädet: pissaa ja paskaa
The Exploited: Punks not dead.
Junior Kimbrough: Burn in Hell
(Funny we chose same song by Deltahead ....)
RS:: Thanks, guys! It was a pleasure to get to know you.
JUKKA: Thank You it was nice talking to you and it is an honour to be featured at the legendary Rick Saunders Deep Blues site!
RS:: You're too kind. Cheers!