Mission: To Make People Smile
An Interview with Allen Vega by Bernd Kreikmann. Photo: Bobbie Goodman
BK: We know each other since some years Allen, good to see you in great shape.
AV: Yes Bernd, I believe we met in 2011 on Facebook, your general interest in American blues music caught my attention and I‘m happy we became friends, I have made some changes in that time, becoming sober and taking charge of my health and musical direction.
BK: I’ve been impressed of what you changed and realized in your personal life during that time. To come to your roots Allen, your uncle has been a well known musician too, has he been the one to bring you to the blues?
AV: My uncle David „Dynamite“ Vega was the original guitarist for the band „Graham Central Station“ although he was a huge influence on me learning to play guitar he was not the reason I started playing blues music. My Mom was the person that got me into the blues. At the age of 16 she took me to see Stevie Ray Vaughan and that changed my whole world. At the age of eighteen my father passed away and I feel blues music helped channel my anger and depression into a positive thing. Blues music to me is a very spiritual and healing part of my life!! It has helped me to release the stress from the daily trials and tribulations of everyday life and at the same time while performing it does the same for the people at my shows. It is my wish to help people forget about the bad in their life‘s and cut loose the worries and have a good time, if even only for a moment. If I can make that happen for the people then to me that is the ultimate feeling of gratification that money can‘t buy!!
BK: It was a pleasure to see your CD „Rough Cut“ climbing up the charts. It’s still a chart breaker.
AV: Our CD titled „Rough Cut“ was named for in which the process it was recorded. We went into the studio and just laid down the tracks with no rehearsal, heck we didn‘t even know what songs we were going to record. We recorded the album in one session with the band, Aldwin London on Bass & Vocals, Sugar G Robinson on Keys, Mr Paquettez on Drums, Armen Boyd on Sax and myself on Guitar and Vocals. I did two more sessions to do the vocal tracks and to mix the CD. Rough Cut has been doing well since it‘s release in 2013 we are grateful it has captured the attention of many people throughout the world and has been number one on the ReverbNation blues chart for over six months.
BK: When we met first time you’ve been with BigCat Tolefree, what happened?
AV: Well, my friends and fans kept telling me they like my show better, so I decided to front my own band, I didn‘t feel Big Cat was growing and I made the choice to move on!
BK: I understand, you want to continue to go your own musical way as started with „Rough Cut“. BTW my favourite take is „Tin Pan Alley“.
AV: After being a side man for over 20 years I feel the time has come for me to step up front, BTW Tin Pan Alley is also my favorite track on our album and is getting a lot of attention.
BK: Attending your gigs it is great to see that the crowds are enthusiastic to see you with your new band.
AV: The response has been amazing and we look forward to bringing a new high energy show where ever this ride may lead us!!
BK: Isn’t it a risk to start up with a new band, when you’re on top?
AV: As I stated, I want to grow and being in BC & the Hipnotics was stifling my creativity. My grandmother always told me to follow my heart and take chances!
BK: I know that times are getting harder for musicians on West Coast too. You have a very nice family a wonderful wife and two children. How is it possible to survive as a Blues Musician under these circumstances?
AV: I‘ve had to make sacrifices for my family, I gave up touring and got a day job to support my family. I have no regrets, sure it‘s tough to do music and work a day job but the most important thing to me is to be there for my wife and kids!
BK: I understand that the love to your music is deep down in your heart, it is not a job but kind of a mission.
AV: You got that right!! I‘m on a mission to make people smile, dance and forget about all there problems if even for only a moment!
BK: That is great Allen, what are your plans for the next times? I heard a rumor that you are working on a new CD?
AV: I have a lot on my plate right now and I‘m very fortunate to be involved in multiple projects. I recently recorded with some huge names in the Funk music industry that I will name at a later date upon the record release. I have also recently recorded with a true blues man by the name of Silver Fox on his all original album which is being released in July 2014. I am currently writing and recording my second album and we should have it complete by the end of summer.
BK: Do you plan to do your CD Realease tour in Europe too? Do we have a chance to see you on our stages in Germany?
AV: We are currently looking for contacts in Europe and overseas to help us with tour support. We would like to perform all over the world!!
BK: Many thanks for taking your time Allen, all the best for your plans and hope to see you soon on the other side of the pond.