I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, my biggest pet peeve in the music industry is when reviewers compare one musician to another, or say they’re “the new someone”. Let’s face it; everyone is kind of like someone else. There are so many human beings on this planet and so many of them making music that, yeah; ultimately they will sound like someone you’ve heard before. But to burden a man like 29 year old Gary Clark Jr with the comparison of a rock legend like Jimi Hendrix… well, that’s just cruel! When asked how he feels about being labelled ‘the new Hendrix’, Clark Jr replied, “Hendrix was Hendrix and I’m just me doing my thing. [He was] definitely a big influence.”
Clark Jr just wants to make music. He wants to play every kind of music, everywhere, all of the time. “I love to play, I love to learn. My whole thing is not so much [about] being boxed into a certain thing…I’m up for exploring and seeing what happens.” He only raps for a certain few individuals though, but I’m working on winning his trust for that. His sultry tunes are a nod to the time-honoured blues and an amalgamation of raw rock’n’roll that made Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney so popular.
Hailing from Austin, Texan where I’m convinced they put something in the water that breeds talent, Clark Jr was strumming his guitar and listening to records every day from age 12. “I wanted to be Michael Jackson when I was a kid and I still do sometimes. I know all the moves and I’ll challenge anybody to a Michael Jackson dance competition no problem.”
His affable demeanour and his smooth Texan accent make me want to call him a “Cool Cat”... but I’m not sure I can get away with that. He’s one of those guys that make you wish you weren’t white just so you can have the same relaxed attitude and not be considered a stoner. Although, even this cool cat (yep I did it, I went there) gets nervous in the presence of greatness, admitting that playing for Obama was “pretty massive”. As part of a tribute to the blues night, Clark Jr was surrounded by some iconic names in rock and blues that would make the most arrogant musicians meek. “It was surreal to be up on stage next to B.B. King and Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger and all these great artists who laid the foundations for me to be able to roam around and play guitar - so it was really special.“
Glary Clark Jr’s debut album ‘Blak and Blu’ is out today on Warner Bros Records and available to download on iTunes. Clark Jr will be back in Australia for the Big Day Out festivals, so make sure you fight your way through the heavily peaking crowd to his stage on the day!