Davy Knowles – Guitarist Names The Date
The young Isle of Man guitarslinger is currently based in Chicago. With a new album called 1932 around the corner and live dates planned, our man Pete and Davy talk music, events, Back Door Slam and the future….
JLTT: You’re on the West Coast right now, Davy?
DK: That’s right, I’m in San Francisco, to do some gigs
How is it you know our friend Arnie Goodman?
(Laughs) Ah! I have known Arnie for years..from when I came over to the States for the first time and the New York City show that we were doing. He quickly became a familiar face and then a good friend
Now I do remember Back Door Slam of course and I always thought there was quite a measure of Johnny Winter in there – were you a fan?
(Warmly) Of course I’m a fan of Johnny Winter, absolutely! In fact, Pete all of Back Door Slam loved Johnny and I would also suggest a big dash of Rory Gallagher in there as a strong influence.
You ******* ! that was the other name I was going to offer ! but each given a pile of food ingredients we would all make our own individual dishes out of it, wouldn’t we?
That’s exactly it! we create from what we have learned..and add our own creativity
So how are you enjoying playing around America?
Oh I love it, I really do. All a bit arse-about-face at the moment, logistically. But it’s a great place to work, the gigs are pretty much inexhaustible as far as touring goes. But there again I am looking forward to spending some time back in my own neck of the woods, so to speak and getting back over to Europe in a while is definitely something we are concentrating on.
Back Door Slam had its share of tragedy. You lost a member in a car crash
That’s right, yeah. That was a little while before we properly emerged, we were still in school then Brian,.along with a very close school friend of ours
Yes, it was just devastating, for everybody, the families. A very tough time for all
So how would you like Back Door Slam to be remembered?
(Pause) That’s a lovely question. It would be nice to be remembered at all! We had an enormous amount of fun, we all had enthusiasm. It was a short spell, really. But for three kids from the Isle Of Man to just go out and do something, you know? To try something. To answer the question then, as encouragement to anyone else where I grew up to give it a go, whatever the context or the endeavour. You can do it!
That’s right, I was in a big lineup outfit late 80s and onwards and the comradeship of the band, it was always like taking your act behind enemy lines, to a new audience and to somehow win them over..
Yes that absolutely sums up the beauty of touring. You want to make sure you have some impact, give the crowd something fresh that they will remember. That constant kind of pushing forward, striving to be better and consistent.
You had some contemporaries when you started, but they differed. I saw the 22-20s live BUT they didn’t look at each other, they just played their individual parts. Whereas the people we are talking about – Winter, Taste and say Little Feat, they play off each other
Yes and that makes the music more lively, organic. That’s a true group sound. If you are just there projecting yourself, well you’re missing the point here, mate!
Your voice is your own by now, you have been doing this long enough, but there’s maybe 5% Rory and 5% Coverdale in there, I venture?
Maybe there are more of us influenced by David than we care to admit!
Unconfuse me, Davy – are you a Fender man or a PRS man?
I am Fender presently, overall. I found an old 60s Telecaster in a shop in Chicago. And it sounded absolutely brilliant, I could just express myself through it so well.
Your recordings – you have Peter Frampton aboard on one AND the God Of The Keyboards Benmont Tench ( Tom Petty – PS)
That was down in Nashville a few years ago. Peter called me and we just get along really well. We’re all jamming together and it was sounding really great. So we are in the same place, same time and we started writing together. We had a great time creating the Coming Up For Air record. He put together this band, it was nothing to do with me. Benmont is a real gentleman, works very fast, understands what’s needed.
Just on Peter, have you heard the new Cliff Richard rock’n’roll album? He’s doing Boom Boom on there, with Cliff
Wow!! I must catch up with that
Live dates for you?
I have some fine players aboard on bass drums and keys for touring the songs, I am very lucky to have such good musicians to work with. They are wonderful human beings, too. They really push me, make me work…
I like the occasional George Benson touch you use
Well thank you very much for that! As you I know are well aware, the more and varied material you can listen to, the more you can draw upon. Early George Benson in particular is absolutely mind-blowing…
Yes! White Rabbit. Out of this world
Jazz is just part of the musical fabric, that spirit of free-wheeling. I always gravitate towards the human element of music rather than the machine-driven stuff. If you record soon after a set of live dates then you can capture the band sound and that makes the songs sound their best. If you spend a long time layering up sings in the studio you can be really sick of the songs by the time you’re finished. Recording live the old-fashioned way does work best for me.