Talk:Stevie Ray Vaughan
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"Music has become really important now. It's helped me to open up more and take a chance on loving people. Music is a good reason to care. It's just a vehicle though. It's a way to try and give somebody something that you feel. If trying the best I can isn't good enough, I'll just have to try harder next time...it's all I can do. If I do the best I can, then at least I did the best I could in this life The way I like to look at it is....if that's the last time /I ever got to play, I'd better give it everything I've got." - SRV Bernard Allison (Son of Luther Allison) What amazed me most was his attitude. Most of the guitar giants, they kinda block themself off from the public or they're not willing to talk about it. He was wide open, very similar to B.B. King and my dad. He would speak and share his ideas, or give his thoughts and say, 'Hey, try this; that's wrong the way you're playing it.' Guitar players don't like to tell their secrets, but it wasn't a secret to him because he had learned it from somebody else, and for him to pass it down to an even younger generation, I respect him so much for that.
Gregg Allman I remember when he first came out, he was doing that Hendrix song [Voodoo Chile], and I heard all these people going, "Ah, he's just trying to do Hendrix. But he went a lot further than that. He was absolutely 100-proof, pure blues. Albert Collins, Muddy Waters - the essence of that was in everything he played. More than the Allman Brothers, he was straight-down-the-line blues.
Stevie was always playing. After he'd get offstage, he'd get on his bus. And he had all these Stratocasters hanging there. He'd grab one and start goin'.
Lou Ann Barton Stevie and I were young and wild without a care in the world. There were only a few of us playing this kind of music, so we were thrown together in our little circle. Everybody in our band had a bunch of different personalities. For a while I called Stevie "Brady", and that became his name. He called me "Mudah". But we grew up fast and hard; we learned how to be alcoholics together, too. Just crazy kids making music. We first met in around 1975 when Jimmie saw me singing in Dallas and said, "I want you to be in my new band," which was the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Stevie was playing in a band called the Cobras, and after the Thunderbirds and I decided not to work together anymore, I asked Stevie if he wanted to do something with me. We put together a band called Triple Threat. When that band dissolved, we decided just to call it Double Trouble, because he and I were both featured. So that was the original Double Trouble.
This is just too close to home - this is family. He and Jimmie couldn't be any closer to me than my own brothers. We've lived together for almost twenty years, lived in the same neighborhood and actually raised each other. We came up from the depths when we were getting fifty cents a night per head to play R&B, which nobody liked, and being white kids as well - He really worked hard to make his success possible. He was just so damned talented.
Jeff Beck When I saw Stevie on the Guitar Shop Tour in '89 or '90 he was completely cleaned up, playing better than ever. I was just amazed; he could make me rediscover the blues every night. He showed me some fantastic photos of his heroes, like Howlin' Wolf. There was complete respect for them, but there was also deep comedy in those pictures. I think the funniest was a picture of Howlin' Wolf sitting in a speedboat in a driveway outside his house. Stevie carried these around, and once he had made a few dollars he bought an air conditioning unit and had his picture taken by the air conditioning unit as a kind of status symbol. He thought that was the greatest thing. He was well-loved. Stevie's the American apple pie blues guitarist par excellence. He's American and a southern boy; he had all the credentials to be top of the heap, and he was.
David Bowie I saw Stevie in two completely opposite places. In 1983 he was sitting cross-legged on my floor during rehearsals for a not to be undertaken tour. His furrowed brow and sallow cheeks seemed old and weary on a face that young. Our talk drifted from blues to travel to books. All at once, his engine revved up to full throttle and he waxed at length about the things he read, fixing pointedly on a tome concerning the ups and downs of a young boy. He told me how inspirational this book was and how one day the lessons in it would enable him to stand taller than he already was. As the conversation ended, his expression fell back into the unknownable depths that only the truly hurt can fathom.
The second time was at a Double Trouble gig in 1990. With bright, shiny eyes, a huge warm grin and hug, he brought me back into his dressing room. Sure enough, times had changed and he related to me with passion how bad things had gotten and how good they were now. Happiness, hope, and fulfillment filled his face. Right there I knew he had become as tall as the thoughts in the book of which he had spoken those many years before. Stevie had one thing going that eludes so many. He had grown into the man he knew he always was.
Doyle Bramhall The first time I met Stevie was in 1966 at his parents' house. I heard guitar playing coming from a room, and went to where the sound was. I pushed the door open, he stopped playing and said with a big smile on his face, "Hi, I'm Stevie." Though I miss his music, his sense of humor, and his friendship, Stevie's smile is what I remember and miss the most. Stevie has brought a lot of happiness to a painful world.
Eric Clapton I don't think anyone has commanded my respect more, to this day. The first time I heard Stevie Ray, I thought, "Whoever this is, he is going to shake the world." I was in my car and I remember thinking, I have to find out, before the day is over, who that guitar player is. That doesn't happen to me very often, that I get that way about listening to music. I mean, about three or four times in my life I've felt that way, in a car, listening to the radio, where I've stopped the car, pulled over, listened, and thought, I've got to find out before the end of the day, not, you know, sooner or later, but I have to know NOW who that is.
...and I remember being fascinated by the fact that he never, ever seemed to be...lost in any way...It was as though he never took a breather...or took a pause to think where he was gonna go next, it just flowed out of him. It's going to be a long time before anyone that brilliant will come along again.
I didn't get to see or hear Stevie play near often enough, but every time I did I got chills and knew I was in the presence of greatness.He seemed to be an open channel and music just flowed through him. It never seemed to dry up.
I have to tell this story: We played on the same bill on his last two gigs. On the first night, I watched his set for about half an hour and then I had to leave because I couldn't handle it!. I knew enough to know that his playing was just going to get better and better. His set had started, he was like two or three songs in, and I suddenly got this flash that I'd experienced before so many times whenever I'd seen him play, which was that he was like a channel. One of the purest channels I've ever seen, where everything he sang and played flowed straight down from heaven. Almost like one of those mystic Sufi guys with one finger pointing up and one finger down. That's what it was like to listen to. And I had to leave just to preserve some kind of sanity or confidence in myself.
W.C. Clark Stevie Ray did more for my musical career than I even realized at the time. I had gotten out of music and taken a job as a mechanic at an Austin car dealership. One afternoon, Stevie came to the garage and we started talking about what was going on in the Austin music scene at the time. He took my hand and looked at my fingernails and said, "Man look at the grease under those nails. Check out your hands. Those hands were meant to be playing music." It was those words that brought me back to music. Without Stevie's encouragement, I might still be a mechanic. How do you ever thank someone for bringing you back to your true love ?
Albert Collins We jammed many times, and I had so much fun. I really miss him. He did some Jimi Hendrix, some Albert King, a little of me, but he had it together for what he wanted to do. He had a direction, and he made it work. The kids really liked his fire.
Robert Cray Stevie had this immense power and drive and passion in his playing, where it's like, "If you don't believe what I'm tellin' ya, I'll tell ya just a little bit more. Listen to this! You still don't believe it ? Here's a little bit more!" He could just keep going on and on, just talking to you. It was great.
I know that nobody will ever forget him. I think that he took what he learned from the blues and took it to another level. He incoorporated a lot of the good things in a lot of different guitar players, like Hendrix, and added it to other things that he learned. The things I hear out of Stevie are the power and the passion. Although he had a real nice subtle side to him too, when he played the mellower side. But I think for a long time coming there are going to be a lot of frustrated guitar players trying to pick up on Stevie's stuff. The first time Stevie and I played together was in 1979 at the San Francisco Blues Festival. We did four or five dates together in the bay area and Santa Cruz, switching opening slots, and we became pretty good friends. We had barbeques together down in Santa Cruz. We went to pick him up one afternoon for a barbeque, and he was dressed up like Jimi Hendrix - had a Jimi Hendrix wig on and a little short kimono. We were just rowdy youngsters then; we were all between twenty and twenty-five. We'd always run across one another on the road here and there. There was always a big hug and "How ya doing?" and stuff like that. This past weekend, I hadn't seen him for a while, and he gave me a big hug.
Saturday [two days before the accident] was a great day. His brother, Jimmie, came down to the show. We were all taking photos, just clowning around. He was really happy. I'll always remember how he kicked my ass all the time on the guitar. It was inspirational, you know?.
... for a long time coming there's going to be a lot of frustrated guitar players trying to pick up on Stevie's stuff.
Billy F. Gibbons Stevie Ray Vaughan was a fine player who developed his dramatic style that stands as the technical achievement of bringing his dedication and feeling onto a stage and into the soul. He successfully achieved the unusual yet masterful working relationship with the other guitarist in his life, his older brother Jimmie, and made it smoke. A great guitarist, a great brother, and a great Texan.
Buddy Guy The first time Stevie and I met, he told me he had watched me before. It was in Austin, we were onstage, and I heard these electrified notes coming out from me like lightning and thunder behind me. And he had slipped up on stage behind me. And I turned around and said, "Who's that?" and the vibe was just there. This is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I said, "I've been looking for you." You know, it was like I found what I had been looking for. The rest of the night we played, almost until daybreak that next morning. Stevie told me how his brother Jimmie had learned a bit before him, and he kept hearing this record of mine. His brother wouldn't let him listen to it, so he went and stole it. He said,'These are the licks I want.' We laughed about that the night of his tragedy. I'll never forget some of the licks he was playing the last night. I think it was one of his best nights ever.
It was an honor to have him do [my] tunes, because just like I went to Muddy Waters and paid tribute to him, everyone pays tribute to someone they admired a lot. Music is handed down to the next generation. And he wasn't just some white kid saying,'I got it.' He told the truth.'I got this from Buddy Guy or Albert Collins,' or whoever he wanted to talk about. That was some of his greatness. All of us have a certain God-gifted talent. Blues was locked out with a skeleton key, but Stevie was the type of person where they gave this guy the key, he opened the door, and threw the damn key away and said, 'All of y'all come in here. Let's play and show people how this shit's supposed to be done.' He was like a brother to me. This year I won three W.C. Handy awards in Memphis, and I had to dedicate them to that kid, because that kid woke blues back up.
Stevie is the best friend I ever had, the best guitarist I ever heard, and the best person anyone will ever want to know. He will be missed a lot.
John Lee Hooker To me, he's one of the greatest blues singers there ever was. I'm very sad because I wish he were here. But his music will never die. He's one of the greatest blues musicians that ever picked up a guitar. The first time we met was in Austin, Texas at Antone's, and it was him and his brother, Jimmie. That was fifteen or twenty years ago, and at that time he could play tremendously. And I said, "Someday this kid's going to shake the whole world up". And he was one of the nicest people. You couldn't help but like him, you couldn't help but love him. I never cry, but yesterday, when I heard the news [about Stevie's death], I sat down on my bed and cried like a little baby.
Mick Jagger He was the greatest blues guitarist of his generation.
Dr. John The first time I heard Stevie, he was working with Angela Strehli, and Doc Pomus called me up and said I gotta hear this guitar player. I was not the most openminded guy to hear another guitar player. But I went to see him and when I heard him play, he was tough, but he was real, almost leaning off of Albert King. I was into Albert, so I was into the fact that here was this young kid doing that.
When I met him later, I was impressed because he was already doing more stuff than when I first heard him, and he reminded me of a lot of guys in a lot of ways, and he was growing fast. He wasn't doing Jimi Hendrix, but you could tell he was listening to some of that stuff. I was digging the fact that he was mixing some Lightnin' Hopkins and a whole bunch of different kind of stuff up. What amazed me about this kid was that people dug him for totally different reasons. He had some kind of ability to be like different guys in different times, and there's something special about that.
Eric Johnson I had the privilege of knowing Stevie somewhat. We crossed paths numerous times, as we both lived in Austin in the days before success deservedly found him. I remember just visiting, as our girlfriends at the time were best friends. He was always kind and cheerful. He was very excited about music and he always played with a lot of emotion. I admired the strong passion he brought to it. I remember one concert in Austin where I opened the show for him. It was a gift to have had those musical moments with him. Later that night when he took the stage, he played with a power and excitement that made time stand still. His guitar sound was magnificant as it emotionally reverberated through the coliseum, powered by some lightning force from beyond the physical realm.
It is said that an artist's talent can be largely judged or evaluated on the impact that they have on others, and the number of those who, in the artist's aftermath continue to emulate as well as carry on their unique style. In this light, Stevie is among the greatest, for countless musicians have attempted the nuances of his style and aspired to the persona of his playing. The flame continues to burn as we listen to the treasure of the glorious recipe he so eloquently created.
B.B. King Stevie had many ways of showing you that he had not only talent, but he also had a feeling for playing the blues. He was good with it, his execution and his hands. He seemed to be flawless, the way he moved with it. I don't think he was aware of how well he played. I'm pretty sure he never realized how well he played. A lot of us knew he was good then, but the impact never hit us really big until after we lost him.
Any time we played together it was exciting. At first, he would always pull punches a bit. So one night I told him, "Play your thing. Go ahead, don't worry about me." And he did. His ideas were limitless. He flowed. He was like water, constantly drippin' with rhythm. It's a loss not just to the music - it's a loss to people as a whole. He was just such a nice man. I tell you the truth, it really hurts. The only thing that keeps me from crying is knowing the joy that he brought to us. I can see his smile right now, him sitting there with his Mexican hat on, going, "Hey, it's all right."
He was always quick to show gratitude to me and other artists who have been around. But when it came to playing the blues he earned plenty of respect himself.
The fact is that he affected the way blues will be played and heard forever. I've said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie missed on both counts, but I never noticed.
Chris Layton I'll just remember that he kind of amazed me every night. Every time we played I never got bored with him. He was so good. If you can imagine playing many times, many nights every year for almost 13 years you would think that anybody you play with might get kinda boring, you might get kinda tired of listening to `em... But he was always exciting to hear, every night.
Kurt Loder Stevie Ray Vaughan at his best. The way he'll be remembered by fans around the world. One of the saddest aspects of Vaughan's death on Monday was the fact that he'd fought his way back from a physical collapse in 1986 caused by years of addiction to cocaine and alcohol. Next month he would've celebrated both his 36th birthday and his 4th year of drug free living. He also would've seen a long time dream come true with the release of an album recorded with his brother Jimmie called "Family Style" That LP will be out on Sept. 25th, but Stevie won't be on hand to celebrate it. Instead he'll be mourned by his many admirers, among them Bob Dylan, on whose own latest album "Under the Red Sky" the Vaughan brothers also played. Just hours after Stevie's death, Dylan was trying to get ready to play a concert outside of Chicago on monday night, but as he told USA Today, "it was almost like trying to play the night Kennedy died". Stevie Ray Vaughan a soft spoken and unassuming man probably would've been embarassed by such a comparason, but anyone who ever loved his music will know exactly how Dylan felt. If you were one of those people, here's a special encore edition of MTV unplugged featuring the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. Gone now, but not likely in any time soon to be forgotten.
Lonnie Mack I first heard Stevie at a little club around the corner from Antone's. He was just a really good player. He had his own thing, but you could hear bits and pieces of other things. I could hear some of my things in there. His brother told me that Stevie listened to a lot of my old records. He particularly liked the lick on "Chicken Pickin'" and the riff on "Wham!".
The first time I met Stevie it was an immediate friendship, both spiritially and musically. He felt like family to me. The first time we sat down together with guitars, he taught me things that I had forgotten, like not getting too wrapped up in thinking and just letting it come out.
He was the master of just playing straight ahead. That boy could bend a note further than anybody I've ever seen. We used to laugh a lot about note bending and ripping calluses off your fingers, because we both used those heavy gauge strings. He used heavier ones than I did, and I think he must have had fingers of steel.
As I got to know him better, it was easy to see that he had a really good spirit. Stevie was a giver, man - not only to his friends but to everybody. He was a very spiritual person. I used to tease him that he was the only guy I knew that had an old head on a young body.
Stevie was a giver, he wasn't a taker. I've never met anybody to this day that has ever had anything bad to say about him; it's always good and positive. Playing live shows or making records with Stevie was always a great experience because he pulled things out of you. You would find yourself reaching for things that you never thought about doing because his influence was always rubbing off on you. I think everybody that ever met him probably felt that because he definitively brought the best out in everyone. I also think that Stevie has probably influenced more young guitar players than anybody on the planet since Chuck Berry to keep rock and blues alive. I'm sure proud to say that we were friends and brothers. I'll always remember that, and I think he was the greatest.
He played his complete self through that guitar. And he knew that playing music wasn't about who sounded better than who else. It was the style that counted, and it was about having a good time.
Bonnie Raitt I remember first hearing about Stevie from the infamous Blues underground where word of his genious and ferocity spread like wildfire. Once I heard him ... that was it. And then I saw him. He tore into the blues like no one I've ever heard since Son House or John Lee Hooker. He lived and breathed his music like he'd never get out alive, but he did get out... and the way he played and grew after his sobriety took away the last excuse for us blues hounds to stop living that deal with the devil just to be real.
He was the real deal, and for his kindness and generosity, his passion and treacherous talent. I'll be forever grateful. I saw him play on Saturday night. He played unbelievably. To me Stevie Ray Vaughan was the greatest blues guitarist. For fire and passion and soulfulness, he was untouchable. He was scary to those of us who watched him. But he was so humble and gracious as a friend, and he wasn't stuck up about his playing.
The most lasting memory of Stevie was his passion... I don't think there is anyone who tears into a song like the way he did. I think Stevie Ray was coming from some place so deep and so beautiful that there's no one you can compare to him.
Joey Ramone I thought he was a great guitar player. He was in some ways kind of a clairvoyant like a Hendrix, as far as living the blues goes. He always impressed me. He could really play, and he had a cool look. But he was very natural, he was just naturally gifted, and you could see he was very sensitive.
Nile Rodgers (Producer of 'Family Style' and 'Let's Dance') There was one song on Family Style called "Brothers", and the basic concept was, I guess when Stevie and Jimmie were younger, there may have been just one guitar between them, or just one good guitar. So the way the record works is, they're switching off on the guitar. They insisted on doing it live, with Stevie actually taking the guitar out of Jimmie's hands and Jimmie taking the guitar out of Stevie's hands. And when we finished the first take - the one that appears on the album - Stevie pulled me aside while Jimmie wasn't looking. He says, "Nile, I know we thought of this... but I tell you, man, it hurts me to snatch the guitar out of my brother's hands, 'cause I love him so much." I just looked at him. I was really touched.
I remember when he came to the Power Station to do Let's Dance, he had this certain aura about him. He had this certain vibe. He and I hit it off right away. He picked up some of the guitars and started playing and making his comments. Then he noticed that we were eating barbeque. He says, "Nile, man, I know where the best barbeque in the world is." I said, "Yeah, where, Stevie?". He says, "A place called Sam's Barbeque, down in Texas." And he gets on the phone, and within a few hours there's a box of ribs on its way to New York. That's the kind of guy he was. Another time, when I wasn't around, he was playing with some of my guitars, and he broke one of the strings. He wrote me the sweetest little note - it was just very Stevie Ray Vaughan. It said, - I'm doing his voice, you know, 'cause he's got this accent - it said, "Nile, I love your guitars. Sorry, brother, didn't mean to break no straaang."
Otis Rush I first met him in Austin, Texas at Antone's nightclub. I was doing a show out there every month or so, and Stevie Ray and his brother Jimmie were there, and we always played together. We would sit down and have a couple of beers together; he was a nice person.
Everybody's got their own touch. Stevie Ray Vaughan is like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Nobody has the same touch on guitar. He called me up once and he said, "Otis, come out to Miami. I want you to catch a plane and open up the show for me." This was on on a Tuesday morning. So that Wednesday, I was on a plane and I opened up the Miami show for him. I thought it was very nice of him. He died about a year later in that helicopter crash, and there was great sorrow in my heart. He had lots going for him, and I wish he could have stuck around with us. He's got these great records, and they have that Stevie Ray Vaughan sound. So I take my hat off to him.
Doug Sahm I remember one of the last times I saw him he was getting sober and clean. It was at a Los Lobos gig, and I said, "Hey man, you need a beer ?", and he said, "No, I can hardly drink Coca-Cola". Later when we (the Texas Tornados) were on the road, we had gotten on a bus coming back to Texas and stopped in Tucson to rest in a motel. I remember Bondo our road man coming into the room with this blank look on his face, and he said, "Man, you ain't gonna believe it. Stevie just died."
I remember thinking it formed some kind of black cloud over Austin that I knew would never totally lift.
Carlos Santana Well, the first time I saw and met him was in Berkeley, and he just played the words the guitar was projecting, frequencies of sound kind of like the Aurora Borealis. I had worked with The Thunderbirds, so I knew Jimmie, and he told me about Stevie, but he still didn't prepare me for such an assault. I met Stevie on a bus and he was very gracious. I told him, "I love you and your brother's music, man" and from then on, we became partners. There was a festival in Austin, Texas with the Neville Brothers and Bonnie Raitt, and Jimmie and Stevie Ray invited me to their parents' house. You could feel the love and how proud his mother and father were of both of them, you could just feel it.
When Stevie Ray left us, of course, immediately he became immortal. He's going to live on forever on the one hand, but on the other, there's that pain you feel in the family's eyes. It's like that now when I see Jimmie. I felt a camaraderie with Stevie Ray, and I miss him terribly. Stevie Ray Vaughan is a big ship; he carries dreams and aspirations of a lot of people. He made a promise before he came out of a woman's womb. He said, "Thank you for letting me participate in this dimension, and in return I promise to do my best to uplift, transform, and illuminate the consciousness of people." And I know he kept his promise, and I'll try to keep mine.
Joe Satriani The first time I met Stevie we were playing the Pier in New York City in 1988. That was a great experience. To be around him was to be in the presence of this enormous musical energy that was combined with a very humble, soft-spoken guy. But when he played, it was a roar. He just roared like a lion when he played guitar. I remember doing the gig with him that night and I saw that as soon as he hit the stage he was reaching for the magio moment, right from the beginning. He just strived to create incredible music every time he played the guitar. Very few people actually care that much about what they're playing, but he was just so totally into it.
The guy had a guitar with huge strings that were very far off the neck. Any normal mere mortal would struggle just to play a couple of chords on his guitars, but there's wisdom to that because that's what he needed to do to get his personality through that piece of wood with wire all over it and into the amps to come out. He was just a screamer all the times, really amazing." As a guitar player, he had an incredible signature tone and an extreme intensity. He played one of the most difficult guitars to play - the Fender Stratocaster - and he played with really heavy strings. And he strung it with high action, which means you have to really work harder than anyone to try to get a sound out. But if you've got what it takes, then what comes out is something very big and bold and original. In August of 1988, we opened two shows for him at the Pier in New York, and I got to really listen to him up close. You could tell he was always striving to find that magical point. He was good at reaching for the magic and finding it.
I think what I'll really remember is the way he stood, you know? Sweat-drenched, with his eyes closed, grabbing some incredible note. Someone has to be totally absorbed to play like that. To play that intensely sort of wreaks havoc on the body - it's sort of a painful ecstasy. He played the blues, you know? I guess I'll remember that most of all.
Brian Setzer First of all, Stevie Ray was magic. It's funny because people always want to know about his guitars and his amps but what I want to tell you is that it was in his fingers. It had nothing to do with his guitar and amp. I think he could have been playing a Silvertone guitar through a transistor radio. That night at "Mud Island" in Memphis I was watching him from the side and he called me up onstage. He handed me his guitar and he said, "Play!". I didn't know what to expect. I thought it would be really loud and just, you know, all over the stage. It wasn't though, it was about as loud as I set my guitars. It even kind of sounded like mine. I was so surprised. He stood there in front of the pedal board with his arms crossed just hitting different pedals. At that moment I realized...jeez, it's all about what's in this guy's fingers. What can I say? He was one of the truly great guitar players. We never played together at the same time, but I'll never forget that night.
Tommy Shannon I have said it many times before and it was true - Stevie was the best friend I ever had. I only wish everyone could know what a beautiful spirit he had. I thank God that he was part of my life.
I remember many years ago, there was a young boy who was 10 or 11 and was dying of Cystic Fibrosis in a hospital in Dallas. His dying wish was to meet Stevie. We went to the hospital with Stevie and there was the kid with an oxygen tank and tubes running up his nose. You should have seen the look on his face when Stevie walked in. Even though he knew he was going to die soon, he was happy at that moment. Stevie went over and talked with him a long time. I could tell Stevie did not feel uncomfortable at all. He talked to him like he would anyone else. He showed him some things on the guitar, they laughed and had a good time. This boy was happy. Stevie made him happy. When we left, Stevie whispered something in his ear, and gave him his hat. His favorite hat. A couple of weeks later the boy died. They buried him with the hat Stevie gave him.
The most beautiful thing about Stevie was not his musical talent, but his spirit. I have known him since he was 14 years old. I watched his mind and body go through many changes. Nothing ever changed his spirit. He was also one hell of a funny guy.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd If it wasn't for him, I don't think I'd be doing what I'm doing today. He played the guitar the way that I thought it should be played. I never heard anybody play it like that before him, and I've never heard anybody play it like that since. He's just very much responsible for bringing the blues to where it is today, and for inspiring so many other musicians to grab a guitar and start playing.
I'm still trying to do stuff that was just floating out of him. I still listen to his records and I've heard the songs a million times, but every time I listen I'm still blown away. He was playing this outdoor amphitheater in Shreveport, Louisiana in '83 or '84 and my father was the promoter of the show. Before Stevie went onstage, my dad took me back and introduced me to him. He was such a compassionate person; a very sweet guy.
Stevie picked me up and sat me down to the side of the stage on an amp case, and I just sat there and watched this whole show, if you can imagine a seven year-old sitting still for that long. From that day forward, I walked away begging for a guitar, and six months later I started playing. He was my idol, he taught me how to play and he didn't even know that he taught me.
Angela Strehli Back at the old Antone's in Austin, Stevie was going to start Double Trouble, and he realized that he should start trying to sing. I used to do "Texas Flood" regularly, so he choose that song, and it was really cute, he asked me if I would teach it to him. Of course, that became the title cut of his first record, and after it became so popular, I felt good. But after that the song was so much identified with him that I stopped doing it. Stevie absolutely changed music that we call the blues as far as the whole worldwide acceptance and enthusiasm for it. And he singularly did that with his incredible devotion to the blues and his incredible talent on guitar and what he gave in every performance. As soon as he started getting recognition, he immediately thought of other people such as myself in terms of helping out on a couple of really nice occasions. Anywhere you go in the world, people have so much adulation for Stevie. He really touched people.
Hubert Sumlin [Stevie] was a friend of mine, partner - one of the best. I been knowing Stevie a long time, since he was a kid - him and Jimmie. I played with them so many times in Austin when Antone's had the first club on 6th and Brazos. I'll tell you the truth: That boy was something else, man. I feel like he was one of the greatest guys and guitar players who ever lived. And he was really just getting to do his thing. He bought a Rickenbacker for me about 10 or 12 years ago, but somebody stole it. Then he found the guitar somewhere in New York, years later. I was playing at Antone's, and here comes Stevie with the same guitar.
Koko Taylor "People didn't pay attention to the blues. Vaughan was one of the ones who changed that."
Steve Vai His playing reached out to you. He wasn't so concerned with technique and flash, but at the same time, he had it by the truckload. He never let technique rule his heart; he always played directly what was on his mind. You can hear a lot of his influences in his playing, but by the same token, he rolled it into one unique guy. He was one of the few musicians who could really pick a lane and drive.
You can see his legacy in the inspired guitar playing in the world. It definitively had its impact. Sometimes players come along that are just so stunningly technical that they dazzle, and then you have players that come along that with their musicianship, they're great songwriters, and they pretty much inspire a person by their sense of melody. But Stevie Ray Vaughan could roll it all into a very well-balanced package.
Steve Winwood If there's a difference between a musician and a performer, Stevie was a musician. He was interested in the purity of his sound. He thoroughly mastered the intricacies of his instrument, and he really knew how to make his guitar speak. But when we jammed, he wouldn't try and hog all the solos. He was a very generous player
- "Since I can’t read music and everything, I find out that I do the best when I just listen to where I’m trying to go with it, and where it can go, and not try to rush it, not try to make up things as I’m going necessarily, just let them come out, then I’m a lot better off. If I start trying to pay attention to where I am on the neck, and this is the proper way to do this or that, ya know, then I end up thinking that thing through, and instead of playing from my heart I’m playing from my mind, and that’s where I find I get in trouble. If I just go with what’s in my heart and let it come out, then I’m OK."
- One of my jobs was to clean out this trash bin next to a grease vat. Well, I was standing on the cover of that thing and it caved in. I fell in it and someone almost poured hot grease all over me by accident—I could have been killed. Well, I told the woman I was working for about it and she just started telling me about how much it was gonna cost me to pay for that lid. She wouldn't even let me use the office phone. I walked through the restaurant to the pay phone, twelve years old, covered with grease, called my mom to come get me and told her the whole story so everybody in the restaurant could hear it. People started leaving—it was great!
- On his first job