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I mean, it didn’t matter to me that there were people, it didn’t matter that I was shy Just the sound was so captivating that it helped me to get rid of those inhibitions.

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The Yardbirds came in to the Crawdaddy Club a week after the Stones finished their Sunday night residency. They had done it for almost a year, I think, and then we did it for a year. It was better when they were playing there because when they went they took half the crowd with them and it took us quite a while to build up our own following.

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It’s taken me to be an older guy, an old man, to have an old man’s voice. Because I only liked old men’s voices. As a kid, I didn’t like pip-squeaked singers.

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There are people these days who can do things on the guitar which are beyond my reach. There’s one guy who plays with Queen who can do things I would dream of doing. I sincerely mean that.

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I used to do crazy things that people would bail me out of, and I’m just grateful that I survived. But the music got very lost; I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t really care. I was more into just having a good time, and I think it showed.

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Whatever your standing in life, the most important thing is behaving in ways that help other people. It’s the same with music. I am a servant of the music … and if I get caught up in ego, I’ll lose everything .. it’ll burn and that’s a guarantee.

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When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition. I recognize that I have some responsibility to keep the music alive, and it’s a pretty honorable position to be in.

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When you’re onstage with an electric band going through a massive P.A. system, it’s very artificial. You can’t really hear your own voice as it comes out of your mouth.

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Leave bands, go back to obscurity if I choose to, without a great sense of loss of security because it’s all been based on the fact that I did it on my own or was doing, enjoying doing it on my own in the first place.

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When I look for what I’m going to listen to I go backwards. I’m always going the other way you see. Most people are trying to figure out ‘how do I get in the fast lane going that way?’. I’m going in the other direction. I wanna find the oldest thing to do.

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Very much like that, and very much a loner, do you know and I didn’t fit really into sport or all kind of group activities as a kid, I couldn’t find a niche. And music was not really part of the kind of village curriculum it would, you know.

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I have no problem with religion, and I grew up with a strong curiosity about spiritual matters, but my searching took me away from church and community worship to the internal journey. Before my recovery began, I found my God in music and the arts, with writers like Hermann Hesse, and musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter.

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My identity shifted when I got into recovery. That’s who I am now, and it actually gives me greater pleasure to have that identity than to be a musician or anything else, because it keeps me in a manageable size. When I’m down on the ground with my disease-which I’m happy to have-it gets me in tune. It gives me a spiritual anchor. Don’t ask me to explain.

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I just like the company of beautiful women. I have a weakness in that department. And I suppose because I am fairly well off and a famous musician, I’m up for grabs. And that makes me an eligible bachelor in the press.

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At first the music almost repelled me, it was so intense, and this man made no attempt to sugarcoat what he was trying to say, or play. It was hard-core, more than anything I had ever heard. After a few listenings I realized that, on some level, I had found the master, and that following this man’s example would be my life’s work.

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I found my God in music and the arts, with writers like Hermann Hesse, and musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter. In some way, in some form, my God was always there, but now I have learned to talk to him.

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Although they can do it all the time, you know, they’re far better than me, on a musically, on a theoretical music level. You know, they’re out of my league.

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When I was in Nashville, Tennessee in 1970 with Derek and the Dominoes, I went into this shop and they had a rack of Strats and Teles – all going for $100.00 each. I bought a handfull and made Blackie out of the body from one, the neck from another, and so on

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I listened to King Oliver and I listened to Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp… I listened to everything I could that came from that place that they call the blues but, in formality, isn’t necessarily the blues.

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My selective memory of what drinking was like told me that standing at the bar in a pub, on a summer’s evening with a long, tall glass of lager and lime was heaven, and I chose not to remember the nights on which I had sat with a bottle of vodka, a gram of coke and a shotgun, contemplating suicide.