Lance Lopez is a guitarist/singer out of Dallas Texas. He carries on the tradition of the high energy blues guitar, known for that part of our great country. After seeing B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughn perform together at a young age, Lance found the musical inspiration for his career path. This professional path was well under way at the age of 17, when he was touring with Stax Records recording star Johnnie Taylor. With Lance still a young man and his career gaining fast momentum, his resume already includes working with Buddy Miles - (Band of Gypsys) and sharing the stage with ZZ Top, Rod Stewart, Johnny Winter and more. Lance was invited to perform at the historic 70th birthday celebration of the late blues giant Johnny Winter at B.B. Kings in New York City. He has just released that classic performance on CD. I caught up with Lance about the nights events and his career.
R.V.B. - Congratulations of your new upcoming "Live in NYC". How special was the milestone evening of playing your set on Johnny Winter's 70th Birthday?
L. L. - It was an extreme honor to be invited by Johnny Winter to perform at his 70th birthday party at BB King’s in New York! Johnny is one of my biggest heroes and was one of my dearest friends. We were touring a lot together around that time and he asked me to play at his party while we were on tour together. I was completely floored when he asked me to do it, I knew that I had to play my heart out for him that night...
R.V.B. - Did you get to hang and mix it up with the other blues men and women and share stories back stage?
L.L. - It was a fantastic party! My good friends Mike Zito, Joe Lewis Walker, Jon Paris and Popa Chubby were all there backstage and other great friends and musicians from NYC! We had a blast that night, and the jam sessions were amazing! I loaned Joe Lewis Walker my guitar so that he could sit in with Johnny...it was just great night!
R.V.B. - I'm sure you have a big arsenal of songs to choose from but was it difficult choosing the songs to play for this high profile event?
L.L. - We basically just went out there and played what we had been playing on tour. We were still touring in support of my ‘Handmade Music’ album so most of the songs were from that record, with the exception of ‘El Paso Sugar’ which was on my 2007 album ‘Higher Ground’ and ‘Tell The Truth’ which is a song that we haven’t released on a studio album yet. We had been on tour with Johnny and were playing a really rockin’ set. This helped to appease a lot of fans that were always wanting to hear Johnny’s rock material from the 70’s.
R.V.B. - Was there any event in your youth that made you want to play the guitar?
L.L. - Seeing Elvis for the first time on a video of his ‘68 Comeback Special when I was 3 years old...and then I was thrust into the Blues when I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King play together in Dallas when I was 12 years old...
R.V.B. - What was a turning point that really set your career in motion?
L.L. - Being hired by the great Stax Soul legend Johnnie Taylor when I was 17 years. I went down with some friends of mine to an all Black Blues club in South Dallas and we were all welcomed so warmly there, they asked me to get up and sit in with the band. When I got off the stage Johnnie Taylor’s guitarist asked me if I would replace him because he wanted to get more into production. A week later I was on Johnnie’s bus headed to Atlanta to play with a show with Johnnie Taylor and Booby Bland and Johnny “Guitar” Watson was on the bill...it was a great education
L.L. - Buddy was larger than life and our relationship had a lot of ups and downs. However when our relationship was good. and there weren’t outside issues hindering it, we were super creative and wrote a lot of great material together and had some epic jam sessions that would last for days on end sometimes. Buddy taught me all about pocket, and how to be a solid drummer
R.V.B. - Was there anything about living in Texas that made you want to go the high energy Texas style guitar route?
L.L. - I am product of my enviroment...like y’all always say... there is something in the water! (Laughs)
R.V.B. - How important is the blues in your music?
L.L. - It’s everything. I may not always be playing the Blues...but the Blues is in my music...
R.V.B. - What are your primary guitars for playing live or in the studio?
L.L. - 1959 Gibson Les Paul reissue is my main guitar, I also play Firebirds, Explorers, SG/Les Paul’s and Flying V’s...Gibson guitars
R.V.B. - How is the new studio album coming along?
L.L. - We have been recording in Los Angeles and New York for the last 3 years, amassing some great material. I want it to be right and have an epic impact when it’s released so I am taking my time with and making sure it’s right...
R.V.B. - Any other gigs in your career up to this point that stand out?
L.L. - There are just so many! Gigs with ZZ Top were always memorable, opening for Rod Stewart was absolutely out of this world...I’m actually looking forward to some very serious gigs coming up with my new band Supersonic Blues Machine
R.V.B. - What is your tour schedule like for this year?
L.L. - Well I plan on going over to Europe at some point with my new band Supersonic Blues Machine and hopefully branching out with my own trio all over this... time to get back on the highway and play the blues.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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For more information on Lance Lopez visit this site www.lancelopeztx.com/
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