As a young man, Houston born Guitar Shorty was a sideman on shows with artists like BB King, Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry and Ray Charles. But once he became a solo artist, opening spots became harder for him to land. Guitar Shorty spoke with the Houston Press about his new CD We the People.
Houston Press: Congratulations on your new album, it's great.
Guitar Shorty: Thank you, that's nice to hear.
HP: I'm sure you hear that all the time.
Guitar Shorty: Believe me, it don't go to my head. It makes me work harder. I'm trying to get a big smash [hit], that's what I want. I want it so bad, I can almost taste it. I would like one big hit anyway.
HP: Why do you think that one big hit has eluded you?
Guitar Shorty: It could be a lack of promotion. To be honest with you, it's only since I've been with Alligator Records that things have jumped up there for me. The other record companies that I was with really weren't pushing my records like they should have. Management also had something to do with it. I wasn't lucky like some of the guys who had great managers.
I came up the hard way, but I consider myself blessed t be with Alligator Records now. So many more people have seen me, they come up to me and say, "How come they haven't done a DVD on you?" and "Why haven't you done a live recording?" They say if I had those things, I would be out there really big now.
I've had people who were supposedly trying to get me on these big shows, like with the Rolling Stones or Jay Leno - nothing! I think it was a lack of management.
HP: And air play on the radio is so important to a song. With radio stations getting more and more limited in what they're playing, that must hurt guys like you.
Guitar Shorty: You could have the best song in the world, but if it don't get out there like it should, if it don't get on the radio, then all you have is a good song. I want a hit.
It does hurt guys like me. But all I can do is keep recording, keep trying to get in front of as many audiences as I can, and just hope that one day some big act will say, "Hey, why don't we give Shorty a chance? He been out there a long time, why don't we take him out on the road with us?"
That's what I would like, that's all I'm asking for - a chance.
Find out about Guitar Shorty's new CD after the jump ...
HP: Tell us about your new CD.
Guitar Shorty: People are telling me that my new CD, We the People, this is the best album I've ever done. I keep telling them, "There's more where that came from."
HP: Where did that name come from, We the People?
Guitar Shorty: That came up when I started looking at what was going on around us. So I went to the Constitution, and in the Constitution, you see that it's not right what's happening to us. Seems like the rich are just getting richer and the poor are just getting poorer and poorer. Go try to buy some gasoline, that's so expensive today. Everywhere, everything, prices are just getting higher and higher and I can't take it no more.
And I'm not the only one, people are angry. If we don't do something about it soon, we're going to have a revolution, right here on our own ground. But it's up to us to do something about it. That's why I named the album We the People, because it's us, the people that have to fix what's going on around us.