G-Note Entertainment Magazine Featured Artist – Paul Nelson
So, you think you’re a Badass huh? Well then, I have a musical sound track just for you!
Badass Generation is the latest from the sizzling 6 strings and mind of Paul Nelson.
Please let me introduce and acquaint you with Paul Nelson. Paul is recognized as one of this generations “Badass” guitarists/songwriters around today. When he is not slaying it on stage with a face-melting guitar lick or solo, he is also an accomplished music producer with the high honor of being handpicked by the legendary rock/blues icon the late great Johnny Winter to be Winter’s guitar wing man.
If that wasn’t enough, Paul has toured the world over performing with or recorded alongside an envious list of who's who list of top artists including: Eric Clapton, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Robben Ford, Vince Gill, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, James Cotton, Joe Perry, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Popper, Dr. John, Larry Carlton, Leslie West, Joe Bonamassa, Sonny Landreth, Dickey Betts to Joe Walsh and many more...
Paul Nelson is a multi-Grammy nominated artist, Nelson received the Grammy award for his work performing on and producing Winter's "Step Back" Megaforce/Sony release winning "Best Blues Album of the Year" and the BMA "Blues Music Award" for "Best Blues/Rock Album" reaching #16 on the Billbord top 200 and staying at #1 on the Billboard Blues Charts for weeks. He is also a recipient of the Blues Foundation's KBA "Keeping The Blues Alive Award".
Nelson and his music have reached millions with appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live, in the award-winning documentaries: "Down and Dirty" The Johnny Winter Story and "Sideman: Long Road to Glory"(featuring: Bonnie Raitt, Greg Allman, Hubert Sumlin), to the music written/performed and broadcast nationally on NBC on multiple major album releases, in books, instructional guitar columns, live Concert DVD's, and guest performances on countless recordings.
Staying at #1 on the "Hot New Releases" charts for months Nelson's latest project "Badass Generation" on Sony Records still maintains his unmistakable connection to the Blues, but it also finds the guitarist showing his many other musical influences fans have come expect considering him one of music's most respected and influential contemporary artists... *Some content taken from PaulNelsonGuitar.com
G-Note Entertainment Magazine had the pleasure to talk to Paul Nelson from his home recently to talk about his new album “Badass Generation”, Johnny Winter and other projects he has been involved in these days.
G-Note- Paul, thank you again for your time! I know how busy you are and I truly appreciate you taking time to talk with us.
PN- “Oh no problem, it’s my pleasure.”
G-Note -So what’s been going on? Are you keeping yourself busy these days?
PN- (Laughing) Well, I’m building a gigantic tour! It’s unbelievable! The dates just keep coming in like crazy, I don’t know what’s going on but were loving it -I guess I got a couple of friends out there!”
G-Note- Well, when you a top gunslinger (guitar) like you are, people want to see you and part of that experience.
PN- “Nah, but I hope so, there aren’t too many of us out there. The top of the pyramid is getting kinda thin. When you start to think about how many players that are out there, then you look at who is doing it professionally and you break it down like how many are in fusion or how may are playing the blues or straight up rock and roll especially when they quickly realize oh wow, I actually have to do this and constantly work at it to make a career, not to mention the endless hours practice, travel, eating crappy food on the road or only getting a few hours of sleep in between gigs and it’s like whoa, whoa, whoa. This is not what I thought it was!”
Nelson continued to say, “I’m lucky, I played with so many people and I also produce and I keep building this body “stuff” so that help keep the phone ringing, that’s what it’s all about. Let me tell you, just being part of Johnny Winter’s band opened so many opportunities that I’ll be forever grateful for.”
“Again, I’m so thankful that the tour dates for in support of “Badass Generation” just keep coming in. I want to get this music in the hands of the fans!
G-Note: Let’s talk about “Badass Generation” what was the force behind it?
PN “I wanted to create an album / CD with a series of songs that when you took a long drive you would listen to it in its entirety. I wanted to recreate a classic kinda feeling sort of like what did you feel the first time you heard Led Zeppelin all the way through, not is a concept way but the way one song led you into another and it made sense, feel wise, groove wise, lyrically and instrumentally.”
“I’m a big fan of the early sound of Boston, Queen, Nugent, Petty, etc. I study how did they record the drums, how did they get the sound correct – I see where fans are going back to the British Blues and bands like Bad Company, that means Page, that means Beck and Clapton and they all went in different directions but eventually I all come back around.”
G-Note: When I heard the “Badass Generation” album in its entirety- I heard very rich influences of Deep Purple, ZZ Top, The Eagles, and so on, it was “Rockestra” of classic rock that was very comfortable and familiar with. I connected with emotionally, so I wanted to hear it over and over. Was that your goal?
PN- “Absolutely! I have heard it said by people that have listened to ‘Badass Generation” that this the vinyl album I should have in my collection but forgot to get. It would be record next to my Boston or Sabbath in between the Queen or whatever. That is exactly what I wanted to do, to fill that hole, this stuff has been stuck in my head it just had to come out!”
“Having top notch musicians, is inspirational. It gives you the freedom to say let’s go and you know it’s going to be incredible. We recorded the drums in mono, we used overhead mic’s and a kick drum to get that classic effect but still make it current and you must ask, where the hell are all the front men? We are losing front men!”
G-Note: Good point, without have a front man in the style of a Paul Rogers or Robert Plant in the band, how difficult is it to get commercial air play?
PN- “You know, it hasn’t been too bad, the problem is there isn’t that many blues stations and a couple of the songs are “bluesy” but I was expected to do another Johnny Winter like album and I easily could have done that because I was next to him for so many years and it would have been like ok, so you’re playing his riffs, and playing his style but that’s not what I wanted to do. “
“When this album was getting picked up by blues stations they would listen to it and they would say not everything on it is exactly a fit for us, but I’ll send this on the rock hour or 3 other formats where it does it in the same station so this has been extremely helpful in getting it out!”
“I also find that touring is very helpful, the promoters of the venues contact the radio stations that sponsor the venue events and after they give it listen they say wow- this works and it gets played on the air and in front of people – It’s not always easy but you have to bring it to the people!”
G-Note: Let’s name drop a bit and talk about the people you have shared the stage with over the years, do you ever step back and say wow who would have though I be jamming with ….?
PN- “Oh yeah, you know I really do appreciate every musical opportunity I’ve been given either as a producer or a session guitar player. Does It hit me?... Yeah, one of the coolest things that I did was a jam session with Johnny Winter, Eric Clapton, Warren Haynes, Eric Clapton and Vince Gill and I at the control board working on mix of the jam session and this album I look down and it struck me while my hands are on the mixing board, I look down and the board tape says, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter and Paul Nelson on the tape. I had my hand there and I call over to the engineer and asked him to come over and do me a favor, can you take a picture of my hand right now? He said why, what going on? That’s when I realized that need to be documented!”
“Another time was Johnny (Winter) was at my house in my living room watching the Simpson’s on TV, I’m in the kitchen and I’ve been with him for a long, long time but it hit me, Johnny Winter is in my living room, watching the Simpsons and we’re ready to eat Chicken McNuggets and I thought to myself- how cool is that!”
G-Note: I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask you about your time with Johnny Winter?
PN- “Have you seen the show “Down and Dirty?” I worked to build him back up physically. I took him to get laser surgery for his eyesight issues. We had a father-son relationship together. We were very, very close. We spent holidays together, we hung out before and after the shows. For goodness sake, we did Letterman together, we went to Japan together. I took him on a cruise… seriously, an Albino on a cruise! I took him to Hawaii! How do you offer something to an artist like Johnny Winter that he already hadn’t done? He was of fan of my guitar playing as I was of his. He introduced me to deep blues, the serious stuff I never would have known about if it wasn’t for him.” “Johnny did leave us on a high note, beside his lung which eventually gave out, he was healthy as an ox, I miss him very much! I still do Johnny Winter all-star shows which are great, we have a lot of special guest that come in for these shows.”
G-Note: Let’s get back to “Badass Generation” Tell me a little about your album cover artwork.
PN- That was international and though out. a cassette was Iconic of that time. It had to have the look and feel of someone pulling the cassette tape out of someone’s pocket or from under their car seat just before they put it in the player. It had to be retro but with an Andy Warhol New York feel to it and the title was how we used to describe people or things…You know, it was “Badass” to do this or that guy is a “Badass.”
G-Note: Anything else to share?
PN- I hope everyone checks out “Badass Generation” and hope to see you soon on the road!”