Q & A: Doyle Bramhall II
Excerpt from an interview with the blues guitarist who was in India recently to explore the scene
While we are sitting at the table about to start the interview, Doyle Bramhall II’s phone buzzes. He checks it and nonchalantly says that it is a text message from Eric. “Eric” is Eric Clapton, whose band Bramhall has been an integral part of for well over a decade, and he wants to know if Bramhall has been learning the sarod while in India. The southpaw guitarist, whose father Doyle Bramhall was the drummer for legendary bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan, was in India for a few days last month. Bramhall says he’s here on an invitation from Union IT minister and blues enthusiast Milind Deora, and promoters Shom Jagtiani and Manoj Israni “just to build relationships so that I can play shows and come here regularly. I’ve always wanted to record with musicians from India.”
You are great friends with Derek Trucks and Derek uses a lot of Indian influences in his music. Do you guys ever jam together on Indian music?
Well, we definitely talk about it all the time. He has opened my mind to a lot of things, and introduced me to a lot of music that I didn’t even know about. I think before [I knew him], I just had a general understanding of Indian music. Since I met him, I started becoming acquainted with singers and players and sarangi players and sarod players and Ustad Sultan Khan”¦
Your dad was a drummer with Stevie Ray Vaughan. Wouldn’t the natural choice have been for you to be a drummer?
I was a drummer, actually. I started out on drums when I was six. But everyone in my family, all the children, played drums. So unless we wanted to start a drum band [laughs] ”“ the drummer version of The Partridge Family ”“ it didn’t make sense. So I thought I would break away from the pack and play bass. But bass couldn’t hold my attention for that long. So I switched to guitar when I was 14.Â
The full interview will be published in the December issue of ROLLING STONE India