Gary Clark Jr. is on a high the day after playing Carnegie Hall, although he has one regret. "I wanted to re-create Stevie Ray Vaughan's Live at Carnegie Hall album cover!" he says in his New York hotel room. Photography is one way Clark passes the time on the road, mostly taking photos of his two-year-old son, Zion, "because I'm obsessed." Clark's Fuji camera is one of his many must-have items on tour. He also brings plenty of John Varvatos clothing, prized watches and a portable studio for use after he and his wife, Nicole Trunfio, put Zion to bed. "I'll make a beat and send it to the band," Clark says. "Then I might play a game of NBA 2K." He's looking forward to downtime at his new 50-acre ranch outside his native Austin, where he plans to fill a horse stable and build an "artists' compound." Lately, he's been making music with Leon Bridges and rapper Big K.R.I.T., and planning a new album. Says Clark, "2017 is go time."
"I've had that one since I was 19 or 20, Old Faithful. I played it onstage for these last solo shows. I got it at Austin Vintage Guitar. It's simple. You can't manipulate it too much. It's just a guitar with one P-90 pickup, a knob for tone, volume. It sounds good plugged in for T-Bone Walker stuff. But it just sounds good by itself. So in the hotel room, I can get some sound without pissing off the neighbors."
"I pretty much use it just for taking pictures of my kid, or landscapes. Hotel rooms, outside the hotel, walking down the street."
"I make beats and grab samples and use that to make bass lines add key parts and play and practice. That's kinda my new thing. That's how 'The Healing' came about and a couple other tracks from the latest album. Like 'Bright Lights' was done on a drum machine, so that always something I like to try."
"For smoking," Clark says with a laugh.
The lighter doesn't work, but Clark keeps it around "because I'm a hoarder."
"I had to get a new passport becuase I was running out of pages. I was at Heathrow and my passport looked like shit. It was all beat up. The customs agent said, 'This is atrocious. Next time you've gotta get a new passport. There's no way we're gonna let you come back to this country with a passport in this condition! Absolutely atrocious!' I was like, 'Dang, sorry for traveling.'"
These boots were custom-made for Clark's wedding.
A fan gave the guitarist this fingerless glove.
"That's the big boy," he says of the Rolex. "I've always loved a good timepiece."
"It tastes good," Clark says. "It makes me feel good. It makes me make love good."