Buddy Guy Talks First Meeting With John Lee Hooker in Clip From Doc - Rolling Stone
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Buddy Guy Talks Awkward First Encounter With John Lee Hooker in Clip From New Doc

Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away premieres July 27th on PBS’ American Masters series

Buddy Guy talks about meeting his idol John Lee Hooker in this exclusive clip from the upcoming documentary Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, which premieres July 27th as part of PBS’ American Masters series.

As Guy reveals in the film, although he was a fan of Hooker’s music, he had never seen a picture of the legendary bluesman or knew that Hooker had a stutter when he spoke, leading to an awkward encounter when the two icons finally met.

“I wanted to meet John Lee Hooker but I didn’t know he stuttered, because he never stuttered when he sang,” Guy said of a Big Mama Thornton tour that brought the blues legends to the South. “And they were down South, eating a big breakfast and drinking whiskey like it was milk in the morning, and I heard somebody stuttering, I said ‘Well, I definitely don’t wanna meet him, ’cause I’ll never understand what he’s saying.'”

Guy then picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen’,” which drew Hooker’s attention. Hooker then introduced himself to Guy as “Johnny.”

“I said, ‘I don’t wanna meet no damn Johnny, I wanna meet John Lee Hooker,’ the old boy fell down to his knees and laughed,” Guy remembers. “Finally Big Mama comes in and she started laughing, she says, ‘That’s John Lee Hooker.'” Guy later cites Hooker, and fellow blues great Muddy Waters, as the artists he admired the most as musicians.

Buddy Guy: The Blues Chase the Blues Away, premiering just days before Guy’s 85th birthday, features new interviews with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee as well as never-before-seen performances, including footage of Guy on stage with then-President Barack Obama and the Rolling Stones. The documentary also boasts archival interviews with blues greats like Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Willie Dixon — the artists who influenced Guy — as well as some artists who Guy influenced, like John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark, Jr., Kingfish, and more.

In This Article: Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, PBS

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