There are a lot of things Austin, TX is known for: Austin City Limits, the Austin City Limits Festival, The Austin Motel, hippies, tacos, but mostly it's known for it's plethora of music that comes is all varieties. We have been a fan of Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears for a while now. Recently, Joe took the time to answer some questions we here at BFD had for him.
Bona Fide Darling: It's unusual, I would think, for someone your age to want to make soul music. How did you decide to go in that direction musically.
Black Joe Lewis: It kind of just came to me most naturally. Listened to hip hop growing up, but started liking soul after hearing James Brown and guys like that. Don Covay and Wilson Pickett.
BFD: Do you think that your band, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and Raphael Saddiq are kind of leading a resurgence of a more authentic soul music?
BJL: I guess you could say that. You can’t really tell from this point. I like to think we’re more of a rock and roll band then them. We’re louder and not as slick.
BFD: What was it like working with Jim Eno?
BJL: He’s really cool. Jim took a chance on us and made the record sound awesome.
BFD: Your singing gets a lot of comparison to James Brown, do you think that's a fair comparison?
BJL: He’s definitely a big influence. It’s weird to even be mentioned in the same sentence as him, you know?
BFD: On "Sugarfoot" and "Get Yo Shit" sound like they have a hint of autobiography in them. Are the stories drawn from personal experience or completely made up?
BJL: Sometimes I write about my own experiences, but usually I just try to make a good song. "Get Yo Shit" is just a funny story I came up with.
BFD: The picture of you and The Honeybears where you are at the pool table has a very Rat Pack feel to it. How did you guys meet and do y'all hang out much outside of the band?
BJL: I met Sluyter first, he played bass in my old band. Then I met Zach and he introduced me to most of the other guys. We started playing together about two years ago. We hang out a lot now because we’re touring so much, but we’ll hang out in Austin too.
BFD: Is there one particular show that really stands out that you have played? Have you ever had anything crazy happen at your shows?
BJL: It was really great playing this Barack Obama rally in Austin last year. He said my name which was cool. We don’t write setlists and all our shows are different, so there’s crazy stuff happening all the time.
BFD: What bands are you diggin' right now?
BJL: I got this Menahan Street Band CD that is good. Justin Timberlake is pretty cool. In the van we mostly listen to yacht rock like Michael McDonald and stuff like that.
BFD: Do you think that coming from Austin lends itself to meeting creative musicians that share your ideas?
BJL: I guess so. There are a bunch of musicians so it can be hard to start out and get a paying gig. A lot of people down there play really slick Stevie Ray Vaughan blues. We try to keep it more raw and loud than that.