Chris Duarte Interview – Transcript, “I’ve DONE what I SET OUT TO DO”

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Craig Garber:
Hey everybody, this is Craig Garber. Welcome to Everyone Loves Guitar, and it’s an honor and a privilege to have my guest today. I’m with Chris Duarte. He’s just a phenomenal guitar player. I’ve wanted Chris on the show for a long time. Couple of quick announcements. I wanna thank our mutual friend, John Blycher, for hooking us up. John, thanks as always for thinking of me. Hey, John. And also, this is gonna be episode 900 of original. Oh my God. Yeah, man, so I was trying to figure out who I’m gonna have, and then when John, I said, oh man, Chris Duarte, that’s the perfect one. So, um, all right, quick Cliff note version, Cliff note, a summary of, uh, Chris, if you aren’t familiar with him, he’s honestly, I’m, I’m not blowing smoke. He’s an incredibly talented guitar player. I mean, the stuff he does, nobody else is doing it. The ferocity that he plays with is like just top of the line passion. Um, he’s quite versatile as far as playing, singing, songwriting artists, very high level of musical awareness. And he’s not afraid to inject jazz and unconventional blues fills into his music He’s got 14 albums including his latest record that just dropped that’ll be touring on it’s called ain’t giving up We’ll be talking about that dude. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s a really excited to talk to you Thank you very much Craig for having me here. You’re welcome man All right So as I understand it you moved to Austin when you were just a kid and that’s where things started for you So where’d you move from and what prompted you to move there in the first place? Well, I was living in San Antonio and I started picking up guitar around San Antonio. I mean, my mom got my older brother a guitar. He got him a Taka Mini classical guitar. And then I was constantly picking it up. And then finally she got me an acoustic, one of those dreadnought body Taka Mini guitars, an F140, I think is what it was. And I love that thing and I actually put electric strings on it so I could play like solos and stuff because he acoustic because he has two stick strings are real heavy and stuff. So I said no I want to play like electric stuff. So I put electric strings on it just to be able to bend the strings and stuff. But before that you know I had gotten a Supro guitar a long time ago. I still wish I had that. Oh yeah. But I’d gotten this Supro guitar didn’t do it promptly went right under my bed. I had no idea how to tune it. But like I said, when I turned close to 15, that’s my brother got a guitar, I got my guitar. And I just noticed for off the bat that I was quicker at picking things up than everybody else around me. When somebody would show me a song, it was like, oh, I know that song. Oh, those are the chords to it. It was like reading a recipe to me. I was like, oh, okay, yeah, I got it, I got it. And they’d be having all kinds of trouble with the rhythm and I’d be telling them. No, it goes like this. It’s like this. It’s like, and I couldn’t get it. I’m not for, for months. I just couldn’t understand. Then it kind of clicked in my head. It’s like, Oh, I’ve got something here. I’ve, I’ve got a talent for it. You know, I was, I was, I was young. I couldn’t, I didn’t grasp concepts like this yet, you know, but I realized I had a talent for this. And so that’s when I started really working on it. I’d heard about Austin from even hanging out with kids in the smoking area. I didn’t even smoke back then, but I mean, we’d talked about Austin and all the people. There was a punk club there called Raoul’s that Iggy Pop had played at, and people were talking about that and all the music that was going down in Austin. So a friend of mine that was a bass player I’d learned a lot from, he moved to Austin. So I thought, well, you know. My family was kind of breaking up and falling apart and everybody was moving in with my dad up in the Northeast. And I just decided to leave school and move to Austin. How old were you? That’s when I was, I was, I was 16. Uh, man, that took a lot of balls. Uh, yeah, it did. But you know, I was, I was young and I was kind of brash and I, you know, uh, our whole family, we had, you know, we kind of, sort of, we were doing our own thing, I wouldn’t say we were wild childs, but You know, we were kind of like taking care of ourselves. So it didn’t seem like that big of a leap for me to go, well, I’ll just go to Austin and I’ll get me a job, you know, just start doing that. And that’s, and that’s what I did. I had a job within a week. You know, when I got to Austin, I was working on load and dock at a department store. That’s pretty cool. Now is your mom, that was really cool to start you off on a Takamini guitar. That’s not common man that a mom well I mean that was it was it was like Alamo music I think was the music no was Caldwell music that was the music store that was there this is before the times of huge chain music stores and stuff these are low and Caldwell music store was downtown and that’s the sort of the main guitars they had the most economical that was a good one but economically priced I think it was probably about I want to say it might’ve been about $200 and something dollars for that guitar back then. I can’t remember. Wow, that’s so awesome. But yeah, I mean, it was a decent, that Taka Minis were just starting to come on the market back then. Was your mom like a musician or was she just really into music or just supported your interest? No, she just supported me. She supported me. I mean, she had five kids and she tried to- Oh my. dole out, you know, support. Try to give equal shares all the Yeah, we were God bless our mom. My mom had her hands. And then my parents got divorced. And she pretty much had us, you know, most of the time she we all went to her. God, she had to. She had Yeah, my mom did a great job. You know, it’s as hard as she can. And as hard as we made her job on her. Oh, my god, you did a good job. Five kids I’ve had three and it was like, I was, you know, I love them, but I was really happy when they were all left finally, but I can’t imagine five, dude. Um, so when you first started out, was it always your intention to be a solo artist? Well, actually I wasn’t really a solo artist. I just wanted to get in a band and I first got hired the first gig. First real gig that I got was with Bobby Mack and night train. And that’s when I was 17. And I was the rhythm guitar in that band. Bobby was the main feature. And so I had just picked up from, I mean, I was trying to be this jazz fusion guy, listening to Holdsworth and Demiola. And then when I got in the blues, Bobby Mack said, you know, I like your enthusiasm and I can tell you really want to, you’ve got something going here, but you’re not very good at blues. So I want you to go learn these Freddie King solos. I want you to play them note for note. And it gave me a bunch of solos to play note for note. And we played pulpwood. I had to learn the middle soul and pulpwood and stuff and pack it up and songs like that. And then listen to Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, because, I mean, I’d really never listened to that stuff when I was in San Antonio. San Antonio was a metal town. I mean, like I’ve said before, the blues to me was like, you know, either a since I’ve been loving you by Led Zeppelin or, you know, I got the I got the jack. by ACDC. Those are like the blues. Okay, that’s the blues. I had no idea. She’s all right. She’s all right by Muddy Waters. It just freaked me out. Even though that Johnny Winters album came out, when Johnny Winters produced that Muddy album that came out in the late 70s, I remember that. But yeah, I just, I didn’t have it, but he can tell my energy. He liked my energy. And so that’s why I got in that. That’s why I hired me. I didn’t. get in the band. He hired me. Right. That’s awesome. But when you once you’ve always been, you know, your whole career has been as a solo artist. Was that like was that deliberate or is that something you just fell into or cause I think there’s a lot more at stake. You got a lot more skin in the game when you’re the guy. Well, true that. I mean, I played with Bobby. I really, what I want to emphasize to a lot of younger players is go get that gig where you’re a sideman. because you need to learn all those basics to make you a much more rounded player. I mean, some guys can do it, they can make that jump right into being the solo guy with all the licks and the flash, which is cool. Some guys do it, Kenny Wayne’s one thing, he jumped right to it. Although he did have a rhythm guitar player in the very early days, he did have another guitar player because he opened up for me a long, long time ago, man. But anyway. But you know, it’s good to have that foundation, that musical foundation of learning how to play rhythm, learning how to play with another guitar player, learning how to play with the keyboard player so you’re not meshing the chords together and stuff. I mean, I used to play in this sort of R&B semi-jazz band with this really good keyboard player, Sandy Allen, and he kept teaching me how to stay out of his way musically when I’d play rhythm and stuff. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot, you know, with older cats like that. Once you, what, how did you leave Bobby Mack or what was next after Bobby? That’s right. I was just, I just feel like I’m talking so much anyway. Well, anyway, sure. Interview. Of course you’re talking about, I hope so. What happened, what happened is Bobby Mack was going to be like, we had this gig down in San Antonio at this club called Los Padrinos and, uh, he was going to be late, so I had to cover. like half the show. And I’ve been sort of working on every guitar player had like that Stevie tape from Steamboat that later turned out to be that in the beginning album. Right, right. All this guitar players had the because it was live on the radio and everybody recorded it. And once in a while they re-broadcast it on KUT, you know, and so everybody had that tape and we passed it around and we were learning stuff. So I was already learning a bunch of stuff like that from And so when it was time for me to play by myself as a trio for this band, until Bobby got there, I started whipping out all that stuff and sure enough, I had the place up dancing, the dance floor was packed, I had it rocking and I was thinking, you know, maybe I can do this. Maybe I can be a trio player, you know, maybe, cause yeah, it’s a lot to cover. Like you said, a lot of skin in the game. You’ve got to play, you know, good rhythm underneath it. Then you got to learn how to play that solo. and have a little bit of rhythmic stuff in the solo. That’s what I think. But yeah, I mean, that’s what I thought. That’s where I think I made that jump in my head that I can do this. I could probably start my own band. Was that first night, how did that feel when you got that reaction? Ah, it was pretty cool. Especially when the dance floor was packed. Of course there were lots of nights after that where people thought I was the worst player ever. But anyway. That night felt pretty cool. And that’s where I, as they say, jumped to the next level. That’s awesome, man. Great story. What was your first break? Like once you said, okay, I can do this, what was your first break? I’d say it actually came before I thought once I, actually that happened, I got in that sort of rhythm and blues band with the keyboard player and we were playing, the first break I think really came. when there was a writer in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Graham Snyder, and he was one of the influential writers around Texas. There was a couple of them, a guy out of Houston Post, and there was, I wanna say Don McLean, or something like that, out of Austin. He was important for the Chronicle. Anyway. Is that the guy who makes the amps? No, I don’t think it’s that guy. I don’t think he makes an effort. He’s strictly a writer because he was writing for Living Blues. I think he was writing for Living Blues magazine too. He was strictly a journalist. But anyway, Graham Snyder, he was really, really good cat had influenced writer. And I was playing with Junior Medlow and the bad boys and we were playing at JJ’s in Fort Worth. And there was hardly anybody there. But as is my creed, you know, go out there and play as hard as you can every night. And he wrote this big glowing article review about us. And the next time we played there, there was a huge line at the door waiting for, that’s when you, if you got a good article in print media, you really saw results. That’s amazing to think in today’s day and age where everything is like wrapped up in your phone here. It’s interesting. Yeah, and then there’s so many avenues too. And then people… You know, even if you get big write-ups somewhere, it’s like oh whatever, you know, because there’s so many other Other things that distract us, you know, whereas back then we just had you know TV and print media And you know just so few avenues or channels But yeah, I think that was and then he called me one of the top three guitar players in Texas Oh that had to be huge. Yeah, and that was the thing I think the first that they got the ball rolling was Graham Snyder saying that that’s awesome All right, I want to talk about some of your tracks and I could literally spend hours on this because I love your music. Um, so I picked a few of my favorite Chris Duarte songs. Uh, so let me, in fact, let me just open up, uh, my, uh, I actually copied down the whole, the whole interview too. I got it. I sort of studied it. So this is, dude, this is great. Some of these songs are great. Oh, they’re amazing. So on tailspin headwack, you got a song called walls and. I just love how the chorus breaks in that song were like completely opposite to the very controlled and melodic verses. And then I thought the lyrics are pretty intense. When the walls come down, show me what to do. God, I really need you now. Never let me go. I’m always here by you. I’m crying. And to me as a listener, and this is the beauty of music, it made me nothing about this, but it sounded like this was almost like… A plea or a direct thank you to your higher power. And I was curious what this song was about. Well, it’s higher power slash the girlfriend I was in love with at the time. And I am convinced that this song that I love this song. And I put so much emotion into it. But this is the song I’m convinced the record company I pushed to have this put on tailspin. I mean, I put my foot down. I said, you will have this song on there. because it really meant a lot to me, but I am convinced this is the song that got me dropped by the label. Why? It’s a great, it’s a freaking awesome- Why? Because I was going out of my wheelhouse. They wanted me to stay inside the Texas sugar mold. And since, and then it was the perfect, they had the perfect excuse because Tailspin didn’t sell as much as Texas sugar. You know, it was a fifth as much. And so they were like, Well, Chris, you know, if you just stayed in your wheelhouse instead of trying to flex your musical muscle. Yes, I mean, it’s your fault. But I mean, I love the song. It really meant a lot to me. And so I was so glad to see, OK, if you know, just as the old adage, if I could just reach one person and now I know I did. For sure. I love this track. I mean, I just know what so cool what I was trying to do is like make this like ethereal sort of like. floating around because I was kind of in love with my new wife and I was just trying to explain the emotions and then that where it just all comes down I was trying to be like at the time Nirvana was big and I was hitting the chords like that and then they come down and then that middle part was me trying to be kind of like the solo I was trying to be kind of like Joe Zalmanual of Weather Report. That’s what I was trying to do. And I think of silver tone was like, I don’t know, Chris. This isn’t bluesy. Let me ask you a question, though. What you do, you put a lot of your, you play a lot of jazz, but it’s like your jazz. It’s not, it’s not stuff that’s like bebop. It’s not, it’s your spin on this. That sounds like something you really worked hard on. I don’t think it comes easy. Or does it? Yeah, I mean, it’s I mean, to clear the air here, I am not a true jazz player, you know, not even air quotes, because I don’t need because I mean, I respect and revere that idiom so much, but I am not a jazz player. But just it’s just my concepts in the way I’ve gotten from, you know, lessons or advice from other players or me learning train solos or Parker solos. you know, how they get around in some chords and stuff like that. And just it’s just the way I see it, you know, the way I see that musical landscape and trying to find my own voice. And I think I have kind of found my own voice in there. Voice for sure. Yeah, you’re very. And that’s what I try to tell people, you know, that are trying to step out. Now, the main thing I could tell them is like, learn how the basics of how chords are built and how they move around. And that’s what you can paint with. You know, and sometimes it’s really dry sounding, but that’s, you know, it’s just, you’re right. It’s taken lots of years of learning how not to be dry and learning how to make it more musical and melodic, the interval selection. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting in music and in everything, oftentimes people, uh, tend to think, oh man, he just whips that out so easily when it’s the reverse. It’s when it sounds so smooth. It’s it’s because of the years and years and years of tuition that you’ve paid to get it there. It seems easy, but that’s where all the work comes in. My exact point. That’s true. You know, I mean, yes, there are some cats that can do it. You know, Django Reinhardt supposedly could just do it, you know, but those are few and far between talents like that. You know, me, I have to work hard and I wish I could be like brilliant if I haven’t touched a guitar for four days. I wish I could be brilliant around that note. I’m like an old Harley. I have to warm up and get things moving. Yeah. All right, on Romp, you got a song called Last Night, and I thought that was such a badass, intense track. You really did an amazing job contrasting the volumes and also creating a little bit of musical chaos. So I was curious, to whatever extent you’re comfortable, Chris, the lyrics here sound like You might have been in the throes of your addiction then or asking for help out of it or maybe pleading for someone else’s sobriety. Like the lyrics, I almost lost you last night. All my skeletons, my demons, they can’t hide. Tell me about this track. This is powerful shit. Yeah, this was actually the song that Walls, the woman that Walls was written for. Now I’m sort of breaking up from her and this is me sort of visualizing. me trying to get her back. And yeah, it sort of came out of, I would do this song, I started getting into soul coughing. And there was that- Soul coughing? Soul coughing, there’s a group called Soul Coughing that I used to get into a whole lot. And in fact, one of the songs I do that everybody knows it as the LA song, that’s a soul coughing song, it’s called Screenwriters Blues and it’s off their first album. And I kept telling people, man, it’s a blues song, see? Scream Riders blues. But, you know, and, and I would go off on this rap and I would just, I would, I would just sort of do this. And then eventually I sort of came up with my own rhythm and I would call it the rant for the day. And at gigs, I would just go on this rant, you know, and then I thought, well, maybe I’ll come up with this rhythm and sort of try to focus this rant instead of it not being what happened that day, focus this rant and get all these emotions that I’m going through right now. and sort of put it down into a song. I mean, I remember when I used to play it, people used to come up to me, you know, after I played it, you know, I’m like a break. It’s like, are you okay? Everything’s all right. I’m like, I’m fine, I’m fine. It’s just art, you know, I’m just doing art. Performance art. Right. I mean, yeah, I mean, I haven’t played that song in a long, long time because I’ve gotten through all that stuff. But I mean, that was, you know, that was at the time it felt like something I needed to do. you know, for my own sanity and for what I felt my art was reflecting at the moment. Right. Because that’s where I try to be. I try to be this musician that shows you what I’m like, you know, for that night. There’s this window I’m going to open up and, okay, this is what I’m going to be like tonight. And that’s why I have people follow me around when I do tours in areas. They’ll follow me five, six, seven, eight, ten tours in a row because they know what’s he going to do next? What’s it going to be like? What? I’m sorry, go ahead. Yeah, I’m just going to say that’s how I do it. I try not to, I mean, yes, I’m telling similar stories in some songs, but there’s going to be some areas where I’m just going to totally go off and it’s like, he’s doing something totally new right there. What’s he going to do? Which is awesome. And that’s why people come out to see me. Yeah. I mean, that’s what people want to see. Nobody wants to see the same show every night. Whatever happened with that relationship, this sounds exhausting. Two songs into it already. I’m like… I’m exhausted for you. I’m like, oh my God. It’s gone, it’s gone. Destroyed, wrecked, gone. I mean, at the time, yeah, we all go through it. Yeah, of course. I’m glad I’ve got a sense of humor about it now. But I mean, she’s doing fine. It was funny, that was the only marriage I’ve had where when we said goodbye, I never saw her again. She never made any effort. And I really haven’t made an effort too, but I mean, it wouldn’t bother me to see her. In fact, when I just did self by self, West, the band right before us was this band she used to go crazy about and I thought, well, maybe I’ll see her down there. Oh, that would have been weird. She might have been there. She might not have been there. Yeah, I was kind of preparing myself for it. But you know, it wouldn’t bother me to see her again. She was she’s a good girl, very smart girl. In fact, I’ll say right now, she I got I put her through school getting her MBA. And it’s her business model that I still use this day that I sell merchandise and stuff like that. Awesome, man. So I did get something out of that. She did leave me a good thing awesome. She left a recurring stream of revenue Or a plan for a recurring exactly off a blue velocity something wicked That this is like my a 13-minute guitar explosion. I love long tracks. I love to get lost in music like this What is the backstory to this one and was there anything in particular? Inspires you to do the things you did on the song guitar wise You know, I was always known for doing the minor blues, you know, Texas Sugarhead, Shiloh on it. And I was, I just always like when I listened to Stevie, it was always the minor blues. It really got me going. It’s like, God, how could he be so intense on that? You know, because there’s, I’ve got several recordings of him before he signed records, you know, doing the minor blues. It’s just, it just kills me every time I hear it. But On Something Wicked, I was trying not to do it as a rehash of Shiloh, but I was always trying to be a little bit more finesse with my soloing or my touch. And the lyrics, Something Wicked comes from Shakespeare, you know, and by the pricking of my thumbs, Something Wicked this way comes, et cetera, Macbeth. Dude, you’re super well, you’re very well read. I mean, because we talked about it beforehand. Yeah, that’s pretty impressive. Yeah, I used to read a whole lot, you know, back. I wish I hadn’t read very much the last five, six, but anyway, thank you very much. But anyway, so that was me just I think it was probably just me talking about dark times and stuff. And I really haven’t visited that song in a while, except when I play Shiloh, I would usually end up putting the last verse of that song at the end. Oh, that’s cool. And so that’s what I would do. I play shaw and then I just sing that the very end and take it out that way. I’m a fan of minor blues myself. I much prefer you know, I love Freddie King. He’s my you know, yeah, much prefer listen to that. On on the Chris Duarte group live, you’ve got a great instrumental called Alabama. And it’s almost got a bit of a Native American vibe to it. Tell me about that track. That’s actually me doing a cold train tune. That’s a cold train tune called Alabama. And that’s, that’s like this sort of like this sort of sort of hypnotic sort of trance like thing he does at the game like what he does on crescent, the song crescent and wise one, he does like this trance thing and then it then it kicks into time, you know, time comes in. And that’s sort of like what he’s doing at the very beginning of the song Alabama. And what that song was written for was the was the three girls, the three little girls that got killed in the Alabama church that was blown up by the Klan. And that’s what that song was written about. But yeah, it’s I can totally see the Native American thing because I’m trying to be like doing Indian thing or an Indian thing from like India and try to do something like that. Because it’s just very I’m looking very eternally when I’m playing that song. And that song really changes. Yeah, but it’s just It’s just like an extremely emotional song. It was hard. It’s hard to play those songs night after night because they take so much to play. They drain you energy wise. Yeah. I mean, it’s like when I play, are you experienced? I very rarely pull that out because that’s like something I throw everything into that song because I love that song so much. And it, but it just takes so much out of me because I have, you know, I can’t, it’s, I don’t want to be like a machine. Okay. You know, Are you experienced? Let’s play it. One, two, three, go. It’s like, I can’t be like that, man. If it’s going to be special, it’s got to have everything thrown into it, man. That’s a good, that’s what a good, you know, that’s what an artist does to me. You know, you don’t, you can’t 50% your feelings, you know, you’re either all in or all out, you know, on that track, your strat almost sounds like Neil Young’s Les Paul. What did you do to get that tone on there? It was really different. It’s just the way the way the sympathetic vibrations are going on it and I’m hitting the back of it. You know, I’m like, I’m like touching. I’m like touching the back of it, you know, hitting it like boom, you know, let it. Okay. So that’s what made those heavy. Yeah. Right. Okay. And then I’d sort of, you know, rub the fingers on the back of the head. Let’s see Hendrick to that room. and just sort of make the strings sort of vibrate that way. And then it’s kind of loud, too. And I’ve got the pedals going and stuff, you know, just doing so. I mean, that’s and that’s it’s also I don’t know. You know, it’s just you kind of will those sounds to come out of your guitar. You know, I mean, I’ve loved the way Hendrix worked with that stuff, the way Jeff Becks worked with that stuff, you know, and Katz worked with that stuff. You just got to be into it. You got to will those sounds out of it sometimes. I like what you just said. You got to will it. Yeah, I mean, it’s not like you can bowl. I’m gonna go grab a pedal, you know, feed melodic feedback pedal, give me that thing. You know, it’s like, that’s not how it’s done, you know? Yeah, but that’s where that energy, the intensity that you’re talking about. Right. You don’t do that casually. No. There’s a lot of energy going into doing that. Yeah, it’s a mindset, it’s a spiritual thing. I mean, it’s just, it’s like I said, it’s throwing your body into it. Before we talk about the new record, I want to ask you a question. You did two records. You did a record 396 with… Is it Bluestone? Bluestone, a Bluestone company. Bluestone, Bluestone company. They’re a blues band from Japan. And you also did the Chris Duarte group album called Infinite Energy. I was curious if anything different was going on in your life during that 2009-2010 time frame because both of those records were just phenomenal. I mean, I thought they were tremendous. Great stuff on there. Infinite energy was supposed to be like a homage to Hendrix. I was going to do like real Hendrix-y sounding songs. And this is with Mike Varney. This is when I was with Mike Varney. I loved working with Mike Varney. My dear friend of mine. I love Mike Varney. Musical encyclopedia here. He’s a funny guy. Anyway, so we were working on that and then some of the songs, they just… You know, like I’m waiting on you. And there was a, oh, there was a few other songs that I wanted to try to make them Hendrix, but they, it was like fit in the square peg and around hole. It’s like, no, I’ve just got to let these songs be what they are. And that’s why, you know, I’m waiting on you sort of came. It’s sort of like, it’s funky sort of weird thing. You know, it’s, it’s kind of a strange song. Uh, but I mean, all the other stuff, I love that album and that was me trying to do that stuff at the time. And. Right about that time, my wife, I was with the Japanese woman. That was my third wife and she had introduced me to God. You’re like an optimist. How many how many times you’ve been married? Only three only three third was third time a charm. Nope. Third time was not the charm. We’ll get to it. You have some philosophical questions later on. But you know, she introduced those guys because they were originally Savoy truffle. and their singer had left the band. And so nobody could sing. And so they said, well, my husband, you know, it’s Chris Duarte, they knew who I was. They said, why don’t we get him to sing the songs and then y’all do some of his songs and we’ll sort of mesh this thing together. And that’s what we did. We did a tour in 2006 and then we finished up a tour in 2008 and we went out to Northern California and we recorded this album, you know, sort of writing these songs, you know, on the way out there. Uh, and, uh, I just love playing with him. I still play with Yoshi, Ogasahara, who’s the bass player. Uh, unfortunately, Toshi Sumitomo, the guitar player, he passed away just about a year ago. He passed away cancer, but everybody else is around Taizo. The drummer is still Taro still there, the percussion player. He’s still with us. Uh, but yeah, that was a great, fun album. Had a lot of fun. And what I love playing in that band is instead of me having to put the whole band on my shoulders. I was just a cog in this machine and I love doing that. It’s like, okay, I just got to play this certain part and kick ass in this certain part and it’s going to come out great because the work ethic of the Japanese is unbelievable. So they’re going to be right on it. So I was like, this is right in my wheelhouse because these guys know to get up there and do the shit, play it hard. I’m sorry I’m cussing. I know you can curse. This is okay. I know. It’s like, please do. So I mean, so I love I mean, there was this one song we used to play that was off their album, their subway truffle album. I can’t even remember. I’m having fun. But I mean, oh, silver spoon. I loved playing that song. We play it like kick it, kick it, kick it, kick it on those drums and stuff. Oh, I love playing that song. It was a lot of fun. Yeah, that was just. Yeah, I love I love touring Japan over there, you know, and it just takes me about. You know a month of being over there and I could start picking up my japanese again and stuff That’s one thing I got for my third wife I learned how to speak a little bit of japanese and learned how to read a little learn and write a little That’s cool. You know what i’m talking to uh, yeah, i have a guy coming on my show. There was a band in the 80s Called romeo void. They were a punk band They had a big hit called never say never And uh the guitar player is coming on my show soon because they’re doing a reissue of it or something But he lives in japan now. I would I would live there in a heartbeat. I would Alright, let’s talk about the new record, Ain’t Givin’ Up. So for some reason, I don’t know why, I just read a little bit of your story and just doing some research. For some reason I get the feeling of you not givin’ up has been a consistent theme in your life. And I was, any reason in particular why you chose that title or wrote that title song? Actually my girlfriend, I do have a girlfriend, she wrote that song. She wrote the song and I loved it. Your girlfriend wrote the song? Yeah, she wrote the song, Beth Lee, that’s who wrote the song. That’s awesome, man. And what was, we were doing the song, you know, because I play in her band, Beth Lee and the Breakups, you know, when I’m around Austin. And it’s sort of like it’s, we do some blues, do a little bit of rock, we used to do a little bit of country back then, where I get to play my three country licks back then. And I’d always play two of them in the first song, didn’t know what I was going to do after that. But anyway, she wrote it and I kept, you know, for like for like a month or so I was like, something’s not right on this song. Something’s not right. I don’t want it to sound. So I came up with that little intro that kind of sounds like the same intro on my record. But we played a little dip. We play it more up in her group. But I’ll do like a, God darn, do I have to get it? It’d be like an A. And I go. You know what? and do that, you know, I’d have to stretch my fingers out like that. I’m looking at that. I’m like, what the hell is going on there? How do you get your fingers out wide? Well, I want to instead, because, you know, you can do this, you know, do that, you know, to get the two to ease the sound up. But you got to get that sound of the two strings of the same thing. So I’d have to stretch my hand out like that, you know, to get the, you know, on the fifth fret and on the 10th fret, you know. You know, I’d have to do that brand new bit. And so I came up with sort of like a little intro to it. And then I came up with the rhythm, you know. Instead of it doing, you know, she’s got some other band that plays, it’s just like… Oh, no, that’s no, that’s just regular stuff. Yeah, I want to do it. And so if you go sort of like a country sort of show. Well, I ain’t. Ain’t giving up on us. No, I ain’t, ain’t giving up on us. And I came up with that rhythm and sort of put my stamp on it. And then I liked it so much. And I thought, well, this is, I love the way it sort of says that I ain’t giving up. And it’s, of course, it’s about a relationship, a girl singing about, you know, no matter how much we scream, drink or cry, you know, ain’t giving up on us. But I sort of took it as I’m not giving up on myself. Yeah. And that’s why I thought I’d make it the title track. That’s awesome. It’s interesting just to watch you play the intensity you were putting into that. That is, in my opinion, to me, I’m a big guy on work ethic. I think work ethic tells you a hell of a lot about a person. People who have a work ethic behave a certain way. They’re generally more reliable, more honest. Why? Because they don’t mind working. you know and uh… just watching you do that like the you know the intensity of putting into that was just awesome it was really awesome the closing track on eight given up weekdays awesome slow blues and then you absolutely tear it up on guitar and relevant to what i was just saying one of your gifts chris is that energy that you put into what you do and then having that skill set to transfer that energy into emotions for your listeners. And I know that’s not something you can want to do. You can either do that or you can’t. I mean you can want to do it but the reality is you can’t want it to happen. That’s either inside of you or it’s not. And I found that I feel that song is a really great example that it’s almost like you’re draining everything in you emotionally and pushing it straight through. So I don’t even know if this is a question. It’s a bit of a weird question How do you manage to do that if that’s even something you can answer? You know what was so cool about doing that session Was the tone that I was getting out that amp it was you know Because we did this whole this whole record with just that I just had one guitar Two pedals and that one amp that’s always the whole The amp was, it’s like a mid-60s Fender Bandmaster, blonde Fender band, with a matching 212 cabinet. I don’t know what kind of speakers were in it, but it’s beautiful, beautiful amp. But it just sounded great, you know? And it was funny, because, you know, in the studio, he just had all those amps lined up, and I just said, let me try that Bandmaster there, I wanna try that. And everything went great, you know? And… So why change it? But anyway, so we’re playing and it just sounded great. And the pedals that I was using are these pedals out of Japan made by pedal diggers, the eight one nine pedals. And they, they sponsor me. They’re out of Kobe. But, uh, you know, the tone was just so great. So when you get a tone that great, it’s, it’s just so easy. to make it sort of sing out of you. You can sing along with those notes. And there’s nothing like it when everything’s working on stage, when your tone’s great, everything’s going fine. The musicians, you can hear everything. Your ideas are flowing. Those are some of the great nights that you have on stage. Those are the nights I strive for. But they only come like once every 10 gigs or so. I wish I can have them every single gig because there’s gonna be some gig where I can’t play that loud So I have to really adjust my style to it, but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna give up trying No, I’m still gonna be trying as hard as I can But that it just you know it just when I had a tone that nice it was real easy to play like that That’s what that’s what made it and that’s what made it happen You know I have a lot of gear heads listen to this to you. I remember the names of those pedals the eight 819 just call 819. It’s 819. Okay. Yeah, it’s a green pedal and it says 819 on it pedaling diggers Okay, cool. Cool. Yeah We talked earlier you’re gonna be touring to promote the album. Tell me about that Yeah, this is i’m actually real excited because back in the back in the day like texas sugar even before We used to regularly go out on six and eight week tours And so we have a six week tour coming up and yeah, we’re gonna wind down the southeast and go all the way up to Maine, then wind around to New York and into the Midwest and then come back down. And then, uh, in July we’ll go out towards the West coast and stuff. So we’ll be hitting a lot of places. You come in here. You come to Tampa? Uh, no, I don’t think so. Wait, no way. I, you know, where’s the tour? It’s on, it’s on Duarte dot rocks. Duarte dot rocks. Yes. D U A R T E dot rocks. So check that out. Dot rocks. Um, Chris, what would you say are the top three musical experiences you’ve had? Uh, one being that one we explained in San Antonio, where I think I moved up to the next level, uh, where I realized I could probably do this. Uh, another one at sea. I even wrote this down. Uh, what I thought would be great. Thanks for putting so much effort into this. I appreciate it. Oh no, man. It just, I thought this was, you were, you actually went. looked at my stuff, listened to my stuff, and said, man, this is great, I loved it. That’s my pleasure. The top three, top three, let’s see, I think I put that, oh, there they are. Yeah, there was a talent show I did when I was like 15, and I remember I even had to borrow somebody’s guitar to play the electric, I had to play electric, they had like a Les Paul, I can’t even remember, I might have been a Ventura Les Paul, if you remember those guitars back then, an old Ventura. Uh, and I played that and it was just, I’d only been playing like a couple of years, but we had played, I think we played some Led Zeppelin song and I really hit this great time and the people kind of went crazy. And it was this talent show at this school, this small religious school. And they invited me up like as a guest that was playing with the students that were there. And I remember that just being like, wow, maybe I can really do this. I could be a musician, you know, is that what the first time you thought that Yeah, I think it probably was, you know, because I really wanted to play guitar. But I think, you know, when that happened and I liked the feeling I got playing on stage and, you know, talking with, communicating with the audience that way and connecting with the guitar and musically, it just all these sort of things diverged on itself. And it was like, wow, this is really cool, you know? That’s awesome. And the third one. The number three. The third one was probably when I was… Probably when I was getting out, when I was playing with Buddy Guy and we were playing like some really nice areas, you know, we had played this hall in Ithaca, New York at the university and a really nice, really nice show. And I remember I was dragging around four amps at the time. This is when I had my Red Marshall, my 73 JMP, I still got that amp. You know, I just, I love that amp. And I was just, you know, I’ve just had this huge wall of sound and uh, but I think it was just, I was just having fun just being on that tour, going out some nice places and being with buddy guy. It was just a lot of fun. You opened for him that tour? Yeah, we did. We did several shows, a lot of shows together, probably about, I probably did about a week or so, two weeks with him. And we did like a month with a Ted Newton, Ted Nugent and bad company. Wow. The amphitheaters. Let me let me ask you something about Buddy. I have seen him in concert. I don’t know. Four times probably. And every time I see him, it’s like a different personality shows up. It’s like sometimes it’s like. You know, what are you motherfuckers doing? And then other times it’s like, hey, you know, it’s like, and then sometimes he’s drinking and he’s like overtly buzzed. What? Yeah. Is that planned or what is, what is, how does. I mean, I’m not looking for gossip on the guy. I just like what how does that all work? No, no, buddies, just, you know, that man, you know, for as long as he’s been doing it and to see this man having this much success this late in his career, I love it. You know, and this guy has seen it all. You know, John Lee Hooker was like his dad to him. You know, that was a real special guy to him. You know, they talk just about every day. This is what Dennis Herring told me, who did Texas Sugar and my last album. But Buddy, yeah, Buddy, I’ve seen him in the cantankerous nights. Yeah, right. Tell people to shut the fuck up, you know. Yeah, maybe. Yeah, come on, Buddy. Name one of my records and the guy’s like, you don’t even fucking deserve to be here. I know. It just be real cantankerous, you know. But I mean, Buddy, Buddy’s just as warm as they come. You know, that’s just how Buddy’s just showing you how he is. This is him. You know, he’s the real deal. You know, and he’s not he’s not putting on airs, you know, and this is how Buddy feels tonight. And that’s what you’re getting tonight, you know, which is totally fine with me. You know, and I’ve seen. Yeah, I’ve seen Buddy on some really magical nights. And I’ve seen Buddy where he’s kind of gotten up there and just had fun with everything. Yeah, I mean, yes, he just had fun. But I’ve seen him when he’s been really I mean, I saw him before he was. Before he put out the damn right I got the blues and he was playing Antones like back in the 80s and I saw him We had the big old big Jerry Cole thing and he’s playing a like a 335 or red 335 Man, he was monstrous on that thing man. Just god just ripping it up Scott. It was amazing, you know, but and this is like probably 84 83 when I saw him back then years ago. Yeah, I saw him I saw him back then in Antones. I think Yeah, I think we opened up for him and he got up after that. Yeah. Just amazing. But yeah, I just, but I, but I love buddy. I love him. Chris, what are some, uh, what were some of the low points or dark periods you’ve had to deal with in life and how’d you get through them? Well, you know, besides the addiction issues and stuff like that, you know, and then of course divorces, divorces are terrible. By the third one, you probably was a breeze. You’re like an expert. You say, no, this is how it’s going to go. I am so happy for you. You have stuck with it. So that’s great, man. I’ve got something going. You know what, man? That’s a miracle in my life. But it takes work. Yeah. But I got a partner who’s always, and I’ve been much more of an asshole than she ever has been. So she’s, really, she’s been, I’ve just been super blessed. And I can’t, you know. Thank you. I mean, I’m lucky. That’s great. I love to hear that. I love to hear that. But, you know, is yeah, the divorces, I mean, divorces really, I mean, and when stuff’s going down, you have to go out in the road and you have to, you know, put on a good show and you’ve got this cloud in your head thinking about all that stuff. Man, that is just tough. You know, very stressful. Yeah, it’s stressful. And you’re trying, you know, and you can’t help but have some of it come out while you’re playing. Yeah. And I remember there’s been some nights on. I know it’s probably on air somewhere when I’m playing this small place in Joplin and I kind of choke up during the song because I’m thinking about my third wife and it’s just awful. I just remember that feeling where I’m just breaking. And those are probably some of the worst stuff because I mean addictions, we all go through that stuff. Some of us do. I’m glad people that don’t go through that stuff, I’m glad for them. But I was not one of those guys that was lucky enough not to hit on the stuff. I was just trying to be like my jazz idols, you know, doing the heroin and stuff. And at first I thought it was great, you know, oh man, I could play scales and do this, all this stuff that’s monotonous, it feels great to me. And then you get to the point where you just need anything to be normal, you know, and then next thing you know, you’re doing some really questionably moral things, you know, it’s just awful, you know. But I feel great today, I feel great, I’m feeling good now, so I’m happy now. If you’re comfortable, I’ll answer this. If you’re not, it’s totally fine. We did you just quit or did you like use a 12 step program or did you get a rehab? No, I had to do the 12 step. I mean, I have done, I have done the quit, but those are like geographical relocations, but eventually that doesn’t work for me. Uh, AA worked for me in a, in a just seems a little dark, you know, it just, it just, it gets dark AA. There’s a lot more laughter in it. So I always drifted towards. the AA programs, even though I don’t drink. I’ve never been a drinker. I mean, I could grab a drink today and it wouldn’t bother me. Then I’d probably never drink again for, you know, six months, a year, two years. But AA just has more laughter in it. And that’s where I like about AA. In fact, I even went to Eric Clapton’s place. Oh, you did. The crossroads. I went down there and it was only because I was like, hell, yes, I’ll go down to Antigua. I’ll go. dry out in Antigua. Yeah, why not? Right? Better than it was. It was it was fun. It was a good program. They are good people down there. I really liked them. That’s awesome. You ever heard of the ACA program? It’s a ACA. It’s adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families. No, I haven’t heard of that one. Oh, I know. The only one I know of that’s for kids, the Al-Anon, you know, it’s for like family members, right? Like that. I did that. I haven’t heard the ACA. It’s a great. I did that program. Changed my life. It was phenomenal. I would recommend it to anybody who’s had any kind of strife in their life or you grew up with addiction or anything is just plaguing you and you don’t know. And it was real interesting. I was just talking to a buddy of mine one day and it was a guy I met on my show and I was talking to him and I was out of town and I happened to be in his area and we hook up and I said, man, he goes, how are you doing? I said, I don’t know, man. Things just aren’t running right. He goes, I think you need the yellow book. And I was like, okay, I didn’t even know what the fucking thing was. But I was like, it was kind of like, and then it changed my life. I mean, it was just, it changed my life so much that on Thanksgiving, we always do this thing where my wife puts out a book and everybody who’s there, different kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, they come and go through the years. Um, you have to write what you’re thankful for. And that year, my wife wrote, and I always fill out the book last, just, I just want to read it. And I read hers and she said, I’m so thankful that Craig worked that program. And I was like, wow, that was, I said, I’m much less. I said, I hope I’m less of an asshole. She goes, oh, definitely. Well, I’ll check it out, man. I haven’t even heard of that program. It’s phenomenal, man. I loved it. Yeah, it’s the best $20 workbook you’ll buy. Chris, what are some things you did or some moves you made that as you look back over your career you could like maybe hang some of your success on a particular move I think it’s my work ethic, working at things, never giving up on myself, on some stuff. I mean it’s just staying at it, trying never say die, just keep at it, keep going. Even when we got in that terrific wreck when I turned 30, first thing I thought in my mind was okay, let’s the vans down. the ditch, you know, turned over in a ditch is like, okay, let’s get the van turned around. We’ll turn that into Hertz. We’ll keep moving down the road. You know, it’s just some, it’s so ingrained in my mindset to keep moving, keep forging ahead, you know, keep going down, you know, keep, I don’t know, just keep, just keep working. And because I know the more I work, the better I’ll get, you know, and that’s what I, I just love working. I love getting out there and working, you know, sitting around in a place, you know, I just, I mean I can sit around practice, that’s cool, but I just don’t get that rush that I get when I’m on stage trying stuff out. I think those are the things that I really think get me going. And thanks for talking about your addiction stuff. I appreciate that. Of course, man. You gotta talk about that stuff. Well, I think it’s an important thing because I don’t think anybody has, who hasn’t had a family member that’s an addict? Right. I mean, it’s affected everybody, you know, and it’s important that you kind of like, You know people who don’t know what it’s about they think it’s like oh this person doesn’t have willpower It’s got nothing to do with that and I You know, I mean people why don’t you stop? Yeah, I know no, that’s a great fucking idea, you know I’ll consider that right. No, I did not Yeah, I was shouted down real hard when I’m first time I mentioned willpower was real funny I mean, yeah, you know, why don’t you just stop fuck? Oh my god You’re right. Put that tie down. Throw that needle away. Fuck it. I know. And that’s why I always tell people geographical relocations didn’t work because you’re still taking you with you. You got to work on you. That’s what you work on inside, man. And that’s the only way to change. Right. And sometimes you could do it. Sometimes you’re going really good and sometimes you… You know, you have those setbacks and it happens. And that’s where I tell a lot of my cats that that, you know, I’ve got this drummer friend of mine right now. He’s going through stuff. And I was like, don’t just don’t give up on yourself. You know, because I see people going this big depression thing. It’s like, no, no. Pick yourself up. Just get to a meeting. Stay positive. That’s the way you’re going to get over this, because if you if you go down, you know, it’s just going to take you down with you. And I’ve seen it happen because that’s what happened to me all the time. You know, I get depressed. huge depression holes, you know, and it would take me forever to climb out of it. Well, that’s why the, you know, the fellowship of the meetings, I mean, people, well, I don’t need that, but you really do. Yeah. Because you’re, you know, being fucked up alone is really bad, but you know, if you’re like down and you’ve got other people that have gone through it, it’s the only way I think so anyway. Yeah. They know what it’s like. Yeah, exactly. Chris, I want to talk about gear for a few minutes. You are very well known for your Fender strats, and I guess now you have a different strat. I’ve got the Exotic guitars now. They’re a Japanese company, right? Yeah, Japanese, but they make them in America. Out of California, I think, right? LA, Ventura, California, yes, exactly. So you’re known for your strats and your strat tone, which is phenomenal. But I managed to find one photo of you playing a bright green sparkly Les Paul when you were touring the 386 album you did with Blue Stone Company. So what is your go-to guitar right now? What other two guitars would round out your top three? My go-to guitar is still my golden, my gold sparkle exotic. That’s my, that’s my go-to. And they, they made that because I tried to get my 63 replicated. And I was that fender and everything and they were like, OK, yeah, they went through it. OK. And then the guy goes, OK, that’ll be seven thousand dollars. I was like, whoa, whoa. I said, that’s the price for the guy off the street. I said, I don’t mind paying a couple of thousand. I’m not asking for a favor. I’ll pay a couple of thousand. No problem. Seven. They go, well, you got you got. Yeah, I know. It’s funny. How do you say that with a straight face? And. And he goes, Oh, you got to know somebody in the offices. And I did. I knew Bill Kamisky. He’s the head of PR, you know, at Fender. And so he was like, Oh yeah, we’ll take care of it, Chris. No problem. So they were going to have to get it measured, you know, by the laser stuff and everything, but you know, like a year went by and they still haven’t measured it, the guitar and then exotic stepped up and they said, Hey, we’ll make you a guitar. And I said, well, as long as you copy the exact dimensions of the neck, because I don’t want my hand to get used to another neck. I want to be exactly like my 63. And they said, we can do that. So I’ve been with Exotic ever since. Nothing against Fender, I love Fender. They’re big, as soon as I get really big time again, then I’ll ask Fender about stuff. But Exotic’s stuck with me and I love Exotic. They take real good care of me. Well plus, when you get ignored, you’d be better off, you’d have felt, I mean, I know me, I’d have felt better if they said, look, we’re not fucking doing that guitar. Don’t mind us. Right, exactly. They just told me, instead of me sitting around twisting the wind for a year. Yeah, that’s just rude. Yeah, it’s not like I didn’t have I mean I was being managed by Kevin Womack who was the most lonely boys and Omar and the Howlers and other things, you know, it’s not like I didn’t have good representation. Yeah, but it’s okay You know, I take it with a grain of salt, you know, it’s fender. It’s just a big company. Yeah exactly Yeah Um, okay. So I have man. I don’t usually ask these nerdy questions, but i’m in love. I love your tone Um, so I have two really geek questions. What position do you usually have your pickup selector on? playing this. I’ve never asked anybody that question ever. 900 interviews. I’m like your tone is just like so freaking hot. It’s awesome. Okay, so I’m throwing that thing around a lot because when I first started listening to Stevie, I kept thinking, how is he doing it? Because I hadn’t seen him yet in the clubs. And I was thinking, how is that guitar changing the tones? I’ve realized, oh, he’s changing the pickup selector. He’s moving to different pickups. And with the strat, the way it’s set up, it’s right there. Even at an angle to it, a 45 degree angle, it goes right with the motion of your hand. So I mean, you could see like on my guitars, like the 63, I don’t have it on this one. You can see on guitars, like right here, a divot will show up because I’m changing it so much. A little wood divot will show up right here. That’s awesome. You know, I’m doing that so much. But it depends on the song, you know, like on, ain’t giving up. I’ll probably have that right at the out of phase tone in the back between the middle and back pickup. Like big legged woman, that’s going to be in between the out of phase straight in between the neck and the middle pickup. I love the middle pickup though. I love being on that pickup. It’s just got the right tone. It’s got the right amount of treble to it and right amount of neck to it. So I just love it right in the middle. But I love… The thing I love about Strats is I’ve got five tones to work with and I can get around them all over the place and that’s what I love about Strats. And another nerd question, this is the last one. Are you using the stock pickups or do you swap them out for something else? Nope, just using stock pickups, the Exotics pickups. I can’t even remember the name. I mean, with me, it’s like, for me, the tone’s always been in the hands. So it’s like, you know, give me that guitar and once I figure the guitar out, believe me, I’ll start knowing how to get around it. I will figure that guitar out and know how to get what’s in it. So, I mean, it doesn’t matter what’s in that guitar. I will make it work. You’ll make it sound like Chris Duarte. Yeah, it’ll sound like me, definitely, because it’s in the hands. Don’t go on that holy grail search for that pedal, people. No. Don’t go on it. And I know better than to ask you that question. It’s just like, I wanted… I wanted you to say, Craig, I use these pickups. I’m like, oh, that’s it. You know, I was really, I know better. You know it was gonna be that. Yeah, I know better, but I’m just like, you know, I’m like everybody else, I want the magic, right? Do you have a worst gig ever story? True, boy, I’ve had a ton of them, but there was this one particular gig. I mean, I’ve had a gig where I broke like five, six, seven strings, you know, I just couldn’t believe it. And that’s because I think I had a barb in the, it’s because I changed strings every night, you know, because I need a fresh set because I will break them. No second lasts more than one night. Oh, I will break it. But anyway, I had this gig where I had these, I first started using pedal boards long time ago. Uh, I was playing at musicians exchange in Florida. Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Dude, I know that place I used to go. I saw Buddy Guy there Long time ago. This was the second one because they had the old one I played the original one the old funky one and then they moved down to like on the strip or something like that Delray or whatever and I played there and For some reason something went wrong on the pedal board and I could not take that pedal out of the chain and I had this total rock star meltdown during the song that should have been filmed and sent to psychological universities, psychology university, to study. I mean, and then I just had this meltdown and I thought I will never use a pedal board again. So now when you see me, my pedals just get stretched out like old school style. They’re just, and in like an ergonomic design, it sort of goes to this gentle curve to the right, you know. That’s cool, man. But that’s what I do. I mean, now I don’t have the ridiculous, I used to have like 13 pedals, you know, stretched out, but now I’ve, now I’m down to like about eight or something like that, but it’s reasonable now. Are you using a lot? Like you’re talking about mostly drives when you say pedals, all right? Yeah, I mean, I do. I mean, the first two pedals I always have, actually, I mean, what I consider first, they’re actually last in the chain because they’re right here. Those are the ones I use a lot. It’s you know, I’ve got my boss chorus, C5, and that’s where I get sort of like a Leslie sound. That’s what I use that for. I get a Leslie sound. I can make any course get a Leslie sound, but that’s the one I like. And then the next one’s a DD3 boss DD3 delay because I get a short delay off that one, but I can adjust them down there, adjusting it and stuff. And then I go to then I have my for my group, I have my eight, one, nine pedals. Yeah. And they make three of them. and they make the big one and littler and littlest and the smaller they get the crazier the sound the more distortion. So it’s like the biggest and it gets smaller. So I have all three of those which they freaked out. They didn’t realize I would be using all three of them at once. And then after that I have my Mulan pedal M. double O. L. O. N. They’re a company out of South Korea. They make these great chrome looking pedals. And this is a delay pedal that they have in it. It sounds just like an Echoplex. It’s got the little thing. You can do the little tape warble modulation thing. It’s got about eight knobs on it. It’s funny. I think it’s got six or seven knobs on it. But it’s got the modulation. You can do the tape warble and stuff. But it’s got seven or eight settings. But I use the tap setting, of course, so I can adjust the. And that’s my long delay. Also, what’s nice, too, is it. It’s like an egg of plaques when you take it off, the delay will finish instead of like the DD3 it’ll just slam off, you know, but this it’ll finish the delay. And even if you turn up, plump, they’ll finish it out. The signal will be completed. And then I have an ABY for taking the tuner out of the chain because everybody says, don’t leave your tuner in the chain. That’s a tone sucker. So I take it out of the chain, you know, and that’s pretty much, oh, and then I have a, I have a Mutron Octave Divider. I have one of those. No, why? And that’s like, huh? No, why? No, no, I never use a wall. Oh, interesting. Okay. Man, I just think, you know, Hendrix, Hendrix did all there is to say. Jeff Beck did some pretty innovative things on wall and even Eric Clapton and there’s some other cats that get even Haley did some good stuff. But I just think, I think a lot of cats use a wall as a crutch pedal, you know, you know, they just, okay, I’ve run out of my legs. I’m going to play the same licks. on the wall now. Of course. Yeah, and it just, it’s just like, Doubles your licks. Yeah, exactly. Now you’ve got twice as many licks. I just, I just see it as, I don’t see him doing anything new to it. So I just thought the wall I use, I take my knob and I turn this knob, the middle knob, I turn it all the way base. Now turn this one all the way, then I’ll use that and you get the, Yeah Lost the cap there. I’ll pick up the cap dude. I can’t imagine how much you beat your guitars get beat up Because you’re pretty intense Yeah, I mean that’s what I tell I tell people to play it and they’re like real ginger us like Nobody’s gonna be harder on that guitar than me. So, you know treat around Chris give me your top three desert island discs in no particular order. This is easy. This is easy. Really? Yeah Okay. Yeah. Well this one i’ve this one i’ve actually been asked this question a lot. Okay, uh access bold as love Gotta have that album, I love that album. Coltrane’s Soul Train, the album Soul Train, and then Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Herbert von Caharan as the conductor. Interesting, do you listen to a lot of classical? Yeah, I mean, my bass player, my first bass player that was with me at the very beginning, John Jordan, he started listening to a lot of classical in the van we’d be driving around, so I started getting real taste for it. And then I started listening to it on my own. There’s a great classical station here in town, KMFA, great station. They play great classical. And yeah, and I remember there was a time I was like, I was on this kick with choir music, you know, I was like really getting into these choirs and stuff. It’s like, God, this is so cool. And you get, not the real old Gregorian chants. I like that stuff. But I mean, you know, when you get those voices going and it’s… You know a lot of reverb in the room and it’s just it’s real ethereal sounding. It’s great I like the beauty of music you could stumble down something you never would have thought and then you’re like in this rabbit hole of Holy shit. I gotta get as I gotta learn as much about it as I can or how did this start? And what are they doing? I’m right the gift that music gives us The bait Beethoven, you know Coltrane Beethoven those like my two top guys You know Coltrane Beethoven and Hendrix do that. Yeah, pretty you got all your bass is covered brother. Yeah Chris, what are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from getting older? Probably I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody anymore. As much as I love to have that competitive streak in me, even as I get older, it’s just I’ve gotta realize I just don’t have to prove anything to anybody anymore. I could just take it easy, but that’s not… That’s not the way I’m going to be when I get on stage. I’m still pushing as hard as I can. But I just don’t feel this need to compete with some young cat anymore. You know, let them do their thing, man. Do your thing, brother. You know, I’ve already found my thing. I’m comfortable with where I am. I’m comfortable with my skin, my musical skin. You know, go do your thing. That is like pretty much the number one answer to that question that everybody says. some version of I’m more comfortable in my skin now. Yeah, which is great, because you’re uncomfortable for so long. When you accept it, finally it’s like, you know, it’s not that bad. Yeah, and believe me, I still think I’ve got to get that part better. Why am I sounding termed bad? I still get down on myself and I don’t sound good on a show, but that’s just me and my work ethic and my work standards. I hold myself to a high standard, but I know. I know I’ve found my voice. I know I’ve made my mark on music. And I don’t think, I feel comfortable that I’ve actually done what I’ve kind of set out to do. Even though I don’t have a super fat bank account, but no, still, I make people happy. I move people. People know who I am. I’m known all over the world. That’s something I just did not expect. That’s awesome, man. I’m just really happy to hear you say that. Best decision you ever made? Besides having my daughter, I think my daughter is the best decision I’ve ever made. How old is your daughter? My daughter is now, she’s gonna be 30. It says she’s born 88, so she’s gonna be 35 this year. Awesome, congratulations, that’s great. Yeah, and she’s a pharmacist, put her through. She’s got her pharmacological degree. Yeah, she’s doing great. That’s awesome, I’m happy. And so I got two grandkids with that too. So that’s just, she’s awesome. She’s the best daughter ever. So, but the best thing I’d probably say, you know. Probably just starting to hit the road and finding myself. It’s hard to say it. I’ve done a lot of good things in my life. Not bad things, but I’ve done a lot of good things. I think I was making Texas Sugar and even when you’re making that first album, you don’t realize what it’s going to do. I had no idea when I was making that album that it would go on to be this. many milestones in music. People still look on that album as like, wow, that Texas… I mean, people claim that as their Desert Island album. It’s a phenomenal album. I didn’t ask you questions about it because you’ve asked a million questions about it, but I wanted to go unnoticed. I was so thrilled to work with Dennis again on this last album. I know how Dennis works, but still what was funny during the whole album… He never told me, now Chris remember, we’re recording everything. So when the solos come, you know, do it. He didn’t tell me anything. I just thought when the solos come up, I was like, okay, I’m gonna come back and redo these solos. Just zip, just fill this space up. And when I came back to do the vocals, by instinct or by reaction, I grabbed my guitar. So I get to the place to do the vocals. And sure enough, it’s just a vocal booth there. There’s no amps. I was like, we’re gonna do guitars, right? It’s like, oh no, guitars are done. He’s like, what, guitars are done? I wasn’t thinking of doing solos when we were here. And I said, let me listen to them. And I was like, yeah, it’s not bad. So I would have thought, what would I have played if he had told me, now apply yourself and the solos come up, Chris, apply yourself. Think about it. But you did it organically and it worked. Exactly. That’s nice, man. Exactly, yeah. I’m happy. It’s a great feeling. It was so it was so cool that it worked out and then like I said And Dennis is already committed to the next album. So I’m looking forward to doing the next album with them. That’s awesome, man Mm-hmm. All right, tough question. What do you like most about yourself? The way I never give up on myself. It’s there I go man myself I’ll tell you what you said a lot of good things. I think the best thing you said here was I’ve done what I set out to do. That’s a that’s a nice. No, that’s a nice that you could say that that’s a good feeling. I’m happy for you. That’s awesome. Yeah, because some people are never satisfied. They just feel there’s something they got to do. I mean, sure. Like I said, I still got a lot of work to do. People think I’m great. It’s like, well, I, you know, where I want to be is still way, way over there, you know, but I feel like I’ve really I’ve found my voice, you know, and because people can recognize that’s me when the on the when the radio comes on, it’s like, oh, man, that’s Chris Duarte. You know, I know it. You know, that’s where I’ve always wanted. I’m glad you’re able to appreciate that about yourself now, man Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music? I? Do like baseball. I still like baseball You know what like I just saw a great documentary on Nolan Ryan. Did you ever see that? Oh, Nolan Ryan’s one of my heroes It’s like one of my baseball heroes. Yeah, man. No, I didn’t I have there was one that I saw but it wasn’t specifically about Nolan I think I’ve seen something on Amazon maybe about him But I haven’t seen it because it’s probably pay. I’m a cheap bastard. You know if I got to pay for it No, it’s I know it’s on Netflix. I just saw it reasons great. Okay. I’ll have to look it up It’s awesome. I love no, it’s phenomenal I mean, it was really nice seeing him and his whole story and his you know, his wife his family It was just nice man Nolan ball right here All I know is I’ve been looking at that guitar up at the top of that pile and just sitting there wondering how is that thing balancing up there? You mean that thing up there? That, that one that you see, that’s one of those cigar box. Oh, okay. Did you get that from JP Sores? No, from, uh, from Rose, a guy named Rosemar. I think he’s out of Wisconsin and a friend of my Mojo Mojo. I can’t remember his last name. Mojo gave it to me. And, uh, yeah, it just sits up there. I got all kinds of thanks people giving me. It’s just a couple more questions, man. Yeah. Biggest change in your personality, Chris, over the last 10 years and has that change been intentional or has it been just a natural part of aging? I think what’s biggest change is I think is, yeah, because I was looking over these questions, I think the biggest change in me is learning how to live by myself. You know? after being married three times, you know, you go through this thing, oh my God, I don’t want to be alone. You know, I don’t know if I could live alone. And I think, you know, when I came back to Austin after my third marriage, kind of disintegrated, even though I still have a girlfriend, but it’s not like we’re living together or anything. You know, I’ve got my time and if, and if I don’t, things aren’t good to me, it’s like, yeah, I’m going to go home. You know, just be by myself, you know. and watch old movies. I like TCM, I love Turner Classic Music. Turner Classic, yeah. I mean, those movies, I love those old movies, man. And lots of times I’ll look up on Wikipedia about the movie and read the production notes. Dude, I do the same thing when I see a good movie. I was watching Death Wish 5 last night. Oh my God. And I was like, who’s this guy? And I looked at Wikipedia. And you know what’s really funny? His son, Charles Bronson’s stepson is a great guitar player called Val McCallum. He plays with Jackson Brown. Yeah, and he grew up with, his mom is Jill Ireland. Val’s mom was. Oh yeah. Yeah, and I had him on the show here. He’s great. So sometimes I’ll be watching a movie and I’ll text him. I’m like, hey man, I’m thinking of you. Every time I see a Bronson movie. And I’m always, same thing. I’m looking at Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia, man. It’s like a. Yeah, man, I love it too. Use guys. Yeah, right. I love Bronson, man. There you go, there you go. Use guys or hidden. I don’t know, I can’t even do them. I just be much better at doing them. No, that was pretty good actually. No, I love Charles Bronson. Even in, what was the, The Great Escape, he was in The Great Escape too. Oh, that was phenomenal, yeah. That was a great movie, man. That was really cool. Cool off. Bum, bum. Steve McQueen, you love it, love it. All those guys were phenomenal actors there. Yeah, man. What’s giving you the greatest joy or satisfaction right now in your life? Greatest joy and satisfaction. Let’s see, did I put that down? I thought I did, yeah. Yeah, because I took the… Oh, I stopped at number nine. That’s what… Grace Joy says, I don’t know, you know, it’s… I guess it’s just still going on this journey, this musical journey by myself, you know, still seeing what I gotta learn, what I have to do to stretch my musical boundaries out further. I mean, this album that we just did, it sat on the shelf. I mean, it didn’t sit on the shelf, but it sat in my head for like five, six years. Cause when they signed me, Mascot signed me, they were like, we want a blues album. And my first thought was, I don’t want to play a blues album. You know, I still wanted to sort of venture out. And so years went by and thank God for Ed, who owns the company. He was patient with me and he was, you know, he knew I’d come around and finally I just, you know, looked around and said, I’ve got to put a product out. I haven’t had a product out and I can’t, I can’t be touring my same songs over and over. You know, people have got to know, is he still going to play that same set? Really? You know, yeah, he does stuff different, but really come on. So I, went and did this album and it’s almost like, you know, it’s a back to his roots or whatever, but still, I mean, it’s a really cool album. Beth Lee helped me write seven of the songs on it. She’s been like my muse, you know, for the last seven, eight years. Is this the first time you’ve been involved in a relationship where your partner is a musician? Yeah, exactly. Interesting. That’s right. All these years, I knew that. never hooked up with another musician. Never. Yeah. And so, yeah. And so you got some musical stuff going to, which is really nice. That’s like, yeah, we had an add on to the relationship. Yeah. And I kind of for I kind of shoehorned my way into her gig. And I was like, come on. I mean, she had she had really good guitar players. I don’t think you have to shoehorn your way into it. Hey, do you want Chris to play with you? Yes. I mean, what? Well, you know, the style, her style of music, you know, the Americana and stuff. I really wasn’t quite versed in that, but I started learning it really quick, you know, and I worked on it because, you know, I don’t want to sound like a hack when I’m up there playing it. So I really did work on her stuff, you know, I still work on her stuff, you know, that just, you know, when it doesn’t feel right to me, it doesn’t feel comfortable. It’s like I’ve got to get to work on this stuff and get something. But I think, you know, what when I’m happiest about is, you know, I’m still seeing, you know, I’m sorry I get lost myself. I get off these tangents. I just I’m glad you know I’m still able to make music and still I’m finding new areas that I can move into you know I don’t take myself so seriously. That’s awesome. That’s awesome man. Well let me tell people again The tour starts in May and you can find all the information you need on Duarte Rocks It’s D U A R T E dot rocks. Also you can find Chris on Instagram Twitter and Facebook so follow him. Do you have a YouTube channel as well, Chris? Yes, I’m sure we do. I’m sure that’s it. Yeah, so there’s a YouTube channel. There’s hundreds of videos out there for me. Listen, just subscribe and follow everything that you have Chris Duarte. That would be a good move for you. And come out and see him on tour. Dude, any final words of wisdom or anything else? Just for the young players, always work with the metronome. Get that metronome and work with it. I’ve always got a metronome near me. See, there’s one right there. Always work with the metronome. It helps your time. I mean, some people think there’s a natural click. Okay, I get it. But believe me, work with the metronome. You’re gonna get better on your timing. And always play from the heart. Right on, man. Use the metronome. That’s what I say. Do you know Jeff Carlesi from 38 Special? Oh yes, definitely. I know of him, definitely. Yeah, I met him on the show when we became buddies and he told me that. He said, Craig, always work with your metronome. And I’m like, well, Jeff Carlesi is telling me this. I need to like not even think about it. I’m just gonna like, and it’s really, really been a huge help, man. So you’re 100% right. That’s great advice. I mean, what’s cool about this one, this one’s got, let’s see if this one’s got, this one’s got like, this one’s got like the shuffle setting. So it’s not like a dry, you know, tick, you know, this one’s cool. So you, you can get, you can get way up there, you know, ticky, like it was shuffle going, do a fast swing, you know, so that, that helps you work on some stuff, phrasing and stuff, but yeah, metronome. Awesome man. Well, Chris, hang on a minute. I’m going to wrap up. Anything else you want to promote? Anything else you want to promote or anything? No, just look me up on Instagram. Look me up Twitter. You know, it’s all out there just putting Chris Duarte, not the basketball player. Yeah, that’s right. But I’ve been following him for a while, actually. He was out Florida. Then he then he went over. He was actually out of Oregon, no, Florida, then Oregon. Then he got drafted. But anyway, yeah, it’s easy to find me. I’m all over out there. Click on my songs, click on everything. Album’s out April 14th. So let’s get it, you know. Ain’t giving up. On Provoc Records. Dude, thank you so, like I said, hang on, but thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. I’m hanging. It’s been a joy meeting you, man. And best of luck, and I hope to see you on the road. Everybody, thank you. Okay, you got it. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this, please share it on your social media channels. We appreciate your support. Thanks very much to Chris Duarte and for spending time with us. And please check him out on the road and at And most important. that happiness is a choice so choose wisely. Be nice, go play a guitar and have fun. Until next time, peace and love everybody. I am out.

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