I started picking on a guitar at the age of 15. I was fascinated with the finger picking sound of the old country blues players. I started making a living from music when I became a busker and a traveling One Man Band at the age of 20.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Deep Purple in Germany when I was 14. Memorable? The volume of the sound in my ears, the look of the hippies in the crowd and the smell of hash in my nose....
What gear do you use?
With my hands I play a Martin 000-18 or a National Tricone Resonator Guitar or a Lowden Jumbo. I also like my old Kay Banjo and my bolivian made Charrango. With my mouth I play harmonica and sing. My feet are on a bass drum, a snare and a hi-hat.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
Creedence Clearwater Revival really got me into music as a listener at the age of ten. Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson and Taj Mahal fascinated me with their fingerstyle blues tunes and made me want to learn guitar. At the same time I was heavily into King Crimson. Later singer/songwriters like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen were influential and Bob Marley of course.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I am a band. A One Man Band. Sometimes a complete band when joined by my daughter, the singer/songwriter Soluna Samay on vocals and double bass. We do cover version of a big variety of genres when we go busking in the summer.
If you could jam with anyone, who would it be?
I'm perfectly happy to play with my daughter on double bass or any other good double bass player. Also I'd love to play with a good cello player sometime.
What's the biggest audience you ever performed to? What's the smallest?
I remember some festival gigs in the states for a couple of thousand people. But what counts for me is to be able to touch even just a few people. And if you are able to do that in the street, they will stop and listen and animate others to do the same. I remember a day in the early 90's when I played in a very popular talk show that was watched by 20 million people on TV and then on the same day went out and played in the street to about 20 people.
You're stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
Bob Marley's Legend. I never ever get tired of listening to his songs.