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The First Time I Met The Blues: Dennis Greaves

From tearing up the 100 Club with Chuck Berry to igniting anarchy on The Young Ones, the Nine Below Zero man has lively memories...

Singer, guitarist, songwriter Dennis Greaves blazed a trail with Nine Below Zero from 1977 to 1982. He then helmed soul pop outfit The Truth until 1989. The following year he re-formed Nine Below Zero and still fronts them.

Who turned you on to music?
My two older uncles. They were in the first blues scene in the late 60s. They told me these tales of going to the Marquee. They had photos of The Action playing there, and one time they went to see John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – they announced Eric Clapton wasn’t going to be there, they had this young guitarist Peter Green with them instead; they were disappointed for all of a minute.

And your uncles’ records introduced you to the blues?
Yes, I still remember them. They had [Cream’s] Fresh Cream, [John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers’] Bare Wires, Ten Years After’s Ssssh and Cricklewood Green and a best of Freddie King. I wanted to play guitar like him – he was like the blues Hank Marvin – and I spent a lot of time slowing the record player down to 16rpm, which enabled me to learn his solos at half speed.

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