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Walter Trout: "I would put on a British accent and pretend to be John Mayall"

American bluesman Walter Trout opens up about school bullies, the dangers of spaghetti and the mess that was his old liver

Born in Atlantic City in 1951, Walter Trout survived a troubled childhood with an alcoholic stepfather thanks to his discovery of the blues. Relocating to the West Coast in 1974, his guitar skills saw him pinball through sideman gigs with John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat, before a mid-80s tenure with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers set him up for an enduring solo career. A reformed drug addict and alcoholic, Trout’s wild years seemed to have caught up with him in 2013 when he was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis. A transplant saved his life and enabled him to carry on performing, as heard on the current _Alive In Amsterdam_ album.


What were you like as a schoolboy?

Very shy. I was artistic. I was not good at sports. Being the kid playing a trumpet to the neighbourhood on his front porch, the athletes at my school bullied me. It made me really dislike sports, because ninety per cent of the jocks were total fucking assholes.

What do you think of Spotify?

It’s another way people can get music and artists get nothing. Some people say to me, “Hey, I found you on Spotify and now I’m your fan,” so in some ways that’s good. But there’s part of me that goes, “Well, you can listen to me on Spotify all day now – and I don’t make shit.”

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