BLUES LEGENDS SUCH AS BUDDY
Guy don’t usually go out of their way to sign,
record, and promote pre-teenage talents, but
that’s exactly the situation with Guy discovery
Quinn Sullivan. Guy’s Grammy-winning
producer Tom Hambridge recorded the 12
year-old blues-rocker’s new CD, Cyclone
[Oarfin], which features the legend and
the prodigy together on “Buddy’s Blues.”
How did you get into Buddy Guy’s music,
and how did you connect with him?
I discovered Buddy by watching my dad’s
DVD of Eric Clapton’s first Crossroads concert.
I just fell in love with his playing and his
mannerisms. Something about Buddy really
inspires me. My dad took me to his show
and I brought my guitar for him to sign. We
met before the concert and he said, “Be ready
when I call you up onstage.” We played a
blues jam for about ten minutes, and then
we played “Sweet Home Chicago.” I was a
little in shock that night, but I wasn’t nervous
at all. I just thought it was really cool.
How did your relationship progress from
He eventually asked me to play a lead
on “Who’s Gonna Fill These Shoes” for
his album Skin Deep. Next we took a trip to
Nashville to record my album, Cyclone. The
backing tracks were already laid down when
I arrived. Tom Hambridge had sent me rough
mixes to study ahead of time. He did most of
the songwriting, and I co-wrote “Peace and
Harmony,” “Me and My Guitar,” and “My
Sweet Guitar.” When it was time for me to
track, I’d play my rhythm part, overdub a
few different solos, and then we’d pick the
best one. It was pretty easy, actually.
What are your favorite guitars and amps
for the studio and stage?
I have a Gibson ES-335, and I used a
variety of Stratocasters, Telecasters, and
Les Pauls on Cyclone—but the Stratocaster
is my main stage guitar because it sounds
good on every song. So far, I’ve used the studio’s
amps for recording. I love the sound
of Fender Super Reverb and Marshall amps.
My main stage amp is a Chicago Blues Box
“Buddy Guy Signature Amp” that Buddy
gave me, which is basically a clone of his
favorite ’59 Fender Bassman.
What’s it been like for you playing nightclubs
such as Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago? Do you
get respect from the players hanging around?
I get standing ovations at Legends, and
the players that hang around there do show
me respect. I don’t get a lot of comments
like, “That kid doesn’t deserve it because he
doesn’t have the feeling of the blues yet,”
although I have heard that other places. All
I can do is keep playing. I want to keep traditional
blues alive, but I also want to keep
playing rock and roll. Cyclone is a mixture
of both. John Mayer and Derek Trucks are
both amazing examples of younger players to
follow, but I’d like to develop my own style
instead of copying them or other people.