Craig Chaquico on His Blues Roots

Craig Chaquico has been on the scene for a long time.
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CRAIG CHAQUICO HAS BEEN ON THE SCENE FOR A LONG time. His big break came when he was still a teenager, joining Jefferson Starship and going on to rack up platinum records and a Grammy nomination. His latest release, Fire Red Moon, is the guitarist’s first-ever blues album, although, as he explains, it’s really nothing new for him.

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“I think all of my music has a blues base to it,” explains Chaquico. “I grew up listening to Clapton, Hendrix, and Zeppelin, and then Pink Floyd and ZZ Top as time went on. But even in my work with Starship and my acoustic stuff, I still hear those same influences of when I was a little kid in my bedroom playing my guitar.

“I tried to pay tribute to my guitar heroes while still putting my stamp on the tunes. Like on the opener, ‘Lie to Me,’ I did six different tracks: clean, slightly more edge but still clean, then a soft crunch, then a harder crunch, and then two degrees of distorted solos. If you listen to the song carefully, you’ll hear those six different tones come and go. Sometimes the guitar’s really dirty and muddy and sometimes it’s super clean and biting. To me, those are all blues tones, and hopefully it still sounds like the same guitar part and the same player.

“I kind of look at my career like a road. If you get on the Hollywood freeway in L.A., there are all these cars and traffic and it’s a big city. But if you stay on that road long enough, it turns into the Redwood Highway, surrounded by trees and nature. Yet it really is the same road. Right now I’m on the Blues Highway, I guess.”