Joe Bonamassa Regularly Apologizes to Eric Johnson for "Stealing" His Style

Joe Bonamassa (left) and Eric Johnson perform onstage
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns, Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Known first and foremost as a titan of blues guitar, Joe Bonamassa takes inspiration from a variety of influences that go beyond the blues genre.

One of those influences is instrumental electric guitar hero Eric Johnson. Bonamassa's debt to the Texan's style, is such, it turns out, that he's gone so far as to apologize to Johnson for borrowing elements of his playing – on more than one occasion. 

In a recent interview with, Bonamassa revealed that – for the crime of incorporating elements of the guitarist's style into his own – he apologizes to Johnson quite literally every time he sees him.

“Eric was another one that I learned a ton from and whom I'm still learning from,” Bonamassa said. “Every time that I see him, I always apologize to him. I'm like, ‘Man, I'm sorry for stealing your style.’”

Bonamassa went on to highlight the uniqueness and versatility of Johnson's playing, in particular, as an inspiration.

“His tone is distinct,” Bonamassa explained. “And I don't have to remind people of all the amazing music he's made over the last 30 years. He’s easily one of the best out there and has been for a long time. He can cover any style or whatever he needs to. He's a joy to watch and listen to.”

Bonamassa, for his part, is currently preparing to release a new live album, Tales of Time.

Set for an April 14 release via the guitarist's own J&R Adventures label, the set will be available in CD/DVD, CD/BR, vinyl, and digital formats, and captures his August 2022 performances at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

“This live show represents our most progressive and largest production to date, focusing on my most ambitious studio album to date, Time Clocks," Bonamassa said in a press release announcing the album. "The iconic Kevin Shirley once again has produced both wonderful music and a wonderful visual. My band was a force of nature on this show and it truly was a special night.”

To preorder the album, visit

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.