Sunday, October 20, 2013

HELEN KING

Helen King has had many roles in her life but the one personality that suits her own private nature is a musical one. Since becoming a bass player of her own design and keeping the rhythms for the Oliva-based blues band namely the Working Party Blues Band, Helen is having fun!

When I was able to finally catch up with this wonder woman, we chatted about our mutual love and respect for the blues genre and how we wish to be rich and bring all types of blues legends here to the Costa Blanca. We also exchanged information relating to health issues and embracing natural solutions when possible. We also had a great time taking photos of Helen and her bass guitar.

In this interview, Helen shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for music and how she ended up in Spain. Plus, some of the fun results of our photo shoot are here for your enjoyment. 


PROFILE
  • Name:  Helen King
  • Location Living: In the sticks near Oliva
  • Roots: S.E England
  • Married: Yes 2nd one
  • Children: 1 Scott who lives in France.
  • How long on the Costa Blanca: 8 years but the first 2 between here and the South of France.
  • Profession: Chartered Accountant and TEFL teacher.


INTERVIEW

Q. How long have you been involved in music?

A. I started playing the trombone with the school orchestra but gave that up when I left school.
(I only recently found out that Trombone is pitched in Bb but the music is written as C for concert playing - they transpose it to make things easier. I think that is right I don't write concert music so can't confirm this). This is only interesting for me because I really get excited with Bb.)

I had a little fun with the University bands and then worked for years.

I have heaps of vinyl and CD’s and always felt myself to be a dancer. I have gold bars in Ballroom and Latin, male and female parts because I was always tall for my age and hardly any boys were at our dance school.

Also, unless you include punk, I can’t sing well enough to be a singer.

Then to Spain and the new love of my life was a musician who had a band. The bass player was leaving so he said try it. I am also left handed which had been an excuse for me not to spend that much money on a left handed guitar as I could never try out someone else’s guitar. So, he took a right handed guitar, turned it over and up-side down and as I could remember how to read a Bass line more or less, I started from there.

I think my first live gig was in Shamrock in Moraira  in November 2008 but I had been to few jams in the area. So properly involved is only 5 years.

Q. Have you always been into blues music or is this something new?

A. I feel really embarrassed at times as many people were really cool teenagers, while the first album I bought was Donny Osmond.

I don’t think I understood the Blues until I went to University and came across a Jackson Brown album and a man with a guitar who loved to talk about the Blues. It was then that I realised the Blues are not depressing, for me at least, but great stories of victim to victor in many cases.

Now when I play bass, this is the music for me because I am allowed to be so very creative that the music becomes mine. There is space for silence, speed, humour, dance, drudge, that I feel is only found in this style. I think you can see this by how many famous and seemingly different bands cover blues music. It is asking for your interpretation of the song.

Rock classics that I also play are not so open to individual expression. Take for example, Born Under a Bad Sign, first Albert King and I think the Cream version is well know but also covered by artsit such as Paul Butterfield, Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Pappo, Paul Rodgers, Koko Taylor with Buddy Guy, Pat Travers, Big Mama Thornton, and the cartoon character Homer Simpson.

I resist putting my band - The Working Party Blues Band in the list but I love this song. Apparently the song was  written because horoscopes were really fashionable at the time. Mind you there is a lot written about why a song was written and what it means, best to listen and feel for yourself..

So, in total - music and me have been together  about 30 years is the short answer.


Q. What aspects of blues music is appealing to you - and do you have blues musician that you admire?

A. I think I admire all blues musicians. All successful musicians have worked hard to get where they are even if i don’t particularly like their style.

If you mean just one blues musician, then T Bone Walker gets my number one spot today. In the future that may change. He writes pretty straight forward 12 bar blues and then takes them to another place. The lyrics are a little vague so you can see yourself or someone else you know well in the songs.

Stormy Monday is one of my favourite all time songs so open to interpretation, covered by many greats. T Bone Walker , as well as having one of the coolest stage names ever composed, sang, played many instrument.

Blues appeals to me because it lifts me when I play or listen. For example, if we listen to a T Bone line from Stormy Monday, "They called it stormy Monday, but Tuesday is just as bad." To me this is a line that says, "Don’t think that  tomorrow will be better - get on with living today."

"Stormy Monday," originally "Call It Stormy Monday" was written and recorded by T-Bone Walker in 1947 and released as a single on the label Black & White. It's about a a guy who is tormented every day of the week, as he prays to have his girl return.

This song has become a Blues standard, covered most famously by The Allman Brothers Band in 1971, but also recorded by B.B. King, Jethro Tull, Count Basie, Bobby Blue Bland, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Freddy Fender, Buddy Guy, Roberta Flack, The Jackson 5, Albert King, Etta James, Freddie King, Gary Moore and Leslie West, just to name a few :)


Q. How did you end up in Spain?

A.  I left the UK in 1988 for France and in 2005 looked for somewhere else to live. I love the warmth here, of the people and the sun. I am lucky as all my immediate family except my son live in the Valencia area.