Monday, August 16, 2010

Teenage Wildlife-Interview with guitar great Carlos Alomar

Carlos Alomar and David Bowie:,, and Getty Images
(Story and interview by Colin McDonald, for on 5 February 1997)


CA: Yes, I did. It was around the time that he had a song called "Mama, Come Here Quick & Gimmie that Lickin' Stick." At the time, I was working at the Apollo Theater in the house band. Brown had this big, enormous guitar player who took sick so I substituted for him. Subsequently, I went on tour with him six months after that for about eight months.

Colin McDonald is a professional rock music journalist and also a Teenage Wildlife regular. He has graciously provided this interview to Teenage Wildlife.

The interview was conducted on February 5, 1997 via telephone.

Q: From what I understand, you, at one point, played with James Brown before your tenure with Main I
Q: That must have been great going from playing at the Apollo Theater in its prime to playing every night with the Godfather of Funk.
CA: It was except for one thing. During one performance, James was doing his `take it to the bridge, take it to the bridge, take it to the bridge' thing. He was saying it for so long that I kind of drifted. All of a sudden, he said, `HIT ME' and BAM, I didn't hit it, I missed the cue.
The following Friday, payday came and my check was short. So I said to the staff `Excuse me, but there's $50 missing from my check.' They told me `Well, Mr. Brown said that on that date you didn't hit on the "hit me" cue and therefore have been fined $50.' I was pretty pissed off ... I didn't mined being docked if you tell me I'm going to be docked. But to hit me with a dock after the fact didn't sit right with me so I found another gig.
Q: When did you start playing?
CA: I started playing when I was 10, but I started professionally at 16. I had a Sears Silvertone guitar and amp ... It was the closet thing to a Fender Jaguar that I could get. I kept that guitar until it fell apart. My father was a Pentecostal Minister and bought my brother a guitar which he never played it. I kept going in his room and finally my father said to me "If you don't go in your brother's room, I'll give you his guitar." I said "fine," and still went in his room. So I learned it religiously until my father died. After my father died, I went down to the Apollo. The only way to get into the house band is if someone dies and that's exactly what happened.

(click here to read the full text of the interview on the website)

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