I never stopped making music,” says Shuggie Otis. “I’ve been sending my tapes out for 40 years. I got refused for so long that I got used to it.”
Getting snubbed by record labels for decades is surprising, considering his pedigree and the size of his network. He’s the son of late R&B pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Johnny Otis and grew up learning from guitar legends like Don “Sugarcane” Harris and Al Kooper, just a couple of the artists who walked into his father’s home studio.
“I was there before and after every rehearsal and I’d listen to my father conducting business on the phone,” he says. “I can still hear him in the way I speak.”
…Being back on the road, finally sharing his music with the world, has given Otis a renewed sense of purpose. “I want to tour for the rest of my life,” he says. “If I’m not touring, I’ll be recording.”
Read more of the Shuggie Otis interview at USA Today.
The world has Shuggie Otis back. And no one is happier about that than Otis himself.
“I’m on top of the world right now,” he says. “I’m not No. 1, but I’m back out here on the road, and that means the world to me.”
Shuggie Otis will be performing at MusicfestNW in Portland on September 7th. For this and other concert dates, please visit the Shuggie Otis Tour schedule.
Read more at Willamette Week.
Shuggie Otis is back on tour with his band the Shuggie Otis Rite and is in the studio recording a new album. He spoke with The Brooklyn Paper about being on the road, hearing his music in samples, and the wonders of analog. Here is part of the interview:
Q: Who are some of your favorite people to collaborate with these days?
SO: I like to start my songs myself and then bring other musicians in. Right now, I like playing with my band, the Shuggie Otis Rite. We’ve got James Manning on bass, Michael Turre on saxophone, Larry Douglas on trumpet, my brother Jon Otis on percussion, Albert Wing on saxophone, my brother Nick Otis on drums and Swang Stewart on keyboards and guitars.
Q: How did you like performing at the Music Hall of Williamsburg this past April?
SO: That was one of the best concerts we had on the whole tour. I had a lot of fun, the crowd was very responsive and we were too. It was one of those nights where you can’t expect it to happen and you can’t buy it. We videotaped that show, I’m going to mix it down and it hopefully will come out by the end of the year on Cleopatra Records.
Q: What’s it like being on the road these days? What do you love most about performing?
SO: On tour feels like where I’m supposed to be. I’ve always wanted to tour, but many years I didn’t couldn’t get hired to work, let alone get a record deal. I had my own band here in the states, but I played with my father more often than I did with my own band. I had some non-musical jobs too. When I’m on tour, it makes me feel normal. When I’m at home, I’m in a neighborhood and in a cul-de-sac. My band is loud. The neighbors don’t complain, but I don’t feel comfortable. I like traveling a lot, I love playing for people and I love to see the crowds.
Read the complete interview at The Brooklyn Paper.