This Month

MAY 2007

Wil Blades

The organist of the month this time is California-based Wil Blades.

Previous issues of This Month

Feb 2007 - Introduction
Mar 2007 - Out and about
Apr 2007 - Tony Monaco


Virtual interview with The Captain:


1. Name - Wil Blades
2. Place(s) I call home - Berkeley, California - Chicago, Illinois
3. Style(s) I play -  I try to incorporate anything I hear into what I
do.  I try not to think too much about "style", but more about what
I'm hearing and feeling at any given moment.
4. Current CD/project - "Sketchy", to be released in August 2007 on
Doodlin' Records.  Features the legendary drummer Idris Muhammad on drums.
5. A person who inspired me to play the Hammond - There wasn't really one particular player that inspired me, initially.  I think growing up in Chicago and hearing Blues bands, I was hearing the B-3 all the time without realizing it.  At certain point in high school, I suddenly
fell in love with that sound.  Then, of course, I heard Jimmy Smith
and that sealed the deal!


6. Do you use a Leslie speaker? - Yes
  If yes, is there anything you can share about how you use it?
- I just try to create dynamics with it and compliment what I'm playing.
  If no, do you use anything special to amplify your organ?
- On certain gigs I will hook up a bass amp to the organ so I can get a
more controlled and louder bass sound.
7. Do you often play the bass line on the organ? - Probably about 90% of the time...all the time, if it was up to me!
  If yes, how do you do it? - When I'm playing in a jazz context, I
play the traditional left hand bass with pedal "thumps" and
accents...the way Jimmy Smith did it.  In a funk context, I play a lot
more pedals along with my left hand to give it some more "umph".  I try to think myself as a bass player and not just as an organ player playing a bassline.
8. Do you use the percussion effects in your organ? Yes.
  If yes, what is your most used percussion setting? - I use the
third harmonic a lot, but it depends on what sound I'm trying to go
for.  It try to play to what's going on around me and not be too set
in my ways.
9. Do you have a drawbar setting that is your own? - I think it's my own.
  If yes, can we know it?
000800800 - Percussion on the third harmonic and on the loud setting.
10. Is there anything that defines 'your sound'? - I was originally a
drummer, so I play very percussively.  One of the initial things that
attracted me to the organ was that it could be very percussive, if you wanted it to be.  Also, like Tony Monaco said in his interview, I've tried to be conscious of the history and learn how other organists do it and hopefully I will be able to express my own self through that.


Picture used with kind permission

11. A milestone in my Hammond organ playing career was: 
It's hard to nail down one specific thing.  I've been lucky enough to work with/study from some of the greats including John Lee Hooker, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad and Herbie Lewis.  Being around these people has given me and incredible amount of inspiration
and knowledge.
12. A great recording of Hammond music not of my own: There's too many to name!!!

Check out Wil's website:

====oooo=== Website Updates ====oooo====

- The Hammond X-5 service manual is now available for download
- I'm working on getting The Tallboy Section back online

Amp rebuild services by Captain Foldback

The Captain now offers Hammond/Leslie amp rebuild/repair services at very reasonable prices. For most projects I do not charge for labour, I do it to help and out of love for the Hammond/Leslie sound. My speciality is old Leslie amps such as 31H and 32H. I rebuild in various 'grades' depending on how original the owner wants it to look and sound. Conversions from one model to another are also possible, as well as voltage conversion of later models. Solid state Leslie projects are welcome, but be aware that parts are sometimes hard to come by.

Please contact me at TheCaptain@captain-foldback.com_Remove_This or fill out the contact form, if you wish to discuss a project. References are available.