The 56th Annual Grammy Awards took place on Jan. 26, 2014, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here is what this Grammy winner said backstage in the press room.
CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE and BEN HARPER
Best Blues Album: “Get Up!”
How did you two first collaborate?
Harper: John Lee Hooker, thanks to Mike Kappus [Hooker’s manager], brought us together and wanted us on a track of his on a record he was making. And that’s the first time we exchanged music in the same room, at the same time, live. From that moment, that was in the studio, and that’s what led to this [Grammy Award].
Musselwhite: Music just took over and took us where it wanted to go. We just hooked in, and it took us like a freight train.
Ben, the last time you won a Grammy, it was in the gospel category. Now, it’s in the blues category. Can you talk about being so eclectic?
Harper: Those are the two best categories going. So to be in gospel and blues with Mr. Musselwhite, my musical North Star, I’m trying to get my feet back on the ground, my friend. It’s hard right now.
Are you two going to do another album together?
Musselwhite: We’ve got plans to do that. We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. That’s what we do.
Harper: And I’m going to put the exclamation mark at the end of that and say, “Hell yes!”
Are there any other music genres that you’d like to explore?
Harper: Yes. My mom and I just finished a record called “Childhood Home,” and it’s coming out on Mother’s Day this year. That’s Americana or folk or whatever anyone wants to call it, please do. But hopefully, we’ll see next year. Cart before the horse. Forgive me, but I’m so proud of that record that my mom and I made. And that said, Charlie and I are hopefully jump back into the studio as soon as possible.
What was it like working with your mother? Who was the boss?
Harper: I’m glad you asked that. When you’re asking your mom to do another take, as a producer, that’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.
Who’s the boss when you and Charlie Musselwhite work together?
Harper: That’s the thing: Charlie and only ever do one or two takes. [He laughs.]
Ben, is there any chance that you’ll get back together with your band the Innocent Criminals?
Harper: In a word: yes. I’ll keep it short. I can’t wait to reconvene with the Innocent Criminals. Right now, there’s so much with my mom and Charlie and the ICs [Innocent Criminals], I’m just going to take this award and go hide. Thanks to the Academy.
For more info: Grammy Awards website
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