Ronnie Baker Brooks talks the blues—part two

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-110857193824430.jpg’, ‘Photo by James Thompson’, ‘Ronnie Baker Brooks performs at a concert in Palatine, Ill., Jan. 20.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-110857198324374.jpg’, ‘Photo by James Thompson’, ‘Ronnie Baker Brooks said he wants to "keep the blues alive" for his father, blues legend Lonnie Brooks.’);

Ronnie Baker Brooks is the son of the legendary blues player Lonnie Brooks. This is the second part of an interview conducted before a concert in Palatine, Ill., Jan. 20. The first part was published in the Feb. 9-15, 2005, issue.

TRRT: It must have been very helpful to your music career to have the last name Brooks. Were there any negatives that came along with having the name, such as the inevitable comparisons to your father?

Brooks: None whatsoever, Lonnie Brooks is my father, best friend, and mentor. He has taught me everything.

TRRT: How would you describe the music you write and play?

Brooks: (Laughs) I leave that to you, the listener.

TRRT: Take Me Witcha, your last album, was released in 2001. When can fans expect a new album?

Brooks: I have over 50 songs written to use on a new album. It’s in the works, but a release date hasn’t been set. I’ve been very busy touring and had a baby recently.

TRRT: Has the new baby changed the priorities in your life?

Brooks: (Ronnie’s eyes lit up and he smiled instantly) Yes, she’s the most important thing in my life…everything has changed.

TRRT: If you could meet one person deceased or alive, who would that be?

Brooks: God, Dr. Martin Luther King. (Smiles) I had the chance to speak with Oprah Winfrey and Prince.

TRRT: If you could ask any music artist, living or deceased, one question, who would it be, and what would you ask? (Ronnie’s brow furrowed and he thought for some time.)

Brooks: Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I would ask him how he kept the passion going. Stevie was so passionate… I would ask how he kept that.

I’m not sure how Vaughan kept his passion, but Ronnie found it in a promise to his father and those who played the blues before him. They told him to keep the blues alive. His song, “Make These Blues Survive” fulfills his promise to his father and the others. The song is one of his favorites, and it’s done as a duet with his father Lonnie.

Ronnie has incorporated many genres into his music. We are all influenced by the music we hear growing up. Ronnie took the music he heard and melded it into a hybrid sound to cross genres and touch a younger audience in his quest to “keep the blues alive” for his father.

TRRT: What is your favorite word?

Brooks: Love.

TRRT: What is your least favorite word?

Brooks: Hate.

TRRT: What turns you on?

Brooks: (There’s a small stutter, a stifled laugh…before he says,) “Woman.” (There was more there, but that was all he was willing to say. I’m sure we couldn’t publish the other thoughts anyway.)

TRRT: What turns you off?

Brooks: Hate.

TRRT: What sound do you love?

Brooks: The sound of a guitar.

TRRT: What sound do you hate?

Brooks: The sound of a fork scraping an empty plate.

TRRT: What is your favorite curse word?

Brooks: (Ronnie opens his mouth to answer, laughs, and says,) “Damn.” (I glance up from my notes, and skeptical, raise an eyebrow, and we make eye contact. Both of us break out in laughter. Obviously, this isn’t his favorite curse word, but the only one he’s willing to give us for publication. That’s OK, Ronnie, we couldn’t publish it anyway.)

TRRT: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Brooks: (Without a moment’s hesitation Ronnie says,) “Basketball.”

TRRT: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Brooks: I know you tried to be the best person you could. I love you, and welcome.

If you haven’t heard Ronnie’s music, you can hear and purchase Take Me Witcha from his Web site at

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