By Vince Chiarelli
The Kryptonite Sunday blues jam is bringing together a fascinating collection of veteran musicians. Some have performed or been billed with legendary artists and traveled the world performing their blues. That would make a great story, but today, I want to concentrate on the other side of the age and experience spectrum.
Several weeks ago, an unassuming 15-year-old named Drew D’Astice asked to play his guitar with the house band. At the Sunday blues jam, everybody gets to play, and host “Barstool” Bob Levis encouraged Drew to take the stage. Seconds into a 12-bar blues tune, it was obvious something very special was happening; the young guy could play brilliantly. After the jam, Facebook lit up with wall comments about the great blues jam and the astounding young guitarist. The next week, Drew returned and jammed with co-host Ron Holm and the house band. The response was, again, overwhelming.
I want our readers to learn more about Drew, so I sent him some interview questions (following in bold, followed by his responses):
How long have you been playing guitar? I’ve been playing for almost three years now.
Do you play other instruments? I don’t really play any other instruments, but I am interested in piano or bass guitar.
Have you even taken lessons? No, I’ve never taken any formal lessons or formal training.
How long have you been a music enthusiast? I think I’ve always been a fan of music but listening to Jimi Hendrix is what got me really into music.
How did you learn about the blues? I first became acquainted with the blues hearing Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House,” and from there, it branched out to all the older blues musicians.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, B.B. King and Freddie King.
What are some of your favorite songs? “Red House,” “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” “I Can’t Quit You,” “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” “Killing Floor,” “Catfish Blues” (Hendrix version) and “Mannish Boy.”
Thanks, Drew, for your music and for answering our interview questions. Here’s a personal “hat’s off” to Chris Wachowiak, Kryptonite owner, and the Kryptonite staff, the Sunday house band, the guest musicians, and the audiences that are helping to preserve the blues. Drew is living proof that the torch is being passed to a new generation of blues artists. A special nod to Joe D’Astice, Drew’s father, who ardently supports live performance and encourages Drew to pursue his music.
Please contact Vince Chiarelli if you have any original Rockford music or radio suggestions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Aug. 21-27, 2013, issue