5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
To purchase tickets to see Johnny Rivers perform at the Lynn Auditorium on April 16th visit www.lynnauditorium.com.
The two-time Grammy Award winning entertainer has sold more than 30 million records and has made significant contributions to the history of rock ‘n roll. Not only is Johnny an accomplished singer, songwriter, and producer, but he continues to perform before sell-out crowds worldwide. The “Secret Agent Man” will be performing his many hits at the Lynn Auditorium.
SD: How did you learn to play the guitar?
JR: My dad was a guitar player, so we always had them around the house. He bought me my first guitar for $12 from the Sears & Roebuck catalogue. He taught me some basic chords and then I took it from there. I believe that everyone should play an instrument. It is such an amazing tool to have.
SD: You have been performing since 1957. What keeps you motivated?
JR: It’s the music that motivates me. It always has. I am amazed and thankful that we can still sell out a venue. I love the energy that the audience brings to each show. It is really because of them that I still perform.
SD: How has your sound evolved over the years?
JR: Growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I started playing the blues. What was great for me was I was there for the transition from blues to rock and roll. I got to see a lot of great blues players. A lot of the guys performed in my high school auditorium. I saw Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, and Elvis. They are also some of my musical inspirations. I remember going to the French Quarter and standing outside on the sidewalk and listening to some of the greats play: Chet Atkins and Chuck Berry. It was an amazing time to be an inspiring musician.
SD: How did the song “Secret Agent Man” come about?
JR: I was in London with my producer, Lou Adler, and we met the producers of “Danger Man,” which was at that time a big show in Europe and they were getting ready to bring it to the States. They had an instrumental theme to it and needed the lyrics. I was working with P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri and we came up with the song, “Secret Agent Man.” I worked out the guitar riff, which is a play off the James Bond theme, submitted it, and they really liked it.
SD: What are your thoughts on the music industry now?
JR: There is not much of one now. I think now there are only 3 major record labels. Nowadays, artist do their own thing. You can post anything on YouTube or even start your own label to help get your music out to the masses. It is definitely a lot easier than when I started. Also, the caliber of talent that is massed produced now is not as great as in the earlier days.