Featured Artist: Will Tucker

Posted on January 25, 2014

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By Michelle Quina

If you like the blues and haven’t stopped by BBKing’s Friday or Saturday night to see the Will Tucker Band, I suggest you do so soon. Aside from the twenty year olds good looks and carefree personality, Will Tucker has a gift when it comes to music. When speaking with him, his face lit up each time he spoke about learning to play guitar, his musical influences, and the city of Memphis. Starting his music career when he was only 14, Will Tucker is the epitome of young talent. He is the type of artist who appeals to people of all ages, and his love for music is undeniable.

ON GETTING INTERESTED IN MUSIC:

WT: I started getting interested in music and playing guitar when I was about 12 years old. My uncle had always been a musician. He lived in Houston at the time but he grew up in Memphis, he was a drummer then. He started playing guitar when I was about eight or nine. He tragically passed away when I was 12, and when he did that really hit me hard you know. I inherited one of his guitars and I starting thinking, well this is a two thousand dollar guitar, I better learn how to do something with it…it would be wrong for me to own it and not know how to play a chord. I got on the Internet started looking around. I was just trying to learn how to play a couple basic chords, a couple basic three-chord songs, and naturally started getting sort of hooked on it. I wanted to keep learning more and more. The thrill of playing a song you always heard was just out of this world to me. So you know, that was kind of the beginning of it, and of course my Dad had always raised me on Led Zeppelin and the Allman brothers so that was what I always wanted to play. The first songs I wanted to learn were Stairway to Heaven and Free Bird. I really started getting hooked on playing guitar, and I started playing drums more then too. I tried to start doing everything a little more seriously. It got to the point where I was playing guitar for four or five hours a day.

ON PLAYING AT BBKINGS:

WT: I started there when I was 14. The way that got going is I went down to a place called Ground Zero Blues Club, its still there, it’s a nice blues club, kind of like BBKing’s, and it is actually owned by Morgan Freeman. They have an open jam most Thursday nights where anyone can walk up, sign a piece of paper and play. So, uh I did that… went down there nervous, just shaking off the wall. I had no intention of singing at all. I was just going to up there was play Stormy Monday, because that was the blues song I felt like I knew best at that time. I went down there, did it and my mom videoed it and put it on YouTube. When she did, I was just shocked because there was a huge reaction. She was emailing with Tommy Peters, who owns BBKing’s, about something related to her work, and she was like “Oh, by the way here is a video of my son playing at Ground Zero. I just wanted to know what your opinions were of him. I think it was pretty cool he got to do that.” He came back and said, “I think he is awesome and I want him to play here”. He let me come down and guest with the Cory Osborn Band, which was amazing. I was still 14 at the time. He let me play four or five songs and there was a big reaction. I was thrilled by that as you can imagine. I started playing with the house band on and off. I probably did that for about eight months or so, and then Tommy Peters basically said I think you’ve kind of earned your time here and I’d like to see you get your own slot.

ON CAREER ASPIRATIONS:

WT: Well, I guess I would say that if I had to have a career right now music is sort of my career. It started out as a hobby… turned into a job, but I still enjoy it. I go to school for aviation and I have an airplane. I also work on cars a lot, so I have a couple different passions floating around but I usually call them hobbies. Aviation is my fall back plan. I am going to go into aviation if the music thing doesn’t work out. I love to say that I am always going to do both. If I go into aviation I am always going to keep playing music when I can. If music becomes my career I hope to still be flying.

ON GREATEST MUSICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT:

WT: When I finish this album, I think that is going to be a major accomplishment. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to music. I wasn’t so much when it came to my first album. I didn’t have a regular gig yet and I had very little experience when it first came out, that’s not to say that its not a good album, but I just kind of went with the flow. These days I am so specific about the way things sound. I am critical of myself, so it has been taking a long time because it is always one step forward two steps back. Also, being able to say that I have played at Beale Street Music Festival two times now as an actual act is a big accomplishment for me, something to be proud of. Of course, getting to work with Randy Jackson was cool. I got to do some more work with Randy Jackson on two movie soundtracks about three years ago so that was a pretty exciting accomplishment.

ON MEMPHIS AND THE MEMPHIS MUSIC SCENE:

WT: I always try to say I am going to stay in Memphis as long as I can. I have too many friends who I have grown up with, also pursuing the music goal, who took the first chance they got to get out of here and go live in Nashville trying to find that big break. I like Memphis. It is a good place to play. I would like to think it is kind of on the rise. It has a good little bit of everything. The thing that’s so cool about being on Beale Street, is that everyone is really passionate about what they do. They are doing music for music. Around here nobody has the idea that they are doing it to make it a career. You are really doing it for the reason that you want to, and that it is part of you, I guess. It has made the music really authentic. If you are listening to a band or artist around here it is really about the music. It’s cool to get to play on Beale Street because there are not many other places where you get to play to a totally different audience every night. You get to meet a lot of different people, and on top of that your music gets to go a lot of different places. I have had people buy albums who live in crazy places like Asia and Europe. If I had to guess, there are probably two hundred of my albums somewhere over seas, and I don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t been playing at BBKing’s.

ON THE BLUES:

WT: When I sit back and look at it, I don’t think there is really anywhere I would rather be playing than Memphis as far as the local scene goes. BBKing’s is about as cool as it gets. I think as long as I am in Memphis that’s probably where I will be. Not to mention that it comes down to that the majority of the guys that are playing the local scene aren’t doing the blues, and at the end of the day blues is where my heart is. Blues music really made a lot of sense to me. When I went down and did that performance at Ground Zero, I was playing a lot of Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin, and I realized that all of those guys got their influence from the blues. I started playing the blues and that’s really what I think everything comes back to. That’s the first time when music went from something I liked to do, to something that just became a natural part of me, something I really almost bled. It comes back to the love I have for Beale Street because there isn’t a more historical place for the blues than Beale Street and Down Town Memphis.

Will Tucker plays at BBKing’s every Friday and Saturday night Contact Will Tucker | www.willtuckermusic.com | www.facebook.com/willtuckermusicte 

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Posted in: Music