By Eileen Tilson
When you think of Jonny Lang, what is the first thing that pops into your head? He has been called a blues guitar prodigy, a virtuoso, and a once-in-a-generation blues artist. His debut solo album, Lie to Me, was recorded when he was just 15 years old. It went platinum, as did the following year’s release, Wander This World. Lang spent his teenage years with guitar legends like B.B. King and Buddy Guy and toured almost non-stop with the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Sting. Altogether, he has recorded five albums and earned a Grammy nomination. Jonny chatted with me on the phone right before a local TV appearance in Knoxville, and his answers are guaranteed to not be what you would expect from this soulful musician.
What is the most outrageous gift you’ve ever received from a fan?
Ha! Hmm, probably the weirdest thing was probably some of the letters I received. I once got a letter from a fan who said “Jonny, you may or may not believe in reincarnation, but I just wanted to let you know that our souls have mingled together in a past life.”
How do you take your coffee?
Straight up! Just black as the night.
If you could collaborate with any musician who would it be?
James Taylor, he is my all time favorite … or maybe Stevie Wonder, they both move me the most musically.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Well when I was like 13, I had a huge crush on Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler in the Aerosmith videos, but now I really don’t have a crush on any celebrity.
If you were a girl for one day, who would you most want to take on a date?
Can you play the ukulele?
I am a strummer of the ukulele, but not a player, I’m not that good!
What was your first concert?
Confederate Railroad, this southern rock band … I think I was about 8 or 9, and my parents took me … it was very strange, I think I ended up hating Abe Lincoln and giving all of my pennies away…
How do you feel about tequila?
Every time I drink tequila I make bad choices … tequila is not a loyal friend … in fact, tequila is a horrible friend that causes even the mildest human being to become really evil.
If you were a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby, what would your name be?
Hmmm, how about “Stampedes Lightly Across Soil…” No wait, I have a better one, ” Hooved Frolicker Over Dirt”
If you were the star of your own reality TV show, what would the name be?
“Keeping Up With The Kardashians, (the Jonny Lang version).” It wouldn’t really have any Kardashians in it, that would just be a teaser to get people to watch a TV show about my life.
Can you dance?
Noooooooooo. I mean I can get silly, and flail, but no dancing.
What’s your favorite thing to do on your day off?
I’m a big nerd, I golf. Actually I am a golf addict; playing Pebble Beach was really cool for me.
What are you working on now? Anything you are excited about?
Yes! I am recording a new album with renowned producer Tommy Sims. I am really jazzed to be working with him. It will probably come out sometime next year, depending on which label we end up going with.
Jonny Lang is playing at the Atlanta Botanical Garden as part of the Concerts in the Garden Series, June 3.