The recent release of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears' full-length debut "Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!" afforded SubEx the opportunity for a brief Q&A. In retrospect I regret asking him so many James Brown-related questions. Despite this, let me stress that he and his bandmates are uber-talented musicians and are a super tight group that play with a tenacity that few out there today can match.
SubEx: If I got into your iTunes and clicked on ‘most played’ what would I be listening to?
Black Joe Lewis: Lately, the album Things Haven’t Worked Out by Junior Kimbrough.
SE: You’ve opened for both Little Richard and Barrack Obama, which was the bigger thrill and why?
BJL: Barack Obama. It was a new and exciting time, still is. It wasn’t a sure thing that he would become the president at the time, and now I can say I was a part of it really early on.
SE: Many of the funk/r&b/soul legends of the past had sweet nicknames like “the godfather of soul,” if you could pick such a name for yourself, what would you choose?
BJL: You can’t pick your own nickname. For it to be legit, someone else has to dub you the name.
SE: What’s your favorite James Brown song and why?
BJL: Down and Out in New York City, the horn arrangement is AMAZING.
SE: How does the music of today compare to the music of the 60’s in your opinion?
BJL: Doesn’t stand a chance. Everyone has just been trying to live up to those standards ever since.
SE: With the great reviews and surging popularity of your latest EP, how have you seen the makeup of your crowds changing?
BJL: There are people from a lot of different scenes, older, younger, blues, indie, r&b. Can’t really pinpoint them. I like it.
SE: If they make a Black Joe Lewis biopic one day, who would you want to play you?
BJL: Lawrence Fishburn. I’m a big fan, and he would make me look like a total badass.
...and to make up for my question-asking iniquities, enjoy the BA video for BJL single, "Sugarfoot".