Brit ex-pat Tom Walbank works the night shift at the front desk of Hotel Congress, and is an accomplished visual artist known for his renderings of famous musicians. When he's not doing either of those things, he's likely to be found on a stage somewhere in Tucson, playing boogie blues, a palatable version of Chicago blues and skeletal blues of the Delta variety, wicked mouth harp provided courtesy of your host. Walbank's latest album is the self-released Jinx Blues.
What was the first concert you ever saw?
The first concert I went to was Queen at Wembley Stadium--82,000 people. They were great. I remember they had giant inflatables of each band member at the side of the stage, which they filled with helium. Freddy Mercury will be sorely missed. Silly old queen.
What CDs are in your changer right now?
I am playing Al Perry's new CD a lot and also a CD of Carmen Amaya, a famous gypsy singer and dancer. The first song starts with rapid-fire gypsy dancing, surely Alex Van Halen's inspiration for the drum intro to "Hot for Teacher." Also, The Best of Little Walter.
How many total albums do you own (CDs, vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks)?
Lots, plenty, not enough.
Do you download music, and if so, legally?
What was the first album you owned?
The first album I bought was either Plastic Letters by Blondie or Sound Effects by The Jam.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
"Dark Was the Night (Cold Was the Ground)" by Blind Willie Johnson.
Musically speaking, what do you love that your friends don't know about? What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
My favorite guilty pleasure? I never feel that guilty about pleasure ... errrrr ... theme song to the film Charlie's Angels, by Destiny's Child.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker changed my life. Don't get me started.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Favorite album ever is Live on Maxwell Street with Robert Nighthawk. It's a live recording from the '60s. Maxwell Street was a huge open-air market where blues artists would go to make extra money. It was closed down and is now a bunch of parking structures. Nice going, Chicago.