Lazer Lloyd, dubbed “Israel’s King of Blues Rock,” is an Israeli singer/songwriter and an international recording artist influenced by blues, gospel, southern rock, and the great guitar traditions of power and groove from Jimi Hendrix to Wes Montgomery. His music takes the audience into his world from the tender moments of a traveling musician in the song “By Your Side”, to a man struggling with life in “Talk”. Lloyd opens hearts with his “world soul groove” sound on “Way Down” and “Back Porch”, and then rocks with intensity and joy on irresistible tunes such as “Good Man Down”, “Set My Soul Free”, and “Rockin’ in the Holy Land”. Blues Blast magazine writes, “Lazer Lloyd’s Lost on the Highway provides a fresh take on the blues and it is definitely worth a listen. His guitar playing alone is worth the price of admission, and when you add in his vocals and strong songwriting skills, this disc is a winner.”
All Access Magazine Publisher Debra Stocker recently spoke with the musician as he was preparing for his California tour, which locally comes to The Mint in Los Angeles on Monday, November 24.
AAM: Please give our readers a little idea of your background. When did you decide to start playing the blues, and more specifically, blues-rock?
LL: I grew up on the blues. My father always had it on the stereo, BB King and all the greats. Where I lived in Connecticut, Lynyrd Skynyrd was the big thing but what really took my heart was seeing Stevie Ray Vaughn play live when I was 14. That was it for me.
AAM: Let’s talk about some of the shows you’ll be playing here in the states, and more specifically, here in the Southern California vicinity.
LL: We will be cruising from Connecticut to Seattle to California. The truth is I’m on my way back from Moscow and I don’t really know where they have me going I just get on the plane and wait for the next whiskey and stage. But I am excited about the tour because California is one of the special places in the world to play music. There are places where you feel there is some real searching going on while at the same time there is a lot of confusion which goes along with the territory. I had some pretty wild adventures there over the years. Come to one of my shows and ask me about Golden Gate Park. My California schedule includes Nov. 17 at UCLA, Nov. 18 at UCSD, Nov. 20 at Garfield Theatre in LaJolla, Nov. 22 Beth Shalom Social Hall in Carmichael, Nov. 23 at Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, and Nov. 24 at The Mint in Los Angeles.
AAM: What would you cite right off the top as some of the main differences between the live music scene in Israel, compared with that in the United States?
LL: The truth is that Israel has some of the best live music in the world, so many musicians from all over the world live here with so many different styles. it’s like a musical melting pot. For me it’s very cool because I’ve put my blues into the Middle East sound and mixed in some of that spice. It works so well because the blues came from this area and everything goes full circle in life. In practical terms, there are obviously just not as many clubs or big names coming through on a daily basis. I actually miss the country music which is not happening so much in Israel. For example, Willie Nelson is one of my favorite live performers, but we have not developed an audience for the country roots forms of music in Israel.
AAM: Growing up, did you listen to a lot of music? If so, who was it that you listened to, and would later influence your overall music sound?
LL: I listen to a lot of jazz, a lot of blues obviously, Jimi Hendrix was a big influence. B.B. King was a very big influence on me musically and also personally. While I was majoring in music in college I saw a master class of his. He explained why he never had to switch a musician his band. He said he would first check if the guy was a cool dude, he would take him for a beer. If he was a good guy, he realized that he would eventually be a good musician and he took him into the band. That story really set me on my spiritual journey.
AAM: It’s hard as heck for most independent bands to sell many albums (or CDs) in the U.S. anymore these days due to increased online digital downloading. Is that the case in Israel as well?
LL: I don’t know how to compare it with anyone else but I am selling well at the live shows in Israel and asfor stores, I think as everyone knows, selling physical CDs in stores is a thing of the past – that is true in Israel as well.
AAM: If you weren’t making music, what profession do you think you’d most likely be pursuing?
LL: If I wasn’t a musician I would probably be doing what I was doing for my day job many years ago which was running special trips around the world to interesting places. I would find crazy little islands or wild ski trips and organize them for people. I wanted to see the world with my own eyes then and now. You cannot know the world through books and TV, it’s just so different.
AAM: Finally, what else would you like our readers to know about Lazer Lloyd?
LL: Well I would like to know something about Lazer Lloyd too – I am always searching to figure out who I am. I think they should know he’s a little crazy but it’s in a good way and don’t get freaked out too much by it.