Interview with Bluebird & Skoko
Bluebird & Skoko is a buzzing combination of deep Chicago blues and dirty rock’n’roll energy guided by the spirit of Screaming Jay Hawkins, Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, The Cramps, and all those artists inspired by the fire inside.
The music by Roberto “Bluebird” Ruggeri and Elena Skoko is the expression of passion for music and lust for life. They sing and play from the guts, guided by that mysterious creature called Mojo.
Tell us more about your music style and we’re curious about the name of your band. Whats the story?
Rob “Bluebird” Ruggeri: You see, I come from the blues, I grew up with the music of artists such as Professor Longhair, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Louis Jordan, all the Doo-Woop singers, Dylan, Zappa and alike. Skoko has a more punky background even though she listened to all those great women such as Peggy Lee, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday just to name a few, not to forget the more recent Imelda May. So our music is a melting pot of all these influences.
If you expect to hear a straight blues album, you won’t be satisfied. If you are open to something where all those genres get together, you get it. We had a lot of fun experimenting blues, jazz or even rock trying to twist the tunes to something different and personal but still looking at the originals with respect.
Our name, that is really easy. When I first arrived in Chicago back in the mid 70s, I started to perform every night with Junior Wells in the South Sid. He has been my “guru” for a long time in both life & technique but my original name was too long to call me on stage and for that reason he started to call me Bluebird. You know there is a famous blues tune with that name so…. While Skoko is Elena’s family name. We thought these two names matches for a band name.
Whats your most memorable achievement in your music career?
The first night in Chicago at the Checkerboard Lounge. I went to Chicago to meet my mentor, the great Junior Wells, to have a deep harmonica course with him. I went the same night to the Checkerboard and met him again after a year I first met. He told me to go to his house the day after to check my skill. I sat just in from of the small stage at the club watching and absorbing every single note when, suddenly, he passed me his harp and called me to join the song he was playing. My legs were shaking but I had to jump and blow and so I did it. All those shining eyes in the dark were brighter than a star to me. But at the end of the song they clapped for me as one of them. Since that night I joined Junior Wells every single night for months. The best a man can have! I am so grateful to him…..where ever he is.
If you had a chance to write a song for any musician in the world, who would it be and what would it be about?
Actually I already wrote it (together with Skoko) and it’ll be on our next album. The song is called “Blues is the light” and as I wrote the music and sang Skoko’s lyrics, I thought it would perfectly fit one of the artists I admire the most, Bob Dylan.
Which country or stage in the world would you like to perform on?
I do like to perform in small and smoky clubs but talking about big stages I have two in my mind that are the Carnegie Hall in New York and the Olympia de Paris. But I love big stadium and more than a stage I’d chose a couple of countries where I’d love to perform: Japan and Russia.
What’s the future like for Bluebird & Skoko?
Well, we are working on a new album where we will have lots of great special guests but I tell you this as we’ll be closer to the studio time. After that are managers (we have two different ones for depending on the territory) working for a Chinese tour for next spring and a New Zealand one. We will tour also Indonesia starting, I guess, from mid December. After this? Having fun with our music, no matter what they call it. We just call it….. Music.
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Interview courtesy of:
Bite My Music, the organizer of the Bite My Music Global awards, the world’s biggest independent music awards and FMT.com, a news web site providing independent and original perspectives of Malaysian current affairs.