Folks, had a chance to talk to Ronnie Baker Brooks during a break between sets at Warmdaddy's, the popular Philadelphia blues club, on Sept 25. Guitar in hand, Brooks crescendoed by walking around the restaurant Buddy Guy style, serenading guests with blistering guitar solos. He didn't miss a beat as he stepped behind the bar, poured a drink down his throat and headed back to the stage.
I asked Brooks about his musical influences and any upcoming plans he might have to perform with his famous father (Lonnie Brooks) and brother (Wayne Baker Brooks.) Here is what he said:
Brooks: “What I try to do is combine what I learn and what I was influenced by as a kid and update it. And try to incorporate that be the bridge from the old school to the new school and the new school to the old school. That’s what I try to do.
BBP: What would you say some of your influences are, some of your greatest influences.
Brooks: My dad, of course, Lonnie Brooks, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Luther Allison, I can go on and on, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, people like that.
BBP: I know you like to get out in the crowd, I really enjoyed when you were behind the bar and everything, how long have you been doing that and does it get this reaction everywhere you go?
Brooks: It’s a different reaction every night. It’s my way of getting a free drink (laughs). I hope I get a free drink they might charge me tonight.
BBP: And what are some of the greatest things you learned from your father? Some of the most important things?
BROOKS: Be a man first, and know how to work my crowd…and get better and he gave me good work ethics and told me to be a man first. My dad’s my friend, my mentor and my dad?
BBP: What’s over the horizon?
BROOKS: I don’t know, man, I just like to see people happy with the music, you know. If I can play for the rest of my life and make people happy playin’ I’m fine. Of course I’m like everyone else I want a song that everyone can relate to, everybody can feel but, right now, I’m great, just playing the blues.
BBP: Anything new with the Rhythm and Blues Revue (Tommy Castro, Deanna Bogart, Magic Dick and others)?
BROOKS: No, I just did last tour with them. I’m hoping we can do something together but we have to talk and see what’s going to happen with that, so I had a great time with that I would like to do some more but it’s kind of hard to keep a band and do that as well. My guys’ gotta eat too.
BBP: Anything new with your dad and Wayne?
BROOKS: We’re playing in the Blues Cruise next month. We’re going on a blues cruise together it’s the first time we’ve played together in ten years. So I’m looking forward to that.
BBP: What are we going to hear?
BROOKS: Something new, old and something ..blue. (laughs). I’m looking forward to that, man, I haven’t played with my dad in ten years so, you know, uh, he’s 76 years old and he taught me, man, he taught me everything I know, so it’s going to be interesting for me and the fans. I hope they enjoy it!