We had the good fortune of connecting with Doc Ventura and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Doc, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
You must pay attentions to human details above technical details. You’ve got to slow down the merry-go-round enough so people have a chance to get on board. If its spinning too fast people will walk away. Put a handle on it.
I sometimes think of my performance in terms of how it impacts the least engaged person…someone who is very casual about music and perhaps even fickle about it. I like to make music for those true blues fans and I can connect with them on many levels naturally; we share the same taste.
However, you must consider how you appear to least fan engaged too. What are you offering them? Maybe they LIKE blues…but can you make them LOVE the blues? What are you offering that can delight them? Is your show a fun experience, even if you’re not familiar with our original songs, is the performance engaging. Does it make a loud pleasing BOOM when the bass and drums kick in?
In blues we are always trying to sustain and build the natural audience, but I like to take people a level deeper than they are used to going.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Our “Delta by the Beach” project and band is a product of my life long interest in blues. We want to bring our impression of juke joint blues to the world.
I grew up in Chicago and had the chance to be exposed to many fine artists from an early age. I have made the pilgrimage to Mississippi regularly for several decades to keep up with the latest emerging artists too.
I met the artist named Kingfish when he was about 16 playing bass in a juke joint. I have seen how the blues survives why it will never die; it is carefully handed down from generation to generation. Each new generation adds some of their own influences. And, I’ll never forget that some years later Kingfish was about to quit music just before he met and was taken under Buddy Guys’ wing. You have to want it, and I guess you have to keep wanting it too!
Some blues acts tune out all the influences since 1960 and just re-create what’s already been done. Many of them sound pretty good doing it too.
For us, synthesizing funk, rock and other modern influences into blues is the more realistic. Artists such as Lucious Spiller in Clarksdale Mississippi do an amazing job of this. Modern music has always affected the blues. Charlie Patton had to pull out a fox trot to go over on a gig. There’s a way to do it, to be entertaining and to not ruin it for the purists either.
This is our goal with Delta by the Beach. We want to create an authentic delta blues experience but not be shy about a nod to something more current or non-genre such as the Isley Brothers. I have observed that a good dance song is always welcome just about anywhere under any terms and you’ll hear them in any juke joint along with blues.
We are not aiming for museum music. We are trying to create new fun every night and build the audience for our beloved blues. We use whatever hooks we have available to do this.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this to our producer Filiverto Landeros. He always made us feel that we could be something special, but never tried to boss us around. He hears what we want to do, and helps us take it to the next level.
Kala Layman Lorenzo DeStefano