Home » Video: Biographer Craig Hopkins on Stevie Ray Vaughan
Blues Podcasts

Video: Biographer Craig Hopkins on Stevie Ray Vaughan

Please check out The Daily Music Break’s interview with Craig Hopkins about the great Stevie Ray Vaughan. The video is to the left and an audio-only version is below.

A bio of SRV is here. All the way at the bottom — below the Amazon box — is an excerpt of a 1983 installment of “In Session” featuring SRV and Albert King. It’s long and fascinating look at Vaughan playing and interacting with a guitarist he cited as a major influence.

Hopkins is the author of several books about the legendary guitar player, including “Day By Day, Night After Night.” Here is his author’s page at Amazon and here is Hopkins’ website.

Clearly, when great guitarists talk about other great guitarists – and ones that influenced them – SRV’s name comes up quickly. It also comes through that he was respected and liked as a person. That is an important thing.

Here are some takes on Vaughan by his contemporaries. The least familiar name on this list is Tommy Shannon. Shannon is a bass player who played with Vaughan, Johnny Winter and other Texas blues legends. He well may have known him best from the group.

Eric Clapton: “We played on the same bill on his last two gigs. On the first night, I watched his set for about half an hour and then I had to leave because I couldn’t handle it,” Clapton admitted years later. “I knew enough to know that his playing was just going to get better and better. His set had started, he was like two or three songs in, and I suddenly got this flash that I’d experienced before so many times whenever I’d seen him play, which was that he was like a channel. One of the purest channels I’ve ever seen, where everything he sang and played flowed straight down from heaven. Almost like one of those mystic Sufi guys with one finger pointing up and one finger down. That’s what it was like to listen to. And I had to leave just to preserve some kind of sanity or confidence in myself.”

Buddy Guy: “The first time Stevie and I met, he told me he had watched me before. It was in Austin, we were onstage, and I heard these electrified notes coming out from me like lightning and thunder behind me. And he had slipped up on stage behind me. And I turned around and said, “Who’s that?” and the vibe was just there. This is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I said, “I’ve been looking for you.” You know, it was like I found what I had been looking for. The rest of the night we played, almost until daybreak that next morning. Stevie told me how his brother Jimmie had learned a bit before him, and he kept hearing this record of mine. His brother wouldn’t let him listen to it, so he went and stole it. He said, ‘These are the licks I want.’ We laughed about that the night of his tragedy. I’ll never forget some of the licks he was playing the last night. I think it was one of his best nights ever.”

The audio-only version:

  1. Craig Hopkins on Stevie Ray Vaughan 31:18

Lonnie Mack: “Stevie was a giver, he wasn’t a taker. I’ve never met anybody to this day that has ever had anything bad to say about him; it’s always good and positive. Playing live shows or making records with Stevie was always a great experience because he pulled things out of you. You would find yourself reaching for things that you never thought about doing because his influence was always rubbing off on you. I think everybody that ever met him probably felt that because he definitively brought the best out in everyone. I also think that Stevie has probably influenced more young guitar players than anybody on the planet since Chuck Berry to keep rock and blues alive. I’m sure proud to say that we were friends and brothers. I’ll always remember that, and I think he was the greatest.”

Tommy Shannon: “He even had his own sound back then. He was still young and drawing all of his influences from different guitar players – you could tell that – but he already had that Stevie touch, something that set him apart from other guitar players. It’s strange – sometimes you can hear a guitar player play just one note and you go, “Well, that guy is special” – you just feel immediately. There was something really different and special about him.”

John Mayer: “I’m a Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabe,” he concluded, “because I wanted to be Stevie and I still want to be Stevie. And if you ever pick up a guitar, is there anybody better to want to be than Stevie Ray Vaughan?”

[su_box title=”Get Great Music, Support The Daily Music Break” style=”soft” box_color=”#fcfee4″ title_color=”#030728″ radius=”10″]If you shop for music or anything else at Amazon, please consider going their directly from one of the many Amazon links at this site. Doing so supports TDMB because we get a small percentage on anything you buy. The price you pay remains the same. Please consider it. It would be greatly appreciated.

Our New Things: Links to Music Sites and Info on Analog Tech and Vinyl

TDMB has focused on music and musicians. We will continue to do that, of course. We're also expanding our coverage to include vinyl and analog equipment.

More specifically, we'll look at this huge and interesting world from the perspective of music lovers who want a better experience, not committed non-audiophiles.

Check out is some of what we've written so far:

-- Assessing the Value of Vinyl Records: An Overview

-- 7 Quick Tips on Optimizing Your Turntable Cartridge

-- Why Vinyl Records Continue to Thrive

-- Finding the Best Amplifier

-- Finding the Best Phono Preamp

-- What Speakers Do I Need for My Turntable?

Check out more articles on analog equipment and vinyl.

The site also is home to The Internet Music Mapping Project, an effort to list and describe as many music-related sites as possible.

Our Music

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

Full Disclosure

As an Amazon affiliate, this site earns a commission on every purchase made. All prices remain the same to you.