"The blues isn't an English or an American thing - it's universal," says Mick Taylor.


Mick Taylor :

"I feel I play the blues better now than when I was with John Mayall's

Bluesbreakers," asserts Mick Taylor. "Then, I was only 17 and very

self-conscious that I was a beginner. I used to have to think about playing

a lot more. Now it comes much more naturally."

The former John Mayall and Rolling Stone alumnus has just released "A Stones

Throw [Cannonball] - a record that highlights his lyrical slide playing. "I

didn't play a lot of slide until I joined the Stones," says Taylor. "My

biggest slide influence was Earl Hooker. His playing was like nothing I'd

ever heard - it was slide playing , but not like Delta blues. I later

realized he played in standard tuning, which has a lot to do with playing

less predictable licks."

Although Taylor also favors standard tuning for slide, he'll occasionally

employ open tunings. "I always have one guitar set up in open E if I want

to play an Elmore James-type number," he says. "And I used open G on Stones

tunes like "Stop Breaking Down" (Exile on Main Street) and "Love in Vain"

(Let It Bleed)."

Taylor says he's "very traditional" about guitars, favoring either a Gibson

Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster. Both onstage and in the studio, he runs

a dual-amp setup of a Fender The Twin and a Marshall combo. Effects are

typically limited to an Echoplex or Dunlop Crybaby.

Although he has chosen not to expand his choice of guitars, Taylor feels his

style is growing - even after 30-odd years as a player. "My playing has

matured because of life experiences," he says. "And also for the simple

reason that I play a lot. In addition, I'm playing more melodically than I

did in the past because I'm more comfortable playing over different

changes - I'm not locked into the typical I-V-IV progression. That doesn't

mean I consider myself a jazz player - everything I do is definitely from a

blues perspective. Finally, I believe I've grown because my enthusiasm for

the guitar has not waned. I love music, and I'm still very passionate about

it. In fact, I enjoy playing now more than I ever did.

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