(1998) Canada’s premier blues band “The Downchild Blues Band” has been entertaining audiences for decades now and have earned them a special place in the Canadian music scene. I got a chance to talk to Don Walsh one day from his home in the country…
MB: What’s up these days Don?
DW: Well you know we’ve released a new CD obviously and we’re doing a tour down south from mid February to mid March.
MB: How far south?
DW: Southern States…Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee….
MB: Where do you find your best crowds are?
DW: In Canada? We play mostly in Ontario, in Canada, when we’re in Canada now. But we do well pretty much everywhere we go. Though we haven’t been to the east coast in a while…. Quite awhile. When we return from down south, we’re doing Massey Hall with B.B. King. That’s a nice way to start off a Canadian summer.
MB: Do you guys have a web page?
DW: Yeah, www.downchild.com. Our itinerary is on their and a bio and a merchandise page. We’ve had it up for about a year, more than a year actually.
MB: When I checked out your bio material, it said you’d played with the likes of Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy….
DW: We’ve done lots of concerts over the years with lots of people.
MB: So you must be in the phase of your career when young blues players are boasting they open up for you.
DW: (laughs) There are guys with our name in their bio. That’s been happening for years.
MB: Have you ever thought about doing anything else beside music?
DW: Professionally? No!
MB: There hasn’t been a moment in your life yet when you’ve thought “Man, that’s enough of that.”
DW: No, not even close. I’ve had it for the day…. Like at nap time. Never really entered my mind, for what’s left of it.
MB: What about other hobbies?
DW: Well, I fish and I ride my bicycle and I do boating.
MB: Laid back stuff…
DW: Yeah, I’m basically a morning person.
MB: That’s odd.
DW: Yeah it is odd.
MB: The early morning blues guy. I’ve heard of the early morning but it’s usually when they retire not awaken…
DW: It didn’t work out well when I was working all the time… “as well” should I say. I ended up being a napper. I’d get up at eight and have a nap before I go to work.
MB: While everyone else is just getting up.
DW: I know the guys in my band do that still. They don’t get up until way afternoon. I like the morning… and what goes with it.
MB: Is this when you find your inspiration? Nobody bugging you….
DW: I don’t actually. I just get up. That’s not my inspired time at all, when I get up and wander around. I just like to feel the morning air. Even when I was in Toronto, which was most of my life, morning was always…summer mornings, before it gets muggy.
MB: Do you like playing Peterborough?
DW: yeah, Peterborough’s a great town. Lots of musicians.
MB: What about video? Are you doing anything…
DW: Well we did three videos years ago, but I don’t know… it seems that for a long time there was no point in doing a video because the video stations were all geared to real young people, real young, like 14 and down? But now there seems to be more different…like MuchMoreMusic….
DW: If there was a reason to do a video I’d do one and I’ll know before we record our next CD, which is our 30th anniversary, I’ll know if there’s any point and if there is I’ll do it.
MB: 30 years…. That’s a long time.
DW: depends what you’re doing, I guess.
MB: Did it fly by?
DW: Well it didn’t fly by, a lot of it drove by as a matter of fact. (laughs) I think if there’s a reason to do a video I’ll do it.
MB: Nothing that really interests you though?
DW: Well… I know the purpose of this whole thing and if it’s not going to get airplay there’s no point in putting out the effort. Like, if you’re not going to put your CD out for sale, don’t make one. It’s not something for your parents. If there’s a reason to do one, I know how from doing three. It’s not that big of a job, it’s not that hard to figure out. Get everybody in place and go do it. Hopefully there will be a video with the next CD.
MB: How do you guys market yourselves? Do you do in stores….
DW: In stores don’t work for Downchild Blues Band. We tried them…. Even a long time ago when we were younger. It’s one of the loneliest places I’ve ever been.
MB: “Kick my butt”….
DW: Yep, nobody there. Our type of audience isn’t that “ga ga” type thing, you know?
MB: They’re not screaming for autographs?
DW: No, they’ll go nuts at the show. But they’re not storming the stage… they’re storming the dance floor.
MB: Well there’s safety in that.
DW: Yeah, we don’t need chicken wire.