Published on June 5th, 2020 | by Al Geiner0
Q&A with Izzie’s Caravan
Izzie’s Caravan is a blues-rock outfit with an international flair, that can trace its roots directly to Dire Straits’ massive hit, “Money For Nothing.” Guitar and vocalist, simply named, “Izzie” recalls: “Those powerful drums followed by that insane guitar riff had such a profound effect on me, after that, I always knew that guitar would have some part to play in my life.”
Izzie started his musical journey by forming a 3-piece band in 2004. The Deep Impactors included two future (and now former) members of the Caravan, Sim and Ray. After becoming disillusioned by the music industry, Izzie took a decades-long respite from guitar, eventually returning to the instrument he loved, just a few years ago.
Referring to himself as a “poor man’s Buddy Guy or Lightnin’ Hopkins,” Izzie cites bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith as early influences, followed by later guitarists like Izzy Stradlin and John Frusciante. But, it was the blues of Stevie Ray, Clapton, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, and of course, Buddy Guy, that inspired Izzie’s return to music.
In December of 2019, Izzie’s Caravan released the EP, Leo’s Guitar, followed by the February 2020 EP, Zephyrs. Izzie’s next EP, titled On The Pull is scheduled for July 17, 2020 release with MTS Records.
Izzie says, “This is one is a definite back to the blues record…and already I can tell it’s just going to be a very, very raw, very dirty record, and I really want to try and push the boundaries a bit in terms of the lyrical themes as well. I’m already getting excited about it…”
What first got you into music?
For good or for bad, I believe it was the earliest records I was exposed to do based on what my dad was listening to such as Dire Straits ‘Money for Nothing’. Listening to such monumental rock records at an early age pretty much conditioned me well enough to seek out the roots of rock and blues music and follow this path.
Who inspired you to make music?
I believe the inspiration lies in the musicians who I was exposed to early on. Listening to early Aerosmith records like ‘Rocks’ really was such a profound experience for me…and then of course Zeppelin and the Stones. Tom Petty and John Fogerty were instrumental songwriter mentors for me…but later on discovering the beauty of Buddy Guy, Lightning Hopkins, Johnny Winter, Clapton, Stevie Ray…that was when I knew that I had to pursue this path once and for all…
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I believe that for us as musicians, this new record thats coming out called ‘ON THE PULL’ is an identity record for us. I think this is where we’ve defined ourselves as what we perceive ourselves as artists and musicians, and where we want to take this musical journey from hereon. When writing these tracks, I really dug into the old Johnny Winter catalogue and that has become a reference point for me personally to develop a sound that channels that rock and blues merger.
What is your creative process like?
Usually what happens is I’ll be playing around with different riffs and licks based on a variety of drum patterns and grooves… and suddenly an idea will emerge. So the music, and predominantly the guitar, starts to speak and take centre stage. From thereon the general song structure starts to develop and once that’s formulated, I’ll add the lyrics which most often have to tell a story whether grounded in reality such as watching the news and writing about human stories…or when it comes to fiction it has to be the characters in the song telling a story through my eyes and my reception of the world around me.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Well, that’s easy…Buddy Guy!!! I would absolutely give anything to write one song…just one song with this icon…this legend!
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
Ideally, I would have loved to play a small part in Clapton’s ‘Crossroads’ festival. Just being a part of such legendary players showcasing their talent for real music fans. That would be just a great show to play in…just pure blues and rock…no dramatics…no theatrics…real music! I wouldn’t mind opening for Mike Campbell and the Dirty Knobs either. I think we would fit as a good opening slot for them.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
We sincerely appreciate the fans who have taken to our music and appreciated the honesty and authenticity from where this music comes from. We just want them to know that to us our music is sacred and it’s just a representation of the lives we live…so for those who have related to our songs, we thank you and we promise you theres a whole lot more storytelling coming from us.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
I do yeah haha! Lately I’ve been meaning to do a cover of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home…” so I’ve been belting that out as my shower hit!
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Well, I do keep a day job as a college lecturer so that acts as my ‘conventional identity’.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Wow, that’s a tough one to delve into. When I got back into music a few years ago after a decade long hiatus, it was challenging to navigate the complexities of the music business. I think for me its negotiating between being an artist and being an entertainer… so I’ve made a conscientious decision that we prefer to stay grounded in some degree of traditionalism and develop a fanbase thats true to our music rather than focus on ‘likes’ and ‘subscriptions’… I’d rather have a hundred true fans who appreciate our honesty and integrity rather than a billion ‘likes’ where a majority of those individuals just perceive us as a ‘trend’…to me that’s not what being a musician is about.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Well, Sim and I have a ton of stories about being in trouble so we’ll leave that for a future documentary or a tell-all book haha! Let’s just say, one morning I remember waking up and going to the studio and saw our drum kit was missing…yeah, gone! A beautiful Sonor drum kit with all the fixins’…gone! I remember calling Sim and asking him “hey man, the drum kits gone…any idea what happened?” Well, a certain gentleman’s club made a lot of money of us the previous night.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Develop my own identity…and use the music of the greats that have come before me as a reference point. Channel their spirit and love for their music to develop an identity thats unique to me without mimicking them.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? ·
Pay the musicians and artists what they deserve. We live our art and our craft…be fair to artists.
What’s next for you?
Well, ‘On The Pull’, our third record is coming out in June so we’re really excited about that. It’s such a raw and gritty blues-rock record, we cant wait till the fans hear it. Check out all the news on www.izziescaravan.com and join the journey.
How important is the current climate crisis to you and how do you think you could help?
I think its now becoming a matter of fine margins…We need to urgently start asking the critical questions as a species which is bound to a larger eco-system and recognise we’re not independent of it…there has to be a radical shift from our previous pseudo-intellectual narrative of anthropocentrism and shift to a collective value system that extends empathic values, values that are inherent, to the wider eco-system.