Walter Trouts band performed 11th annual la music awards
As each day passes, Walter Trout becomes both healthier and more optimistic about his future. Following a liver transplant in 2014, and extensive rehabilitation, the esteemed Bluesman looks forward towards resuming his career of fifty plus years. This next chapter takes flight with his appearance at the Royal Albert Hall in London in June, 2015 and will continue as he travels the globe returning to the stages that made him famous. After facing his own mortality, Trout remains the same man he has always been. A gentleman who says it best in the first person sharing, “I have a deep feeling for the common people, the everyday working man, the struggling addict or hopeless homeless person. I have tried to create music that calls attention my belief that we are all struggling and fighting the good fight in this life. I would like to be thought of as someone who attempted to make this world a little bit better place through his music. Whether or not I have succeeded at that is up to the listener to decide. But I promise I will continue to do that with all of my strength and ability until I am no longer able.”
Trout’s journey is well documented, most recently in his auto-biography titled Rescued From Reality – The Life and Times of Walter Trout which was co-written with British music journalist Henry Yates. The manuscript documents an initially blissful childhood, shattered by divorce, abuse, and violence. As the story unfolds, it leads us through Walter’s life of heartache, poverty, living on the street and being “the only white guy” struggling in famous blues bands in LA in the late 1970’s. Walter reflects on his time in the 1980’s when nobody cared to hear the blues, to being “discovered” and having long-time gigs as a hard-playing and hard-drinking and drugging globetrotting sideman with Canned Heat and John Mayall. The book chronicles how Walter eventually became drug-free, broke out on his own and embarked on a solo career in 1989. That move spawned a prolific catalogue of work that is celebrated by Blues fans across the globe.
Now in a healthy place, Trout shares, “The last year has been one where the blues truly came calling, and I came face to face with death more than once. My wife moved me to Nebraska to improve my chances of getting a life-saving liver transplant, and after a long wait, I got my new liver on May 26th, 2014. Since then I have been filled with immense gratitude. Gratitude for the fans who supported me via fundraisers, cards, messages, thoughts and prayers, for the donor and his or her family, for medical science, for my family, and for life itself. Everything matters more to me now. Now, a year after my transplant I feel like a new man. I have strength and energy. In some ways I feel like I am in my 20’s again! The past couple of years of playing I was getting dizzy spells, severe cramps in my hand and forearm and played many shows in severe pain. It turns out that was a result of my deteriorating liver. That is gone now! I am able to play better than I have in years. I feel reborn. I cannot wait to get back out on the road again and do what I love to do for my fans. The future looks great!” With a new lease on life, Trout is eating healthy, exercising, playing lots of guitar, and building his strength and endurance to be in the position of enjoying every moment that is now in his sights for the future. Around the announcement of his return Trout publicly offered thanks to his fans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBZDTr_kbSA
Just prior to his illness, Mascot Label Group’s Provogue Records was poised to make 2014 a year of Walter. His new album When The Blues Came Calling was scheduled for release, his catalog was set for reissue on 180 gram vinyl, and a documentary on his life’s work was commissioned. As he returns to the stage, that moment has now arrived albeit delayed. Trout offers, “I was very excited about all of the plans that Provogue had for last year. Unfortunately, as you know, that all had to be put on hold. I was still very happy to see them follow through with the book and the album releases, etc. Now that I am doing better, and plan to go back on the road, I intend to look at things as a celebration. Not only of a 25 year solo career, but a celebration of the fact that I am still alive and able to do what I love.”
The last year was one that challenged the depths of Trout’s soul. He reflects, “It’s hard to explain what goes through your head as you lay an invalid in your hospital bed, and contemplate your own death. There were times I told my wife Marie that the pain was so great that I was ready to go, but she told me I had to keep fighting. She told me of the many messages of love and support from the fans. She told me to think of our beautiful family. I fought on, and now I am overjoyed to be ‘Livin Everyday’.” He continues, “As I was laying in the hospital bed in Omaha, my oldest son Jon brought me a Stratocaster and told me I needed to play to keep in touch with who I am. I did not have the strength to press the string down to the fret, I couldn’t get a note out of the guitar. When I got home I just had to pick up the guitar, sit on my couch, and start over. I had no calluses. My fingers bled but I kept going and with each passing day I got a little stronger. Now my playing is back to where it was before the illness. It was tough, let me tell ya!”
Trout will make appearances across Europe and North America over 2015 and 2016. Following his first public appearance on June 15 at London’s Royal Albert Hall at Lead Belly Fest (http://www.leadbellyfest.com/), his first North American appearance is at a venue where he has a long history, The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA on July 10. He’ll stage a North American tour in July and August, followed by a run of Europe in November and December.
Walter Trout’s 2014 release THE BLUES CAME CALLIN’ captured Trout reflecting on his omnipresent thoughts about mortality and his renewed appreciation for being alive. Amongst the twelve new songs, ten are originals. One is written by John Mayall for the occasion, and the other is a J.B. Lenoir cover. Trout searches his soul on this album and lays it bare allowing the celebration of his career to be infused with new appreciation for life. THE BLUES CAME CALLIN’ was produced by Walter Trout and Eric Corne. An EPK can be screened here: http://youtu.be/btiS6ijncMk. In 2014 Trout shared, “To play my music for people has become even more important to me. When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline. These days, it means more to me than ever before.”