Rod Piazza

Rod Piazza

Don't make the mistake of thinking of Rod Piazza as one of the "young turks" of the blues, or part of the "new generation" of blues greats. At this point in his career, Piazza has been recording longer than his mentor George "Harmonica" Smith did, or Sonny Boy Williamson (either of them!), or Big Walter Horton. He's been making records for more years than Little Walter was alive. Piazza is a tried-and-true, dyed- in-the-wool blues veteran with credentials that are second to none.

So, it was still 1968 and Rod started a new band which would be the beginning of Bacon Fat. One night, Richard Innes and Rod went to see who they thought was Big Walter Horton at the Ash Grove in Hollywood. After a 60 mile drive, it was actually Big Walter Smith, as the club owner informed them, who actually was George Harmonica Smith. He was dumping his harmonicas out on the stage from a paper sack. Some guy in the back yelled out, “Can I play some guitar Mr. Smith?” George said “yeah” without even looking up. So, Rod was feeling a little cocky and said, “I’d like to blow some harp.” By the time the show started the club had filled up. Rod and Richard were crowded in right to the front of the stage. When George started
wailing, Rod looked at Richard and said, “Man, I don’t want to sit in!” They both laughed in agreement but when they looked up, here came George with the harp and mic, shoving it towards Rod face like he was saying, “You wanted to blow. Now let’s see what you can do!” He gave one of those fierce looks that he was famous for and shoved the harp and mic at him one more time. Rod had no choice but to take them both and start playing



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