10 questions for Ben Poole

Up-and-coming blues-rocker on irreplaceable guitars and technique

10 questions for Ben Poole
(Image: © Tony Gardener)

Ben Poole is clearly doing something right. The Brighton Institute of Modern Music graduate has already won considerable acclaim from guitar legends such as Jeff Beck - who called Poole "fucking amazing" - and Gary Moore, who dubbed the young guitarist "really great".

Now, Ben readies the release of second album, Time Has Come, which combines the raw fire of his onstage blues licks with a polished production - sure to please fans of soulful blues-rock and monster solos alike.

But first, the guitarist must face up to our 10 tried-and-tested questions - after all, his time has come…

1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?

"My first guitar was a little nylon-strung classical guitar, which I learned on and played classical fingerstyle on for a few years before I got my first electric when I was 13."

2. The building's burning down – what one guitar do you save?

"My sunburst USA Telecaster; it's been with me too many places across the world already - even though I'm still in the early stages of my career. Three or four years on the road with other artists, and then a few years doing my own thing have already taken their toll on this guitar, hence the state it's in!"

3. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?

"Probably my first electric guitar. It was just a Squier Strat, but for sentimentality it would be nice to still have it."

4. And what's the next piece of gear you'd like to acquire?

"A Gibson 335, or maybe another old Fender Pro Reverb. I already have a 1974 Silverface, but love it so much that I want to have a few of them!"

5. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?

"Timing and phrasing is something that I think most guitar players perhaps neglect a lot, in place of working on chops and licks… so this is something I now try to never overlook, and always work on. I also think about these things a lot when I'm on stage."

6. What are you doing five minutes before you go onstage?

"Warming up my voice and playing guitar backstage, and usually having a laugh with the rest of my band!"

7. ...And five minutes after?

"Signing CDs and saying hello to the punters."

8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?

"Any half-decent acoustic guitar!"

9. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you onstage?

"I had a full pint of beer thrown over me at a big festival we headlined in Holland a few years ago. Didn't let it stop us, though… the show must go on no matter how cold and soaked through I was, haha!

"Also, my whole band were sprayed with a fire extinguisher by a drunk punter at one of my first ever gigs in a little pub when I was about 15. I can laugh about it all in hindsight and they're funny stories, but obviously at the time it wasn't as amusing!"

10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?

"To practise to a click more often."

Ben Poole co-headlines a UK tour with Stevie Nimmo until 22 May. Ben's new album Time Has Come is released by Manhaton Records on 1 April. Further info: Ben Poole Band

Ben Poole/Stevie Nimmo – 2016 UK TOUR

SHOREHAM – ROPETACKLE ARTS CENTRE, THURSDAY 17 MARCH
BARTON ON HUMBER – ROPERY HALL, FRIDAY 18 MARCH
MICKLETON - R-n-B CLUB, SATURDAY 19 MARCH
KINROSS SCOTLAND - THE GREEN HOTEL, SUNDAY 20 MARCH
OXFORD - THE HAVEN CLUB, MONDAY 21 MARCH
SUTTON - BOOM BOOM CLUB, FRIDAY 29 APRIL
SELBY - ARTS CENTRE, SATURDAY 30 APRIL
NEWCASTLE - THE CLUNY, WEDNESDAY 4 MAY
STIRLING - THE TOLLBOOTH, THURSDAY 5 MAY
GLASGOW - ORAN MOR, FRIDAY 6 MAY
ABERDEEN - CAFE DRUMMOND, SATURDAY 7 MAY
CHELTENHAM – VONNIES, WEDNESDAY 11 MAY
CHISLEHURST - BEAVERWOOD CLUB, THURSDAY 12 MAY
SOUTHAMPTON - THE TALKING HEADS, FRIDAY 13 MAY
HARTLEPOOL SUPPORTERS CLUB, SATURDAY 14 MAY
FARNHAM - THE MALTINGS, THURSDAY 19 MAY
NEWBURY – ARLINGTON ARTS CENTRE, FRIDAY 20 MAY
DERBY – THE FLOWERPOT, SATURDAY 21 MAY
SHEFFIELD – GREYSTONES, SUNDAY 22 MAY

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