There’s a show coming up at the Silver Street Tavern on Sunday, Dec. 11, that should be of interest to those of you who love the blues. Central Maine’s very own Blues Prophets will hold their annual holiday bash at this popular venue, and to preview it, a hasty interview was conducted with DW Gill via telephone from his Winslow home. I’ve been reviewing the band’s music and chatting with the affable harmonica player throughout the years about the different configurations of the group, whether it is the Blues Prophets, the Blue Flames or even the duo of Gill and guitarist/vocalist Doug Wainoris (both are founding members of the group in the mid-’70s) known as the Old Blues Kats.

Q: About the gig you’ve got coming up at the Silver Street Tavern — is that one of your favorite haunts?

Gill: It’s one of the places we used to play back in the day when the venue itself was the bar downstairs and the restaurant upstairs. Yeah, we did really well there when we did the steak-house circuit. Back in the day people would be lined up out onto the street to get into that gig. We were pretty popular back then. The mid- to late-’70s was our heyday. But, yeah, this gig at Silver Street is at 7:30 pm to 10:30 or 11, something like that. I mean it’s not going to be that late like the old days. It’s our annual holiday party — the Blues Prophets bash — and it’s a way that we can connect with some of the old folks, the people that have been following us throughout the years: our local crowd.

Q: Seeing it’s the folks from the central Maine area coming in, will you pull out some of the older tunes that those fans would like — an overview spanning your long career?

Gill: Pretty much, but we are constantly coming up with new material and new ways to reframe old material.

Q: How long do you want to keep doing this, David?

Gill: What, keep playing music?

Q: Yeah.

Gill: At least until I expire. I mean, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because when everything is clicking, the crowd is going nuts and the magic is happening, man. It’s like you’ve got a direct circuit to the crowd, and they’re reciprocating. I like recording in the studio, but sometimes — when you get the techniques all hashed out and pieced together like this blues quilt — it doesn’t really seem to have the spontaneity and that magic. Aficionados of blues — and jazz too — say that both should be recorded live because it’s about the improvisation, it’s about the moment, it’s about putting those feelings into the moment right then. You know, we have yet to actually do a live recording, and that’s something we’ve been talking about doing in the near future.

Q: Do it on an anniversary, if you possibly can. That would be incredible because you could do the songs that are crowd favorites and make it like a retrospective of the Blues Prophets’ career.

Gill: I think you’re right, and it’s actually amazing that you said, “Do it on an anniversary,” because this year is our 40th year. We started playing music in ’76 and this is 2016, so I’m doing the math here, Lucky, and I think I’ve got this one computed: It’s been 40 years and we’re still doing it.

Q: That in itself speaks volumes, man. Some bands nowadays don’t last four years let alone 40.

Gill: Well, we get together and sometimes it just amazes me. I mean, we don’t really rehearse that much. It’s amazing how we communicate telepathically. It’s like a pair of gloves that you’ve been mowing your lawn with for about 10 years and you have to keep using them because they fit so good, you know what I mean?

Q: I’ve got two pair of those myself.

Gill: I know what you mean, so to answer your question: How long do I want to do this? I want to have as much fun playing today and let tomorrow take care of itself, you know?

Q: It’s been great reconnecting with you after all these years. Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Gill: Yeah, we want them to know that we’re still alive and kicking, so come on down and spend some time with the Blues Prophets and help us celebrate life. As we get older, so many of our friends pass on, and it’s just good to see everybody’s face in the place.”

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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