Keb’ Mo’ has won three Grammys for his music that draws on blues, folk, rock, soul and jazz. His latest record is a live double album called That Hot Pink Blues Album.
01 What are you listening to these days? James Taylor’s new record [Before This World]. I’ve been a big fan for years. 02 What are you reading? Herbie Hancock’s autobiography, Possibilities. I’ve known him for 40 years, but it was like, “Holy crap, really?” There were things I didn’t know. 03 As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? An architect. I wanted to have a straight job. But I found I wasn’t good at jobs. 04 Favorite album, other than one of your own? Any album by Steely Dan. The subject matter and the music are so interesting. 05 Favorite movie? The Matrix. I love the story of Neo and his journey to realizing his potential. Everyone is Neo. 06 Favorite TV show? I’ll binge-watch Breaking Bad or House of Cards, until I can’t watch anymore, because it’s too evil. So I’ll go watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. 07 Do you have a favorite guitar? My favorite electric guitar is one that Paul Reed Smith made for me. My favorite acoustic is my Keb’ Mo’ Gibson. And my favorite steel guitar is my National Reso-Phonic. 08 What do you drive? An Acura RLX. I love that car. It’s like a sled. 09 Favorite musician? Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel—I think he’s the greatest guitar player in the world. 10 Who was your biggest musical influence? Taj Mahal. I saw him in high school and I was like, “Man, what is that?” 11 Person living or dead you’d most like to jam with? Prince. He came into a club I was playing in LA one night in the early ’90s, and played my guitar. I was like, “Oh, man, what am I supposed to play now? You just played all the good stuff.” But he was very complimentary. 12 Best concert you’ve ever attended? Bob Marley at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in 1979. 13 Musician you’d most like to have seen live? Muddy Waters. 14 Favorite stage? The Britt, in Jacksonville, Ore. It’s an outdoor stadium. Acoustically, it’s perfect. 15 If your house were on fire, what one object would you save? My banjo, because a banjo is like a happy pill. If you’re feeling bad about anything, you go play your banjo, and within three minutes you forget about everything. 16 One piece of technology you can’t live without? Hot and cold running water. That kicks everything’s ass. 17 Your best habit? Kindness to everyone I meet. I think that can be contagious. 18 Top philanthropy? Playing for Change. They make videos of musicians around the world playing together to raise money to build schools in Africa and South America. 19 Best advice you’ve ever received? My Uncle Cary always said, “Cain’t died and Couldn’t found out he could.” It means, you can do whatever you set your mind to. 20 How would you like to be remembered? I don’t care about being remembered. I just want to have influenced some people to do good things.
This article originally appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of Worth.