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David Krull
By Big Dave

I first saw David Krull perform a few years back at Mississippi Nights, at that time an unknown to me. David sat down and began one of the most outstanding piano solos I've ever had the fortune to witness. As his set was coming to an end, and applause began to explode throughout the club, his keyboards actually fell off the stand onto his lap. Not missing a note, this consummate performer finished his set to a rousing ovation from a very pleased crowd of music lovers. It's been a real pleasure for me to see the career of this outstanding artist develop over the last few years. David was a member of our local "Cryin Shame" band, along with John May on bass, Greg Hunt on skins, and Dave Spruiel blowin' a variety of saxophones (these guys can be heard regularly down at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, The Off-Broadway Club, etc). Those of you who were fortunate enough to be at the Off Broadway club last April saw "Cryin Shame" open up for the legendary Jimmy Rogers. As the band did what they do so well, the spotlight shifted to David Krull. He launched into a performance that had everyone in the club moving to the rhythm, including a certain Mr. Jimmy Rogers (who was suitably impressed).

Another St. Louis piano virtuoso, Johnnie Johnson, was in the crowd (David Krull couldn't praise this man enough. If you ever miss seeing David and Johnnie play at the Sheldon on dueling Steinways, you've missed one great show). As the Jimmy Rogers band took a pause, Johnnie asked David Krull to spell him for a bit and set in with the band. Not only did the crowd truly get a double treat that evening, after the show Mr. Rogers came up to David Krull and asked "does that piano travel". Talent, timing and fate finally came together, and the rest is musical history! David and his piano have been on the road with Jimmy Rogers ever since, touring the states, over to Hawaii, and throughout Canada. I even caught their performance at the King Biscuit Blues Festival, playing to a crowd of 15,000+ gathered on the levee banks of the muddy Mississippi.

David was in town back in November for a brief hiatus, before beginning a two week tour of Europe. During his short stay, I was able to catch up with David for a few performances, and this Bluesnet interview. Thanking Jimmy Rogers for the opportunity to travel and perform nationally and internationally, David is one of the nicest, most humble performers I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Please welcome David Krull as our Spotlight Artist.

Q: Welcome back to St. Louis! You've been out on the road for awhile.

A: Yeah, I've been gone for 27 days.

Q: Where have you been?

A: Everywhere. The Southwest, California, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, and Canada early last summer.

Q: So you've been all over! Are you a little road-weary?

A: Yeah, but I found I liked it. I was scared, but found I liked it.

Q: How long have you been touring with Jimmy Rogers?

A: Well, I started in the middle of June, so count the months. I guess five or six months (as of 11/96).

Q: Sounds like you'll be continuing with the tour!

A: I'm gonna hang with the old man as long as I've got a job.

Q: Ride it as long as you can. Let me ask you some basics , like where were you born?

A: I was born in St. Louis, and I believe I was a one year old when my parents moved us to Kansas City, Mo. I was raised in K. C., and lived there until about nine years ago, been back here almost ten years.

Q: When did you first start playing piano?

A: Well, actually I started playing when I was seven. Some kid up the street was doing something I couldn't do, so I said "I'm gonna do that". I went to a few teachers, and ended up with one very nice old man. I guess I was about thirteen years old, and one day told him "I'm tired of it". All my buddies were out there jackin' around, and I was at my piano lessons every afternoon! My teacher said "wait a minute, let me show you something first, before you QUIT on me! I said OK, so he played a boogie, a blues, and a jazz tune for me. I said "Man, that's what I want to do, not all that other stuff"! So he gave me about one more year, then he kicked me out the door and said "I can't do you any more good, go on and take a college course or whatever, but this is as far as I can take you".

Q: About how old were you then?

A: I was fourteen. Then I found out that learning the Blues and playing at a party or two is pretty handy! The gals would get excited, and the next thing I knew is I got a little ego boost. People would stand around while I played, and I'd hambone it up a little bit. I didn't know I had that in me!

Q: So you've been performing a long time.

A: I started what I guess you would call a paid job when I was nineteen or twenty, something like that.

Q: Who were some of your musical influences as a child?

A: It's really hard to say. My parents were well versed in music. The old man listened to everything from George Sherring to Otis Spann, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, people I don't even know, or I can't remember. Just tons of musicians like that I'd listen to all the time. Then I was turned on to a cat named Leon Russell, which gave me the opportunity to use the the blues, the jazz, and R&R all smashed into one. I really enjoyed that so I got hooked on that for awhile, and actually started paying attention to other R&R artists at that time. I didn't have a clue that it was blues I was doing. Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt-bless her soul, just sounds like that, they just appeal to me. Chuck Lavelle-he played with everybody-that was a piano cat! I just keep hearing those sounds, and kept trying to match them, and came up with what you hear now. I'm still learning!

Q: Over the years you've played with a lot of people, and you're currently with Jimmy Rogers.

A: Yeah, Jimmy right now. I've not played with, but opened up for a number of people. I don't know if anyone remembers a guy named Johnny Reno and the Sax Maniacs. That was my first giant thrill, playing in K.C. in a great big club, it was packed! I'm playing on a grand piano, he's wailin away on a saxophone. Next thing I know, I'm jammin' away when he hops up on that piano, and the crowd went insane! I said, "this is what I want" (laughs). I'm having too much fun! It's a mystery-people ask me all the time, what are my musical influences. I just never really paid attention to who, what, when and where. I just played!

Q: Sounds like a culmination of listening to hundreds of people!

A: Yeah, there are people I played with I can't even remember. Might be self-abuse is a part of it. Like I said, I just keep going, going, going. Now this particular experience I don't think I'll forget (Jimmy Rogers).

Q: It's been a pleasure having you back here in St. Louis performing.

A: I was tickled to death to see you cats (myself & Blueletter photog Joe Frisch) down in Helena at the King Biscuit festival. I felt a little bit alone, and then I saw you two, and said "yeah, somebody I know!". That's a good way to start this whole thing out.

Q: Yeah, it was fun, and what a great venue.

A: I met another good buddy of mine all the way out in Calif. Here comes Johnnie walkin' in the door, and he goes "Dave, we're home, man". It was great!

Q: So what are some of your future plans. You're still touring with Jimmy?

A: I'm gonna hang with that cat, like I said, as long as he's got me. He's got a new CD coming out with Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards-who else?-Stephen Stills, Jeff Healey, Lowell Fulsom. Just a whole mess of people are gonna be on this CD when that kicks off, I think in the middle of summer. Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Kim Wilson, more names than I can remember. If I'm so lucky as to be with these people still, it might prove to be something real good for me. But I still want to hang with these cats (Cryin' Shame band). As long as I come back & forth I want to be with the Cryin' Shame and my good, good, good friend John May.

Q: Is it tough to leave the Jimmy Rogers mindset and jump right back into Cryin' Shame?

A: You kind of have to reprogram. When I'm with that cat (J.R), it's just hard-driving blues, which is nothing for me to come up with, it's just there. When I work with Cryin' Shame, I really like to expand a little bit farther. That's what we did for a long time before John May helped me get on the road.

Q: You visited New Orleans a lot. Did you ever live there?

A: No, I never lived there. I went there a lot. I didn't do anything spectacular, just sat in with a lot of folks at different taverns. I got thrown off the piano once! An old man came up after the crowd was gathering & getting all crazy, and he goes "Man, get off my piano, I'm gonna lose my job" (laughs).

Q: Well, it's good to have you back in St. Louis!

A: It's good to be home.

Q: You're here for two weeks, and gone again.

A: Off to Europe!

Q: Where are you going in Europe?

A: From what I understand, Amsterdam, Germany, London, Oslo, and I'm pretty sure Paris. I think we're just gonna hang up in the cold parts, unfortunately. Kind of looking forward to the Mediterranean, that would be a good thing! Next year, maybe (laughs).

Q: Thanks for granting this interview, it's good to have you back!

A: It's great to be home again!

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