Arts

Arts Q&A: Ronnie Greer on Steely Dan, Charlie Parker and Adrian McKinty

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, Belfast blues guitarist Ronnie Greer

Ronnie Greer has been at the forefront of the blues scene in Ireland since the early 60s

1. When did you think about a career in acting what were your first steps into it? I joined in The Secrets Showband at the age of 16 and have fond memories of playing in The Central Bar in Newcastle. Shortly after that I met Jim Daly, the legendary blues piano player. He was known the father of the blues in Northern Ireland and I spent about 25 years playing with him before forming my own band after Jim passed away.

2. Best gigs you've been to? Steely Dan in Dublin last year – they are my favourite band of all time and it certainly lived up to expectation. Another highlight of mine was Zoot Sims Quartet in The Village Vanguard in New York in the early 1980s. There was only about 18 of us in the club that night, one of which was Tony Bennett, who got up and did a 40-minute set with him. Hairy Muddy Waters at the Beat the Blues Festival at Alexandra Palace in London in the late 70s also holds fond memories.

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Nile Rodgers and Chic. If I was a multi-millionaire and my daughter was getting married, that is the band I would book.

4. The record you'd take to a desert island? Citizen Steely Dan: 1972-1980. In my opinion, it's timeless music from the best band in the world.

5. And the book? Bird Lives, a biography of the jazz saxophone player Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker, by Ross Russell.

6. Top three films? The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Godfather and Double Indemnity.

7. Worst film you've seen? Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel. I've noticed recently it's been noted in the top 100 movies of all time on Netflix, which amazes me as in in my opinion it was both harrowing and depressing.

8. Favourite authors? I'm a big fan of crime fiction. My favourite three authors would be Lawrence Block, Peter James, who writes the Roy Grace books and Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy series, set around Carrickfergus.

9. Sports you most enjoy and top team? I enjoy watching golf and football and would have a soft spot for Arsenal.

10. Ideal holiday destination? When I was younger it would have been New York, but now I like a bit of rest and relaxation in Connemara or Donegal.

11. Pet hate? Insincere, pompous people.

12. What's your favourite:

Dinner? Steak and chips.

Dessert? I prefer a starter.

Drink? A nice carafe of Bordeaux.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? I have several, but I will not choose one specifically so as not to offend the others – they know who they are.

14. Is there a God? Only he or she can answer that one emphatically.

:: The Belfast City Blues Festival sees music take to the waves for the Blues On The Boat, aboard the Lagan Boat Company's Mona. Music, food and drinks will be served on board during four cruises, with Ronnie Greer headlining the final cruise of the 2018 festival on July 1. See Belfastcityblues.com

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