Michael Webb (call him Mojo) is a bona-fide Aussie blues legend. A man who simply adores nothing more than a “good blues gig” is coming of age — album number two has hit the streets.
“I first heard blues when I was about 14,” explains Mojo. “Right then, it immediately hit me and so I became an avid collector of records and things like that; I was listening to a lot of local blues radio stations so it was something that was a passion for me. And it's something that basically turned into a career.”
Not bad work if you can get it, either. But there’s more to this blues love story than just a guitar, a microphone and a stool. Because the gift this man has transcends the one-size-fits-all methodology that a lot of musicians possess, nowadays.
“I was primarily a guitar player and then I got into playing harmonica as an adult. I'd always loved those sorts of sounds and from there, in time, I learnt to play harp as well. So by the time I went to do the first album — which was called ‘The Burden’ — I'd started to play all of these different instruments over the years — oh, as well as the drums.”
Yet that's not all. The lad doesn't mind a bit of saxophone as well, admitting to learning to play that instrument for a couple of years as well.
“I'd always done it for pleasure,” Mojo says. “When I bought my first drum kit it was basically for me. The sax was the same. And then moving onto a blues bass guitar was pretty straightforward. That was all around the time of the first album. That was a project where I went to this little farmhouse and recorded it myself.”
That first album took a while, and only a little water has passed under the bridge since then — in fact about enough for him to collect his crew, head to Melbourne and record a second album, this time titled ‘The Cat’.
“The songs on the new album are all original. One of the songs was co-written with Brisbane boy Coojee Timms — my drummer and an absolute legend of the music scene.”
And with it, he claims the album became like a picture that he painted in his head. “I basically had the songs and took suggestions for certain things,” he says. “I do admit I'm pretty much a blues musician and not much else — that's all I really listen to when I'm not writing or playing. And when I do play, I play a lot of old style blues; the 1920s type stuff. And with the band, we don't do just pure blues so it does sound pretty original.”
Between busting out his harmonica or letting his fingers do the talking, the engaging style that is The Mojo Webb Band is almost without peer.
“We are certainly influenced by early blues, as I said, I don't really listen to much music outside of that — it's pretty much just old black music. I can't find myself playing anything else — it's just the artists’ aesthetic; I have to say, you do get a lot of satisfaction from recreating something that has come before, in the spirit of creating it the way it was supposed to be created, originally.”
And doubtless, Mojo and his band know exactly what it means to work a crowd. His partners in crime, Coojee and JB Lewis (bass/ guitar), are ready to deliver the pure blues experience to fans, old and new alike.
“I think what happens when I sit down to record something and then I'm recording ideas onto my phone and then turning it into a song — that's a very rewarding feeling.”
Except this time, you'll be getting all the rewards, because the Mojo Webb experience is coming to a venue near you. “The album is pretty wild and energetic so we'll be playing a fair bit of material off that. We really just want to let it all hang out; it's the same as when I play solo. Someone's always jumping around — it's real music, authentic music and it's delivered in an energetic way. We get people up and dancing and they really do have a great time!”
The Mojo Webb Band play Elephant Sound at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow Thursday September 13. ‘The Cat’ is out now.