The latest album from blues rocker David M’ore is called Passion, Soul, & Fire and you can clearly hear these elements in killer album cuts like the southern rock of “Cold Blooded” where M’ore takes his time and enjoys every second of his passion, laying down a two-minute intro before beginning his vocals. The album title certainly doesn’t need any more words, but if one more were to be added it would be “integrity.”
M’ore, from Argentina but now living in San Francisco, is nothing if not true to himself. If he wants to play a Hendrix riff one minute and reel off some classical guitar the next, he does. The guitarist also has an amazing voice, kind of like what Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top might sound like after a three-day bender, a voice that could easily frighten small children if it wanted to, a voice that is incredibly well-suited to lending authenticity to what M’ore is otherwise doing with his music.
We had an email chat with M’ore and in the process found out that his integrity and respect for his craft is deep-rooted, and born of being not only well-traveled, but open-minded while also being mindful of tradition. His commentary below is given exclusively to AXS.com.
AXS: You got your first guitar at eight-years-old. What kind of music was being played in your household at that time, and what kind of music were you primarily exposed to through radio?
David M’ore: The radio back them was playing lots of Eric Clapton and the Beatles and mostly all the British Invasion classics. It was the ’70s. I still love the music of that era. There was a group of hippies living next door of my parents’ house and they were listening to the Beatles, Creedence, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. I remember a song from Leo Sayer called “One Man Band.” I asked my father to buy me that single when I was seven or eight-years-old. I played that record probably a million times. We were living in a very cosmopolitan neighborhood with a lot of immigrant families from Germany and Italy who arrived to Argentina after WWII was over. My father was Armenian. Three houses down the street was a German guy who was listening to classical music from Paganini and Beethoven. He also played classical and Flamenco guitar, and on the weekends everyone on the block would gather at his house. He would invite other musicians and they were doing acoustic jams that sometimes lasted all night. Then my aunt married a British man who was collecting old jazz and blues records. He was a very heavy drinker and nobody wanted to be around this guy. I was hiding small bottles of brandy for him and would visit my aunt so he would show me the records. I was as shy as someone can be and music was a way to escape, to feel, and to express myself.
AXS: Your song “Johan Sebastian Blues” indicates that you are quite familiar with classical music. How did you get your education in the classics?
DM: I went the National Conservatory of Music for a short time. At that age I didn’t like it at all. I wanted to play rock and blues. Now I wish I was putting more attention to the theory of classical music.
AXS: You’ve lived in different countries and many locales in the U.S. Other than your native Argentina, which place would you say has had the most influence on your music?
DM: Every place where I have been has had an influence on my playing and there is no way to avoid it. Candombe for example is played by the descendants of African slaves in Uruguay. I absorbed a lot from my experiences of being around candombe players and their ritual grooves. It’s like black magic music. It’s almost like part of a pagan religious ritual. It is voodoo! Then I had my wild teenager days in Hollywood, Califormia. I used to live at Franklin and Highland Street. I rented an apartment where there were mostly musicians. We used to practice all day and party all night. In Hollywood I understood that I was a performer besides being a musician. I learned a lot of guitar tricks during those years. Back then I could play as loud as I wanted and people would not have a problem. Then I moved to Sacramento, River City; there it was very different. I was playing blues four nights a week. That brought me back to my musical roots, the blues. I had the chance to meet a lot of blues musicians again. To be honest I LOVE blues more than anything else. Most of my compositions are blues-based. But I think that the place that changed me the most is San Francisco. Here I have done a lot of spiritual growing and that has changed a lot of things. I started to feel self-confident and I accepted that I was just different and embraced those things that make me different as a musician and as a person. San Francisco is one of the most open-minded places that I have ever lived in. That is liberating; I am not afraid to play what I feel in my heart rather than play what other people expect from me in order to fit into one of their little genre boxes. Music is infinite freedom of expression. You can’t put my soul into a little box.
AXS: Like many musicians, you were not pleased when the “grunge” sound started taking over. Can you share with us your memories of the onset of that era, of not wanting to sound like a grunge musician?
DM: I never related to the “grunge” experience in any way. Grunge to me, it was anti-guitar. The musicianship was secondary, and to me it has always been the opposite. I was living in Hollywood when the whole thing started. In 1992 we went from seeing Jake E. Lee with Badlands, Tora Tora, and even Albert King on MTV to seeing Nirvana every 20 minutes. I felt like the music world was disintegrating. Some bands were trying to fit in but I did not. Rather, I followed my heart and what I love. I kept playing blues-rock. That’s why I admire bands liked AC/DC. They never change. Take it or leave it; they are who they are. That’s the same with me now. I still like to play old Strats through vintage amplifiers.
AXS: Among the other guitarists that you’ve met along the way, which ones impressed you the most, and why?
DM: If you are asking about the ones that I have met in person I would say: Johnny Winter for his string-bending and vibrato, feeling, spontaneity and transparency. Johnny’s playing was completely honest. In the studio he wouldn’t do more than two or three takes per track.
AXS: Do you ever have an opportunity to go back to Argentina? Do you perform there? Is your godfather who bought you your first guitar still alive?
DM: After 25-years without returning to Argentina I went back in 2009. Since then I have been on tour there for five-years consecutively. We play several venues, radio shows, and TV shows. I enjoy playing there but I have to admit that I love my home in San Francisco. My Godfather? Oh yes he is still alive. He is an old strong super-idealistic Italian man. I never forget about him. He always kept his word when he made a promise and he taught me to do the same. He used to tell me “Our word is who we are.” I believe that he was right. LOVE rejoices in the true.
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