They like to boogie, they express through music in the way of rhythm and blues…We are talkin’ about Theo & The Boogie Sinners, a Greek band of 4 members who like to play the rhythm ‘n’ blues. Until today they have released one album called ‘Time To Roll’ and they are about to release their second one called ‘Made With Greece’. Last Day Deaf came in touch with the leader of the band Theodore Alexiou and asked him questions about the band,  their plans and  the music in general…  

Hello Theo, hello Boogie Sinners welcome to Last Day Deaf! I wish you boogie times in your rhythm’n’blues career! So let’s begin this interview by telling us some bio history of the band. Also, I want to ask you why Boogie Sinners? I can understand Boogie but why Sinners? I think boogie is a good thing or isn’t? (hahaha..)

Hey everybody it’s a pleasure to meet you! The band started 7 to 8 years ago as a 5 membered band with a female vocalist and stayed this way for the next 4 years that followed. Due to the different musical styles though that everybody were into, some members wanted to follow different directions so we hired another drummer and I stepped forward on the vocals part.. It wasn’t easy the first year cause I was not a front singer yet, but some months later I think that everything fell into place the way we wanted to. We came up with the Boogie Sinners name from the word Boogie.. We all enjoy laying down some boogie woogie and rock & roll rhythms like John Lee Hooker and Chuck Berry‘s tunes. The Sinners part came up by a favorite song of mine at that time called…’Sinner’s Prayer’ by the great Ray Charles. Well…yeah…we’re not sinners in life and definitely not bad guys! hahahaha

You have released until now one album called Time To Roll’ (EMSE – Cultural Action label, 2014) and now you are about to release your second called Made With Greece’. Tell us some things about this work and the previous one. Why ‘Made With Greece; Does it have to do something with the crisis?

Time To Roll’ is our debut album.. We had some great feedback from European radios and magazines and especially from the Netherlands. The 3rd tune ‘I Ain’t Your Fool No More’ made it into a Netherlands top 100 billboard, ranking the 2nd and 3rd place for 3 weeks in a row among great artists! The ‘Made With Greece’ album is an international collaboration, hosting some great Greek origined blues-rock musicians from the USA, Australia and of course Greece. Some of the songs like ‘Gone To Marathon’ describe things like Greece’s beauties and having fun under the hot sun plus some historical references from Marathon’s battle between Greeks and Persians. Some other songs like the ‘Heavy Taxation Blues’…is a boogie rhythm song…more rough and angry…and of course talks about the heavy taxations and grinding axes that Greek people are forced to pay all these years.

In this one you’ve worked with Tommy McCoy. Talk to us a little bit about this collaboration. What meant to you? Do you think that took you to a higher level of knowledge concerning blues music?

Tommy is a great blues player and writer with a lot of experience and skills to show on how somebody can work it out by being a musician. He’s done many albums and collaborations with musical monsters like Levon Helm, Lucky Peterson and SRV‘s band the Double Trouble. He recently released a compilation double CD with all these great musicians and with our band being part in 2 of them which is really a huge honor sharing the deal with all these killer names in this album. We hanged for more than 3 weeks in Athens two years ago during his mini tour in Greece. We gigged in Athens and Peloponnese and after that we totally fell into this writing and composing zone for days! We were writing songs on my patio from morning till night and for some days till the next morning..writing on the beach..writing in the car..recording in the studio and especially the last 3 days of his trip…we were recording from 3:00p.m. till 3:00 a.m. in the morning! He was on a mission..hahahahaha..and he worked it out pretty good. It was great and fun! A lot of good things came up from this collaboration.

In 2014 you were inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame? Please explain to our readers what the Blues Hall of Fame is all about. How did this happen? I think it must be one of your coolest moments in your career…

The Blues Hall Of Fame is a supportive blues community based in the US. I tour the US with domestic bands for the last 5-6 years in New Jersey, New York City and Florida, gigging around and jamming almost everywhere. The 2nd year and on my fourth tour..some of the guys I was playing with were already inducted into the BHF as their town and country’s representers in blues music..they were amazed by the fact that a Greek guy was flowing around the world with his guitar on his shoulder..hooking up with bands and doing it..They told me that they will nominate me to be part of it and it did happen after all! I received a message a couple of months later from Florida saying that I was already in and a small ceremony followed by the Greek Blues Ambassador here in Greece. It was great! Also, the year that passed, at least 8 great and historical blues bands and artists here in Greece also got inducted by the Greek Blues ambassador Mr. Michael Limnios.

Talk to us a little bit about the BLUES…what is that thing that makes it so direct? What is BLUES after all? Music style or a way to express the daily routine and problems of life?

It’s a folk and traditional music and…I was always into traditional and raw musical styles like the blues…flamenco…Greek traditional music..country and stuff. I was always fascinated by the truthness and by these rough vibes that these musical genres were blasting out on me every time I was listening to them..but when I first listened to Coco Montoya and Albert Collins‘s guitar..it just hit me. It was a revelation..I had literally goose bumps in all over my body and Ι still have everytime Ι listen to these guys playing. After that I discovered artists like SRV, Jimi Hendrix, Luther Allison, Magic Slim and a whole new chapter opened up for me. That was 11 years ago…Ever since I listen…write and play the blues almost every day. The Blues are a great legacy and one the most heartfelt and real music. You can find the blues in most all of the musical genres and styles.

By listening to your music one can easily understand that you love blues, rock’n’roll, funk and all that relative good stuff that keep us groovy in mind and soul. What I want to ask is how easy is to play and perform a genre like blues? I think it’s not only about learning how to play the pentatonic scales…so what is needed?

My opinion is that…you can play music in general better and better when you are not “stuck” in musical labels and terms and when you are open up to new ideas and sounds. I don’t like just..playing the Blues and that’s it you know? I like playing everything…rock…pop…blues…rock’n’roll…funk…if something fits to my ear…I will play it…and then…probably I will make it sound more like me by playing the Blues in it. It always works! It’s never easy to play music cause sometimes you got to get over some serious obstacles like ego…shame..some obsessive fears like stage fright or the fear that somebody else might play better than you..These things are very common things in music but the truth is that there are not even there…there are not real. Like the great Luther Allison said once: “Leave your ego, play the music, love the people“. Great words and life changing tips…you can’t go wrong if you’re true and if you’ve already accepted who you truly are. Then you will play the Blues and any other kind of music…cause it would be true and it will sound like true. If you pretend you ‘re somebody else then you won’t be able to play nothing no matter how good and fast you’re shredding on scales.

I can’t help myself from asking you what are your most favorite bands and songs or even more what is your favorite style of blues? What would you suggest to a beginner to listen to? And this one goes to Theo…What do you prefer? Fender, Tele or Strat or Gibson or it doesn’t matter?

A different guitar will always get you to different paths and “roads” like we say here in Greece…I’m mostly into the Strat sound but I do like Gibson and Tele a lot..depends on the mood. As about what a beginner guitarist should listen to..I think there is not a specific pattern on this one..different ears will listen to different things. I was listening to Ritchie Blackmore and Brian May when I was teenager..Then I jumped into Pink Floyd‘s music and I realize that Roger Waters‘s leads were actually the Blues being played over a different background instead of the usual 1-4-5. That was the starting point to get back to the so called Roots and be able to understand what the pioneers were of the bands i was listening to at the time.

What do you think about the blues scene in Greece? Any collaborations you are about to do with other Greek bands or artists?

Greece has some really strong assets that they are out there doing it almost every day. The most historical bands and artists are Blues Wire, Blues Cargo, Simos Kokavesis, Miss Vicky Bee and John Skyllas. Phenomenal musicians and people. We’ve already played and shared the stage numerous times with all of them especially with Blues Wire…as we’ve played round to six times only the last 2 years with them in and out Athens.

I know you are making a lot of live appearances in all over Greece. So my question is where we can see you play? Do you have some tour dates? And what should we expect by a live performance of your own?

We’ve been playing around the last 7 years…having weekly gigs in Athens and Greece in general..In all of our shows there is a great energy between us and this is what people always get and having fun…Even when we feel exhausted the next moment when we start playing you will see as laughing and enjoying each other’s playing on stage. We are like kids when they are picking up they re favourite toys! The scheduled dates so far are:

Played recently at Route 32, Argyroupoli Athens where I also run the Wednesday’s jam sessions every week.

Friday May 12th at Kahon, Peristeri

Saturday May 27th at Level 69, Moshato

Sunday May 28th at the Old School Meeting Fest in Chalandri’s central square.

So, this is it Theo & The Boogie Sinners. I felt nice talking to you guys. Keep on rockin’ with your bluesy rhythms and rolling with your sins (hahaha…)

Pleasure to meeting you my friend! We will do for sure!! Thanks again.

Dimitris Koutoukakis