Interview with the blues singer TIM KUTSCHFREUND
JB: Can you introduce yourself briefly?
TK: My name is Tim Kutschfreund, I am 29 years old and a blues musician. I originally come from Bad Kreuznach, a small town in Rhineland-Palatinate, but have been living in Berlin Neukölln for several years.
JB: How did you get into the blues?
TK: I discovered my love of blues early on. When my best friend Markus and I were kids we watched the movie Blues Brothers. Two brothers who made the streets of Chicago unsafe and the music. It was just breathtaking. From there, no matter what other music interested me, I was always drawn to the blues.
JB: What instruments do you play with?
TK: My voice is my main instrument, my guitar playing the foundation
JB: Is there a favorite song? If so, why this?
TK: This is a very difficult question ...
I love the song "Mr.Charlie" by Lightnin´ Hopkins. He tells of a boy who stutters and because nobody understands him, runs away from home. A really nice story.
Many other songs are also very important to me. There are so many good stories in blues that have given me hope and support so often. For example "Darlin´do you remember me", also from Lightnin´Hopkins. Junior Wells is another big one
, Inspiration for me. There is no single song, but an entire album. Namely "Hoodoo man blues" which I think is the best blues album ever.
JB: Please tell us about your trip through the USA
TK: The journey through the southern states was the greatest adventure.
A friend of mine, Tobias Marx and I sat together one day and heard "See my jumper hanging on the line” from R.L Burnside when we decided to travel to New Orleans, Mississippi and Memphis to look for the substance of this incredible music.
Of course, we didn't just want to rent a car and drive from hotel to hotel. We wanted to do it as it should be for real bluesmen. Feel the street from which the music that we love comes from.
January 2016, we landed in warm Miami which meant quickly buying a car and heading to New Orleans. It turned out to be not so easy to find a cheap car for our purposes. After two days of searching we suddenly found our Blues Mobile, a 1987 Chevrolet Caprise. It later turned out to be the best decision ever to buy this car. It was our lucky charm and mojo on the complete tour.
Finally it started. A few days on the road through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi along the Gulf of Mexico to New Orleans in Lousiana. When we finally arrived we spent two nights walking through the jazz and blues shops in the French Quarter, sleeping in the car and getting to know the city and its people. On the third evening we met Amanda Amour. A noble sexworker who was so generous to invite us into her house and give us shelter for our time in the city to show us the city. She lived with a young, kind Pitbull female, which is why we called her house Happy Dog Hotel.
After two weeks in New Orleans, things continued.
Off to Mississippi and the Delta! To where the blues was born. On the way north we drove on Highway 61 through many small towns that were mentioned in many old blues texts. Among other things, we also visited "Po Monkey" in his Juke Joint on the way. Juke joints were small, self-made pubs outside the city where field workers were looking for entertainment after work with whiskey and blues music. And we had the chance in the last of its kind to play at a party and get people to dance. Then it went to Clarksdale, the place where the King of Delta Blues Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil. There we met Mad Dog, a self-confessed Red Neck and his wife Patricia who invited us over and organized a risky BBQ party for us.
It seemed to me that not many Europeans came to this region because we had to answer all kinds of questions. In the beginning, most of the guests were quite distant. But the more Pabst Blue Ribbon beer has flowed, the more open and relaxed it has been.
Off to Memphis. After a few weeks in the country we moved back to the city. When we arrived in Memphis we were shocked by the poverty. It looked bleak and down. Then on the way to the legendary Beal street, which turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap, we met our lucky charm Tony. He appeared when we parked the car suddenly. A strange guy who was probably just looking for a quick buck. He asked us for our names and introduced himself as Ynot. We got all kinds of information. He warned us of the bad corners of the city and sent us on a blues session that was "real", as he assured us. Then everything kicked in and we got to know Memphis properly. We arrived at the legendary “Buckaneer” club and heard this good Memphis sound directly. After an evening of partying and playing music, luck hit us again. One of the guests, Bill saw our self-pimped low rider and invited us to his house from where we could explore the city.
There was so much to do. We visited the Sun Studios where people like Howlin Wolf, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley wrote music history.
After two weeks it was unfortunately time to say goodbye. Back to New Orleans at the Happy Dog Hotel. A little rest and then on to hectic Miami from where we had to start our flight home.
Time on the road reverberated for a long time and I will never forget this adventurer.
JB: How do you earn money?
TK: I work part-time as an educator in a kindergarten in Berlin. My work is very important to me. It keeps me young and I can pass on some of my love for music.
It also pays my bills and as a musician I only have to play what I want.
JB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
TK: On the stages of this world
JB: What makes you happy?
TK: The blues, the smile of someone in the audience, my mother's lasagna, the hearty laugh of my kindergarten kids and knowing to have good friends.
JB: What does a typical day look like in the life of Tim Kutschfreund?
TK: An example ... Thursday morning, I get up and get out of the house.
I find myself in Berlin Neukölln. Have a Turkish chai tea in the cafe on the corner.
Then I get on my bike and go to work. After a couple of hours of adventure with the kids, we go back home. A small break. Then shower and listen to a good record. For example John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun. I throw myself in a bowl and pack my guitar.
Back out of the house into the cafe, a little chai and bike to the Urban beer house.
A crazy shop, open around the clock since 1985. There I organize the blues session every Thursday and we transform the shop into the hottest juke joint in town.
JB: What projects are you currently working on?
TK: My band is called Happy Dog Brown. I started about 5 years ago. Since then, more and more good musicians have joined us and last year we released our debut album "Happy Dog Brown", which was released on June 14th of this year.
The sound is Vitage. If I were to describe how we sound, I would say that we have the raw, dirty sound of an old Chicago blues band paired with the groove of soul of early funk music.
Many of the songs were created on trips or in the aftermath of them and tell stories and impressions of my life as a young blues man far away from home.
I'm happy to have a foundation with the band's musicians to let everything out. Joy, love, as well as pain and despair. Exactly what the blues is about. Feeling.
What do you think of the following keywords?
- Social media - work sometimes easy but important today (I wish it was only about the music.)
- Music - life
- Role models - lots of them
- Flow - groove
- Inspiration - every day
- Adventure - Always possible
Find out more about Tim Kutschfreund and his band HAPPY DOG BROWN:
Most pictures by Yaro Koshelev https://www.bluesinberlin.com/