North Myrtle Beach goes all blues

The blues will bowl over downtown North Myrtle Beach Thursday as Spider Webb and the Boogie Blues Revue entertain 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the city’s “Music on Main” summer concert series.

Webb, who lives in the Cherry Grove section of town, said last week that the artists on stage vary from show to show but comprise some of the Grand Strand’s best blues musicians. He said the band appreciated the honor of being asked to return to jam outside for a night for the second summer in a row.

Blues has become such a “broad term,” Webb said, spanning “old roots blues to modern music, so we mix in some soul and some classic rock that are blues-driven songs.”

Question | How long has Spider Webb and the Boogie Blues Revue been livening up scenes locally?

Answer | I was a musician back in the day before I got a real job in the early ‘70s. My last claim to fame is I was Jackie Wilson’s last touring drummer. The Revue has been in existence since January 2009, when my business was swallowed by the bad economy and I closed it and I had a little money left over. I decided to relax and go back to music ... and have been playing ever since, up and down the East Coast, and living a comfortably professional life.

Q. | Having this kind of loose, anyone’s-welcome atmosphere with the Revue, like a pick-up basketball game, how does that make the music that unfolds every performance that more special, impromptu and original in a way?

A. | It gives us the flexibility of being able to grasp the best musicians in the area who are available for each particular gig. A lot of musicians these days, particularly in the blues, play solo shows, and you have to kind of bounce between whatever commitment you have, with their solo acts or duets. Also, another trend is ... several musicians play in several different bands, to help boost their income and pay the bills.

What I do is put on an old-style, caravan blues show, which isn’t anything new; that’s the way blues artists would do it. ... They would put on a great , big blues revue. It stands out because you get a sense of how good some of the blues artists on the beach are, who are fairly obscure in their visibility.

Q. | What other outlets do blues artists and fans have locally?

A. | The Grand Strand Blues Jam is at SBB Original, on U.S. Business 17 in Murrells Inlet, every Thursday night. ... Musicians show up from all over the East Coast; they drop in on vacation or are touring. We do that 7-11 p.m. This week, we’ll have some folks down there who will start the jam at 7, and the rest of us after the concert in North Myrtle Beach will migrate down that way for the rest of the night. ...

Blues is a little harder to network in the Southeast because the fans are a little more scattered out, and blues doesn’t get a tremendous amount of airplay in comparison with beach music. Also, we formed the Grand Strand Blues Society in late 2009. ... People can get on our Facebook page and find out where blues shows are going on.

Q. | Why has blues music remained a staple of American culture, unchanged, and never tampered with or lessened in value, through generations?

A. | Because it all started with the blues, it all came from the blues, and it all is the blues. Blues is an American music that has it roots back from many, many years ago, when rock ‘n’ roll stars, wanna-bes and up-and-comers derived their music from the blues. Elvis had blues influences. ... Led Zeppelin, their first album: A lot of those songs are either borrowed from blues artists or adapted from blues songs. ... The Rolling Stones ... AC/DC, the Allman Brothers Band ... and of course, Cream and the great Eric Clapton, who is now known as one of the great blues artists; we knew him as a great rock artist from the 1970s. “Crossroads” was one of the greatest Cream songs, period. ... Now in music, a lot of us are still in these crossroads, blending blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and beach music, because beach music still has that flavor to it, the blues flavor of shuffles, and jump blues, and blues rock.

Q. | What do you learn most from playing with colleagues, even those you jam with only occasionally?

A. | That’s what’s fun about playing with different people. You could go into a different town and play with another blues band ... you learn their style, to put a different flair on your own songs. ... The other thing you learn is how to work together and get up on stage as a binding mesh of minds to bring together everyone and make blues music.

Q. | Blues music, although often sad in nature and themes, also turns people’s spirits up, right, for the players and the listeners?

A. | Blues music has never been to designed to make you feel bad; it’s designed to make you feel good. ... It’s just amazing, the different, small things you can pick up from someone you’ve never played with before, and that turns into a good show. That happens at SBB every Thursday night. Those are the magic moments you live for and play for, for the magic to come together in a dimly lit room, on a dimly lit stage ...

In a live performance, blues music is never canned, and it’s never done the same way every time. ... They’ll always change up the song and make it different every time they perform it. ... We also use real instruments that we really play. We don’t use any synthesized music, and no back tracks. ... You’re getting it just like it was played originally with live musicians playing live instruments, without any type of augmentation.

Q. | What drew you to the blues as a youngster?

A. | I had a rock band in high school, and we played Cream and other stuff, but I had no idea it was blues. At night, I would find a station on the radio somewhere in Chicago and listen to some blues and rhythm and blues. Also, my father was a traveling salesman for clothing companies. He always traveled to South Carolina. Anytime he was coming down to the beach area, in summer, I would go with him and hang out at the beach.

One summer, we were at Ocean Drive, and he was calling on businesses, and I heard music, from a building on Main Street ... in the late afternoon. All these people were dancing like crazy to this awesome blues music. They were shagging ... to the only music they had at the time, the blues. ...That’s what’s cool about playing the blues and sticking to the blues: It is the roots of beach music.

Q. | How does whooping up the blues outdoors in summer add an extra element to the music and the aura of an evening?

A. | That’s what cooks about doing that. Nothing is more fun than grabbing a lawn chair and coming to hang out, outdoors in the cool of the evening and listening to some hot blues right there at a free show that the city of North Myrtle Beach puts on for everyone. ... When you have the Revue, you don’t just get one band; you get a lot of bands rolled into one, because of all the artists who show up.

Q. | What’s the menu for this Thursday night outside, musicwise?

A. | We’ll be performing blues that you can shag to and you can dance to. A lot of that’s right down to 120 beats a minute: good ole blues that you get out of your body. ... Last year, the weather put us inside ... . I’m asking the Lord above: “Keep the rain away so we can play the blues.” That’s my new song; I just came up with my new song.