Live Preview: Walter Trout

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You last spoke to Classic Rock from a hospital bed, while battling the complications that arose from the liver transplant that saved your life. A little over a year on, your recovery – especially now that you’re back on the road – seems remarkable.

Yeah. Especially when you consider that at the Classic Rock Awards a year earlier [in 2013], when I presented John Mayall with an award, I was emaciated. My post-operation complications almost killed me – I suffered brain damage, I couldn’t speak English, I didn’t know my wife and children. I didn’t eat a bite of food for five months. I also had to relearn how to walk, speak and play the guitar.

On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel now?

Oh, I’m probably at about an eight. Each day I wake up and I laugh, thankful for still being here.

During that last interview, you broke down and were in tears at the mention of the 245,000 dollars raised by fans towards your healthcare.

I had no idea that so many people loved me. I still find it hard not to weep when thinking about that.

You now say that those people “bought stock” in you.

It’s completely true. And the dividend is that I must now get up on stage and play my ass off for those that helped to give me back my life.

A year ago you expressed uncertainty about the power of your voice returning, and also the forearm muscle power to bend a guitar string.

Both of those things came back, I’m happy to say, and making my new record was more fun than ever before. I’m playing guitar better than ever because I have more to put into it, I have more to say.

The whole experience provided an abundance of lyrical subject matter for your latest album. For example, the song Omaha documents how close you came to death.

That song’s about the five months I spent in the liver ward of the Nebraska Medical Center. There were days when somebody on the ward would die while waiting [for a transplant]. I’d hear families out in the hall crying and doctors trying to comfort them. And I knew that I could be the next one to go. I wanted to capture how that felt and sounded.

Trout’s UK tour begins in Stockton-on-Tees on November 17.

Classic Rock 217: News & Regulars