How did it feel to be kept off the stage by illness?
That was really terrible. At night in the hospital, when I couldn’t sleep, I would take my little smartphone and go on YouTube and I’d watch videos of myself performing and think: “Who is that guy? That’s not me. There’s no way I could do that.” To think I might ever be able to do that again was more than I could even comprehend. I can’t begin to tell you how overwhelming and astounding it is to be back.
Your new live album, Alive In Amsterdam, is very energetic.
It is. I have an energetic band. I’ve been driving around listening to it, and at times I’ve had to turn it off because it’s like drinking ten shots of espresso. We’re kicking ass right now. We play like our lives depend on it. And in some ways I feel like my life somewhat does depend on it.
How do you feel on stage?
I feel great. I’m full of energy. I have a lot more to say in my playing; there’s no fluff in there. But also I’ve realised there were times when I took it for granted. There were shows where I was up there and in my brain I’m thinking: “I wonder what’s on TV when I get back to the hotel.” That doesn’t happen any more. It was taken away from me. It’s come back. And I know what it was like when it was gone. It means more to me than it ever did. If I’m gonna go out there and play for those people, they’re gonna get every single ounce of energy, honesty and inspiration that I can muster.
You’ve begun speaking out for organ donation.
Yeah. I talk to the audience about being an organ donor and how they can save lives. Eight different organs can be life-saving to as many people. They can donate their skin to burn victims, their eyes to blind people. How many people die each month waiting, due to a lack of donors? I feel like that’s the reason I’ve been kept here. I have this public podium, and I can reach a lot of people every night. So that’s my mission now.
Walter Trout’s tour begins in St Albans on July 19.