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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Ken Wallis Chats With Paul Wootten & Stephen Foster Of The Lowdown Dirty Mojos


By Ken Wallis.



The Lowdown Dirty Mojos come flying at you from Dundas, Ontario. In a recent review, I wrote about their new album Down ‘n' Dirty: “A rockin’ reelin’ album that’s rocket fuelled. From the first track to the last, the listener is treated to blues that sticks it right in your face. Wow what an album! Grab a copy of Down ‘n' Dirty but have a fire extinguisher on hand ‘cause this album is on fire!”


Ken Wallis interviewed Paull Wootten and Stephen Foster for the radio show BluesSource Canada. The following are excerpts from that interview, edited and amended for brevity and clarity.



Ken Wallis

The new release by The Lowdown Dirty Mojos is entitled Down ‘n' Dirty. The Lowdown Dirty Mojos may have won the Maple Blues Award as the best new band, but they are a solid team of veteran musicians. We're joined by two of the band members. First of all, Paul Wootten, lead singer. Great seeing you again Paul.


Paul Wootten

Hey thanks Ken.


Ken Wallis

And lead guitarist Stephen Foster. Nice catching up with you again too Stephen.


Stephen Foster

Yeah, you too Ken.

Ken Wallis

So, guys, great new album. Paul, how did you and Stephen get together in the first place?


Paul Wootten

Well I was in a band called The Crawling King Snakes back in the 80s and I actually moved to Hamilton to make access easier to get into doing a lot of work in Toronto. One thing led to another, and I ended up moving the band here. I knew Steve through the music scene and we got together and started writing songs on my kitchen table and put the band together and we've been together on and off since probably 1989.


Ken Wallis

And Stephen, how did you guys come up with the band name?


Stephen Foster

Paul came up with the band name. He had the name when he came to rehearsal one day.


Paul Wootten

We actually had a recording session going and we took a break. Steve was putting up videos of Muddy Waters’, Got My Mojo Working, a live video I think from 1966 came on and everyone in the studio just stopped and watched this video. Steve and I looked at each other and said this is what we should be doing. So, when it came to getting a name we figured Lowdown Dirty Mojos, like I Got My Mojo Working from Muddy Waters.


Ken Wallis

And where did the title of the new album come from? Down ‘N Dirty, great title,

Paul Wootten

Most of our titles come out of the lyrics. Actually, all three albums so far, all the titles have come from lyrics out our songs. Down ‘n' Dirty is from Maxwell Street, that's where the name came from and we're a little down and dirty.


Ken Wallis

Steve, how would you describe the music on this album for people that haven't heard it?

Stephen Foster

We're still kind of on that same rhythm and blues track, but there’s a couple of tracks on this record that are pushing the rock and roll envelope a little bit. There’re a couple songs there that kind of got, like Paul mentioned, a Blue Rodeo vibe to it. We have different players on it so that kind of changed the way things were swinging with the Rhythm Section. When we were picking songs, that had something to do with it too, because we did try stuff that we decided not to record.


Ken Wallis

This is your third album Paul. For you, do you feel it's an outgrowth of the second album or is it quite different?


Paul Wootten

I think it's a growth from the second album. Our very first album that we put out, Screamin' Hoodoo R'n'B, was transitory from us playing straight rock and roll and moving into blues and R&B. You can see through the course of the album how it kind of moves over. We kind of think we got our legs for that type of thing on the second album Stone Cold Groovers. This one is an extension of what we are always trying to do, expand our ideas from that but stay true to our basic idea.


Ken Wallis

Steve let's delve into some of the songs on the album. One of my favourites is Maxwell Street.


Stephen Foster

We started working on it acoustically as a duo and that intro lick to it is Paul's idea. He wanted some kind of chromatic intro to the song, and we tried to keep it like a little less roadhouse blues and a little bit more to that kind of earlier Chicago sound, without trying to make a historical piece out of it and put our spin and our sound on it.


Ken Wallis

Aside: Maxwell Street is a stellar tribute to Chicago Blues.

Another song that I really like is Built From Steel, and I got a feeling that's got something to do with Hamilton. 😊


Paul Wootten

Absolutely. If it wasn't for the steel industry, Hamilton wouldn't be the city it is today. A lot of the idea for that song came from when I look out my window, especially in the fall through the winter and spring, when there's not leaves on the trees, I look right down on the steel plants and I always see the smokestacks, which won't be there much longer because they're converting to other ways to make the coke. I look out my window every night and I see the big smokestacks breathing fire into the night and that's where it came from.


Ken Wallis

Steve, where was this album recorded?


Stephen Foster

It was recorded at my studio in Dundas. I have a pretty decent setup but this time it challenged me. We had a had a console failure and a computer failure and this and that along the way, which hasn't happened to us before.


So, it slowed us down a little bit, but, it also left us with some days in between and we worked up to a point that we actually had some time to sit and think about it. Once we got everything working again, we got back into the studio.


We usually knock out a couple of bed tracks in an evening most of the time, when we set our mind to it, and go to work on it. We don't do a ton of takes, we take the best out of three or four. Sometimes there's a gronk or a squeak in it, but we don't care because it's mostly just listening for feeling the vibe. [LAUGHTER]. I mean the performance is important too but it's mostly about the feel and the vibe. We're able to set up where we rehearse in a comfortable way, and we just play live off the floor.


Ken Wallis

Paul who else is in the band?


Paul Wootten

Robert Jarovie is our keyboard player, he plays organ and piano and he was on the last album as well. We've been together the three of us now for quite a while. Kevin Kristoff is on bass, he's played on every album that we've done, all three albums. He's always been a part player and he's played on three or four songs. Kevin's from Simply Saucer, that’s his background. He's a pretty versatile bass player, he plays with quite a few other people. He can play Jazz and Blues and Rock and Alternative. Anything you ask him to play he can do so. On drums, Claude Desroches, who’s with the Shakers and he's been around Hamilton for a long time playing with a number of bands. I think we have just a really solid rhythm section right now can keep up with absolutely anybody.


Ken Wallis

Steve, where can music fans get a hold of your album?


Stephen Foster

You can get it on any digital platform or through our website lowdowndirtymojos.com. They'll probably be most likely local independent stores like Dr Disc, Stardust, Into The Abyss. So mostly brick and mortar wise, it'll be pretty local, but you can order it through us or get it anywhere online.


Paul Wootten

It's going to be in other places, in Toronto, in London for sure, in our region, probably Kitchener. There's one thing I'd like to add is the song True Love that starts the album off. The story about that is Steve and I wrote exactly the same song. We got together for a writing session, I brought these chords in and he started playing it, and I said hey wait I got that same song in a different key. Exactly the same song!

Ken Wallis

Do you guys have any upcoming gigs that people can catch you at?


Paul Wootten

We have a CD release on at Stonewalls in Hamilton, Friday October 13th that's set and ready to go.


Ken Wallis

Sounds great guys. It's really been great chatting with you, it's a fantastic album, I hope to see you live soon.






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