Seasick Steve’s Favourite Things

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, etc. Seasick Steve can cheer himself up by remembering a few of these…

Food Oatmeal. I have it every morning. My favourite restaurant is Arnold’s in Nashville. Meat and three veg. It’s like greasy but for real Southern food.

Drink That’s easy. Jack Daniels. Straight. The best thing to come out of Tennessee.

Person in the world My wife Elisabeth. Oh yeah! Ain’t no question about that. She’s my best friend.

Place in the world The Big Sur coastline in California. One time me and my wife and my first boy, we didn’t have nowhere to live and we just driving in Big Sur and we all slept on the side of the road. It was just one of those magic nights, you know, where we didn’t get bothered and it was real beautiful. It was almost kinda like camping. Real special. But I don’t like holidays. I always seemed to be in jail on holidays. I don’t have no relationship to holidays.

Possession My pocket watch, which I have on me right now. But if I had to choose between that and one of my guitars, I’d keep my old beat-up brown acoustic guitar. Someone gave it to me a long time ago. It didn’t even have a name on it. It’s real old, I think from the 1800s.

Body part My hands because that’s what I use the most. Without the hands I couldn’t play the guitar and then I’d be very bored… My favourite tattoo is my rolling dice. That’s how life is for me. I never know what the day will roll.

Item of clothing My denim overalls. You English call them dungarees. I’ve worn them my whole life. I started wearing them when I was a little boy.

Animal Dog. My German Shepherd died last year. He was called Boss because he was the boss.

Proper job I never had many jobs that I liked. But I used to like working in the carnival when I was a kid. I set up the bumper cars.

Film I like that old cowboy film Shane.

Movie star Clint Eastwood.

TV show I used to like Wagon Train back in the 50s, with Clint Eastwood. Actually, you know what? I take that back. Rawhide was my favourite when I was a kid. I didn’t watch TV too much over my life though. Rawhide… that was it!

Work of art I ain’t so much into art. I don’t go look at art much but one time someone took me over to one of these museums in London where the Van Gogh pictures were. I was impressed with the light coming from them.

Book Jim Grim by Talbot Mundy. It’s kinda pulp adventure set back in the 1920s and 30s. Some of it takes place in the British time in India and Afghanistan. People keep asking me if I ever read On The Road. I never read a book about none of that stuff. It’s only in the last few years that I even heard of this Jack Kerouac character. I doubt he ever rode a freight train, anyway.

Sport I played baseball when I was a kid. I was a catcher. I also liked playing first base. I used to like watching baseball a little bit, too. But now I kinda like watching football, which y’all got over here in England. At least there’s lots of action going on so I’ll watch it if it’s on the TV. But I don’t know nothing about no teams.

Comedian My kid played me a little bit of that Bill Bailey. I like him. He was pretty funny.

Musician I’d have to say Mississippi Fred McDowell. Helluva nice guy. I never played with him but I could’ve and I blew it! He said, ‘If you wanna come down here and play you can’ and I was doing something else so I didn’t do it. And now he’s dead.

Song “You Only Hurt The One You Love” by The Inkspots.

Gig I’ve seen James Brown. 1963 or 64. Oakland, California. Ain’t no-one ever even come close to him.

Gig I’ve played This year at Glastonbury. 65,000 people is a lot of energy comin’ atcha. It was like getting hit with a wave.

Motto It’s all good. Cause These days it’s the stayin’ alive cause. That’s a good one for me.

Photography: Ben Rayner
Words: Lousie Brealey and Ben Cobb

A full version of this article first appeared in Wonderland #15, October/November 2008