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"I used to be naive and romantic. I thought that through music I would be able to share the pain and the joy with my friends, but I was disappointed. Some people use music as a weapon and they fight amongst themselves. We don’t want any part of this. We close our eyes and sing, not looking at the cameras when they turn towards us".
Elias Zaikos, guitar player and lead singer of the Thessalonician band "Blues Wire", was twenty years old when he first laid his hands on a guitar. He is self-taught and views music sheets as great mysteries, second only to the Disc of Phaistos. Until he was seventeen he used to listen to Greek music, mostly rebetiko (urban folk music).
When he first listened to blues music he felt lost. "Just as the Greeks have made songs talking about pain, black people in America sing the blues to express their grief. If you haven't been a black man at least for one Saturday night in your life, it is like you have never lived. Blues is similar to folk music; that is why it will never disappear. Throughout the years it evolved from the blues played on old American plantations, to the blues of every apartment house in the world".
It doesn't belong to the system
Elias, a virtuoso totally devoted to his art, wonders how well-known musicians of the Greek industry have the time to appear on television, publish books and write in articles in newspapers and magazines. In his opinion, they do everything superficially and don’t go into depth. After 28 years of life and many records, the “Blues Wire” does not belong to the industry, but is mostly marginalised.
No matter how odd it may sound, Blues Wire barely get by with the money they make playing music. The best Greek blues band, and for many one of the best in Europe, does not have a contract with a record company and is lost in a jumble of independent producers. What would it really cost a big studio to work with Blues Wire, whose members who can record a whole disc without a break, without delays and whimsies?
They come from Thessaloniki
If the band moved to Athens, it would surely have better commercial prospects. Thessaloniki, though, is more blues-like than Athens, because that is where the best songs of love and sadness have been composed. It is also the birthplace of many great Greek rock bands, including Trypes (Holes) and Ksylina Spathia (Wooden Swords).
But Blues Wire love this city very much and they don't want to abandon it. Their compatriots' love is enough for them and they will never forget the words of a couple that usually follows them in their concerts: "You are responsible for the birth of our child. The first time we listened to your songs we felt very nice. Your music brought us closer to each other, and I got pregnant at the same night with the fruit of our love".
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS