Click here to vote for Stevie Ray Vaughan on the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame web site.
Carl Kurek, SRV superfan, sat down with BG to talk about his quest to get Stevie Ray Vaughan inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.
[Lightly edited for clarity and length – Ed.]
Carl Kurek – Honoring Stevie
[Lightly edited for clarity and length – Ed.]
BG: So Carl, let’s talk about Stevie Ray Vaughan.
CK: Yeah, Stevie Ray Vaughan really changed my life. I was pretty much into rock and roll in the 70’s. My first guitarist I really got into was Jimmy Page and all the rock bands out there, Rolling Stones, Zepplin and I thought I was satisfied by that. Then a very good friend of mine, my big brother Greg Cornet, he would always point out, “hey, you gotta check out this guy or this band.” His taste in music is pretty diverse- blues, country, rock and roll and all of that- and he said, “Hey, you gotta check this guy out, he’s a blues artist.” I said to him, “yeah, yeah okay.” I was into Zepplin and Jimmy Page, Ted Nugent, and kind of brushed him off.
[pullquote]So I’m listening, and he starts singing, and it’s like who is this![/pullquote]
I only have one thing in common with Eric Clapton and that is one day I’m driving in my old pick up truck and I got the radio blasting, windows down and my long hair flowing in the wind. I hear this guitar riff come on, and I thought, “I’ve never heard this before and what is this?” So I’m listening, and he starts singing, and it’s like who is this! I’m hoping at the end they’ll say his name and the name of the song, but they didn’t. So I called up my buddy and said, “I heard this song about the flooding down in Texas.” He starts laughing and he goes, “Brother, I’ve been telling you about this guy! That’s Stevie Ray Vaughan.”
I get a cassette of this and I’m listening to it, and I tell people, it’s like the Blues Brothers and how they walk into the church. And James Brown is up there and he says, “Do you see the light!” and the sun comes through the window there, and it shines right there on Jake and he starts shaking and he yells, “I see the light!” and that’s exactly how I felt. You know what, I didn’t realize something was missing with me musically, but once I started listening to Stevie, you know I’ve been eating hamburger when there’s prime rib out there.
BG: When did you start trying to get him inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
CK: That was this year January. He was eligible to be inducted in 2008 and I figured it was a no brainer, take it to the bank. He didn’t get inducted, and each year after I became more frustrated about it. To me, it was logical that he needs to be in there. So this year January I started promoting it on my Facebook, and I wondered what else I could do really get this going, that maybe there was something already out there. There wasn’t anything. There’s websites for him, Facebooks for him that said put him in the Hall of Fame but they weren’t doing anything either. So, I started looking online and went to petitions.com and said you know what, time to get off the fence and shut up and do something and started the petition. I put up some videos, photos, and listed his achievements, his Grammy nominations of which there are 12 with 6 wins. I did this for myself and other fans of Stevie who are tired of him not being in there. My son helped me make a Facebook page that is trying to help make it easy for any fan of Stevie’s to support his induction.
BG: It seems like your efforts are paying off, because he’s finally nominated.
CK: Well, since 2008 when he didn’t get in, I’ve written a letter every year to them, different letters. Since I’ve created the petition, group page, Facebook page, I started posted on a lot of web sites I started getting a lot of signatures and right now I think we are close to 3,500 signatures.
BG: How’s he doing on the nominations?
[pullquote]I actually spent 7 and a half hours voting yesterday.[/pullquote]
CK: He’s been number one since I looked yesterday; Green Day kinda was up there and took the lead once. I actually spent 7 and a half hours voting yesterday.
BG: (Laughing) This sounds like a very Chicago style of vote!
CK: You can vote as many times as you want on there and that’s what I’m going to do. I found out I can average about 35 votes a minute.
BG: Good grief, how much time have you spent doing this?
CK: I have voted roughly 15,580 times I think. That’s how passionate I am about my belief that Stevie should be in the Hall of Fame.
BG: I have two questions for you. One, what should people do to make this happen?
CK: Go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame web site and they have all the nominees there and if you want to vote for Stevie and everyone should just put a check there then scroll down and click place vote. You don’t have to be as crazy about it as I am but every vote helps and I really believe he deserves it, it’s my quest.
BG: I now have 2 more questions actually (laughing). First, why is it important he’s in there?
CK: This is what I tell everyone who questions it. You’ve got Buddy Guy in there, you’ve got Albert King, Eric Clapton, Muddy Water, John Lee Hooker, you’ve got these legends of blues, B.B. King. And when Stevie was alive and they were alive, you had these guys talking about Stevie, and the one commonality these guys had were that this guy [Stevie Ray Vaughan] was phenomenal. The one thing that’s special about Stevie, Eric Clapton said it was when he plays his solo it flows, he just goes and goes and goes and it not anything thrown in that doesn’t fit. It just flows, it’s a channel from above that drove him from his soul, and he played from his heart. Musically speaking, my one massive regret was not seeing him play live. Everything about him was different, his guitar playing; I feel that he was the greatest guitarist of our generation. You listen to the songs he covered, and you listen to them, and while the originals are great too, Stevie did things to all of these songs that made them his own. He was so ferocious with his guitar.
BG: If he gets into the Hall of Fame what are you going to do next?
CK: My quest will be fulfilled. I haven’t been to the Hall of Fame yet and I said I wouldn’t go until he was in there, so if he gets in, I’ll go. Wherever they have the ceremony, I’m going to go; even it’s in Russia. All I know is that I’ll be happy. I live and breathe Stevie so if he gets in I’ll finally be able to relax. Did I make a difference with all the work I did? I don’t know, I tried to get people involved and I wrote letters all I hope is that my petition will help convince them. This goes on until December 9th so go vote!