Even now, at 82 years old, if I don't learn something every day, you know what I think? It's a day lost. Now, I don't practice every day. I just take the guitar, swear at it. But I should be swearing at myself. But I fool with music. I'm doing something musically all the time. And my ears are wide open for anything I can hear.
I almost chopped my thumb off once. Just before I left home, I was about ten or eleven years old, and I was trying to open a bone. Can you imagine that? A bone! I was trying to get the marrow out of a bone, and I took the ax, and I went to chop it, and something slipped, and the ax went right down there and damn near cut it off.
When I do eventually drop, I pray to God that it'll happen in one of three ways. Firstly, on stage or leaving the stage, then secondly in my sleep. And the third way? You'll have to figure that out for yourself!
If my fans want to do something for me when that time comes, I say, don't waste your money on me. Help the homeless. Help the needy... people who don't have no food... Instead of some big funeral, where they come from here and there and all over. Save it.
Back when we was in school in Mississippi, we had Little Black Sambo. That's what you learned: Anytime something was not good, or anytime something was bad in some kinda way, it had to be called black. Like, you had Black Monday, Black Friday, black sheep... Of course, everything else, all the good stuff, is white. White Christmas and such.
Whenever I'm in Kansas City, I think back to all the jazz-blues greats who played the blues here - like Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Jay McShann. I watched those guys jam in different places and heard a lot of things - but I couldn't do what they did. They were too good.
I tell my children now that they are older, 'If something happens to me... don't make no big fuss over me. Don't make no big expense on my funeral. Don't put any pressure on the rest of the family. I've loved everybody, and I hope they loved me. But don't create this big expense for the family.'
I don't have a favorite song that I've written. But I do have a favorite song: 'Always on My Mind,' the Willie Nelson version. If I could sing it like he do, I would sing it every night. I like the story it tells.
I've been a loner all the time throughout my life... I haven't been the best father... Many times... my children have accused me of not giving them enough attention. And, frankly, I never have been good at handling that.
I would sit on the street corners in my hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, and I would play. And, generally, I would start playing gospel songs. People would come by on the street - you live in Time Square, you know how they do it - they would bunch up. And they would always compliment me on gospel tunes, but they would tip me when I played blues.
I liked blues from the time my mother used to take me to church. I started to listen to gospel music, so I liked that. But I had an aunt at that time, my mother's aunt who bought records by people like Lonnie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and a few others.
I didn't want to disrespect my parents, so I never played blues around the house. But I knew then, same as I know today, that I wasn't doing anything wrong. I think that before they died, they both felt very proud of me.
I have not been a good father, but no father has loved his children more. Like my father, I decided the best thing I could do for my kids was work and provide. Fortunately, I've been able to do that. Unfortunately, my work was on the road, and that's meant a life of one-nighters.
My wife Martha used to call me Ol' Lemon Face because of my facial contortions when I play Lucille. I squeeze my eyes and open my mouth, raise my eyebrows, cock my head and God knows what else. I look like I'm in torture, when in truth, I'm in ecstasy. I don't do it for show. Every fiber of my being is tingling.