Very few of the men whose names have become great in the early pioneering of jazz and of swing were trained in music at all. They were born musicians: they felt their music and played by ear and memory. That was the way it was with the great Dixieland Five.
I had a long time admiration for the Jewish people. Especially with their long time of courage, taking so much abuse for so long. I was only seven years old, but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the white folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for.
When I play, maybe 'Back o' Town Blues,' I'm thinking about one of the old, low-down moments - when maybe your woman didn't treat you right. That's a hell of a moment when a woman tell you, 'I got another mule in my stall.'
When the other kids started calling me nicknames, I knew everything was all right. I have a pretty big mouth, so they hit on that and began calling me Gatemouth or Satchelmouth, and that Satchelmouth has stuck to me all my life, except that now it's been made into 'Satchmo' - 'Satchmo' Armstrong.
I do believe that my whole success goes back to that time I was arrested as a wayward boy at the age of thirteen. Because then I had to quit running around and began to learn something. Most of all, I began to learn music.
I gathered that those two Big-shot Boys, Joe + Fletcher, just was afraid to let me sing, thinking maybe I'd sort of ruin their reputations with their musical public. They not knowing that I had been singing all of my life. In churches, etc. I had one of the finest All Boys Quartets that ever walked the streets of New Orleans.
When this ugly gangster told Joe Glaser that he must take the name of Armstrong down, off of the marquee, and it was an 'order from Al Capone,' Mr. Glaser looked this cat straight in the face and told him these words: 'I think that Louis Armstrong is the world's greatest, and this is my place, and I defy anybody to take his name down from there.'
We never did try to get together and to show the younger Negroes such as myself, to try and even to show that he has ambitions - and with just a little encouragement, I could have really done something worthwhile. But instead, we did nothing but let the young upstarts know that they were young and simple, and that was that.