Popular conjecture claims that Black Joe Lewis started playing guitar simply to annoy his redneck co-worker at an Austin, Texas pawnshop. That's partially true -- he did purchase his first guitar there and played it in his down time -- but Lewis, seeing his friends in bands, had elected to fill his life with music. Despite the steady, but low-paying, job, he knew music was his true calling. Once he became proficient enough on the instrument, Lewis began performing with blues, punk, rock, funk and soul musicians -- anyone who'd have him. Forming his own band -- originally, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears -- he put those influences to good use. More recently, however, shedding the Honeybears, Lewis' sound has grown exponentially as allows those rawer elements of his past -- from feedback to deep fuzz, growling vocals to guttural howls -- shine through in Electric Slave, an album that leaves listeners breathless. Lewis says the progression from high-energy soul/funk act to psychedelic blues-rock warriors was a natural one. In fact, Lewis enjoys his "own original sound" so much, he's willing to forsake the past for what the present brings.
"It's exactly what we wanted it [to be]," he says. "It's music on the edge. ... I think this is the best stuff we've done."