Canned Heat is still hot
CANNED Heat guitarist Fito de la Parra loves performing live but views touring as a necessary evil.
"Touring has always been difficult but when we were younger it was easier to put up with the inconvenience.
"Since we are older our bodies are affected more by the stress.
"But our music is never affected; our spirit may be but never our music," he said.
"We do it these days not for the need but for the love of playing live; it is a high you can't get from anything else."
Canned Head burst onto the scene at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival where the group played alongside Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
The band also took to the stage at the original Woodstock Festival and captivated the crowd with its blend of modern electric blues, rock and boogie.
It was a time of musical and performance highlights, incredible stories and one de la Parra still looks back at fondly 40 odd years later.
"They are moments in your life you will never forget."
He has chronicled it all in his memoir Living The Blues.
He described it as the complete and outrageous story of Canned Heat, full of music, drugs, death, sex and survival.
It is a book he is very proud of and is in talks to have it made into a feature film or a TV series.
"I have already picked out a couple of young Latin actors to play me when I was young.
"He will have to be a hot Latin guy, I was pretty hot when I was younger," he said with a hearty laugh.
"I'd like to play myself at the end or narrate."
One of the highlights of touring these days for de la Parra is attracting the next generation of Blues enthusiasts.
"I always say as a young person today seeing Canned Heat is an act of rebellion," the blues veteran said with a dry laugh.
"There are still our core fans but I would say these days 50% of the audience is under 25.
"This makes me very pleased."
De la Parra discovered blues when he was a young man.
"Growing up in Mexico, I was playing all the records from the US without searching for its roots.
"Then I searched further and found blues.
"Once you discover this music you can never go back to generic pop.
"There is a primal attraction that is appealing to the human mind."
The band's shows are a mix of old classic and new hits.
But de la Parra said they never tired of playing their back catalogue, as each time they played it was still fresh.
"That is the essence of blues. It is the sister of jazz and you never play the same thing the same way twice.
"There is a lot of improvisation with blues, it allows you to express freely all the emotions you are feeling at the time."
About to embark on an extensive Australia tour, including a performance at the Bluesfest, de la Parra said he was content with the hand life had dealt him.
"In general, life has been good. Of course we have had our ups and down but what band and that has been around for 40 years hasn't experienced that?"
Living The Blues is available from cannedheatmusic.com.
Bluesfest will run from Thursday, April 5 to Monday, April 9.
Tickets start at $139 for a day pass.
For more information and tickets visit bluesfest.com.au.