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Elmore’s Paul Aaronson Talks with Jim McCarty of Cactus

Jim McCarty could be the best guitarist you never heard of. That’s a pity, because he’s played and recorded with such great bands as Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, The Buddy Miles Express, Cactus, and the Rockets. I had a chance to catch up with Jim after seeing him with Cactus at BB King’s in New York:

PA.: Tell me about your recent album Jim McCarty and Friends: Live From Callahan’s.

JM:  Man, I loved doing that. Callahan’s is a great club and I got a chance to play with everyone from Duke Robillard to John Nemeth to Johnny A. to Jimmy Thackery. Not to mention my old bandmate, Johnny Bee and my current band Mystery Train. A real labor of love, no doubt; you’ll hear me playing the blues that I cut my teeth.

PA: Who are your major influences?

JM: Let me say this: Albert King had the balls, but it was BB King who made you cry.

PA: Your playing in the current Cactus is reminiscent of your glory days with them in the early 70s.

JM: Yeah, you had me and (vocalist) Rusty Day who were from Detroit, matched up with Carmine (Appice, drums) and Tim (Bogert, bass) from Long Island, and you know what? It worked.

PA: Cactus was the model for greasy, bad-ass blues-rock; the kind you’d listen to if you were ready for a brawl! Just look at the back cover photo from the 1st album

JM: You know what, we probably had just kicked some ass! Rusty found that rubber glove lying on the ground and just put it on. Wouldn’t you know, ever since then everyone always asks me how he lost his arm! (laughs)

PA: Too bad he’s no longer around. But it’s great to hear Cactus is still kickin’ ass!

JM: You know it! We got a lot left in the tank so make sure you come back and see us again soon

Jim McCarty and Friends: Live From Callahan’s is available now on Cally’s Records and Tapes.

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