Col. Bruce Hampton, who died on stage at the Fox Theater in Atlanta last week, was a huge influence on Delta Moon, as he was for half a century on the entire Atlanta music community. Seeing the Aquarium Rescue Unit at the Little Five Points Pub was one of the main reasons Mark Johnson moved to Atlanta in the first place. He thought, “There’s something going on here.”
Franher Joseph, who played bass with the Colonel for the last year or more, talks of “Hamptonisms”, advice Hampton gave his musicians, such as, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. But take what you do very seriously.”
For Tom Gray, a fan since 1969 (Bruce could have told you the exact date and time), the biggest lesson came from a story Hampton told him about the time, as a teenager, he met Muddy Waters.
“Mr. Waters,” he said, “You’re my favorite singer.”
Muddy Waters didn’t respond.
“You’re also my favorite guitar player.”
Muddy Waters looked at him and said, “I’m not a singer. I’m not a guitar player. What I do is put the devil in the room.”
Bruce Hampton took that concept and made a life out of it.