WHILE the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor continues, his former lead guitarist prefers to focus on the positive aspects of the pop star’s glittering career, rather than his mysterious death.
Gregg Wright, who plays at H20 in Galashiels on November 19, performed alongside Jackson in the mid-1980s, and was with The Jacksons’ on their final Victory Tour in 1984.
Speaking this year, he said: “Its something I haven’t talked much about over the years. I did it, and that’s always been good enough for me.
“Like everyone else, I was shocked and saddened when Michael died. He was the most professional person I’ve ever seen or worked with. He was a real gentleman, too.”
Reminiscing further, Gregg said: “I respected him as a person, musician and artist.
“My favourite song to play with Michael was Human Nature. I still get that ol’ feelin’ everytime I hear it. I can see him standing right there, singing his heart out.”
Wright also spent time on the road with Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac and funk group The Gap Band in an impressive career this far.
It all started in Texas for Gregg, when he first picked up a guitar at junior high school in Wichita Falls, where his military father was stationed.
His first bands were in high school in the Washington DC area during his dad’s last military assignment before retirement.
His professional career began touring the south of the United States in the mid-70s.
While playing in the likes of Louisiana and Texas for a number of years, Gregg opened shows for many blues legends.
“I was privileged to work and learn around greatness,” said Gregg. “People like Albert King and Freddie King encouraged me to work hard, so I went on paid my dues.”
His move from Louisiana to Los Angeles in the 1980s led to Gregg becoming a respected session guitarist and being picked up by the likes of Jackson and Fleetwood.
Despite no longer performing alongside such big names, Gregg continues to tour across the world – including Serbia this year – and produce music, with his latest album King of the Rockin’ Blues well received.
A leading blues magazine wrote: “This album places Gregg Wright in the top echelons of the great blues guitarists.”
The Californian-based musician will stop off in Galashiels after he performs alongside Adam Clarkson of the Borders Guitar School at Carlisle Blues Festival next month. Adam’s fellow Borders Guitar School tutor Bill Coverdale will also play at H20 in support with his band Ruff Cut.
The gig starts at 9pm at the Overhaugh Street venue, with tickets priced at £5 in advance or £6 on the door. Phone 01750 21917 for more information.