Bernard Fowler’s talents as a singer, songwriter, producer and instrumentalist have resonated through the span of his extraordinary career in the music industry. His dynamic vocals have appeared on over 30 albums for bands as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Philip Glass, Yoko Ono, Alice Cooper and Bootsy Collins.
Millions of people around the world know Bernard as the background singer and percussionist for The Rolling Stones, a position he has held for many years. He has recorded and toured with the band to nearly every continent, appearing on 14 Rolling Stones albums. He has also appeared on the solo projects of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, fronted two jazz albums with Charlie Watts, and produced, wrote and performed on three albums for Ronnie Wood, including 2009’s I Feel Like Playing featuring Slash, Flea, Billy Gibbons, Ivan Neville, Bobby Womack, and Steve Ferrone.
In 2006 Bernard released his first solo album Friends with Privileges to critical acclaim. Bernard is a versatile, mesmerizing performer, whose range and stage presence are celebrated around the world. Bernard's second solo album titled The Bura features an all-star line up of musicians and will be released in early 2014. We caught up with this native New Yorker for a few minutes prior to his leaving to perform on the Rolling Stones' 14 On Fire tour of Asia Pacific to discuss some of his favorite things about NYC.
You’re a native New Yorker?
Born and raised in New York City
Your favorite NYC nightspot?
It used to be the Paradise Garage back in the day. These days it depends. I could end up at little dives in the West Village like Johnny's Bar or perhaps it could be a great martini at Raoul's on Prince Street in Soho, which also makes an incredible steak.
Your favorite NYC meal/restaurant?
I like the classics, like the Odeon in Tribeca or Sylvia's up in Harlem. Or after a night out, grabbing a late night hot dog at Grey's Papaya. Best Pizza? Bleecker Street Pizza!
Your favorite NYC venue to perform?
The Highline Ballroom
Your favorite place to shop for your significant other?
Tiffany's and Bergdorf Goodman
Where was your first performance in NYC and with whom?
Boston Road Ballroom...Sammy Gordan and the Hip Huggers
Why is NYC such a great city to perform in?
Because New York City is home for me.
Are NYC audience the toughest?
Yes! If you can make it here....
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase NY State of Mind?
Walking over the 59th st. Bridge and the old Paradise Garage.
Favorite overall thing about NYC?
Almost everything - the people, the food, the immediacy of life, the poetry of the streets, the fact that you can get anything any time of day. It's the best of the best.
Favorite NYC Song?
"New York Time" by me!
Favorite movie set in NYC?
Maybe Goodfellas? All of NYC makes the world's best movie set, so it's hard to chose.
How did you get involved with the Stones?
While on a break from singing and touring with Herbie Hancock, NYC record producer Bill Laswell asked me to fly to the UK and introduced me to Mick Jagger. I spent sevral days there singing with him for his first solo LP. A while later Mick asked me to join him in the making of the Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels LP, which is when I met the rest of the cats and I've been buzzing around them off and on ever since.
Favorite moment with the Stones?
There are quite a few but I will have to say being privileged to watch the whole creative process. I loved watching their ideas turn into songs. I'll also say sharing the stage. I'm a fan. When I see them doing their thing...it's incredible. There are many so it's hard to choose just one.
We're anticipating a new solo release from you in 2014. What can you tell us about it?
I am currently working on a solo rock/blues LP. I've been blessed with the talents of many fine players from NY and around the country. Will Calhoun, Doug Wimbish, Darryl Jones, Deron Johnson, Phil X, Jeff Bova, L. Shankar, Chuck D, Slash, Albert Lee, Waddy Wachtel....those are names you may be familiar with but there's a list of great players on this project.
What's next for Bernard Fowler?
Just about to head out on tour with the Stones. After my business with the boys is done, I'm looking to go out and tour again on my own. I'm hoping to rock as long as they have. It's a beautiful thing.
Photos courtesy of and © 2014 Jane RoseView full post