Walter Trout’s hi-tech breakdown
Coffee care: Walter Trout
Walter Trout was inspired to write a song on a napkin in a Starbuck’s branch when he realised no one in the room was talking to each other.
And the bluesman says it’s the perfect illustration of his theory that communication technology actually makes it more difficult for people to express themselves.
Trout sketched the idea for the song Lonely on his 21st album Blues in the Modern Daze during a coffee stop with his band.
He tells Classic Rock Revisited: “I’ve been clean and sober for 25 years. My final vice in life is strong coffee – when I get up I want a double espresso. The first thing the band and I do in the morning is seek out a place where we can have a double espresso, then I’m done with coffee for the day.
“We got up that morning and we were in Illinois or Iowa. I think it was a college town because the place was full of people.
“I was standing there waiting and there people standing beside me, and they’re yelling in my ear. I thought they were all mentally ill, talking to themselves, before I realised they were all talking on phone implanted in their ears.
“I looked around – nobody else in the place was talking. They were all staring at computers. No one was talking to person next to them.
“I just thought it was weird. I’m from a different era. The band and I like to get our coffee and sit down and talk to each other. I grabbed a napkin and wrote the lyrics.”
Trout warns that people are losing the ability to communicate in person because they’re becoming so reliant on computers to assist them.
He says: “I have had a theory for years: every step we take forward with technological advancement, society takes a step backward in certain ways. With each bit of progress there’s something given up.
“The internet and cellphones are expanding our means of communicating – but it also seems that people now need this electronic medium between them in order to communicate with others.
“There’s an old movie called Inherit the Wind. Spencer Tracey has a line where he says: ‘You can have airplanes now, but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.’ To me, that sums the whole thing up.”
Blues for the Modern Daze was released last week.