Hugh Laurie was only 10 when he heard the sound the would adjust him forever. The track on the radio was probably Willie Dixon, or maybe Muddy Waters, however it was no so much the musician as ''that wonder blue note''.

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''I heard this sound and it was favor an electrical shock. I just knew this to be going to it is in me and also it was going to it is in me for all time. It has actually stuck with me ever before since. I've never acquired over it.

''I've all kinds of other things in mine life, ns look ago at an early haircut the mine or pair of shoes that i wore, and also I think, 'God, what to be you thinking?' however this will always be through me.''

In his 54 years, Laurie has acgendergeek.orgplished international acclaim as a gendergeek.orgic, writer and also actor. In a career separated neatly across the Atlantic, we an initial knew him with Stephen fried food in Jeeves and Wooster and also A bit of fry & Laurie. And, the course, Blackadder.


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Hugh Laurie performs v the Copper Bottom Band.

In the united States, he emerged with a convincing American accent in the clinical television collection House, which revealed the true depth that his acting talent. In ~ one point, it was the optimal scripted show in the US, and also the many watched display in the world.

But there was a backbeat to Laurie's acting career. His music talent - awakened when he heard the blue note on the radio - would nudge its means forward. In House, his character Dr Gregory House had actually a Hammond organ at home, and also would pick up Gibson and also Les Paul electric guitars. Laurie's musical ability was always seeking an audience.

Which brings us to the reason for this interview. The is beforehand afternoon in Los Angeles, wherein Laurie is rehearsing v his blues band, the Copper Bottom Band. Native LA, he and also the band head to southern America, prior to an Australian tourism this month.

Laurie to be last in Australia in 1981, through Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson, through whom that was gendergeek.orgponent of the Cambridge Footlights troupe. The display was a gendergeek.orgedy. ''Well, we assumed so,'' recalls Laurie. ''The audience, they kind of went in addition to it.''


The tour was just after England's Ashes defeat of Australia, a win due in no small gendergeek.orgponent to initiatives of all-rounder Ian Botham. In what seemed choose a good idea in ~ the time, they dubbed the present Botham: The Musical. ''That was type of lemon in the document cup,'' Laurie says. ''That didn't go under terribly well.''

(Laurie has actually not heard about Shane Warne: The Musical. ''What? oh my God! … Oh, fantastic! That's great!'')

From that 1981 tour, a lasting memory is playing Canberra, sharing the venue with one more production, The finish of a Dream. The end the former of the house, the billing was Botham: The Musical, The finish of a Dream. ''That remained with me,'' that says. ''Oh dear, that would have been nice, a job in entertainment, but apparently it's no going to happen.''

Laurie states he always knew he would certainly gendergeek.orge ago to Australia, however corrects himself. ''How could I have known anything? How could I have actually known I'd also be alive, never ever mind do a living the end of this?

I think there's music in acting and also there's acting in music.


''No, ns couldn't have actually dreamed of this significant ride that I'm on. The point is I'm quite superstitious … I'm for this reason blessed I'm expecting something disastrous to take place at any kind of moment … a piano's walk to loss on my head, or something. Someone's going gendergeek.orge drop the Acme safe, it's going to autumn out the a window.''

That Laurie is forging a new career route runs counter to a very British upbringing that had its root a long method from the Mississippi. He grew up near Oxford, the youngest of four children. When he was seven, he had actually a miserable experience of discovering the piano under the tutelage of mrs Hare. ''I apologise to any kind of of her descendants if I've badmouthed her,'' he says. ''But yes, that wasn't a happy relationship. I simply couldn't stand the means it was taught and to be honest, i still can't. That's nobody's fault, it's simply the way it is.''

The teacher and also her wake up pupil to be slogging their method through the class one piano book, as soon as they obtained to the page with Swanee River, the closest point to a blues tune in the book. Grandm Hare decided against it. ''She wasn't having actually it,'' Laurie says.

Even v the electric shock the the wonder blues keep in mind at 10, Laurie wasn't top in a music direction. His medical professional father winner an Olympic yellow medal in rowing at the 1948 London games and also at Cambridge Laurie excelled in the sport. However a bout of glandular fever ended his rowing career and also saw him attracted to the stage.

Even then, his music talent and passion was apparent to those approximately him, including Stephen Fry. ''When us rehearsed in the Footlights Clubroom, which was the gendergeek.orgedy revue venue in Cambridge wherein we wrote and rehearsed our sketches, photos of john Cleese and also Peter chef looking under on us, Hugh was always on the piano,'' fried food tells me in an email. ''Sometimes he had actually to it is in dragged off. It constantly amazed me that he couldn't check out a word of music. The it all gendergeek.orge from his head.''


Fry believed his friend's music would eventually discover an expression. ''I had a secret feeling it constantly would as soon as he had collected the confidence,'' he says. ''The great thing about the success that House was that it resulted in Band indigenous TV, an advertisement hoc gendergeek.orgedy band where Hugh played keyboards in a gendergeek.orgbo made up of various other TV actors and also that, i think, gave him the to trust to go for it. I couldn't have been an ext pleased or proud.''

There is an automatically scepticism when we listen of actors turning musicians, and it to be no various when word got out the Laurie was planning to document an album of new Orleans blues.

''When Laurie exit Let lock Talk in 2011, initially, there to be a collective groan,'' created Barry Kerzner in American Blues Scene magazine. ''Then, what carry out you know? civilization started actually listening to the largely blues-based album, and found the end that it was good. How around that?''

Laurie approached Joe Henry, the singer, songwriter and Grammy-award winner, to develop the record. In a 2011 short article in The brand-new York Times, Henry told Gavin Edwards he confirm Laurie the end first. ''I go a tiny bit the homework,'' that said, ''and Elvis Costello called me in an e-mail that he had actually visited a collection with Hugh, who had been playing piano throughout a break. Elvis said: 'This man is a musician prior to he's anything else. He's probably a better musician 보다 an actor.'''

Laurie is well conscious of the doubters who arise when an actor pursues a music career. ''The funny thing is that as quickly as I began contemplating this thing and, in fact, signed ~ above to perform it, then of course every you view in papers is, 'Oh, here's an additional bloody gibbs who's excellent it.'''


He understands the wariness, since he would react the exact same way. ''I didn't expect any type of less indigenous the audience or indigenous the press or anybody else since that's what ns would have actually felt and also I didn't reference anybody,'' he says. ''All I made decision early on was that the only means that I can establish mine sincerity was to first of all, carry out it and also I can do it, and additionally keep doing it. Due to the fact that I think you acquire points because that sticking about in this thing.''

It wasn't merely a situation of Laurie deciding the would at some point be a musician. The cameo performances transparent his exhilaration career helped build his music profile.

''I intend in Hugh's instance he sort of snuck increase on us,'' says Glen Casebeer, co-founder the American Blues Scene. ''In a way that to be probably much better than if he'd have actually just to be an actor one day and also then the following day announced he'd favor to be a musician too.

''Of food we've all watched this happen with varying results. We actually had knowledge the Laurie's skills a few years before the announcement of plans because that an album. While on House he displayed his love because that the blues and also his appearances ~ above late-night talk reflects made the clear that not just does he love the blues, that can clearly play it.''

Laurie's very first album, a collection of 15


cover songs, to be an global hit, which, says Casebeer, opened some eyes and also ears,

but the is his 2nd album, Didn't the Rain, that has seen him welgendergeek.orged by the greater blues gendergeek.orgmunity.

''Hugh Laurie is rather gendergeek.orgpetent as a blues player and also one it s okay the sense that his layout is quite timeless and also he'd fit in just too in the '40s or '50s together he go in the 21st century,'' Casebeer says. ''Another amazing detail about Laurie is the he doesn't stealing the show, he's content to simply be gendergeek.orgponent of the band.''

The live show, Casebeer says, is not to be missed. In a review from a Chicago show last October, his newspaper co-founder Matt Marshall enthused: ''While numerous in the audience no doubt concerned get a look in ~ the actor that played among TV's many iconic roles, one thing is for certain: as soon as they go home, they were talking around the musician who managed to handmade a rousing, wickedly entertaining, deep memorable live show.''

Laurie claims performing through the tape is highly addictive. ''There's just nothing prefer it.''


While it is all brand-new to him, Laurie's tape members have actually a breadth of endure - some v careers extending three decades. ''I would understand if they take it a much more jaundiced see of the entirety thing,'' the says. ''Actually, castle seem gendergeek.orge be having the time of your lives, i m sorry I'm dazzling by. Because that me, i am 10 years old again.

''That doesn't speak fine of the show, walk it?'' the says. ''You don't want to go and also see a pack of 10-year-olds, however to have that type of exuberance and also enthusiasm …''

Being part of the passion and also gendergeek.orgmitment deserve to have a profound impact upon him as soon as he is playing v the band. ''It can make me very emotional simply being on stage with these people, the town hall them and hearing them carry out what they do.''

In search of a simple categorisation of Laurie, we gendergeek.orgment on whether the is much more musician or actor. ''To be honest, i think there's music in acting and there's acting in music. Ns think that the two points not being that different in a way,'' that says.

''When we were doing House, I used to think of that in a very musical type of way, that we were a tiny sort of chamber orchestra trying to fit through each other's feeling of tempo and also harmonics and trying to uncover a pitch that would tell the story in the appropriate way. Trying to blend through each various other in a means that would certainly tell the story.


''I think an in similar way in music. The is about storytelling and a lot of the time it's around inhabiting a character and also expressing emotions that this character feels going with these experiences.''

One distinction he sees is the a the majority of people begendergeek.orge actors in bespeak to take it on various other identities. ''They desire to hide behind a mask. They can even be dissatisfied or unconfident being themselves, so it's less gendergeek.orgplicated to gendergeek.orge to be someone else,'' the says.

''With music, the goal is yes, really to try and take it masks off, to try and be as open as you deserve to with an audience, no to hide behind trick of any kind of kind. Since music is a very direct and really honest method of expressing yourself, of make the efforts to move people and also gendergeek.orgmunicate something.''

There is a powerful honesty and connection in Laurie's music, evident when he plays among his favourite songs, Tipitina, made well known by Professor Longhair.

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A few weeks ago, Laurie to be in new Orleans for Mardi Gras, riding top top a float. The meeting spot in ~ the start of the parade was exterior Tipitina's, named in honour of the song and also Professor Longhair.