Hector Qirko brings spicy, bluesy sound to Jack of the Wood
Asheville Citizen-Times. By Laura Blackley, October 23, 2008.

Knoxville-based blistering blues guitarist Hector Qirko brings his talented band to the stage at Jack of the Wood on Friday. Blues, jazz, Latin, R&B - whatever style the HQ band members take on, they make it their own. Expect nothing but soul, filling up the room and pouring it all out into the street.

Take5 spoke with Qirko recently.

Question: You talk about getting back to your roots for your newest album "Old School." How is this recording different from the records you've done in the past?

Answer: Every record we've made has been a little different. The last one we did was about five or six years ago, "South." We explored more of a Latin feel, other styles, and of course the blues. Our blues is pretty broadly defined - we pretty much do whatever we want. "Old School" takes more of an old-fashioned approach to making records. We incorporated simpler production values, we recorded live with no guests, and hardly any overdubs. Our horn player did a couple here and there to make it sound like a horn section. It was definitely simpler and direct overall. It's fun that way.

Q: Who makes up the HQ Band?

A: Hector Qirko on guitar and vocals, Dirk Weddington on saxophone, Jim Williams on bass and Steve Brown on drums. We're going on our 23rd year as a band. We've been together a long time and I think that it shows, in a good way. Everybody plays interactively, and we all listen to each other. We each have such different backgrounds, jazz, rock, punk, blues, Latin. We mix it up and make it conversational. I hope that's what translates to the people who are listening to us perform. There's a whole lot of interesting dialogue.

Q: You've got quite a unique background as well. Talk a little bit about playing with Lonnie Brooks in Chicago.

A: I grew up in South America. I came back to the States when it was time to go to college and went to Northwestern. I started getting heavily involved with blues bands in Chicago during that time. I got my education playing professionally with Lonnie. It was a wonderful experience, and he really was a great mentor to me. That was actually when I fell in love with the blues. My exposure to blues music until that point was mainly through rock: the Allman Brothers, Peter Green. I hadn't really heard the straight-up Chicago-style blues until I was actually playing it. It was very influential to me.

Q: What are your goals pertaining to making music?

A: I want to keep playing as much as possible for as long as possible. I've got a couple of other projects: I play guitar for (Knoxville singer-songwriter) RB Morris, plus I'm in a swing/honky-tonk band called the Lonesome Coyotes. I'll do occasional solo forays, too. It's a good balance. Basically, I'd like to keep playing as long as I can still hold a guitar.

Laura Blackley writes about music for Take5. E-mail her at laurablackleyband@yahoo.com.