The day before we exhibited at the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) tradeshow, we held a special event in Dallas for our tireless sales team and to honor a few select people. We were lucky enough to have the legendary Steve Cropper put on a show for all those in attendance.
Rolling Stone magazine called Cropper one of the top 100 guitarists of all time and he certainly didn’t disappoint us. In his decorated career as an American guitarist, songwriter and producer, he has collaborated with some of history’s finest musicians, like the late Otis Redding.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Steve Cropper, enjoy a glass of wine and line up five questions for the on-going “No Bullshit” series.
What was the first album you bought with your own money?
When I grew up there were only singles available, so the first album I bought was by Johnny Mathis. The first record I ever bought was Bo Diddley by Bo Diddley.
What would you be if not a musician?
Probably an architectural engineer because that was what I was studying in college. I drafted in high school for four years. I then spent two-and-a-half, almost three years in college doing it. I loved to draw and draft. I didn’t want to build houses and become an architect. I actually wanted to do machine parts and design things.
Do you ever see yourself exiting the music industry?
[Laughs] I don’t think my fans are going to let me do that. I would like to golf and fish for the rest of my life. I just tease myself with the thought of it. There’s just too much demand [for my music]. I think the success of the Blues Brothers has a lot to do it. We’re still together. Lou Marini and I are still out there beating the bushes with the original Blues Brothers band. It’s kind of fun to be able to look back and say “yes, I’m an original and I’m still here.”
Speakers or headphones?
Honestly, it just depends on the quality. I am very fortunate to have both [speakers and headphones]. I’m just getting accustomed to the new designs Klipsch has put together and I’m really enjoying them. They’re great!
How would you define quality sound?
I want to say whatever the listener enjoys most, but there are so many uneducated ears out there. Rather than say “do you even know what you’re listening to?,” I don’t comment unless they ask for me for help. A lot of these young minds and ears aren’t accustomed to growing up with hi-fi systems and high fidelity audio. I can hear a dB or a couple dBs, which is almost impossible for the human ear to hear. I’m very lucky to be able to hear those signals. Like what’s going on right now [Editor’s note: there was a band playing during the background of the interview], it’s very hard for my ears to tune out the music. I can’t do that. I don’t listen to music nonchalantly. I listen to every note. My brain downloads every note in every record for whatever reason. I’m just an odd duck, I guess.
I think Klipsch has the right idea. We can educate these younger ears to appreciate high-fidelity audio and get them to really think about what they’re listening to from a scientific standpoint, as well as musical standpoint. It’s not always all about the groove, even though I’m a stickler for that. Most of my hits are built around groove and melody. I really think quality sound has a lot to do with it.
We have dubbed this question and answer series “No Bullshit” in honor of Paul W. Klipsch who famously wore a yellow “Bullshit” pin underneath his lapel, flashing it to anyone who was full of it. It is an expression of the Klipsch commitment to deliver world-class speakers and headphones that are high on quality and short on fluff. In this series, we will cut through the nonsense with legendary musicians. To learn more about the origins of the Klipsch “No Bullshit” slogan, click here.