Making a Scene Presents an Interview with Michael Rubin
At 15, I worked as a camp counselor. My boss, Eric Guthertz, had a harp he let me borrow. Instead of looking at it for a minute, I went to a corner and jammed for a half an hour. 6 months later I was with a friend, Robert Schmidt, at a bookstore. There was Jon Gindicks’ Country and Blues Harmonica for the Musically Hopeless, a book that came with a tape and a harp for $14. My friend said, “There’s something flaky you would do.” I had the money, which at 15 years old was a minor miracle. “You’ll never get anywhere with that,” he said. The moment I played, I knew it was my thing. I was gigging a year later.
I listened to lots of recordings and live shows and played at jams and gigs. I’ve talked to most of the famous harp players and gotten advice, most notably from Rick Estrin, Gary Primich, Eugene Huggins and Andy J. Forest. I’ve gone to a bunch of harmonica conventions, most notably The Augusta Heritage Festival Blues Week, SPAH and the Kerrville Folk Festival. I took 3 jazz improv semesters in college, Sonoma State University, on chromatic. A couple of years back I took another semester’s worth at Austin Community College playing one diatonic harmonica fully chromatically. In college I also took chorus and ear training. I’ve taken a couple of piano and electric bass lessons and a lot of vocal and mandolin lessons. I have taken one or two private harp lessons from Gary Primich, Sam Barry, Adam Gussow, Paul Oscher, Dennis Gruenling, and a few jazz chromatic lessons from Wim Dijkgraaf.