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Out of the Blue - Life on the Road with Muddy Waters

Out of the Blue

Life on the Road with Muddy Waters

By Brian Bisesi
Foreword by Bob Margolin
Series: American Made Music Series

Hardcover : 9781496849120, 206 pages, 46 b&w illustrations, March 2024
Paperback : 9781496849847, 206 pages, 46 b&w illustrations, March 2024

Table of contents


Part One
Chapter 1: Night Flight
Chapter 2: Right Place
Chapter 3: Right Sound
Chapter 4: Reality Check
Chapter 5: Motherfucker
Chapter 6: Ribs à la Muddy
Chapter 7: Country Miles
Chapter 8: Guitar Junior Returns
Chapter 9: Break It to Him Gently
Chapter 10: Control Freak
Chapter 11: Love in a Model T
Chapter 12: Elton Who?

Part Two
Chapter 13: A Big Brit
Chapter 14: All Aboard! (Except Us)
Chapter 15: Big Picks
Chapter 16: Big Head
Chapter 17: Duane’s Les Paul
Chapter 18: Muddy’s Pipe
Chapter 19: A Toast to All That
Chapter 20: Little Man, Huge Voice
Chapter 21: Rehashing an Old Lyric
Chapter 22: A Face in the Window
Chapter 23: The Rolls-Royce of Interviews
Chapter 24: Another Stone Rolls By
Chapter 25: Why Stop Now?
Chapter 26: No Offense, George
Chapter 27: Incidental Expenses
Chapter 28: Take It or Leave It
Chapter 29: Sweet Dreams
Chapter 30: Like Riding a Bicycle
Chapter 31: RRRiiiiipppp
Chapter 32: Definitely a Tripp
Chapter 33: Eric, Meet Johnny
Chapter 34: A Night on the Town
Chapter 35: For the Byrds

Part Three
Chapter 36: Bumped for Johnny
Chapter 37: Sabotage?
Chapter 38: Koi and Cow Tongue
Chapter 39: Bursting Bladder
Chapter 40: Something Weird
Chapter 41: Independent Contractors
Chapter 42: Rest in Peace
Chapter 43: Aftermath

A behind-the-scenes account from Muddy Waters’s road manager and right-hand man during the bluesman's last great years


Out of the Blue: Life on the Road with Muddy Waters begins with a moment lifted from a young musician’s dreams. Brian Bisesi, a guitarist barely out of his teens, is invited on stage to fill in for a missing member of the band backing blues legend Muddy Waters. This life-changing quirk of fate opens the door into a world of challenges and opportunities that Bisesi, an Italian American reared in the comforts of a New York City suburb, can barely imagine. Despite their differences, Bisesi and Waters hit it off, and what might have been a one-night stand turns into a career. From 1978 to 1980, Bisesi works for Waters as his road manager, bean-counter, and at times his confidant, while often sitting in with the band.

Bisesi’s years with the band take him to Europe, Japan, Canada, and across the United States as Waters tours—and parties—with rock gods like Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, a Beatle, and the gamut of musicians who came of age with Waters and introduced a younger generation to the blues. In Out of the Blue, Bisesi captures it all: from the pranks and tensions among bluesmen enduring a hard life on the road, to observations about Waters’s technique, his love of champagne and reefer, his eye for women, and his sometimes-acrid views of contemporary music. Bisesi has sharp insights into the ill-conceived management decisions that led to the dissolution of Waters’s longest-serving band in June of 1980. This book will rivet, amuse, and occasionally infuriate blues aficionados. It is a raucous and intimate portrait of the blues scene at a pivotal moment in time that fascinates music historians and blues fans alike.


"I owe everything I know about the Blues to Brian. We sat for hours in his room as he played DJ and hipped me to all things Chicago. I didn’t know then, but he was setting me up for life."

- Jimmy Vivino, guitarist and former leader of Conan O’Brien’s house band, Jimmy Vivino and the Basic Cable Band

"If you love blues and Muddy Waters, you’ll love reading this book as much as I have. I ain't lyin’!"

- Charlie Musselwhite, Grammy Award-winning blues harp player

"In Out of the Blue, self-styled ‘itinerant blues musician’ Brian Bisesi offers an insider’s view of Muddy Waters, his musicians, and life on the road in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and Mexico. Affiliated with Waters from 1978 into 1980—at times as road manager and guitarist—his privileged perspective permitted him to chronicle Waters and such sidemen as Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson, Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Jones, and Pinetop Perkins. Cameos by Jeff Beck, Pattie Boyd, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, and Big Joe Williams enhance the text. In sum, this well-written, perceptive, and compelling narrative is mandatory reading for anyone interested in Waters specifically and the blues generally."

- Benjamin Franklin V, author of The Miraculous Art of Jazz: One Writer's Reviews