I sat in with one of those groups in New York, and it was the first time I've ever been ashamed of being a musician. I felt like pulling my coat up over my head so no one would take my picture when I came off the stand.
People talk about freedom, but the blues is still one of the freest things you can play. If you know the changes, you can take them anywhere you want to go. I don't say all of them, but I knew a lot of them can't play a melody for you. I'll sit in with people, and we'll play "freedom," and then I'll say, "Well, let's play a tune," and they can't even get through the time.
A person can't appreciate freedom unless he's been in prison. How can you know what it is to be free if you haven't gone through all the changes of being unfree? A guy can't tell me at 20 years of age that he's going to be "free" when he hasn't been through half the things I have.