John Sprott playing a solo gig at Fat Dawg Cantina.
John Sprott consistently delivers some of the most powerful live music in West Texas. Many would say Sprott is Lubbock’s greatest guitarist—a title he’s quick to protest. If Sprott isn’t the best guitar player in town, he’s certainly the most humble.
“Some people are blessed with a great talent,” he said, “and that talent gets them to a certain point, then they sort of stop. I don’t have a talent for playing guitar—certainly not for singing. Both of those things have been a struggle for me.”
His career spans four decades. As a member of the Nelsons, Sprott opened for Billy Idol and Culture Club, played to a crowd of 60,000, and jammed with Jimmy Page. It all began when his mom brought home a guitar bought with Green Stamps. “Used to be, when you went to the grocery store, they gave you stamps and if you saved enough of them you could go redeem those stamps. I believe that’s how my mom got that guitar, with Green Stamps she saved up.”
Around 1980, Sprott’s sister introduced him to a pair of musicians looking for a guitar player. The trio formed a band called the Nelsons. Soon they were joined by “rockstar-talented” singer Don Allison. “Don is the reason why I do this full time. I just got it in my head this is what I wanted to do.” A video for “I Don’t Mind,” a song from their first album, won a semi-final round of MTV’s “The Basement Tapes” competition that got the band a lot of exposure.”
It led to their biggest gig: Farm Aid. “It was people as far as the eye could see … and we were just some guys from Lubbock. The energy you get from being in front of that many people waiting to hear what you’ve got, waiting to hear your music, there’s nothing like it. I didn’t deserve to be there, but circumstances landed me in that spot and it’s burned in my memory. In my rock ‘n’ roll career that was a giant moment. I’ll never forget it as long as I live,” Sprott said.
Currently, John Sprott’s solo album, “Ain’t Worried,” is available from iTunes. You can catch him playing live almost any night of the week. Music remains Sprott’s road in life—a fulfilling journey because, as he said, “Music people are the greatest people in the world. I not only work with a lot of people I think are wonderful folks, I work for a lot of people that are wonderful. I remember when I was out of work for several months because I had a degenerative disc thing in my neck. For several months I lost the use of my arm because of nerve damage. The club owners said when you get well, come back. You can have your job back. Whenever I got to where I could play guitar again, I went right back to work. How do you explain that, other than don’t underestimate the goodness that’s in people?”
John Sprott’s Weekly Schedule:
- Sunday, Texas Cafe and Bar (The Spoon), house guitar player for the Sunday Jam.
- Monday, Lone Star Oyster Bar (34th Street O-Bar) with Jesse Ballew
- Tuesday, Triple J Chophouse, 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., acoustic single, then late night at Bar PM, acoustic single
- Wednesday, Bar PM with Kings of Freon
- Thursday, The Local with Dukes of Freon
By Max McNabb