Junior High

John Lee Hooker Jr. cuts his own path through the blues

"I been to prison, been on drugs," he says on the phone. "I don't do nothing but dream about violence or drugs or captivity. I'm haunted by my past when I go to these borders trying to get across and they're bringing up something I did when I was a teenager."

Still, Junior is quick to agree that he's truly traveled far. "When I can look down at the level of my ground where I came from, excuse my language, but you're damn right I'm successful. I may not be at the level of a B.B. King or my father, but I came from a low, low place, brother. Even though I'm not up on that high level with all those icons, I would call this a successful stage of my career."

Is that enough for him?

John Lee Hooker Jr.: the new dapper don of the blues
John Lee Hooker Jr.: the new dapper don of the blues


John Lee Hooker performs Saturday, September 22, at the Backroom Blues Bar, 7200 N. Dixie Hwy., Boca Raton. The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and tickets cost $15. Call 561-988-8929, or visit www.backroombluesbar.com.

He answers the question by referring to his namesake: "I seen him drop a quarter in the bus and say 'I'll see you tomorrow,' and I seen him pull up with limousines with bodyguards — so I know that it's about hard work. I'm not finished. You will be let down in life, but I was taught that a letdown is a motivating factor to get back up."

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