“I don’t stay in touch with Mike as much as I probably should,” Texas blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh says by phone from Dallas. “You just never know where Mike is,” meaning Mike Judge, UCSD grad and creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. Judge played bass in Funderburgh’s band in 1989 and 1990.
Funderburgh rarely appears in San Diego, but when he does next, it will be in Scottie Blinn’s Lakeside living room for a few hours in June. Blinn, cofounder of the Mississippi Mudsharks has reinvented himself as a music educator via his Rock Academy of San Diego. Funderburgh is next up on a list of visiting axe-masters who have guest-hosted what Blinn bills as blues-guitar workshops. “Anson,” he says, “has been one of my favorites since I was 19.”
Robin Henkel, Joey Harris, Jerry DeMink, Greg Willis, and Farmers bassist Rolle Love have all hosted academy seminars. Based on positive feedback, Blinn decided to hire nationally known blues guitarist Coco Montoya to lead a session. “I got ahold of Coco one day, had it booked the next, and 48 hours later had it sold out.”
The Rock Academy is a product of Blinn’s involvement as instructor in the Blues Summer Camp, sponsored by the local chapter of Blues in the Schools. Blinn inaugurated his Rock Academy with an after-school series at the Sacred Heart Parish School in Coronado. (“I’m teaching them about Link Wray right now.”) He has since expanded to Chula Vista and has plans to launch a program at San Ysidro Middle School this fall and possibly at Lemon Crest School in Lakeside. That’s where the home seminars with big-name bluesmen come in. “I’m raising money to subsidize the school programs and buying instruments for the kids in the program to use if they can’t afford their own.” All visiting axe masters get paid, too. “No one’s doing anything for free.”
Is there one kernel of wisdom that Funderburgh might share with a young musician? “I would have to say that — of music in general — you have to like it because you might not ever make a dime at it.”