A legacy of passion: Herb Armstrong tells us how he keeps the legacy of his grandfather louis armstrong alive
Herb, thank you for your time. It is a pleasure to meet you. Let’s get started, shall we?
1) You were born in New Orleans, how do you remember your childhood?
Drug dealers, pimps, tailors and music at every house, every corner. Jug joints they called it.
You could hear Jazz, Blues and Soul in every household. Every Saturday from 9am till 10pm the music box was turned on. I remember my Mom took me to see James Brown in 1970. James took me on stage to dance with him. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be singer. The place was called the ‘Soul Bowl’.
2) You started to sing and perform by the age of 11. Why?
There was a Gospel choir, the Gospel Soul Children of America it was called. I just wanted to see and check it out. I liked it and started to sing in the choir.
3) When you were 14 years old, you went to your grandfathers funeral. You didn't really know Louis Armstrong. Did you follow his musical career?
Yes, of course. We listened to his songs at Storyville, New Orleans, all the time.
Later, my mother Decina met Louis Armstrong's son and I was born.
4) A huge crowd of 25,000 people attended your grandfathers' funeral, many entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. As sad as this moment must have been, did you get the chance to meet any of those famous entertainers?
Yes, I did. They told me to come and work in Las Vegas when I am older. And I did! I performed at the MGM Grand Hotel for 17 years. Eventually, I went back to perform at the Bourbon Street, the French Quarter of New Orleans. I missed the city vibe and the food.
5) What memories do you have of your grandfather since he died when you were young?
His strong presence. Wherever I went.
6) Who is left from the Armstrong family?
Charlie and Delores, which I have not met. Charlie lives in Russia and Delores in the UK. Both are singing.
7) How do you feel being one of the last ones left of the Armstrong family?
It feels like I am still carrying the torch. I don’t want his legacy to be forgotten.
9) You have been keeping his memory alive by playing and touring through the US when you were younger. Tell us about this experience.
It was an amazing experience. Always going to different towns and seeing the smiles of the people. How they cried, it touches my heart.
Even younger crowds are getting into it now, like Michel Buble.
10) What made you come to Australia?
I met an Australian woman in New Orleans. We got married. But when she got robbed at gun point, that’s when we decided to go to Australia.
11) You wear a read suit, is there a story to it?
Nah, I just like the color. It is a powerful color.
12) Which Louis Armstong song is your favourite?
“Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans.”
13) If it wouldn’t be for your music career what did you want to become when you were a child?
Bass singer with the Temptations.
14) Who else in your family went into the Music business?
My children are following my footsteps.
15) Do you play any instruments? Which one?
Yes, I play the piano.
16) Do you write you own songs?
Yes, I do.
17) What sort of music do you enjoy?
Latin, Classics, Blues, a bit of everything really.
18) Tell us about your best, funniest or most disastrous moments in show biz.
It was in New Orleans and this girl came running onto the stage, topless, but the security personal caught her before she could do anything. She was topless because it was Mardi Gras.
19) Thinking of animals, which animal would describe you best?
A bear, a polar bear.
20) Thinking about your music carrier, which movies would best describe it?
Dreamgirls, the Broadway Musical
21) What is your definition of Hard Work?
Getting up at 6am and to reach my goals. I find that empowering. I always try to reach my goals.
22) How do you feel going on stage?
Like it is my living room, I got you for an X-amount of time and I want you to feel comfortable and have the best time of your life.
23) Could you imagine singing in a different language?
Haha, yes, I would love to sing ‘A wonderful world’ in French.
24) How do you spend your holidays?
I love to visit Sydney.
25) What are your plans for 2020?
I don’t have a plan just yet, but I would like to tour more, Sydney, Melbourne, South Australia, Cairns. Never went to Northern Territory, I’d like to be there to be able to perform.
26) How do you interact with fans?
I always take the time to talk to everyone after the show.
27) Do you have a message for your fans?
Yes, I am most grateful for everyone who came to my shows. Knowing that I touched someone’s heart while singing, I know I have done my job.
28) Where will can we see you next?
Sunday 23.02.20 at the Paradise Point Bowls Club, Gold Coast, Queensland from 3-6 pm.