Joe Bonamassa on being locked down with his guitar collection: “I had no desire to play. I’ll take pictures of it… I’m trying to be an Instagram influencer!”

Bonamassa wasn’t inspired to play guitar by stay-at-home orders.

Joe Bonamassa has spoken about his experience over the pandemic, and how he didn’t feel musically inspired as some did by lockdown conditions. Instead, he turned to guitar photography to fulfil his Instagram influencer dream.

Talking to about his new album Time Clocks, Bonamassa discussed the impacts of a sudden halt being called on three decades of relentless touring. “It was like okay, what are you? Am I a guitar player? No. Am I a singer? No. Songwriter? No. I’m an entertainer,” he said. “The three things I just described feed into the one thing I think I’m actually good at, which is entertaining.”

This was tough to maintain over 2020, as he explained: “that means in a room, with people, reading a room and a crowd. That was my takeaway from a year of being stuck in a house full of guitars. If I didn’t have a reason to play, I wouldn’t play. I wasn’t just playing because I wanted to learn this or learn that. A lot of people did. I probably got worse in the last year!”


Bonamassa acknowledged that some musicians did feel inspired to write and play during their respective lockdowns – but he wasn’t one of them. “That’s just the kind of nomadic life I’ve led. But there’s no right or wrong in anything, people have a process. Some people hate the touring and this was their dream, to stay at home and be creative in the studio. I was just looking at piles of guitars and gear and thinking, ‘I have no desire to play any of this today.’ I’ll take pictures of it, because if nothing else I’m trying to be an Instagram influencer!”

You can read our full chat with Joe Bonamassa here, where he discusses the recording of his new album, as well as his enthusiasm for the next generation of guitar players, many of whom picked up the instrument during 2020.