Self Made Man will be casting a critical eye over blues rock sensation Joe Bonamassa this weekend.

And the guitar hero is the subject of this week’s musings from our resident blogger. Don’t forget to catch Self Made Man exclusively on RUSHONROCK every week! 

I think it’s fair to say that Joe Bonamassa and Boston’s Tom Scholz don’t belong to the same school of “what it takes to be a rock star.”

Bonamassa, who is at Newcastle’s (one and only) Arena this weekend, is a throwback to the days when musicians packed 25 hours into every day and rested on the eighth day of the week.

Scholz, guitarist, creative genius and undisputed leader of Boston, let’s just say, always preferred a more laid-back approach.

Boston released their record-breaking debut album in 1976 and hot on its heels came the equally impressive Don’t Look Back but fans had to wait until 1986 for Third Stage, an album delayed by legal wrangles and Scholz’s perfectionist tendencies, which bordered on the obsessive.

Bonamassa too took a couple of years to follow up the release of A New Year Yesterday in 2000 with So It’s Like That but then the he really got started.

In 2003 came Blues Deluxe, 2004 Had to Cry Today, 2006 You And Me, 2007, the breakthrough album Sloe Gin and 2009 The Ballad of John Henry.

Impressive stuff but little did we realise that Joe was only warming up. So take a deep breath and read on.. 2010 Black Rock 2011 Dust Bowl to say nothing of his stunning collaboration with Beth Hart,  Don’t Explain last year and Black Country Communion I and II.

Just for good measure, he’s had four solo live albums, a BCC live album plus three very watchable DVDs.

That’s saying nothing about his long tours both with his own band and also alongside Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sheridan.

And let’s not forget his weekly blues show on Planet Rock radio nor his numerous guest appearances

To call Bonamassa a hard working musician is a bit like describing Albert Einstein as quite bright.

The 34-year-old New Yorker is a throwback to the days when bands like Led Zeppelin released an album every 15 months or so and somehow manager to squeeze in a couple of world tours.

Reading the Zeppelin classic by Steven Davis “Hammer of the Gods,” the best book on rock music ever written, the author paints a vivid picture of band who played and partied day and night and yet managed to pen some of the genre’s greatest tunes and record the finest albums in spare moments they didn’t really have.

Back in the early-70s, though they did not realise it at the time, many rock stars suffered burn-out. Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan recently admitted that he probably would not have quit but for a tour itinerary that drove him crazy.

UFO’s Phil Mogg a decade later, suffered a breakdown because of a scheduling which demanded tour, album tour, year in year out without a decent break built in.

Bonamassa, thankfully, does not look the sort to burn the candle at both ends and seems to be thriving on a workload which at first glance appears to be unsustainable.

The quality of his work improves with every album, his guitar-playing, by all accounts, is better than ever and in a recent interview he gave on his life, he sounded happy, relaxed and fresh. Long may it continue.

Boston never did recapture former glories with the release of Third Stage which was to prove their penultimate studio album but several bands in more recent years have seemed to benefit from a long hiatus.

AC/DC went almost a decade in between Stiff Upper Lip and Black Ice but the latter is arguably their finest work since the early-80s and this year, Van Halen have discovered a creative spark most critics assumed they’d left behind in their youth.

Aerosmith have not released an album of original material since the inconsistent Just Push Play at the turn of the Millennium but their forthcoming album is tipped to be another return to form.

No date has been fixed for its eagerly anticipated release. Don’t be too surprised if Joe Bonamassa’s 12th studio album in as many years beats it onto the shelves!

Ian Murtagh