‘Looking Past the Pandemic’ with Wayne Baker Brooks from Chicago, Illinois

Keeping travel dreams alive and setting goals has never felt more important. We can all agree that 2020 has been an unfortunate year so far, and almost every facet of daily life has been wrought by this ongoing global pandemic, the start of which now feels like forever ago. The arts has been one of the hardest hit areas, so The AU Review has kickstarted a Q&A series “looking past the pandemic”, encouraging creatives from around the world to share their travel hopes, dreams, and the thoughts or things that are getting them through 2020, while also highlighting essential experiences in their own country.

Wayne Baker Brooks (Chicago, Illinois)

Wayne Baker Brooks needs no introduction for those who know their blues. The veteran guitarist occupies a special place in the history of American music, having played alongside the likes of Buddy Guy, No Diddley, Mick Fleetwood, Bobby Rush, and The Black Crowes. Blues is full of tireless musicians who work magic on stage year after year, and while 2020 has put a pause on that for musicians worldwide, it won’t be long before we see Brooks and his band shredding stages across the globe.

We caught up with Wayne Baker Brooks to look past the pandemic.

When travel opens up completely, the first place I’m going is…

Most likely the first place I’m going is to one of my performances to play my butt off for the people who’s been patiently waiting and yearning for live music during this long pandemic. Wherever that will be, I can’t wait to get there.

Spots in USA I think everyone should visit at least once in their life…

Three spots in the USA I think everyone should visit at least once in their life…Chicago, Chicago, and Chicago! Ha Ok seriously Chicago for all the great Blues music, great food, friendly people, & the night life. New Orleans for again the great music, awesome creole & cajun food. All of California, the views while driving the coastal highway from Northern California to Southern California is amazing and you have to visit Hearst castle in Simeon, CA and of course Disneyland, Universal Studios, & Sunset/Hollywood blvds.

Whenever I have a visitor in my city and I want to show them a good night out, the first place I take them is…

Whenever I have a visitor in my city and I want to show them a good night out, the first place I take them is… We’ll start out with a great dinner at Girl and the Goat or either Giordano’s Deep dish Pizza (yummy), after dinner head over to the Willis Tower for some amazing scenic and panoramic views from the top of the tallest building in Chicago, then head over to Navy Pier for a few drinks see the fireworks, then head straight to all the Blues Clubs for dancing.

We’d end the night at…

We’d end the night at….White Palace Grill

The White Palace Grill is a Chicago essential

Most memorable thing I’ve eaten on the road…

Most memorable thing I’ve eaten on the road…I’m vegetarian so this makes it even more memorable lol – in the 1990’s I tried both alligator meat, in Sunrise, Florida and Creole Boudin in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The one international venue I’ve always wanted to play…

The Sydney Opera House in Sydney Australia so I can give the locals a taste of real Chicago Blues

The one international destination I’m yet to visit but have always dreamed of…

I’ve performed in 44 countries on 4 continents but I always dreamed of performing in Africa! I was booked to make my debut performance in May of 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic ruined that experience. The promoter said he will make sure that we will perform in Africa after we all recover

The three things or thoughts getting me through this pandemic…

1. Since I’ve had more time than I need at home I’ve been going through old boxes from the 1990’s of old songs I’ve written and forgot about, so I’ve been putting music to the lyrics and writing new lyrics for the music that had no lyrics. It’s like putting a time capsule puzzle together. it’s really fun for me.

2. Learning as much as possible about the music BUSINESS by taking online classes. The music business is a business and I want to learn what I do not know and should know

3. I finally put up a hammock in my backyard and it is the best thing I’ve added to my home in a long time!

For more on Wayne Baker Brooks head to his website here, and for more on Chicago head to Choose Chicago

Feature Photo by Alain Boucly

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy-Editor-At-Large of the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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