A conventional bio of Hunt Sales would start by noting his famous associations, recounting his much-revered work as a sideman for Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and David Bowie. It would trumpet the fact that he’s long been considered one of the world’s greatest drummers, a secret weapon deployed in the service of rock royalty. But that’s not how Sales identifies, nor how he sees himself.
“I’m gonna fucking tell you who I am,” says Sales with gruff candor. “What I really am is my kids’ father and my wife’s husband. And I’m a heroin addict. A bad heroin addict for 40 years. I’ve been a crackhead. And I’ve been a criminal. Those are the facts. But I don’t do drugs anymore. I’m sober now. All I do is make music — so let’s not be late for the show.”
In a career that began when he was teen in the mid-’60s, Sales has seen and done it all. Beyond his impressive rock ’n’ roll c.v. he’s played blues for the legendary Lowell Fulson, recorded with funk master Bootsy Collins, jammed out with Tex-Mex all-stars Los Super Seven, devoted himself to mastering organ trio music and Dixieland jazz, and served up songs across the spectrum for film and TV. If there’s a professional or creative path to explore, Sales has traveled it.
Now leading his new project, Hunt Sales Memorial, he’s stepping out into the spotlight at last. “I’m a new artist that’s an old artist,” offers the 64-year-old Austinite. “I’m a guy who’s worked with the biggest stars in the world, but I’m still unknown and underground.”