Samuel L. Jackson: Always in Fashion


We didn’t manage to ask Samuel L. Jackson for style tips at Santana’s Fashion Rocks concert last night, but the cool-as-the-other- side-of-the-pillow actor — and, as it turns out, musician — did tip us off to his method for sneaking backstage at concerts. And told us about … a magical guitar?

We hear you’re a big Santana fan.
Yeah, and we’re in the same charitable organization, Artists for a New South Africa. We were all out in the bush last year at an orphanage to see the well that we dug.

You dug a well? Awesome!
Well, they needed the water, so we financed the well. We didn’t dig it.

Before you were “Samuel L. Jackson,” did you get denied trying to go backstage?
I always acted like I was a roadie. I’d jump onstage and grab something. People would kind of look, but I’d walk backstage like I belonged.

Do you play an instrument?

I grew up playing the trumpet, the French horn, and the flute. And I’ve learned to play a few instruments for different films. I learned to play piano for Caveman’s Valentine. I learned to play cello for No Good Deed. And I learned to play guitar for Black Snake Moan.

Have you bought a really awesome Fender yet?
Buy a guitar? Buy?!

Has Carlos given you one?
No, but we stayed at Carlos’s house in Hawaii over New Year’s, and he has a music room out back and he told me, “Make yourself at home,” so I went out there and actually picked up one of his guitars and played it.

Did it feel special in your hands?
Yeah, I kept thinking, This is Carlos Santana’s guitar. Maybe it can play itself. Maybe I’ll strum it once and it will play something really magical.
—Jada Yuan