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:: Jennifer Batten
:: Brett Garsed


An interview from oct. 20th 2001, Rotterdam. Frank had just played a demo with his new Yamaha guitar where he explained some about his axe and also played some different tracks with a backing CD. Part of this interview was printed in the Music Maker summer guitar special from 2001. That issue also included some sweeping examples. Below is the whole unedited conversation as it went.

Copyright Richard Hallebeek and Music Maker 2007

Don't even think about using text and/or pictures elsewhere without the clear written permission of Music Maker and Richard Hallebeek.

Pictures by Jan Meijer


:: A couple of years ago, things looked pretty grim for you. Legato closed it's doors and JVC did not print your albums anymore, so your whole collection of albums was out of stock. Seems like you managed to get out of that dip pretty well.

'Is that your first question?'

:: yes.

'Actually, it did me a lot of good, in a way. Because, it taught me one valuable lesson and a lot of recording artists have the same problem. When the record company closes, you realize that you have no control over your music. Unless you own it. And that was the biggest lesson I could learn. I realized I had made eight solo albums, none of which I owned. So if the record company's closed, the records would go off the market or they could be sold to other company's and I had no control over where they went, when they were gonna be re-released, or any control at all. So this kills a lot of artists. A lot of artists go, I give up, I'm getting out of the business, or whatever, you know? That was my initial reaction too, I said; what's the point of this? This is crazy. Then when I woke up, I realized that I needed to do something about this. So I bought my Legato cataloque, the first three records, I own those now. I started my own label, called Wombat Records. And first thing I did was re-release the Legato cataloque. I tried to buy the JVC records, but those five records.. they wanted too much money for them and also JVC itself didn't want to dialute the cataloque. Because they had a great number of artists and they wanted to sell the whole cataloque as one. And they did sell it, but it wasn't for two years later, they've only just been released a couple of months ago on a label called Samson. And so now, I'm happy that they're back on the market. At the time, because I couldn't buy the rights to the cd's, I bought all the records they had in the warehouse. So I had thousands of cd's. That I was able to sell through my website and…through my record lable I got really good international distribution. Through.. it's called Bayside, which is Tower records basically. So then I distributed the JVC cataloque in the meantime, 'till JVC finally sold the cataloque to re-release it. So it worked out pretty well. And then I've recently released my first new release on Wombat which was the double live. Which is a live kind of bootleg. It's not gonna win any awards for audio quality. But I think the performances are excellent. So that's why I released it. But it feels much better to own…as an artist I've made more on the old Legato cataloque since the re-release, then I made in (sighs) fifteen years of receiving royalties. Can you believe that? In the last two years.'

:: Well, I can believe that, especially with Mark Varney…

'Well, Mark Varney was a nice guy but all record companies are the same. Cause they make a major share of the record. A typical artist royalty per cd is about 75 cts. That's not much. So manufacturing them myself and redistributing them, I sell them for about $8.00 to the distributor and they cost me about a dollar to reprint. So making seven or eight dollars an album is way better then making 75 cts. (laughs) And if I sell them direct on the internet, through my website, I make fifteen out of the sixteen dollars, you know. It just makes more sense. Not only for the artist, to have control, but it makes sense from a businsess standpoint. You know, the older I get, the more… it's difficult for a new artist to do this. 'Cause you have to have some sort of established name, so at least people recognize who you are. 'Cause, you know, the record store's around the world already have a bin for me in the jazz-section and there's a history. So there's albums there, you know. So I'm able to do it, I'm able to get away with it, you know (laughs). So it's a much better situation.The problem is, everybody makes money, except the artist. This is the whole sad part of the whole scheme of things the way record company's are set up. They put up the money to make the recording, obviously. That's a big commitment. But after that, they own.. they ofter, you know, rip the artist off basically. If you get a royalty, you're lucky. You never see an artist's royalty. You see mechanical royalties. Because rarely, especially jazz records, rarely do they ever recoup the recording budget. They never go beyond that (laughs) So it's only mechanicals.'

:: What's happening with your playing? Any new stuff you're working on?

'Of course. My favorite expression is 'you're only limited by your imagination'.'

:: Do you have to work to keep you sweeping technique up to date?

'No. I often go a week without playing. I'm quite happy with that, you know. The thing about sweeping is, that it has.. I've got it so down now after playing for 35 years, that I feel really relaxed on the guitar. I don't fight with my instrument anymore. My instrument is my friend (laughs) And so.. one of the biggest things to overcome, on the guitar especially, is the physical barriers. A lot of guitar players have a physical barrier when they play the guitar. With this technique, it's enabled me to go beyond.. not that I can do everything, you know. Obviously, there's things I can't do on the guitar. I don't tap, I don't…but for my ideas and my thoughts, I'm able to.. most of the time.. execute what I wanna execute, musically.. with this technique. The technique just enables me to play faster lines, but very comfortably. And I don't really think of it, I don't of it as technique anymore. I've never practised technique. And I never think about it as technique. To me.. it's music first. You know, you have to have an idea. And just because it's musical, doesn't mean it's very highly technical.'

:: How much time did it take for you to reach that point?

'Well, it took about 20 years. I think. After about 20 years of playing, I started to feel very free. And now, the last 15 have been pure enjoyment on the guitar. Not that I didn't enjoy the guitar before, but I don't stress about it, you know. I think you gotta find a balance between you and your instrument. Some people struggle with technique. I never think about technique. I have lots of technique. But I've never practised technique. It's always the music first. The ideas. Concepts are harder to come up with then guitar finger exercises. I don't care about finger exercises. I'd rather practise something I'm gonna use. If you practise finger exercises, when you play, that's what you're gonna sound like. You are what you practise.'

:: I like to speak about you compositional side. Your songs sound neatly worked out and clearly arranged.

'A lot of records are done that way, yeah. I like to have control of the music. It's not a powerplay or anything, it's just that I'm very particular. It's ok to be very particular when it's your own music. I mean, I write keyboard voicings for the keyboardplayers. They can't just.. I don't just write 'G' and they can do anything.'

:: So they will play their favorite voicing in every song.

'Well, I'd rather have my favorite voicings. 'Cause it's.. when I write, often I write on the keyboard and to me, the chord voicing is equally as important as the melody. And the melody reacts to the voicing in a particular way. So if it's not that voicing, if it's another voicing, it'll sound different. The chord voicing is composed, as much as the melody is composed.'

:: Do you like to hear this under your solos, too?

'No, solos are free. But once the keyboard player has learned the song, some of the keyboard players I have used, for example like Otmaro Ruiz, he is one of the finest keyboardists on the planet. You can just give him the idea, he understands the voicings I like and the ones I use, when he's working with me, he gravitates towards those voicings.'

:: Another fine player is Hans Zermuehlen.

'Hans also. They're very intuitive musicians. You know, when you're supporting an artist, it doesn't matter who you are, you make em sound comfortable, you make em feel comfortable and depending on the type of music that it is..I mean when Hans plays with me, he knows what I like and he knows how to deliver it. That's a great way to be as a musician. A supportive musician. And listening. (laughs) Big ears.'

:: What about the sounds for the keyboardplayers?

'I often..eehm.. epxress certain sounds. There's some synthesisers I have at home that I love that have particular sounds and I've gravitated a couple of times towards a particular..'

:: What keyboards?

'Well, I have an old Korg analog synth called an EX8000 and I love.. there's about five patches on that that I adore.. that have a particular..almost like a, it's somewhere between a harmonicer and an accordeon kind of a sound. But very smooth sounding. And there's a couple of patches that are..I just love. Sometimes I bring it to the studio and go 'you gotta use this sound' (laughs) Sorry guys, you gotta use this sound. But Otmaro for example is briljant with synthesisers so he has incredible sounds too, so. We usually compromise. We find sounds we all like, you know.'

:: What's your home studio setup you use for composing?

'I've just recently got into the harddisk. I used to sync ADAT's to my sequencer. But now I've sort of hooked up with a company called Midi Man, they make stuff called M-Audio. Which is their soundcard and it sounds fantastic. It's unbelievable quality. The 24 bit...it's as good as it gets. I can't.. it's almost you can't tell the difference between the real thing and the recording, it's so perfect. It frightens me how accurate the recording is. And I'll defenitely be doing a lot more guitar stuff at home. For sure. I have an O2R and a G4 Mac with Cubase software and it's brilliant. I've had cubase ever since it started. I had the first computer like the Atari 1040, I started then and I followed it all the way. I've stayed with the technology as much as possible. I don't think you should be left behind. I also have an opinion that.. sometimes I have a problem with manufacturers who consider guitarplayers to be braindead. You know, they think keyboard players are the only ones who can program something, that's so ludicrous. I did the.. at the last NAMM show I was demonstrating a new Boss pedal. It's the double boss pedal, have you seen it?'

:: Yeah.

'Do you know how many programs it has?'

:: I think it's not much. Eight?

'Another guess.'

:: Even less?

'It's one program. (laughter) They just think guitar players are neanderthals [makes funny face] you know, that's what they think guitar players are, just neanderthals. But look man, I've been programming sequences for 20 years you know, what do you mean I can't..[sighs] it's ridiculous. So you know.'

:: It's a shame they release everything as a pedal. I would love to see a rackmount VG-88 or rackmount versions of their stuff, so at least we would have a choice.

'Well, to a large degree we need things on the ground, but I mean, all I use is a midi pedal on the ground.'

:: And keep the rest safely in a rack.

'yeah. I like to be able to press one button and I've got the preamp changes, everything changes, the whole sound changes. But that's not common for guitar players. A lot of guitarplayers use combo amps too, I never use combo amps live. Or heads. Like I was using today, I like this head, but I don't normally use this stuff live, I like rack and poweramps. Poweramps and preamps, 'cause I can get a lot more headroom, you know.'

:: You like PA-type poweramps, right?

'Yes. At least a 1000 watts, you know, like 500 a side, 250 at least a side.

:: Right, that's what I saw in your rig in L.A. last time, 500 watts a side.

'Right, you don't put it on full but you just get headroom.'

:: Don't you like the sound of a tube poweramp?

'It doesn't matter. They're too heavy and there's not enough power.'

:: You like to get a tube sound from the preamp.

'Yes. I think that's fine.'

:: Back to composing, can you tell me about the process of you writing a song? Do you mainly use guitar or keyboards?

'Well, I use and guitar and keyboards obviously. Usually I find that the compositions I make on the keyboards are more harmonic. You know more interesting..not more interesting..the melodys are slower and it's more of a song style. Whereas if I write on the guitar, it's more fusion style usually (laughs) 'cause it's more technical.'

:: Do you fall into more habits on the guitar?

'Well, not necessarely that. I try to be creative with the melodys and the chords on the guitar, it's just that they're usually more technical. You know, I'll make something more challenging. Sometimes I'll write a song just as a technical exercise. But I'll try and make it musical as well. Like that last song for example that I played today, Lochness Monster. That started as a little technical exercise, sweeping three strings with an open string. So including the open string in the sweep. Which I've never done before. I stumbled across it by accident. And then [sings main theme] that rhythm sounded Irish to me, or Scottish. So that's how it got it's name and then I evolved the idea, then I decided I could make the same sound by stretching and having a third and then another interval higher. So it sounded like an open string. Just let the notes ring together in a sweep, which I don't usually do because I usually, with sweeping, it's..the notes are seperated. To make it sound like a sweep. But in this case, it was trying to let the notes ring together in a calculated way. So, sometimes it's technical, sometimes it's purely from a harmonic standpoint, the song..I'm always trying to find different chord changes. I'm trying to find things that I haven't heard before. It's really hard to do. Harmony that I haven't heard before. On this latest recording I've been experimenting with odd-meter a little bit. But I like quarter-based odd meter, you know, like 5/4 rather then 5/8. I like it to still feel like a pulse [claps hands in four, around 100 bpm] whether it's 5 or 7, it doesn't matter ,it always feels like a groove. So I prefer those kinds of rhythms. And, because I hadn't really recorded odd meter before.. I haven't really written much in the last year or so. I've just been taking a step back and..'

:: So you don't have a daily or weekly routine of coming up with melodys and composing?

'Not daily, no. When I know I have to make an album, I'll just take a month off. You have to work hard to get a good melody. I'm both happy and sad when I finish a song. I'm happy because I finished a new song and I'm pleased with it, but I'm sad that I have to write another one (laughs) So it's hard work. It's a labor of love I would say. When I'm writing, I'll write all day. I'll just get up in the morning, get tea and go to my instruments. I'll take as long as it takes. You know, if you sit down for an hour or if you can't come up with some idea in an hour, then you shouldn't be composing. (laughs)'

:: ..that day

'Well, or that day or at all! (laughter) Because you know, often, people are affraid to go with the first thing they play? I try and evolve something from the very first thing I play. Why do I need to look for something else? What's wrong with what I just played? Even if you don't keep it, but it's something to start with. Even if that leads to something else and I keep that part and not the first part, it helped move me in a direction. It's constant refinement, too. I love the idea of sequences, because I can listen to a composition and work out the arrangement and move things around, the form, the way instruments come and go, textures, different sounds, I'll try and produce as well as compose.'

:: What happens when you get stuck with a tune?

'..I'll try and finish a song once I get on the idea I'll try and finish it. Because if I don't finishd it then it's a hundred times more difficult later. That's not to say that that's impossible, because I'll often, when I'm writing..I might.. when I have a little idea, I just put the keyboard part down, the melody and the chords. I often do that and then I'll forget about them, you know. I'll do that 20 or 30 times over.. six months. Not necessarely finish a composition. So that when I go, I have a month to compose and finish a record..I'll go back over those ideas and go 'ah, that was a cool idea, I'll finish this now. So it's possible that way too. But I prefer to go start to finish on a song. Even if it takes two days, or three days.'

:: What about the songs with Stu Hamm and Steve Smith, did they evolve that same way?

'The first one we did together, 'Show Me What You Can Do', that record…it's dangerous when you get three really creative people together in one place. I mean, it's fireworks, I think. It's like sparks flying everywhere. That record we did in nine days. There's nine songs, each day we started with the very minutest of ideas. Could have been a drum pattern, or Stu had a bass line, or I had a chord sequence. And from there, we would go.. jam for a while, we would jam. And then I'd go, let's take a little break, Stu and I will sit around the piano and try to evolve this idea into more of a shape. So we would write, rehearse, jam, record, on tune a day. That's an incredible process.'

:: That's a nice challenge.

'It's a very good challenge. And I was surprised how each day something happened. Each day. There was one song on the record where we got stuck. It was a song called 'Wrong And Strong'. We ended up spending three days on that tune. Which was a problem, because it put us behind our schedule. And I wasn't really thrilled with the song.. (laughs).. when it was finished. I wanted to move on and write something else, but everybody wanted to finish that one. But what a great creative spurt, a creative explosion. I'm so happy with that album. The second one we did, was a little more calculated because we knew that we only had nine or ten days again and I just didn't want us to get stuck without something. Stu brought in one song, I brought in another song that was complete. So we had a start. And then the rest was composed together. There's one song called 'The Throne Of Savatar', which is on the record 'The Light Beyond'. We didn't have anything that morning, so we went to bed at about one o'clock in the morning and I woke up at about five or six and I started writing. Just with the guitar. And I wrote that whole song 'The Throne Of Savatar', not exactly in the form that it's in, but all of the musical parts. In about two hours. Just with pen and paper and a guitar. And it turned in into a beautiful suite on the record, it's a lovely tune. So it's amazing, when you're forced. I work well under pressure. If I have a deadline, it's a good motivation. (laughs)'

:: One great song, great harmony, on the first album is Tanya's Touch. How did that come about?

'Yeah. I wrote that on piano. In about an hour. Steve has a gorgeous C-7 Yamaha piano in his living room. You know, it's all that Journey money, Steve Smith's a millionaire with all these money from Journey (laughter) and so..he has a great studio in his house and that's where we make the records. So it's like going to a resort. (laughs) And he had a beautiful piano and I started…I was imagining the bass line as the bass part and then very simple voicings. Two and three note..very simple things, but together with the bass created a bigger harmony. I was very pleased with the way that came out, too.'
:: There's a very cool solo at the end where you play guitar synth. I only heard you do that once before on one of your first albums on a song called 'The Natives Are restless'.

'Yeah,that's right. Yeah, I don't often do it because I get frustrated with the triggering (laughs).'

:: Was that the Axxon blue chip converter you used?

'On this particular one? I don't remember what it was called. I have it one of my guitars. The pick up is built into the bridge. It's the same system that they use on the Parker guitars. He licensed the idea to Parker. A very nice fella. He built it into one of my guitars.'

:: Do you think you will be using more guitar synth in the future?

'You know what I'm really more interested in at the moment? Making weird sounds from the guitar. On 'Show Me What You Can Do', I've got some pretty bizar sounds. Same with the latest couple of Vital Information records. I've got a lot of very bizar sounds. Simply from interesting programming on my G-Force. There's so many sounds in that machine. It's unreal. There's one solo I did on the latest Vital Information record, it sounds like Joe Zawinul's keyboard synth. And it's not a synthesizer sound, but the way it was programmed.. I took 100% of the signal and shrunk it to between 100hz and 500. The whole signal. With this slightly wide chorus, which is that kind of what Zawinul does (laughter)[sings Zawinul melody](laughter) it's very nasal and pointed, it's kind of like that harmonica sound he gets. And it sounds just like that. Wow, this is not a synth, but you get the illusion of a synthesizer with good programming, you know. So that sent me in a differerent direction, I'm trying to get bizarre sounds from the guitar, there's no triggering problems, no.. and it's just a midi switch away from.. with synthesizers you have to get into a different speaker system. Live is a pain in the ass. I just wanna use guitar. The speaker systems required for guitar are a 100% different to the speaker system required for keyboard/synth. You need full-range clarity for synthesizers whereas guitar..we want grunge and a quality of distortion. Which is..contrary to keyboards.'

:: There's a few good portable solutions out there nowadays with the powered monitors.

'I know. I still don't wanna carry all that shit around. (laughs) and I don't want my signal to go into ten directions. I'd rather just make interesting guitar sounds. More fun.'

:: On 'Loch Ness Monster' there's two different guitar sounds.

'That's a keyboard solo and a guitar solo, trading. Kind of like Jan Hammer with Jeff Beck..'

:: I mean the theme. There's a piezo and an electric.

'Oh, I doubled that with acoustic guitar. 'Cause I wanted the notes to be clear. So that you could really hear what I was playing. If it was only distortion, it wouldn't have the same clarity. So I just doubled it and balanced it really nicely in the background with the acoustic guitar. That's good ears, that you heard that. Good ears.'

:: I thought it was one guitar that was split, they're both totally accurate.

'Right, it sounds like that. Actually, I wanna get a piezo setup in my new Yamaha. So I do wanna mix some piezo and..what are they called.. hex pickip kinda sounds. I like the VG-8. I've been using the VG-8 a little bit. Interesting. Although I did try it with my system and it didn't sound real. My live system. Sounds great recording direct once again, through clarity..it didn't work live for me. Something just.. it just doesn't have a natural sound. So there's some things to overcome with that. I still prefer to just work on the guitar and like I said, make real sounds with the guitar.'

:: I like to speak a bit about your vocals. A lot of guitar players decide to start singing later on in their career and..

'.. I sang early and decided not to sing anymore (laughs)'

:: It sounds good and fits the tunes and you get the message across.

'Hmm.. it's ok, you know. I'm not a singer. So why should I even try to sing. I love to sing. But..'

:: On the last couple of albums you have decided not to do it anymore.

'No, I play guitar better then I sing.'

:: A song like 'Mr Hollywood line' could have been a hit with the proper push from the record company.

'Well, you know. If I do do vocals, or a vocal project I wanna make it a seperate album with a whole album as songs. But I'm not excited about doing something like that in the future. You know, I'm not a pop musician. I mean, I love certain types of pop music, but I'm really into the guitar. I made the choice a long time ago to be a fusion musician (laughs) There's not many people doing it and I can understand why because it's very difficult. But I'm not interested in making money, I've made plenty of money. I've got enough money to live on. Believe me, I've done pretty well. Look, my hero was Chick Corea. I realized that through him, after working with him for 7 years, I realized that..it doesn't matter what kind of music, as long as you believe in what you're doing you will succeed. Chick Corea has never compromised a day in his life. He has never made a pop record. Never needed to. He made the music he loved and believed in and he's done extremely well. He's a multi-miljonaire. He doesn't need.. and that made me realize that, yes, it is possible to follow the road that I'm on. People have asked me for years, 'why don't you join some heavy rock band?' 'Cause I don't want to play three chords all night. I just don't wanna do that. If you take the money out of the oquasion, this is the thing that everybody wants, money, money, money. We all need money. I understand that, it's all important. . But it's not my life, it's not my motivation. If you take that out as a motivater, what's left? Then it's the art of making music. That's way more important to me then money. The money will come. I don't focus on it. I focus on the music and being a great musician. That's way more important to me, that's why I make this kind of music. This kind of music, with fusion, it's gotta be the smallest corner of the smallest… style of music. I mean, jazz music is probably 2% of the whole world market of music. 2%. And fusion is probably 20% of that. Not even. So we're talking small (laughs) You know, I think it's important. I don't wanna compromise. I wanna sweep and I wanna use my ability and everything I've learned in 35 years of playing..I don't wanna sit there play E, A and D. To me that's like reading a children's book. You can read a child's book at 40 year's old, but where's the benefit? What do you get out of reading.. 'The Cow Jumped Over The Moon', you kow. That's what it's like playing E,A and D to me. Not to say that that's not..valid. I'm not making value judgements. Pop music, they say is..lullaby's for adults. Which is old nursery rhymes for adults. 'Cause people who don't know music, that's what they listen to. You know, three chords, that's more then they can handle.'

:: Is there any stuff you do like nowadays?

'Pfff. nowadays..there's so much rap out there, there's not much else going on. You know, like 80% of the studios in L.A. are all making rap records. Eeehm.. I haven't heard any rap that I like, put it that way (laughs) What's left.. you know I just listen to.. I still listen a lot to Chick Corea, Brecker and Metheny and Scofield, I always keep up in what everybody is doing in that field, but I'm still much way into jazz music and fusion music more then anything else. Although, there's certain artists that have come along that I've liked, you know. I can listen to an Alanis Morissette record and be quite..impressed by her sincerity and her quality lyrics. I love Steely Dan, you know.. the new record..you know, if only they would use real musicians..and let them play. I mean, they use real musicians, but let them play. There's one song on that album called 'Negative Girl', which is an awesome song. That was the only live cut on the whole record and it's sounds beautiful. I mean, it's the Steely Dan of old, as far as I'm concerned. But they're too much into their computers and slicing and dicing, you know, what's the point of having one drummers hihat with another drummer's snare, that's way over the top. That's getting in the way. It makes it sound too much like a hospital or something. Too clinical. Too disected. But you know, they won album of the year and I still think that that was a great thing. Certainly better then Britney Spears and..can you imagine what Britney Spears and Eminem and those guys are thinking when these two old farts get up there and go..'win the award for album of the year, how come? Who are those guys?' Ugly as sin and shy and Britney Spears with her new tits going 'wat's wrong with these?' you know. Donald Fagen is a genius, to my mind. That guy.. to me that's.. the thing I like about Fagen as a composer, what's brilliant about him is that he is able to use incredible jazz harmony, what I consider the hippest chords. But do it in a pop context, where it is digestable for everyone. You know, if you're not a musician, you can still tap your foot and it's groovin'. I like grooves too. I always try to have grooves on my records. And it's got melody, very easy melody's. But the harmony underneath is rocket science, it's incredible. So there's enough for everybody. It'll satisfy the public, as it did, this record won album of the year. But it's also interesting for those who know what's going on, harmonically. To me that's incredible. What they get away with. I think there's very few artists that can do both. Stevie Wonder is another. You know, he hasn't done much lately, but in the old days, his chords and his music and his harmony is all jazz and keychanges all over. And it passes for pop music. Police, Sting, is another guy. He is a genius. I mean, he's able to incorparate any harmony and make it palatable with pop. It doesn't have to be three chord-neanderthal music all the time. It can be way more interesting. And it's still accepted by the public. Have I talked enough?'

:: A couple more questions. About LAMA.

'I taught at GIT from 1984 to 1986. After that I would go there maybe once a year. Do a seminar, that's all. I always wanted to be involved with a new music school. But I didn't want to start it myself. I just wanted to be involved and so, when I had the opportunity, when I was asked to be involved with the L.A. music academy, they said 'would you like to run the department, the guitar department and write the curriculum.' And to me that was great. It was the best of both worlds, 'cause I didn't have to do the administrative side, or find a building and.. you know. I just wanted to be involved. That was about six years ago. And so the school's doing quite well. In Pasadena, in Los Angeles. That's a great location, the school's got a great vibe. We're getting students from all over the world. Guitar, bass, drums, vocals. And a very good music scene at that school. And I selected the teachers myself. I'm trying to recreate the feeling that I had, when I was student, too. 'Cause GIT in the old days was and I stress was a great school. Now, it's since it was bought by this Japanese megalomaniac.. and the guy's a complete idiot.'

:: I went there in '94, I think it was one of the last 'good' years, with plenty of students, good teachers around and the original owners.

'I love the previous owners as well. Great people. They've still got a lot of students, but they still go on their reputation of old. I don't know what they're doing there. Most of the teachers have either left, or come to our school. I'm just trying to create a very positive music environment. Not, once again, you take the motivation out of it..we need to make money as a school, of course. But the teachers are there because they want to be. Not because they have to be. It's very different perspective. So it's good. The students are enjoying the school very much. And they feel like they're learning. They feel very nurtured.'

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