Before soundcheck at Scott’s gig at De Beurs, Tiel, nov 25, 2019, he took over an hour to do this interview in the cafe of the venue. Much appreciated!
Part of this interview was printed in Music Maker Magazine in the March 2020 issue. Use elsewhere is strictly prohibited without written permission of Music Maker and Richard Hallebeek. Photos by Rutger van der Zalm and Richard Hallebeek, copyright Music Maker 2020.
:: Man, I love your new album ‘People Mover’! It has everything I like about music, great guitar tones, improvisation, great songwriting, smart layers of sounds, a great mix, it was just a treat from start to finish.
[laughs] ah well, thank you! Thanks so much man, thanks a lot.
:: You play on tour with a French rhythm section. Where did you record them for the new album?
Eh.. it was just a small studio, close to my house. And..
:: They came over to your place.
Yeah. The guys were in town for NAMM. So that’s when I schedulded some gigs and this time.. the session. It’s a studio called ‘King Size Sound Labs’. It’s right Eagle Rock. It’s really where I live. Right in between Glendale and Pasadena. And they have beatiful Neve board, and it’s a.. I love the size of the room. It’s not so big that everything sounds rock n’ roll, but it’s not so small where you don’t get a nice sound from the drums. It’s a perfect place for us. Yeah. It’s a great studio.
:: I know when you write, you go into ‘composition mode’ for a while when you write for a cd. How did you write guitars this time? Do you use midi keyboards for that, or actual record guitar on your home demos?
I’ve done that on the last five or six records, for composing, I compose with real guitar because I find that midi doesn’t really.. give you an idea of what it’s really gonna sound like. Because..
:: It doesn’t really capture all of the nuances.
No.. because a lot of my voicings have to do with open strings. And I always try to get as many open strings into my voicings as I can so it has to be obviously audio guitar and.. the only drag is that there’s no charts. So then later I have to write the chart [laughs] that’s the only drag! Because sooner or later I have to get the information into the computer, midi, so the computer can write a chart.
:: What do you use for writing charts?
I just use Digital Performer. I just put the notes in by keyboard and then Digital Performer prints out the charts. Yeah. It saves time.
:: How do you compose? Do you mainly start out with rhythm or melody?
It’s different every time and I’m almost glad it is, because I don’t wanna get into a habit of composing the same method, using the same method every time. Then you have a bigger chance of the song’s being different. If you might be.. start out with the melody on one song, start out with maybe a bass line or a drumgroove..but I have to say usually I start out with some kind of a groove, because I like to write in real time, as a lot of jazz composers do. ‘Cause we improvise, that’s what we do. So, if you improvise, a lot times you come up with the best ideas, when you’re improvising and things happen just by accident. Just like when you’re playing a solo, and then you pick and choose just nice things that you’ve played to be the catalyst for an idea, for a song. That seems to be a more organic and natural way to write music then sitting there and stop time and trying to think of…
:: Chord for chord..
Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s very time consuming and often you get your best results rhythmically when you’re writing in real time. I think.
:: What do you do when nothing happens?
You just.. you just you know take a break and then come back to it, you know..
:: That’s all you can do.
Yeah, I mean it really is all you can do because.. there’s good days and bad days. Some days I work all day and I don’t really get anything done and then on some days I get a lot done. So I’ve learned that one of the big secrets or writing is being patient with yourself and just not.. expecting too much from yourself and.. because.. the possibility for bad days is great haha!
:: They’re always there!
Yeah, they’re always there! [laughs]
:: So you mixed your new cd with Alan Herz?
:: Where did you do that? At your home studio?
Yeah, we mixed at my house. Like ‘Vibe Station’. Same as ‘Vibe Station’. And everything’s in the computer, there’s no.. no..
:: Outboard gear?
Outside hardware, no. Because the plug-ins now are so good, that ehm.. and also the mastering engineer, he put it on tape. Before he mastered it. And that really helps warm it up, and it doesn’t sound like a digital project. Especially for guitar, even if you’re recording at 96 khz, there’s these digital spikes that are kind of nasty, especially in the high end on the guitar and the tape helps smooth all that out and make it sound nicer to your ears.
:: Do you use automation?
Yeah, oh yeah, big time. I mean, the guitar stems, like all the mixes of all the guitar parts are pretty much all automated and ready before Allen even comes over. Because I don’t wanna have him deal with that. His main gig is to, you know, get the balance between the guitar, bass and drums right. And, like for him, 10 tracks of guitar is just one fader, you know, so..
:: Right. so it’s all mixed down already.
I wouldn’t out him through that nightmare of mixing the guitar, haha! I would never do that to anybody, that’s my job [laughs]
:: Live, you control your master volume using the Subtle Volume Control from E.W.S. Do you use that in the studio too?
Well, I don’t even do it with the volume pedal so much, I don’r really use the volume pedal in the studio as much as I use it live. But it’s pretty much by drawing dots in Digital Performer.
:: So then you can make it more even.
Yes, exactly. Like digital animation. Which.. I mean I don’t believe in making it perfect, because I like things to stick out sometimes. Just.. scare you. And.. but when things happen sometimes, especially with bass. I mean you have go through every bass track because if you compress it too much, it sounds compressed. But yet, then there’s some things that he plays, That you just can’t hear it so you have to automate it up and sometimes it’s a note at the time. Where he’ll play a phrase and certain notes just get lost in the phrase and you’ll have to pull those up. An then something’s is like ridiculously loud you’ll have to pull that down. So yeah, it’s a lot of tedious work, going to each track and making sure that everything can be heard.
:: So that’s all the stuff you do for preparation and when Allen comes in he does not have to worry about that.
Yeah. Because I don’t want him to have to worry about all that.. that tedious small stuff. Because he.. Allen.. I think I know as the producer, I know more how I want the music to sound like then the engineer does. But the engineer knows a lot more about tones then I do. Because I don’t have a clue how to get good tones from drums or bass, he’s really good with that, so. I’m a guitar engineer only. You know. I don’t even know how to mix a drumset, like how hight the toms should be compared to the hihat. That.. I gotta have a professional engineer for that. I don’t trust myself to do that.
:: I bought the Soundtoys plug in bundle about 8 months ago. It’s so great, I had to send the developers a message. They were really nice. The bundle has so much in there and it sounds so good.
Those are great. I love them. It’s amazing how much they give away for such a cheap price. Because it’s not just the plugins, it all the presets, and there’s so many good ones.
:: Like the rack with all the modules in there.
Yes, it’s amazing. It’s like buying a 1000 pedals for 300 bucks [laughs] it’s incredible.
:: I read you were using the Echoboy from that bundle, anything else you used for this album?
Yes, I use Soundtoys a lot. I did. Phase Mistress I used a lot, I used Echoboy a lot, I used the Panner, I used the Filter Freak, a lot of stuff. And then just a lot of analog guitar pedals. Crazy analog guitar pedals.
:: Any pedals you don’t have tonight?
Many I don’t have tonight. Because live I just keep my rig pretty simple. I don’t have the kind of budget to carry around a big pedalboard with all that kind of stuff, but I used at least.. I don’t know.. 30 or 40 pedals on this record, pedals that I have at home. And most of em are the weird variety. You know, stuff that you see on the ‘knobs’ channel. You know the ‘knobs’ channel? On YouTube. There’s a channel on YouTube called ‘Knobs’.
:: I’ve seen some demos there, yes.
And they demo a lot of pedals. I’ve watched those videos many times and a lot of the sounds that I really like, I bought those pedals and used them on this record. And there are a lot more that I want, too. I just didn’t have the money to buy em all! [laughter] You can go broke watching the knobs channel. Easily.
:: You don’t do re-amping, right?
:: You wanna play with the actual sounds.
Yeah, because I think, in fact.. some of these songs, some of the parts were actually recorded with the Pandora. Just the Korg Pandora, because that’s what I used for writing..
:: Like the People Mover solos, those were all Pandora.
Yeah! And when I got back and I said, well I really like these solos and in fact, Scott Kinsey, when he heard my People Mover demo, he said: you really shouldn’t change a note on this demo. He said I don’t think this is a song that you should open up for longer solos, just keep it like it is, because it’s really perfect the way it is and I said well, I like it the way it is. But I try to actually replace those Pandora parts, either using my Marshall or my Fender and it just didn’t work. Because the inflections and the little subtleties of the performance got lost when I used a different amp. So I thought, well, the Pandora is not the best sound in the world, and I probably would’ve gotten a better tone with the Marshall, but it fits the song, and you don’t..
:: You don’t really hear it’s a different..
It fit the performance. So I figured, why redo it? Just leave it as it is.
:: You are releasing a music minus 1, is this the first time you are doing that?
No, I did it for Vibe Station too. It’s like the play along version of the record, where there’s a.. with Vibe Station I did just guitar, drums and bass. On this cd, there’s two guitars, so anytime there’s comping, like a secondary part over the solo, that’s on a separate stem. So that means they could play.. like a guitar player could play with the bass and drums and have the comping on or off. Which is helpful. You get all the tracks.
:: You can mute whatever you want.
You can mute whatever you.. well you don’t get all the tracks but you get a guitar mix. Two guitar mixes.
:: So you can choose.
You choose whichever one you wanna use.
:: Cool. I think a lot of people are interested in that.
It’s a fun way of, you know I think there are a lot of musicians that buy my records and they.. it’s nice for them to have some new practice things like.. new loops to play over, because you could also take like a little section and loop it. The only difference between my stuff and like stuff you might buy professionally, is that with my stuff you have to have your own DAW and drop the files into your own DAW. Whereas some backing tracks.. it’s already done for you. It’s all.. there might be a player that comes along with it, you know..
:: But this gives you a lot of freedom.
Lots of freedom. Yeah. And it’s fun.. I’ve heard a lot fo positive response from drummers. Who like to just turn the drums off and play along with the tracks.
:: You’re always working on your new vocabulary. How do you keep track of your new ideass, do you write them down, or..?
I write them down. Or record them. And..
:: That must be a big book.
It is. And it’s too much for me actually. In fact, one of my things that I’m trying not to do is to force that vocabulary into my playing, because I.. I don’t expect that I’m gonna use my whole vocabulary every night. And it would be dumb if I’d even try to. So, so much of my vocabulary that I know, I don’t even play. On the gigs. Once in a while I play some of it.. you know how it is. You play for the moment and you.. most of my ideas I play because of what I played before.So it doesn’t involve licks. It just involves.. trying to tell a story. And sometimes licks don’t belong there when you’re trying to tell a story. And then there’s other times where the solo can be about licks. You know, I guess every song is different and you have to treat it according to the song you’re playing.
:: So that book is like a couple of bars per phrase?
Yeah, like small phrases. I don’t really believe in learning big, long phrase because you never em. But small things. Eight notes, you know from four to eight notes and they’re just little shapes that I might practice on and.. I practice them all the time but that doesn’t mean they always come out when I play [laughs] You know how that is!
:: But it still helps. When you go back a couple of pages, it’s like whole new world.
Exactly. Like sometimes I forget stuff I know and i go, oh.. i haven’t played that in a long time! And it reminds me of it.. so. it’s fun. To go back and remember stuff that you know.
:: Was this the first time you played in China?
No. I’ve been there about five times. I’ve been there quite a few times but this time is the first time I’ve played the Blue Notes there. They have a Blue Note in Beijing and Blue Note in Shanghai. And it was cool because they’re great rooms with really good sound and really super professional.. it was fun.
:: I think there’s a cool audience there for your music.
Yeah, it was really fun. Yeah.
:: When on tour, you have local equipment rentals, right?
Lots of em. Well, it depends like if, I have like a duplicate of my own gear here in Europe I have like my own amp which is just like Custom Audio OD-100. And then I have my 8 ohm cabinets, so I don’t have to rent a second cabinet. And a Fender deluxe or a Hotrod Deluxe for the effects. So when I’m on the road, I have to rent two cabinets, because the amp has to run at 8 ohms. Usually I turn the second one around backwards and just face em to the wall. So no one hears it. ‘Cause it’s too much. Eight speakers is overkill for these clubs [laughs] But I usually rent a JCM-2000, the one I have tonight. I rent that. It’s not quite as warm sounding as the OD-100 but it does the job, it’s fine. I hear Jeff Beck play one at the Amphitheater in L.A. and I was really surprised.. of course he can get a great tone from anything, but he had a really nice tone and I said, well, I’ll try that amp, because.. I don’t remember what I have been using before, but I tried it and I said, yeah, this probably the best Marshall of the modern Marshalls that they’ve made. Unfortunately they stopped making them in 2006, but there’s plenty of em around, they’re very easy to find.
:: How do you fly with you guitar?
That’s different every time. It depends on the airline. Not even the airline but what kind of a mood the person in the checkout desk is, you know. Sometimes they follow the rules really strictly and they make me check it. But it’s ok if they make me check it. It’s in an SKB case and I’ve checked it many times and it’s never gotten damaged. But I prefer to take it on the plane because then it saves money. It’s one less extra piece that you have to pay for.
:: Most of the times it seems best to show up innocent and have no idea that you had the check the guitar and then they let you take it with you.
Yeah, sometimes.. we’ve tried to get away with that. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t [laughs]
:: Your band is from France. How did you get in touch with them, did that came from your management?
Eh.. well I got in touch with Mark Bass, because Mark Bass has a lot of good bass players. They got me in touch with Romain and then.. let’s see.. and also my agent, Alfonso Caprioni, he knew about Romain. Probably also from Mark Bass, because he deals with them, so that’s how I met him. And then he introduced me to Archie, who actually, Scott Kinsey knows really well, who’s Scott Kinsey played with many times. So I sort of got a great reference from Scott. And I trust Scott totally, so.. yeah.
:: It’s kind of easier also for the European tours this way, I guess.
Much easier, yeah, it’s great to have these..
:: And also gear wise it must be..
And they also have more.. jazz vocabulary. You know, so.. the music that I’m writing now is a little jazzier so they fit really nicely.
:: Yeah, they sound great!
Yeah, good players.
:: I’ve read you’ve tried some different IR’s and even IR’d your own cabs, but wasn’t too satisfied with the results. Did you get a chance to try out the new Suhr IR’s?
No I haven’t tried those yet, but I will when I get home. You mean the IR’s that are already loaded in the box?
:: Yeah, they have this small reactive load box but also an amp with IR’s.
I haven’t tried that yet, but I will try it for sure cause I.. I haven’t ever used IR’s on a record yet, but… because when I did this album I used IR’s in the studio but when I got home and listened to the sound of my real cabinet, there wasn’t much of a contest. So the only thing I kept from the basic tracks were just auxiliary parts and stuff that didn’t really matter that much. But.. I played a couple of solos that I really liked in the studio, but I learned them again and played them.
:: Really? Cool.
:: I read that you tried to IR your own cabs for a whole day with a Two Notes Torpedo device and at the end of day, it just didn’t work out at all.
I haven’t had much luck. So far.. celestion, to me, has made the best ones that I’ve heard so far. And still.. with the Greenbacks that I tried, it seems like they put a mike probably in the cone of the speaker, and they put the next version of it kind of in the paper too much. So what I wanted was something that’s kind of in the middle. So I just couldn’t use it. Because if I have to EQ it too much, then it sounds EQ’d. And also, I have to say that, I’m not really trustworthy of these people that do IR’s, because, first of all, I don’t know what kind of cabinet they’re using, like.. I don’t mean to brag, but like at home I have a Kerry Wright cabinet. It’s light as a feather, it’s an exact clone of the 1960’s Marshall Cabinets. It’s made with dovetail joints. It vibrates like crazy when you play.. I doubt very seriously that anybody that does IR’s is using a cabinet that great. And the cabinet is a huge part of the sound. So that’s why.. that might be one of the reasons. Also, another reason is, when I wire my cabinets, they’re wired with the same 10 gauge speaker cable that I’m using from the amp to the cabinet. A lot of cabinets, you open them up and even though you might use some fancy speaker cable to get to your cabinet, but you open up the speaker, and there’s little television wire in there, that’s only like.. really thin, like the wire they put in tv’s. You’ll lose a lot of tone because of that. So I don’t know if these people that are doing IR’s are hip enough to know the difference.
:: Yeah. or they might use IR’s from very worn out speakers.
:: Like a rental cab.
Sounds like an old rental.. trashed rental cabinet from a heavy metal band. So yeah, so far I haven’t heard an IR that I like as much, and also the room might have something to do with it because my little room where I record at home, it’s not the best recording room, it’s about maybe.. 14 feet by 14 feet. But I might.. the way I have it acoustically set up with my panels, I might just be really used to the sound of that room. And if something is really different, it might also sound good, but I’m just not used to it and it sounds broken to me. It’s not the sound that I’m used to.
:: I’d like to check out the Suhr IR’s also. Those guys know about tone, so..
I will, when I get home. I haven’t heard any of em so I’m curious to see what they sound like, yeah.
:: How many Suhr guitars do you have at home?
I have about six. And they’re all.. different weights, some of them have the Michael Landau pickups, and some of them have the V-60 pickups, so those are more scooped and traditional strat-sounding. Like if you want kind of a funky blues tone, I would use those. If you want more of a fusion tone, that’s more horn-like, I would use the ML’s, the ones that I have in this guitar.
:: But it’s all single coils guitars, right?
Yeah. yeah I don’t have any humbucking guitars anymore. I kinda gave up on that.
:: When you play live, is it just one channel on the amp you use?
Yeah. Just the crunch channel. Yeah.
:: Is your pedal board a custom thing you made, I mean the L-shape?
Yeah, it’s just so it can be small.
:: It’s a cool and convenient design. You made it yourself?
No, I had somebody make it for me. But I find it convenient to have that L-shape because you don’t have to dance all over the place and it’s really convenient. If nothing else. But also makes it smaller so it can fit in a suitcase.
:: How many programs do you use on the SE-70? Because you also have a midi switcher on your pedal board.
I have a midi switcher and I can switch between.. there’s like thee or four of em that I use. There’s one with just reverb, for playing funk, and then there’s like a what do you call it.. like a slapback, like a 100 ms slapjack, I use that for a couple of tunes, there there’s like a reverb/delay mix. You know, it’s about 50/50 of each one. Those are the main three that I probably use.
:: So it’s not many programs.
:: One more question about composing. Do you always write with a trio format in your head, or do you also compose for quartet?
No, I pretty much write with a trio in mind, but I have to say sometimes I get carried away and write to much and then I write a tune that ends up being in.. like.. as if there was a keyboard player in the band. So then if I’m not able to rearrange it for a single guitar, it’s one of those tunes we never play. And I try not to do that, but sometimes, if I am really hearing a strong melody in my head, and then I have to play the chords for it later, and it’s just not one of those melodies that you can play all by yourself, then, ok, then it’s one of those songs that will be on the record and we won’t play it live. That’s what happened with ‘Church Of Exotic Dance’ on Vibe Station. I can’t play it live. I mean, I could, but it would probably sound kind of empty. So the tunes that we play are the ones that sound the most full with just three people. Yeah.
:: You are such a great and cool teacher that knows how to explain complicated but also simple stuff in a a cool and understandable way. You are one of the best and probably the best. I saw you have an online class at Musician’s Institute that lasts for 10 weeks.
Yeah. I haven’t done it in a while, but I’ll probably start back up in november. I hope to.
:: So this 10-week class has run before?
Well, yeah. See, we made three.. we made ten videos. And it was me and Stig. You know Stig?
:: From Musician’s Institure?
Yeah. Norwegian, Stig Mathisen. He’s not with the school anymore. He was the head of the guitar department. But, together with him.. he was basically just someone to.. like you know how sometimes when you’re making a video all by yourself, it feels kind of sterile ‘cause you’re just talking at the camera.
:: Yeah,that doesn’t work for me.
I don’t like it either. So I asked Stig..
:: Just ask a question so you can respond to it.
Yeah, so we have a kind of a conversation going and then when I say something and he thinks I didn’t give a very clear answer, he can kind of like, you know continue and ask some more like say.. more.. I don’t know what that word is..
:: More precise questions?
More precies questions. On that subject and then we can continue the conversation and it feels very natural. So, we did ten videos, so when you sign up for the course, you get a new video every monday. And every tuesday I do an online thing. Kind of like a Skype thing. Only, I can’t see the students, they can see me. They text their questions. Then I answer them and they can hear me talking and playing with my backing tracks.
:: Like a Google Hangout thing.
Yeah! Kind of like that. The only difference between like a private Skype lesson would be I can’t see them. I only see their texts. But they can see me and I’ve got Digital Performer setup so if they ask me; how do you play over a one chord vamp, I’ve got plenty of vamps that I can play to, or how do you play over a particular real book tune, I have that tune and.. yeah. It’s a pretty cool thing for the money, considering it’s only like 600 bucks. It’s pretty amazing because those videos and online chats are available for a whole year to the student who buys it. So you can basically take.. I mean that’s a lot of lessons. And you can learn at your own pace. So I think it’s a pretty cool program.
:: You don’t have to leave the house and you can do it from your own country, it sounds like a great deal.
Yeah, yeah, I really like it. And I haven’t done it for a while because I’ve been on the road, but I’m hoping that we start it back up in november. When I get home.
:: Any other ideas? You’re such a great teacher and I learned so much from you.
That’s about it.
:: You’re so down to earth and can explain complex matter but also simple stuff in such a cool way.
Oh, I hope so man. That’s the first job of a teacher, to be down to earth [laughs] I remember one time as an MI student we had Pat Martino..
:: I was just thinking about that!
He was anything but down to earth man, for such a wonderful player! You’d ask him a question about you know, what do you play over an Amin7b5 and he would start talking about Jupiter and Mar and..
:: ‘The universe is vibration..’
Yeah, right! [laughs] Universal vibration and it’s like.. can’t you just give me the scale? [laughter]
:: But that’s so cool about your teaching, I finally understood things on a deeper level, even after 6 years of conservatory jazz-studies.
Yeah. To me that’s the first job of a teacher, is just try to.. understand what level the student is on and be on that level and answer his questions on that level.
:: No mysteries.
Yeah, no mysteries. Because, you know..mysteries are the enemy. That’s what we’re hired to get rid of, for the students. And.. there’s a lot of teachers that are good at it and there’s some guys they just.. teaching is just not their thing and they shouldn’t do it. Because they just don’t know how. It’s a whole other thing. And I can understand how someone can be a great player and a terrible teacher because it’s two completely different things.
:: You seem to do both well.
Well, I hope. [laughs] I’m trying.
:: Were you still in touch with Allan Holdsworth before he passed away?
Yeah, in fact I saw him.. at the last NAMM show. And I was joking with him because we have this weird relationship where we would both call each other at the perfect wrong time. He would call me at 04:00 in the morning..
:: Like on all the wrong times?
Yeah! Like he knows I’m not gonna answer, ‘cause I’m asleep. And then I would call him like eleven in the morning and I know he’s not gonna answer ‘cause he’s asleep, and we never got to talk on the phone, because, you know.. and I told him, I said, Allan why don’t you try calling me at like a normal hour, so we can have a conversation [laughter] And he says, I do! I’m calling you at 4 in the morning! [laughter] I finally got to see him and hang out with him a little bit at NAMM and it was really fun, because I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. So it was great to hang out with him for just a minute. You know, at NAMM.
:: Allan could be really miserable about his own playing.
Believe me, I know how he feels, I know what it is like to play a gig and not like what you play. But if you take it to that kind of extreme.. I mean I’ve been depressed just like everybody, you do get depressed when you have bad night and you don’t think you played well. It’s natural to feel depressed. And it’s natural to be in a shitty mood and.. but with me, it usually lasts about maybe until I go to sleep and I wake up and the next morning.. and.. I’m aware that I don’t like the way I played last night and I might wake up and go: god I played like shit last night, but that kind of gives me the inspiration to practise, and then..
:: Focus on the next gig.
Focus on the next gig., you know you keep trying to get like.. any athlete that has a bad day in sports, and loses a game, they try it harder the next time. Allan didn’t seem to have that focus on.. the next time. He was to focussed on what happened in the past and..
:: I think he also missed his wife and family.
Yeah, that might be true. Sometimes I understand that, because we all play better in our bedrooms then we do onstage. Because there’s no pressure. You know, and any time there’s pressure, you know when great musicians are in the audience, we feel like.. especially me being 65 years old, you’d think I’d be over that by now, having played with Joe Zawinul for 4 years, I mean if I can play in front of him, I should be able to play in front of anybody and not be nervous. But I think it’s just a natural thing, that you know when there’s good players that understand phrasing and understand what’s good and bad, there seems to be more pressure on you to play good. And unfortunately, the more pressure, the worst you’re gonna play! So I try to develop not.. not like fake I don’t care attitude, because everybody knows we do care. No, we do care. But if you just try to have fun, that’s the whole thing. If you just try to enjoy it and have a good time, and not think so much about yourself, but think more about what the other guys in the band are playing, and try to play like.. have a good band night. Instead of just thinking me, me, me, what I’m playing, what I’m playing, what I’m playing, then you always have a relaxed night and play better. You know, try to be not as self-conscious.
:: How do you handle your social media, do you do it yourself? Like Instagram?
That’s Romaine, the bassplayer. I don’t know anything about Instagram, but I do Facebook. I have like 5000 friends on Facebook and I’m always posting about gigs or how much I hate Trump and wish he was dead, that kind of shit [laughs]
:: Are you still in touch with the guys from Tribal Tech?
I’m not in touch with Willis, I’m not really that much in touch with Kirk, but I’m in touch with Kinsey a lot. Yeah, me and Kinsey have been friends forever and even though we’ve had rough periods..
:: That happens sometimes in a friendship.
Yeah, like sometimes I get mad at him when he does his Zawinul stuff, because I don’t think it’s very good for his career. He just did this record called ‘No Sleep’, I don’t know if you’ve heard it?
:: I’ll check it out.
It’s really brilliant. He did it with a singer that at the time was his girlfriend, and it’s great. It’s a great album. Not only is it I think one of the best jazz albums of that year, but it sounds… more like Scott Kinsey than any other record he’s ever done. It’s like his personality really comes out, more than him imitating Joe. And it’s just.. it’s a great album. It’s really good.
:: He can be really advanced harmonically.
He’s amazing. He’s just amazing. You know, I miss sometimes when he does like the one chord thing, all that amazing harmony but then, you could say the same thing about Joe, Joe got really, really influenced by African music and he started making albums that were very much to me like Salif Keïta. You know, and that style of music and all that harmony.. but I guess you know I can understand how after years and years of playing standards with Cannonball and years and years of playing these.. really intricate harmonic tunes with Weather Report, maybe he got tired and wanted to do something different. Everybody has the right to change their direction. [laughs]
:: Is there anything else you’d like to bring up?
I can’t think of anything.. Really all I’m concentrating on right now, is trying to get more gigs! And keep touring and.. hopefully, when I have time, when I get back to L.A. I’ll start writing for another album.
I gotta keep focussed on that. Sometimes I forget and it’s like if I let too much time go by before I start writing again, then it’s five years till the next record [laughter] I gott be a little bit more.. you know like.. eh.. parental with myself [laughs] you know, get your ass in the room, do you home work! [laughs]
:: One thing that works is to just compose something like 15 minutes a day and before you know you have another songs finished.
You know, there is this famous composer and, I forget who he was, but he said, the hardest thing about composing is the application of the ass to the chair [laughter] So true! I have to remind myself.. sit your ass down, get to work, haha!
:: But it’s fun. There’s not too many people writing their original music nowadays. You always did it and you’re somebody who does it really well.
i just wonder why more people don’t do it, because first of all, you don’t make any money playing standards, because the money goes to the people who wrote the song.
:: I think it also has become kind of a lost art.
It may not be their focus, you know, it’s more of a rock thing, you know when you think of all the rock bands out there that write their original music. But a lot of jazz musicians are content to just play.. and that what makes guys like Pat Metheny and John Scofield, John Mclaughlin, kind of special in my book.
:: Also Frank Gambale has been writing his own compositions since his first albums.
Yeah, you know I mean, it kind of.. I respect those guys more, because.. not that I don’t respect traditional jazz guitar, because I do, there’s a lot of wonderful players out there. But I tend to respect the guys that write their own music more, it seems like they’re giving us more of themselves. Of their personality and their voice. When they write their own music and play on their own songs. And I respect that. Kurt Rosenwinkel he writes some really great stuff. I like those kind of guys more then the guys who just play standards. Because it seems like that is such a huge world and there’s so many guys out there doing it. And I don’t have anything against it, it’s just not for me. I don’t wanna be another one of those guys out there playing Stella By Starlight. So.. I’m not that good at it anyway, so [laughs] I just rather play my own shit.
:: Thanks for your time Scott! I’ll let you do your soundcheck.
Thank you man, man it’s so good to see you!
:: It’s good to see you!
Will you hang at the show tonight?
:: You bet!