IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation - Issue # 83
INTERVIEW with RedeyeC
I've played in over 65 "bands" . We will highlight a few of these bands in this (and future) issues.
CLICK the PLAY button to listen while you read - or don't, totally up to you! You can also PURCHASE these tracks, if you'd like to support our efforts; no obligation to do that, but the option is there if you'd like!
Here's another feature Zzaj Band - 2 of 'em in fact, so you can listen while you read the interview. First is "The Old Neighborhood", with Eric Wallack on guitars, Ernesto Diaz-Infante on guitars and found street sounds, & me on my trusty old Kurzweill. Both albums, as you'll hear were in the "experimental zone" to the max:
Zzaj: Let us know where you hailed from, when/where you moved (broadbrush is fine), & how/why you wound up where you are now; IOW, a short (or maybe not so short) bio sketch.
RedeyeC: Born Robert Jay Forbes in San Francisco, CA. (Marin County General Hospital) July 22, 1960. At 6 moved to Seattle, WA. - and at 16 moved to the small town of Deming, NM. where I remain today. I've got family in the area, many friends that I can count on - and the cost of living is still relatively cheap.
Zzaj: You have a very progressive style, to my ears anyway. What would YOU term your music/style to be? Why? Are you able to compare your creations to any other artists, or is that unimportant?
RedeyeC: I like to call my guitar compositions mostly "Classical Progressive" as I learned to play the Classical guitar as a kid of 13 (after the piano and violin). You can hear in many of my instrumentals (Velvet Impressions for example) the hint of classical. It really isn't that important to be "compared" to another artist, and I try not to - but there are similarities in several of my songs I suppose.
Zzaj: I notice a great deal of “gear” listed on your SC site? Does this mean you’ve moved (far, far) away from the 4-track/basic rig, or did you purchase the equipment because your technical skills/ears demand it to make your music “sound right”?
RedeyeC: Actually I'm still pretty "old fashioned" compared to todays modern PC connected artists. I still play and record out of my good ol' Peavey Session 500 amp (a workhorse that I'm sure will outlive me) onto a Fostex MR8 HD recorder using a 1960s Shure SM57 mic - transporting the files to my PC. I've just recently learned how to produce music - my dear friend Pascal Gregory (Syngularity) has taught me some of his producing wizardry. All of my guitars have been modified by me in some way to create the sounds I look for.
Zzaj: Besides Red Eye Country, what other bands have you played in? Lots, or only a few? Is it more interesting playing in/with groups, or do you enjoy solo/studio or collaborative work more?
RedeyeC: I've played steady with one other group besides Red Eye Country (1980~87) called "Buck and the Pesos" (1990~94). My good friend and fellow guitarist Frank Quarrell (collaborated on "Slither") played with me in both these bands. Before, during, and after these bands I've always been a "musician for hire" - filling in, sitting in gigs, and studio work. Today I still play in groups - but the solo/collaborative work seems to be more of what I want to do now.
Zzaj: You list Joe Satriani as a main influence; tell us WHY? Tell us more about his playing & why you dig it as a model for your own? Or any other particularly inspiring players you admire.
RedeyeC: Yes, Joe Satriani has been a big influence to me. It is because of his style - musically and energetically. He really took the guitar and made it a solo instrument in Progression. It is one thing to be a killer lead guitar player in a band (EVH for example), but to carry the whole show with the instrument without boring the audience isn't an easy feat - and Satch has a style that carries well. Steve Vai (once Satch's student) is a fav of mine too.
Zzaj: We’ve reviewed some pretty interesting artists from the Southwest, but none that were (quite) into the forms your music seems to take (most of them seemed to be into poetry & mushrooms). Do you find the area you live in to be best-suited to the style of music you play, or do you have to gypsy ‘round to find your fans?
RedeyeC: Unfortunately, my Progressive and Pop Rock type of music aren't too popular in my area of Southwest New Mexico. Country music and Tex Mex / Mariachi are what's in here. And I've played Country music mostly in the bands and gigs I've performed. I do like Country, but it's not my favorite genre of music. I just don't have that "twang" in my voice ; ))
Zzaj: Like the good old “chicken/egg” thang, tell us what you feel is more (or most) important… formal musical training, or spirit & energy for the playing of the music? In other words, do you believe formal musical training is an absolute must, or can (some) “ear” players transcend the boundaries without formal training?
RedeyeC: Good question Zzaj ; )) I believe the answer isn't the same for everyone. My folks were both Classically educated musicians, so you can imagine I had extensive formal musical training starting at the very young age of 4. But there are people I know out there that have picked up an instrument later on in life and excel at it. Musical appreciation is the key.
Zzaj: One of the things we are hearing more about these days is “OMD burnout”. Personally, OMD’s (Online Music Distribution sites) have been one of my main methods for getting my music heard. Please give us your thoughts on whether OMD’s are important to you and your music. Have you felt burned out, or have you resolved yourself to use any & all means to get your music out?
RedeyeC: I think OMD's are fantastic - but there are a lot of them out there. It's easy to forget which ones you're registered at. So I think the most user friendly, and most popular sites are the best bet at getting your music heard out there. I confess, I do get burned out with OMD's - I try to give as much attention as I receive, but it's easy to overlook and to be overlooked at OMD's.
Zzaj: I’m listening to a track on your “Best Of” CD as I write these questions. There’s a tune called “Lost Horizon” that has some beautiful keyboard sections on it. Did you do those, or do you use someone else for keyboards & synths. Along with that, what (all/any) instruments do you play besides guitar (or does the guitar leave you fully sated)?
RedeyeC: Lost Horizon is all me ; )) The keyboard parts are from my Roland Fantom Xa - the guitar solo is my Jackson Dinky DK2, the bass is my Ibanez SR495. I play the piano, violin, viola, cello, mandolin, and bass also - and tutor on these instruments.
Zzaj: In these days of digitized music, anyone can “make music”. What are your “words of wisdom” for those who establish close enough contact with the muse to have this become more than a hobby or a pastime? What is your idea of the best approach to getting your music out there? Does it require live performance, or is the internet enough?
RedeyeC: I think that first off, the most important factor in music is loving it. I've played with fantastic musicians that actually dislike playing - and I've played with not-so-great musicians that love what they're doing. Like I mentioned earlier - appreciation is the key. If a person has an appreciation for music - their efforts at getting their music out there will be greater because of their belief in themselves. Live performance is a plus - but nowadays it isn't the main factor. Though if someone is "discovered", they will be expected to perform live. Enjoying what you've accomplished in music is all that counts...
CALL for SUBMISSIONS!!!
ALL artists! I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again. I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq. I will still be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them. Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:
MUSIC: All formats accepted. Snail mail to: Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 95-1107 Hookupu Street, Mililani, HI 98789. The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lackluster material, it will be reviewed accordingly
POETRY: Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail (to firstname.lastname@example.org ). Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published. Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.
BOOKS: We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED. We will NOT return any books submitted for review. Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.
DIY Announcements: We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium... HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS... if you are a corporation, don't even BOTHER sending stuff... it will be marked and reported as SPAM!
RETURN to Zzaj Productions MAIN page!