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I got the chance to see clients The Fabulous Thunderbirds in concert last night. Great show! Kim Wilson is a freakin' force of nature. He is 68 and he had some health problems last year, but he still brings more energy to his singing and harmonica playing than some guys in their 20s.
Cris: As you become more serene in your personal life, are you more relaxed in your playing as a result?
Troy Luccketta, drummer for Tesla: I think it is. If I have a great night, awesome! If I have a bad night, usually I am getting in the way. I'm trying too hard. If I can stay out of the way, when I get on the stage and I can just let go and not take myself that seriously, it seems to be a better result in my playing.
(listen to the full interview)
Cris: Your guitar playing to me always comes across as very lyrical, in the sense that it is material you can sing back to someone. As a guitar player, how much were you influenced by singers?
Scotty Johnson of the Gin Blossoms: That's an interesting point, because I'm not much of a singer, but I realized a while ago that I had to understand how vocals work to write songs. So I took singing lessons. I went to the community college and did their whole two-year vocal program. I wasn't very good, but I really think it helped me to understand how to write songs for lyrics, for lyricists.
(from episode 13 of the Bands To Fans podcast)
Cris: Regarding your latest album, "Shake, Rattle, And Roll", the title track… normally those words, those lyrics are part of fast-paced, party music. But you made them part of a ballad, and a love song at that. How did that comes about?
Tim Charron: I was in Narragansett, Rhode Island. At the time I didn't have too many love songs. I started writing it and modeled it after the song "Come Over" by Kenny Chesney, kind of that idea of having someone across town that you are longing for, and it all just came out. And for some reason I just gravitated toward the title "Shake, Rattle, And Roll" as a metaphor for love.
(from episode 8 of the Bands To Fans podcast)
Cris: What drew you to the drums?
Michael McDermott, drummer for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: When I was a little kid, there was a music store right near this Italian restaurant we would go to. We'd get done with dinner and my two sisters and I would always run next door to A - Z Music. And the drums just always did something for me. My parents encouraged that, nurtured that. I got a practice pad and sticks. From that I just started building. I had buckets and tin cans and things. They were like, "Wow. He's a little more serious. Let's get him a drum set."
(from episode 15 of the Bands To Fans podcast)
Cris: You talked about the fact that, if you are a sideman, you have to grow with your front man as he or she is growing and pushing himself. With that in mind, how have your grown in the last 19 or 20 years?
Ben Sesar, drummer for Brad Paisley: I think growth is measured in how you parallel with your artist. I've had to develop certain skills based on the guy I play with. For instance, he doesn't like a whole lot of structure. He likes to change things. He likes to pull verses out or add things or change songs in the middle of a show. So I've learned to be on my toes. I've learned that I need to be attentive and not only manage what I'm doing, but manage where he may go. And that's maybe the number one thing that makes me valuable in his eyes. Because I can just about read his mind now. I can almost anticipate what he's going to do. And for this gig, you have to have that skill. That's why it would be very hard for someone… maybe even a better drummer… you could be a better drummer, but if you can't just about read his mind, it doesn't matter how good you are. You're going to fall on your face. So that's one aspect of growth.
(from episode 9 of the Bands To Fans podcast)
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