Tim Charron: The best thing that I've done is to build and learn every aspect of my business. I know how to run my own sound. I know how to set up my own sound. I know my contracts. I know what goes in my riders. When a venue asks for a stage plot, I have that ready for them. I can send venues pricing based on whether or not they are able to provide sound and backline.
Excerpt from my interview with Tim Charron.
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Cris Cohen: You said the producer often influences what you create. That makes me think of “The Grohl Sessions.” When the producer is Dave Grohl, when the producer is a noted drummer, did that change how you played? How did you guys communicate?
Chris Fryar of the Zac Brown Band: So working with a producer that is a drummer is a much different experience. He could talk to me in drummer speak and he wouldn't have to say a whole lot. He would just say, “Hey man, can you do blah blah?” And I knew, even though it wasn't specifically a rhythm that he wanted, I understood.
Working with Dave Grohl was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had. As a drummer, as a producer, as a human being… one of my favorite people on earth. He's incredible.
Cris Cohen: What makes him so good in your opinion?
Chris Fryar: He is a fan of music. That's what makes Dave Grohl so great at what he does as a drummer, as a guitar player, as a singer, as a writer, as a producer. He's a fan of music.
On performing with all four band members playing around a single microphone…
Dave Wilson of Chatham County Line: After I had seen the Del McCoury Band at the Carolina theatre in Durham, we really wanted to take that approach (of using) the single microphone. We set up in a big foyer in an old Victorian house in downtown Raleigh with a single microphone. And we would record ourselves working the microphone and finding that balance of where you should stand to get picked up perfectly. When we're playing today with everybody (on separate mics), we still perform from that single mic perspective, where you feel like you're walking in when you're playing your part. Everybody doesn't just play as loud as possible all the time. You still feel like you're mixing yourself by the veracity of how you play. So it's a valuable technique. I would tell any band from the most rock and roll band to the most acoustic folky band to experiment with that and try it live because it really will teach you how to perform.
Cris Cohen: Reading through several past interviews, the one thing that kept coming up again and again was the term “reluctant lead singer.” How does one balance the idea of A) being reluctant and hesitant to move in this direction, but B) also wanting to improve and evolve?
Kevin Martin of Candlebox: Well, I'm certainly insecure. I mean, I think to be a lead singer you have to be insecure because you're looking for that instant gratification that you're good, you're talented, people like you. I’ve got to be honest with you, man. When I sing on a record or when I sing live, it's really about pushing myself as far as I can go. Because I love it. I only love it those two hours I'm on stage. But for the same two hours that I'm on stage, my mind is playing all sorts of tricks on me. “That note was wrong. You didn't get it right this time. You missed that pattern. You missed this lyric. You switched the lyrics up.” I've stopped “Far Behind” live several times because I fuck up the first verse. Being lost in that game can make it difficult to remember where you're at.
Cris Cohen: 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.
Client John Papa Gros: I don't know where song ideas come from. I've read other people's descriptions of them as gifts from the universe, that we are just conduits for these ideas. And I've known other people, other songwriters, who say, no, you just get in there and you work your craft. For me, they are gifts. I make myself available to ideas by being ready to receive them. For me it can be as simple as singing a little melody in the shower, having a drum beat pop in my head while I'm driving. I rarely get them when I'm sitting at home at the piano or the organ. Usually the ideas pop in at the most inopportune times of the day, and completely disrupt everything that's going on. I have to stop and document them in some way, shape, or form, whether it's a scribble on a piece of paper or sing them into my phone. So when I actually sit down to write I have a catalog of ideas to review. I pick one, then I can start.
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Kryz Reid of Third Eye Blind: I think people respond to that (sense of) immediacy. Our shows are always different and they're always totally live. And Stephan's compelling to see live. He's very free on stage. There's just a sense like this motherf---er could potentially do anything up there. That's scary and it's awesome. I saw (another artist) play and it was just perfect. Everything about the show was perfect and I was totally bored. We're not perfect, but we are amazing.
Stanton Moore of Galactic: I think my first book came out in 2004, but my first articles started coming out maybe right around 2000. So I've been doing this for almost 20 years. At first it felt like you were just putting it out into the darkness. But now when I'm writing something and I'm sitting there at my computer typing, I'm like, "Aw, this is going to be good. Oh, they're going to like this one. This is going to set off some light bulbs." I enjoy that process so much. And then I don't mind that it's a delayed reaction, because I have so much stuff out there now that I'm getting reactions from things that I did several months ago or a couple of years ago. So I'm getting that feedback, but then I'm also like, "Oh, wait, 'till they get to this (new piece). They're going to love this."
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