1.0 – What led you to move to LA? After losing my Warner Bros. record deal, and my 3rd band breaking up, I needed a change. Although I had had a great run doing commercials in Chicago, I thought that I might get a chance to do more album work, and more specifically, after playing on Brian Wilson’s “Imagination” album, I thought that I might have a shot at writing with him if I lived in CA.
2.0 – What are you working on now? Well, I did get the chance to not only write with Brian, but co-produce and mix his most acclaimed post Beach Boys album last year, “That Lucky Old Sun” (**** Rolling Stone, Spin, MOJO, Uncut) which lead to him asking me to help finish 2 songs for his soon to be released “Brian Wilson Re-Imagines Gershwin” album. The Gershwin estate let Brian pick a couple unfinished works from the vaults, which he wrote new melodies and or bridges for, and asked me to write the words. I just sent the mixes of a female power trio I produced, called EZ Tiger, to Doug McBride at Gravity for mastering. And, we’re on the last mix for a project that started just before I left Chicago, that features Matt Walker, Jim Dinou, Brett Simons, Danny Shaffer and myself, called, “Shiny”. It’s great, arty stuff that still sounds fresh 10 years on. We abandoned the project when everyone got real paying sidemen offers (Pumpkins, Morrisey, Brian Wilson, Liz Phair, Fiona Apple etc)
3.0 – What is your favorite rock genre? Melodic meets artistic. The Beach Boys, Beatles, Bowie, Costello, Radiohead and many others managed to make daring, complex records that were also catchy.
3.1 – You play a lot of instruments, which one came easiest to you? The drums. But, I’ll take a piano on a desert island.
4.0 – Any quick advice to young musicians that believe they’ve got it? Write songs.
5.0 – What was the first song you ever wrote? Was it influenced by a specific artist? How do you feel about it today? It was called “Traffic”, about a girl that wouldn’t leave me alone. It had 3 completely different parts that almost fit together. Not bad for a 14 year old, but it’s best that it was only heard by a couple dozen people.
6.0 – Did you have hero growing up? John Lennon.
7.0 – What do you like to do when you visit Chicago these days? Just breath in the great energy and look at proper architecture. And see old friends and family, of course.
8.0 – What was the most challenging gig you’ve ever had?
Opening acoustically for Tower of Power at Cubby Bear. They liked me for 13 of my 25 minutes, but then wanted to shake their butts to a 12 piece funk band.
9.0 – In the studio, do you record the same way today as you did starting out? When it’s just me, playing everything, nothing much has changed since I got my first reel to reel, except better mics and a bit better knowledge of how to place them, and how to mix. But, with a band in a proper studio, it’s nice to have engineers so you can focus on the music. Having said that, I do believe that each project requires different techniques. Sometimes I want a great, quality recording, and sometimes I want to put the drums in the bathroom and the amp way down a hallway with mics far away etc.
10.0 – Which song of yours do you think Spock would like most and why? Infinity Begins. First, because of the title, and second, because it goes in and out of time signatures without sounding obvious.