DAVID LINES w/ THE LOST MILLIONS

What’s your favorite thing about the recordings you guys have done for THE LOST MILLIONS debut ‘101’ now available on iTunes?   They are all really good songs on this album and they don’t sound like anything else out there to me. We are proud of it and can’t wait to see how they go over. For all I know there’s a whole genre built around bands that sound like us, who knows. We’re nobody but represent millions. We’re just four more dudes playing rock in a band. Everytime we get together it seems like someone in the group says quietly in passing “the ‘lost millions’ are kind of a big deal” LOL..

How does the writing process work for you guys?   The bulk of material on this album was written by Matt Westfield and Heath McBurnett in what has become a prolific partnership.  Generally, the songs begin with a riff or progression in a jam situation and develop from there.

Did you go in to the recording process with a vision for the sound over all or is it more of a sum-of-the-parts / songs-as-they-happen dynamic?  There wasn’t any preconceived overall sound we were shooting for on this one. We just started building on the framework with the gear we had and what we thought the song dictated.

What is your go-to set up?  In the studio, I mainly used a Fender Blues Jr., although an Orange and a BF Bandmaster were used as well. Effects-wise I used a Ibanez ts808, MXR phase 90, and a Big Muff. For guitars I used a Strat, Les Paul, and an Angers 12 string. I played the Wurlitzer through a SF Champ. There wasn’t much food involved.

What was the first record you ever bought and how do you feel about it today?   The first record I ever bought was Elton John “Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player”. It still stands up. Great melodies, great lyrics and a killer band.

Can you recommend any guitar solos young guitarists should sink their teeth into?    That is a tough question. There are so many different approaches and tones that I wouldn’t know where to begin. Usually what inspired you to pick up a guitar in the first place will lead you on your own journey.  Some of my favorites for sure were played by Mike Campbell, Johnny Marr, Brian May, Billy Gibbons, David Gilmore, George Harrison, Joe Walsh and of course ‘Ace’ Pagey’. 

Do you still listen to LP / CD’s or are have you embraced music via the computer and phone with platforms like Spotify?  I still prefer listening to LPs. It is a ritual. Dropping the needle, checking out the cover and credits, flipping it over, it’s an interactive experience. Plus, I just think it sounds better. That said, I do listen on the phone and computer. I’m a music junkie but can’t always be near a turntable.

Outside of the SXSW bonanza, what can you tell us about the scene in Austin for bands looking to make in-roads in town or visitors looking to go pro for a night?  Austin is struggling to find itself musically as the tech sector takes over. The cost of living has forced venues to close and musicians to move. We are just beginning to navigate the inroads of the new landscape and we will keep you posted on how that goes. For those from out of town looking to play for a night and make some money …good luck.

If you had to make a list, has your favorite music come from England or here in the US of A?  My top ten is probably dominated by English bands but American bands would make up most of my top 100.

Through a series of unforeseen events you wind up at the Pearly Gates with a guitar and, as folks settle in, Saint Peter nods your direction and mouths “do something good!!”  …. What do you go with?  I imagine it would be a large and diverse crowd there so I would keep it instrumental. Perhaps “Bron-y-aur” or a Nick Drake inspired tune I’ve been working on. Chill, non-offensive, and hopefully impressive to the powers that be. Maybe they’d let me play with some of my heroes if I pass the audition?

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TIM BURNS w/ AVENUE N GUITARS

When did your fascination with guitars begin and Is it curable? I recall as a kid having an interest in guitars long before I knew how to play one. I have a vivid memory of dragging my poor mom into a music store and gawking at a hanging row of shiny new Gibson Firebird’s. There is a disease associated with guitar lust. It’s commonly referred to as GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome). So far I have not heard of a cure.

Do you still listen to the same players that turned you on as a kid?  Absolutely! You never quit learning from your mentors. It’s like watching a favorite movie 100 times and every time catching something you didn’t notice before. To this day I’m always fascinated listening to Jimmy Page, Brian May, Freddie King, etc.

What was the first guitar you ever owned? do you still have it?  Ok, disregarding the plastic banjo (prop) I had for my first public performance at around age 4, my first guitar was a lovely Hohner dreadnought, you know, the $99 variety. It had a skinny neck and never would tune properly. The coolest thing about it was the faux denim chip board case it came in. After all, it was the early ’70’s, baby. I gave that guitar to a student sometime in the late ’80’s. I was trading guitar lessons for kick boxing training.

It seems as if your timing and location were right on the money: how is Wicker Park treating you guys today?  Wicker Park is still one of the most vibrant and artistic communities in Chicago. I think we fit in here well. It has a great central location relative to the rest of the city. Good public trans., etc. Close to some good clubs, too. We see a lot of local and touring musician’s. Our starting time could have been better (right at the beginning of the economy bubble burst), but we’ve made the best of it.

How do you feel Avenue N Guitars is different than other musical equipment retailers in Chicago?  Certainly there are other great ma and pa music stores in the Chicagoland area, but, and this may sound cliche, I think the one thing that sets us apart is at the heart of it, we really do care about music and the people that make it and play it. Our main goal is to support that. We don’t have any gimmicks here, no slick sales pitches. We stand by everything we do. It also doesn’t hurt that we have a long and intimate history with vintage guitars and that market not to mention our guitar and amp service dept’s are one of the best kept secrets in Chicago.

How do you turn a walk-in new customer into a repeat offender? Again, by expressing our concern, going that extra yardage and providing the best customer service we possibly can.

How has the internet, ebay and the like impacted the guitar biz over the last decade? Huge impact. eBay has made a big dent in competition for small retailers. On the other hand it is useful for sales and a handy price comparison tool. Having a website can also be a great sales tool even if only used as advertising. A lot of people have developed retail businesses solely on eBay and websites. The ones that hustle have done very well although ebay sales have slipped over the last few years with the economy the way it is. Overall, the internet has been a game changer and mostly for the best, however, it’s not without negatives for small retailers. For example, it’s nearly immpossible to compete with corporate giants such as GC who not only sell on their own websites at grossly discounted prices (because that can buy from vendors in bulk at great discounts), but also sell on other internet sites they own as well such as American Music Supply, Music 123 and Musician’s Friend to name just a few.

Who do you think are making the best new electrics on the market today? any hot tips? The best new electrics, of course, come from the hands of custom builders and generally with a premium price. If we’re talking the big dogs (Gibson, Fender, etc.) and mass production, it’s hard to say. There has been a lot of scrambling going on it recent years. All the big companies keep producing more and more new models in every possible price point. In doing so, I feel they keep slipping further and further away from their roots as quality guitar makers. They seem to have no clue about their own history. Integrity and quality has long ago taken a back seat to profit margin. My question is this: if you are going to spend $3000 of your hard earned money on that Les Paul Custom you always wanted, would you buy the brand new plastic looking CNC machine made one or the cool old vintage one?

What’s is the strangest request you have received from a customer?  As a tip for good service, I once had a customer ask if I wanted to ‘light one up’ right at the front counter of the store. It was about one in the afternoon and the store was full of customers.

Should smashing guitars be made legal too?  For some guitars it definitely should be legal!

BRUCE KULICK w/ GRAND FUNK RAILROAD


Congrats on BK3 Bruce, are you happy with how it has been received? I am very pleased with the CD and the reviews and the fans reactions. They could all tell I really put my best foot forward shall I say. It has distribution but at the same time you can buy it from me. What concerns me are the BK fans who don’t know about it! They are missing out.

What is your favorite hook on the record? So many really…. I think “No Friend Of Mine” has a great hook and John Corabi really sells the song with his vocals.

How does the writing process work for you? It is different all the time, but it does usually start with just jamming something on the guitar and things start to happen. When I collaborate, things can really pick up speed quickly and suddenly there is a song.

Gene’s son Nick Simmons sang on the single “Hand Of The King”, is there any irony in that? I guess you could say the title has something ironic in it! He did a great job and it was his lyrics.

You have had a long relationship with ESP Guitars, why ESP? They are really like the LEXUS of guitars. Quality and durability.  I have been using them for many years now.

Is Brian May of Queen an influence of yours? He is one of the best of the best. What tone and note choice. YES.

Have you gone full-on digital or is there still a place for analog in your world? I have my turntable out now! But recording-wise it is digital.  I do use lots of vintage gear to record though…

Do you have a favorite Beatle? I would have to say Paul for his amazing body of work and talent, but John is there only a fraction behind him.

Any tips on surviving a world tour? Don’t eat the mayo! Seriously. Take care of yourself, and pace yourself. Traveling is hard sometimes.

You are ‘tweeting’, how’s that going for you? Good… I don’t do obsessively like some, but I do update things that are going on for me. Not the “what I had for breakfast” kind of tweets! But people want to know what’s up ~