Why did you first start playing?
John, Paul, George and Ringo were the coolest guys on the planet. They had all of the girls in a frenzy, and I wanted that for myself. The six and twelve string guitars were the instruments that really held my attention- those gorgeous Rickenbacker and Gretsch guitars- so that was the direction that I took. I had about a year and a half of lessons, but my teacher wanted me to play these really hokey C&W songs, so I quit. I started to teach myself, as so many others did, by listening to records and playing along with them.
When I heard Jimi Hendrix, I completely forgot about the screaming girls. The guitar became the means and the ends for me! Along the way, I wore out two copies of “Are You Experienced?” and “Axis: Bold as Love”, I completely destroyed three copies of “Electric Ladyland” by dropping the needle onto the same places over and over. It’s fun to listen to my surviving Hendrix records now- you can tell where the hardest licks are, because the sound gets really scratchy!
What bands have you played with?
I counted them up a while ago, and the total is close to 40! However, the ones that might be familiar would be: The Sound Expedition, DDT, Get High, The Sweet Potato Band, Daddy Warbucks, Scanner, Sirius, The Wheezetones, Creation, The Pinkertones, and The Pop Rocks.
What is your best gig horror story- remembering of course, that it’s family friendly
I have about ten good ones involving mostly drummers and bass guitarists, but I suppose the best one involves me accidentally sticking my right index finger into an empty, but live, light socket while my left hand was on the guitar strings in the middle of a gig. 120 volts went right across my chest and I collapsed into a heap on the stage, trying to breathe. The other band members, believing that I was just putting on an act, gathered around and yelled stuff like, “Rock and Roll!”, “Hello Cleveland!”, and the like.
What gear are you using now?
Well, now, if you’re going to get personal… these days, my Wheezetones rig includes at least two guitars, a custom Carvin SH-550 and a Roland Ready Fender Stratocaster. These both are routed through a Boss GX-700 guitar processor which allows me to simulate various amp and speaker combinations. It also allows me to add effects such as compression, reverb, delay, harmonizer, and about a dozen others. The Roland Ready Stratocaster is also routed to a Roland GR-30 Guitar Synthesizer which allows me to play the guitar and have it sound like pianos, organs, flutes, orchestras, synthesizers, and just about anything else that you can imagine. Occasionally, I’ll bring my 1965 Fender Stratocaster or mandolin, and I’ve tried with fairly disastrous results to play electric violin (emphasis on “vile”).
These various instruments and processors are routed through a small Behringer mixer, which also mixes in the samples from my Roland SP-404 Sampler. The sampler gives us the ability to use sounds like the THX logo at the beginning of “The Night Owls”, or the sounds from the famous SNL skit “I Need More Cowbell!” The output from my mixer goes to a monitor mixer, which then passes it to the Front Of House mixer, and with any kind of luck it gets to your ears and still sounds good.
1.) Anne-Sophe Mutter with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Hall, 2010
2.) Anne-Sophe Mutter with Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Verizon Hall, 2006
3.) The Who, touring to promote “Who’s Next?” in 1971, Edwardsville, IL opening act, Wishbone Ash
4.) Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, Omaha Civic Center, 1977
5.) Joe Walsh, touring to promote “The Smoker You Get…”, Iowa State Fair, 1973
Most Disappointing Concerts:
1.) The Greatful Dead- (sorry, I just don’t get it) Omaha Civic Center
2.) The Allman Brothers- (during one of their “off” times) Pershing Auditorium