In May of 2014 I conducted an extensive interview with David Torn in Brooklyn. I finally got it transcribed and posted in January of 2015. People have since wondered what happened to Part II.
In June of 2015, I went to the Baltimore/Washington DC area to catch two shows of David’s 2015 solo tour. On a day off between shows we met in his Baltimore hotel room for another marathon interview. I finally had it transcribed in September of 2015. Reading the transcription, I felt honored that David was comfortable enough to be extremely candid about many aspects of his life and career, but I worried that he might regret some of his more intimate revelations and opinions. Over the next year and a half I tried to figure out a way to let him edit out anything that made him uncomfortable, but a busy schedule seemed to preclude this. Ultimately, I used my own judgment in deciding what to remove and what to leave in. The result includes great stories, information about his process, gear, and the health issues that he has made public—plus a bonanza of newly posted video, including some of him playing with talented his son Elijah B. Enjoy.
Henry Kaiser recently sent me a beautifully shot, great sounding video of Terje Rypdal playing with Elephant9. The video is not available on YouTube and is more Elephant9 than Rypdal (though he has a stellar moment here and there). In searching for available videos of him with that band, I found most were low quality, but I also found this video of Rypdal live in Oslo in 2015. This is essentially the same band I saw in New York in 2012 minus the trumpet. Ståle Storløkken Hammond on organ electric piano, synthesizer is from Elephant9. Paolo Vinaccia plays drums and hilarious samples. Terje Rypdal had his 69th birthday last month and so a belated Happy Birthday.
Wow! Andy Summers! I got an email from the legendary guitarist’s publicist saying he was a fan of Guitar Moderne and would love to talk to the mag about his latest record, Metal Dog. When I picked myself up off the floor I contacted her and said, “Sure.”
It would be fair to say Summers was one of the rare players who changed the sound of the guitar in pop music. Echoes (no pun intended) of his style can be found in U-2, Rush, even Nirvana. For deep background, I recommend his book, One Train Later: A Memoir , and movie, Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police. A great site about his gear through the years is here, and he also discusses the subject in some of these videos.
With a limited time to talk, I chose to concentrate on the Metal Dog record, as it is a perfect example of everything Guitar Moderne stands for: pushing the sonic and conceptual boundaries of making music with a guitar.
Guitarist David Torn has earned his place on the Guitar Moderne Pioneer banner through years of pursuing the outer reaches of the instrument’s sonic possibilities, through releases like Best Laid Plans, What Means Solid Traveller, Splattercell, and Prezens as well as collaborations with the likes of David Bowie, David Sylvian, and Meshell Ndegeocello. He has parlayed his talent for evocative textures into soundtrack work on films like Friday Night Lights, The Big Lebowski, Traffic, and Three Kings, as well as his Grammy-nominated score for The Order.
In honor of Torn’s new, completely solo record Only Sky [ECM] and the ensuing tour (see dates below) here is Part 1 of an epic, sprawling interview I began in Brooklyn last year and plan to continue in Baltimore this June. Also, look for my Guitar Player interview coming in June or July. Part 1 is highly edited but, I hope, still reflects Torn’s free-range approach to relating the details of his life in music.