Here is the maestro as a youngster at the beginning of his tenure with the greatest musical aggregation I have ever seen. A year before this concert, he came into Rudy’s Music in New York, where I worked. He had a Gibson SG Junior and wasn’t happy with the noise from its single-coil P-90. For my sins, I convinced him to replace it with a Seymour Duncan JB and arranged for the installation. He must have also had this regular SG or purchased it later.
Cut to 1991—Bill was celebrating his 40th birthday playing with Robin Holcomb at the Great American Musical Hall in SF. I had lobbied hard for the opening slot with my band because I knew Bill would be in Robin’s band. Bill had a cold that night and wasn’t having the best birthday, nevertheless he was kind enough to help me carry my gear to my car. He is not only one of the all-time guitar greats, he is a helluva guy. Happy Birthday Bill.
It is said that a great artist is not the best of their kind but the only one of their kind. By that metric Tim Brady is truly great. He is currently the only one I know of composing music for guitar ensembles measuring in the hundreds. Here is his latest, recorded remotely, as one does these days. Read more about Tim here and here.
I have wanted to talk to Blake Mills, well forever, but especially since he recorded Look, a collection of instrumental pieces recorded almost entirely with old Roland guitar synthesizers. Since then he has used the synths on Mutable Set, a group of dark, intimate, minimalist songs that create a unique world. More recently, he busted out the guitar synth for a few moments in Notes With Attachments (see videos below), yet another unique-sounding record created in conjunction with world-class bassist, Pino Palladino. This time I contacted him through Instagram and we connected. Our conversation ranges far and wide, as Mills proves as thoughtful as he is musical.
Dino J.A. Deane is a fascinating musician. Though not a guitarist, he occasionally plays some interesting stringed instruments. Better known as a pioneer of live sampling, Deane has played with John Zorn, Butch Morris, Jon Hassell, and Tina Turner. His book Becoming Music: Conduction and Improvisation focuses on the art of conduction, the process of, to put it simply, using the playing of live musicians as samples to create improvised music. Along the way the book imparts essential wisdom to any musician interested in the art of improvisation, or simply being in the moment. A must read, it is available from the merch section of Deane’s Bandcamp page.
Here is a terrific interview Deane did with Instant Takemitsu partner and recent GM interviewee Tim Motzer.
For over two decades of world touring, nine solo soundscape albums, and collaborations including over 100 albums of credits, Tim Motzer has been known for his distinctive textural acoustic-electro guitar voice utilizing looping, bowing, electronics, and prepared techniques. He has collaborated with numerous musical luminaries including David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman, poet Ursula Rucker, King Britt, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Vernon Reid, David Torn, Markus Reuter, J.A. Dino Deane, and Pat Mastelotto, among others. Since 2016, Tim has toured the world playing prestigious venues and jazz festivals with Bandit65, an improvising trio he co-leads with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis.
Tim has brought his projects together under his own 1k Recordings imprint. We talk about that and much of the above as well.