Interview with The California Guitar Trio on The Artist Shop's online IRC Chat

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Date Submitted: 4-Jun-1997
Submitted By: Gary Davis (artshop at artist-shop dot com)

May 28, 1997


<GaryD> Well, folks, seems we have quite an intimate crowd tonight. Probably won't need to moderate. I've got the trio on line through AOL. Welcome to another Artist Shop IRC Chat. Tonight's guests are the California Guitar Trio who are about to embark on a short east coast tour with Trey Gunn. The three members are Bert Lams, Paul Richards and Hideyo Moriya.

<Paul> Hello to all

<Hideyo> Konichi wa

<Bert> Allright?

<MarkFuller> Hello, Hidi, Bert, Paul how are you?

<ALevin> Hi guys

<AnilP> okay. Tell us about the new album guys. How does it differ from your three previous discs?

<Bert> No, we won't tell you anything about it.

<Paul> We are still in the process of working on it, so we don't really know what it is going to be like yet.

<Paul> We have been working with Trey Gunn and Bill Janssen on a few tunes.

<Mincer> what kind of reverb do you use live?

<Paul> we are using a Eventide H3000. It works great!

<AnilP> Describe the benefits, as well as the problems of working solely within Fripp's "new standard tuning."

<Paul> The tuning expands the range of the guitar, so we can play things that normally aren't played on the guitar.

<Bert> The guitar becomes more orchestral.

<Hideyo> It gives us a different color of sound. We don't know of any disadvantages.

<AnilP> There *must* be disadvantages guys. No system is perfect.

<Paul> The low C string is a bit too floppy and buzzy.

<Bert> It is harder on the left hand (stretchy).

<AnilP> Do the constant references to being "Fripp's proteges" ever get in the way of establishing the CGT as a distinct entity in the public's eye?

<Bert> Up to this point it has mainly helped us.

<Paul> We often play for people who don't know who Robert Fripp is.

<Mincer> Do you guys alternate pick everything, or do use any sweep picking?

<Paul> I never use sweep picking, but I dont always use alternate picking.

<Hideyo> Mainly I use alternate picking, sometimes accent picking, and a little sweep here and there.

<ALevin> How are you folks enjoying the new guitars? Was it difficult adapting to the fanned fretboards?

<Bert> It felt a little bit as if I had a drink too much play these new guitars the first time, by now I am used to it.

<Hideyo> The fanned fret system is very good for me.

<Paul> the Sound is superb!!

<ALevin> I would assume it helps with the low C problem, eh?

<MarkFuller> Have you try alternative tuning variations of New Standard Tuning?

<Paul> on Melrose Ave, I tune my C to a C sharp for the first half of the tune.

<Bert> On the Toccatta I tune C down to A.

<Hideyo> E goes down to D.

<AnilP> You guys were hyperactive participants on Elephant Talk, yet we haven't seen you there in many, many months. Why?

<Paul> I was giving some road reports during the first few crimson tours, but then things got pretty crazy towards the end...

<Paul> I have some good stories that I should sent to ET about the last crimson tour. Good story about our show in Poland and about our train trip from Budapest to Italy. Hideyo did not have a visa to get into Poland so he had to go the the Berlin Embassy the morning of the gig and drive all the way to Warsaw in time for the show, 10 hours drive. He showed up 15 min. before show time. Robert gave him a coffee and we went on stage

<MarkFuller> How did you get to open for John Mclaughlin?

<Paul> We got the gig with John M. through a promoter in Quebec city Canada.

<AnilP> I once read a description of your music that went this way "technically brilliant, yet seemingly soulless with an emphasis on robotic rhythms." How do you respond to charges like that which contend the CGT emphasizes virtuoso leanings over passion and heart?

<Paul> I didn't see that one. We always try to focus on the music and play the things that excite us the most and hope that it also has some emotion for the audience.

<AnilP> Paul, that wasn't in a review, but something someone wrote on the Internet.

<ALevin> At the GlobMob show in Seattle, you mentioned collaboration with a composer. Could you tell us a bit about that?

<Paul> Yes, Stan Funicelli has written a tune for us and arranged several of the classical tunes as well Stan is a friend of ours in Salt Lake City.

<AnilP> How does A&R direction work with DGM? Are you guys able to do whatever you want? Or does Fripp direct the process?

<Paul> Do what we feel is the right thing for us. Robert often gives us suggestions, but in the end it is completely up to us.

<Mincer> any new audio toys you are excited about?

<Bert> I tend to use less and less, because these guitars sound so good. Hidi has a new Roland VS 880.

<AnilP> How has playing to audiences worldwide over the last 2-3 years affected the way you write and approach music?

<Paul> It has put a bit more pressure on us to come up with good stuff.

<Bert> having an attentive audience can change the whole picture.

<GaryD> What can we expect on this upcoming tour. Will your set and Trey Gunn's be entirely separate? Or will you and his band play together at any point.

<Bert> In general we will be performing as two separate act, but we may play something together...

<Paul> We'll find out next week!...

<AnilP> If Mr. Bigwig Record Label A&R Shark said "I wanna sign the CGT to Monolithic Records and give you a huge advance, just make sure you record a christmas album, at least one vocal tune on each album and the odd pop cover" would you consider it?

<Bert> Well, we just had an offer kinda like that (without the xmas tune). We declined, because we would lose our copyrights forever.

<Paul> this is a much longer story, one that is worth telling. Some details are in the last DGM news letter.

<AnilP> Can we read it anywhere else? I have no idea how to get the DGM newsletter. And as far as I know, it's only available to people in Europe.

<Paul> You can get the newsletter from DGM america. The DGM order line is 213-937-3194

<Mincer> any advice for an independent artist presenting new music, going on tour, releasing a cd?

<Paul> as independent artists, selling our CDs at the shows has been the way to survive.

<Bert> Follow your own heart, don't go to much on what other people say.

<Paul> We try to only play the things that we feel good about, what ever it may be...

<Hideyo> Don't fall in love too much with your own music. If other people like it then it has something

<Bert> a good piece of music has a life of it's own

<AnilP> On a totally selfish note, I'm about to move to the Bay Area. Will I be able to catch the CGT on a regular basis?

<Paul> The CGT plays on the West coast regularly. We plan on touring there as soon as our new album comes out. It is one of our favorite places to play, second to Texas.

<ALevin> How did the upcoming mini-tour come about?

<Paul> A crimson tour agent set up this upcoming mini tour. We asked him to do it because we need to run in our new material before recording.

<GaryD> And is there a chance for an expanded tour later on?

<Mincer> yeah, like a Discipline-a-palooza?

<GaryD> Or Disciplooza?

<Mincer> Craftypalooza starring Bobby and His Fripptones

<ALevin> Globmobalooza happened already in March

<Mincer> ah, now we need one in the South!

<Paul> There will be another Glob mob show in Seattle in Sept. or Oct. and also one in England.

<MarkFuller> What does the CGT like to listen to at the moment?

<Paul> We have only been listening to our own stuff lately.

<Bert> It is nice to take a break sometimes. Just go out and listen to accidental sounds.

<Paul> We have been rehearsing from morning to night. On our website is a list of things that we like to listen to besides CGT stuff.

<ALevin> Will you folks be doing any NST weekends?

<Paul> Yes, there will be another in Seattle later this fall and possibly one in England.

<Mincer> any suprises planned for the tour?

<GaryD> Yes, plenty, many that will suprise us, too!!!

<ALevin> Any interest in doing anything with electric guitars, or are you content with working strictly acoustic guitars?

<Paul> We each play electric guitar, but I haven't touched mine for a long time.

<Bert> Since my electric guitar got stolen, I only play my acoustic and classical.

<AnilP> What non-CGT activities have the three of you been up to lately?

<Bert> I have been gardening alot lately

<Hideyo> I have been teaching guitar in Japan and plan to have a concert with the students next dec.

<Paul> I got married

<GaryD> Well, we've been at this for over an hour. Time to wrap things up. I want to thank the CGT for making themselves available for this chat.

<AnilP> Thanks guys.

<ALevin> Thanks guys. See you in a few days!

<Mincer> we're not worthy!

<AnilP> Thanks to you too Gary

<Paul> We hope to see you all in the near future, if not on this tour, perhaps on the next. bye. Tony Levin has just joined us on AOL and says Hello to all.

<Bert> Thank you for your support It allows us to keep going.

<Hideyo> Sayonara

<GaryD> Thank you all for coming.

<AnilP> remember to check out folks.

<GaryD> And while you're at it, stop by Innerviews at (did I get that right?) for some cool interviews and record reviews.

<Mincer> and my site!

<ALevin> and if they're not going to mention it, I will: for the California Guitar Trio.

<GaryD> Yes, definitely check out the CGT website that adam just listed.