Interview with Trey Gunn on The Artist Shop's first online IRC Chat

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Date Submitted: 31-Oct-1996
Submitted By: Gary Davis (artshop at artist-shop dot com)

October 23, 1996


<GaryD> Hello folks, glad you could make it to The Artist Shop's first Chat. We're very happy to have Trey Gunn aboard. He signed in a moment ago. I want to let you know about the special Trey page we've set up in the shop. It's full of RealAudio soundbites from 'The Third Star' and from the rest of his career that you can download during the chat. Also, when you get a chance, be sure to check out our home page at You'll find the entire Discipline catalog there with cover graphics and soundbites.

<GaryD> To ask Trey questions, just shoot your question to Roger so we can do things pretty orderly. Also, much thanks goes to Roger for helping out with this. Take a bow, Roger Llima.

<Trey Gunn> Hi Anil, Ethan, Logger, William, Sam, Idh, Sean, Scott, Joe, Bird and Ray. Hey is there anyone here I don't already know?

<Roger> Okay, so... my name is Roger Espel... to ask questions, just send them as private messages to me, and I'll be posting them one after the other on the channel.

<GaryD> Later on we'll post this chat on ET.

<Roger> 1st question from Anil: What does the word "music" mean to you?

<Trey Gunn> Oh you guys, starting with the tough ones, huh? Music is when the musician disappears. How can the musician disappear? Well they just do.

<Trey Gunn> Hit me!

<Roger> Okay.. another question from Anil (that I was meaning to ask too, btw): Why did you abstain from vocals on the new album?

<GaryD> Your own that is.

<Trey Gunn> My voice doesn't currently convince me. It has in the past, and perhaps it will in the future, but for now......I'm particularly infatuated with the female voice, as one could easily guess. Although I've just played on a new record by a guy named David Rice, from Austin, who has a wonderful, very male, voice. Hi Anil.

<GaryD> That also begs the question of how you chose the voices you did use.

<Trey Gunn> Do you mean what was the process of utilizing their voices, or why use them at all?

<GaryD> Why did you want those particular individual voices.

<Trey Gunn> For three reasons: 1. because they were women whom I had worked with. 2. because I felt an affinity for their 'atmosphere' and 'presence' and 3. because the specific pieces called for their specific voices.

<GaryD> Alice is someone that American audiences are just beginning to hear about via the internet. Her work on the title track is just sublime. Could you tell us a little about how you hooked up with her and have you done any other work with her?

<Trey Gunn> Alice, or how it is really pronounced, a-lichae, asked me to play on her last record 'Charade' after she saw a performance that I was involved with in Basano de Grappa in Italy. This was a show with David Sylvian and Robert Fripp when we were only performing as a trio....and a mighty unsual trio I might add. Also the California Guitar Trio opened the show, and they too played on 'Charade'.

<Roger> Okay... question from Ray: Will you ever tour as a solo artist, put a band together to promote your stuff, etc. ?

<Trey Gunn> Yes, I'll be in NYC in about 3 weeks, doing a lot of business and a small but significant amount of playing with Bob Muller, my fellow musician and percussionist extraodinaire, working out some ideas of doing some touring early (???) next year.

<Trey Gunn> But I will add, that if you go on tour just to simply promote your record sales, the performance will never fly as high as for other purposes.

<Roger> From Seanmalon: what will the lineup be? (for this possible tour)

<Trey Gunn> I don't know yet, Sean. A lot depends on how we actually want to orchestrate the pieces. Because the record was made in the studio, it would be virtually impossible for Bob to duplicate what he has done in the recording, so we have to rethink the arrangements starting from scratch again.

<Roger> Ok, now questions from Sam & Wbanatt: Describe your experience w/Guitar Craft, how did you get involved?

<Trey Gunn> That? That could take days. But the short answer......

<Trey Gunn> When I was a much younger musician, I had the spontaneous thought that in the distant past if you wanted to become a musician you wouldn't hammer around on your instrument waiting for magic to descend upon you, you would get smart and contact a master in your specific field of interest and get them to take you on as an apprentice. I thought that I, too, should do this. This thought flew out into the nether regions, Robert Fripp picked it up (as well as others like me) and acted upon it: Guitar Craft was born. For me it began -- May 13th, 1985.

<Roger> Okay, big question from Anil : Fripp has referred to the artist-fan relationship as "vampiric." Your e-mail addresses are very public (as are Tony Levin's). Has the Internet changed the way fans relate to artists, or is it more of the same?

<Trey Gunn> I can't really answer the specifics of that. I think you would have to ask fans who have spoken to artists. But I would say that, at present, I feel comfortable being available. Robert on the other hand attracts an enormous amount of people whom he'd rather not have over for tea.

<Trey Gunn> Is everyone getting your 2nd question Anil or just me?

<Trey Gunn> I'm still going.......

<Trey Gunn> I can't say much more because I'm only recently reaching a stage of what most people might consider 'marginal success' and I've been available through e-mail for over 2 years now. My guess is that the connection between musicians and audience is becoming more personal.

<Trey Gunn> Ok 'vampires'...

<Trey Gunn> I can't speak for Robert Fripp at all. I wouldn't choose to use a word like vampiric.

<GaryD> And do you see the internet as allowing that personal connection while still giving the artist their space?

<Trey Gunn> Personally, I see the internet as a great and huge distraction from my real work. Though exciting as it can be, it isn't easy to maintain my personal presence within it.

<Roger> Ok. Matthew would like to know about your shift from the Stick to the Warr Guitar...

<Trey Gunn> Ok warr/stick.....

<Trey Gunn> I'll only say one thing about this, and then that is the end of that thread.........

<GaryD> While Trey's formulating his answer, I just want to mention for the sake of anyone here on Compuserve/WOW that Trey will be doing a chat on line there at the beginning of November.

<Trey Gunn> I am very careful about the tools that I choose to work with. I look for tools that lead me where I think I might be going. My whole musical life led me to the Chapman Stick. And my work with King Crimson led me to the Warr Guitar. When I first heard the Warr, I knew that something was going to emerge with Mark Warr's work and my connection to it. But I also knew that when I first saw the instrument, that this wasn't it quite yet, but something would develop. What this something is, is the 8-string extended range tapping instrument that I am currently playing. It is, without question, the right tool for the job.

<Trey Gunn> This in no way says anything about any other instrument, including Mark's other models. It just says what it says.

<GaryD> Your disc mentions the 12 string version, too.

<Trey Gunn> Yes, on the recording I do play the stereo 12-string. But my current focus is with the mono 8-string.

<Trey Gunn> The WOW chat is November 3rd in the evening east coast time. I don't know any more than that.

<Roger> Ok... question from DJ1 and ldh: What are King Crimson's upcoming plans (CDs, tours, etc) ?

<Trey Gunn> KC, then....

<Trey Gunn> Well we are writing new material. Tony has just been out to visit me and we have been working on some ideas. You want radical? We'll give you radical. How about the Stick and Warr tuned in quarter tones. Huh??? Is that radical enough.

<Roger> That could be quite amazing! :-)

<Trey Gunn> But seriously, RF wants to go even more radical. I'm meeting with Robert and Adrian in December to do more writing. We will probably do some sort of small club tour next year summer/fall(???) in order to play the new material, in before we record it.

<GaryD> Radical brings THRaKaTTaK to mind. Could you comment on the creation of that?

<Trey Gunn> THRaKaTTaK is all live group improvs from about 30 nights all edited together. Funny enough, as soon as the record was completed, the improv's went to a whole new and more powerful level. So we may have to do THRaKATTaK 2 at some point.

<Roger> Matthew would like to inquire about 'The Third Star,' and your love affair with 7/8 on it, as well as impressions of working with David Sylvian.

<Trey Gunn> Seven is cool. Five is cool, too, but seven is long enough to be groovy without calling too much attention to itself. Nine is cool, too, (check out 'Take This Wish" on my first cd 'One Thousand Years' for a cool nine.)

<Trey Gunn> Now fifteen.............

<Trey Gunn> On Sylvian.........with Sylvian ("God's Monkey" starts in 7 as well, thanks to yours truly I might add) David is fantastic. I have never heard his voice sound anything but consistantly amazing for over 50 shows. He is one of the few musician's that I have worked with who can play directly from the 'heart'.

<Roger> Question from William: Is there anything you've learned from being in King Crimson that you don't think you could have learned otherwise?

<Trey Gunn> I'm thinking..........

<Trey Gunn> Yes, I know.........

<Trey Gunn> That everyone's vision in a group makes up the whole vision EVEN when they are contradictory. All the visions MUST co-exist to make up the whole.

<Trey Gunn> Let's do this poster deally.......

<GaryD> Cool. Trey is going to be giving away a full sized poster of the gorgeous cover art to The Third Star. This poster is autographed by Trey and the cover artist. If I understand correctly, this poster is not on the market which makes it quite a collector's item.

<Trey Gunn> No, there are only 3 of them. I sent one to Japan, one is for this and one I'm keeping. We will make some more, but they will be different from this one.....

<GaryD> Trey will give us a trivia question (and I know he's been working on some tougies) after which Roger will unmodify the room for a short period of time for everyone to submit their answers. And, of course, the first correct one gets it. Roger, I hate to say it, but you and I are ineligible :(

<Trey Gunn> So the question....we're going to start really, really, really hard, and work our way to a more marginally manageable question. So when do I send it?

<GaryD> Are you ready, Roger?

<Roger> Go ahead, Trey.

<GaryD> Shoot.

<GaryD> Again, don't send your answer to Roger. He'll briefly unmoderate the room for this.

<Trey Gunn> Ha.....Who was the drummer in Punishment Farm, one of my earlier bands in Eugene, Oregon??????????????? No one will get this...............

<Ron> Ringo starr

<william> uh... bob muller?

<Ron> Bill Bruford

<Ron> Keith Moon

<stockr10> miles davis

<DigMe> Mickey Dolenz

<Ron> Carl Palmer

<Ron> Gene Krupa

<raya> Phiulty Animal

<malone> Stockard Channing

<Bill> Jerry Morotta

<james^> was'nt that a george orwell book?

<GaryD> This is a good one! I haven't the faintest idea and from these answers, neither do they.

<DigMe> xcousin just moved to Eugene.

<Ron> Dennis Wilson

<Ron> Buddy Miles

<james^> haha

<GaryD> I think you've stumped them Trey.

<matthew> Vinnie Colaiuta!

<Roger> I think so too...

<Trey Gunn> This is great. Perhaps you should give in now.

<Ron> Charlie Watts

<james^> dont tell us,,

<GaryD> c'mon, james!

<DigMe> Nikki Six\

<Ron> King Crimson

<Trey Gunn> His name is: Chuck Clearwater.

<Ron> what  ??

<Ron> nah thats not it

<Trey Gunn> So let's go easy now.

<Roger> OK, next question...

<Trey Gunn> What record was "Tight Muscle Party at Love Beach" on?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

<Bill> live

<william> ELP's love beach?

<malone> lea of crafty guitarists one

<Sam> The League of Crafty Guitarists Play Live!

<DigMe> Brian Wilson does Dallas?

<raya> The League of Crafty Guitarists Live

<Trey Gunn> I think Bill gets it....

<william> the Baywatch soundtrack!

<Ron> Bill Bruford's Razz ma Tazz

<Sam> I think I may have added an extraneous word. :D

<GaryD> So, Trey, who is the first correct answer? You accept Bill's?

<Trey Gunn> I think it's probably Bill. The group was Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists. The record was "live".

<GaryD> You're our winner, Bill. Congratulations!

<Bill> woopee!

<Trey Gunn> Now, Bill, who wrote the piece??

<Bill> Um, The League of Crafty Guitarists?

<Trey Gunn> Nope, Andrew Essex. Also imortalized as the first house manger at Red Lion House in Dorset. Hence the term "Andrew of the Day" was born.

<GaryD> Bill, send Roger your address in a private message and we'll see that you get the poster.

<Trey Gunn> So I think I must be going, now........ any last thingssssss?

<GaryD> I think we have one from Roger himself.

<Roger> Well, I'll ask a quickie of my own. Can "Raw Power" or any older stuff of yours be found anywhere?

<Trey Gunn> Not presently. I did back all my older stuff, which was on old reel-to-reel tape, onto DAT's about 2 years ago so that in the future, if neccessary, I could put some of it out.

<GaryD> Perhaps a selection of past stuff could make a good Discipline release.

<Trey Gunn> Perhaps.

<GaryD> Well, I want to thank Trey for being with us tonight. And I certainly want to thank all of you for coming. I hope we got to most of your questions.

<Trey Gunn> And thank you all...............chchchchchcheeeeeeers, and adios

<GaryD> I'll be sending the log of this along to ET after we clean it all up so look for it there. Also be sure to stop by The Artist Shop to check out Trey's new album as well as the rest of the Discipline catalog. Special thanks to Roger without whom this evening's event would not have been possible. Take a bow Roger.

<Roger> *bow*  :-)

<GaryD> And now, if you'll be so kind, Roger, go ahead and unmoderate the room so everyone can chat amongst themselves.

<Roger> sure :)

<GaryD> Have fun folks!