The beginning of this Artist Shop chat session with Tony Levin was a display of Murphy's Law! Almost precisely at 9:00 when the chat was to have started, I got disconnected. It took me a good 15 minutes to get back on. Tony, certainly no stranger to improvisation, decided to storm on into the chat room anyway and wing it. So until I got back on, the room was unmoderated and pretty chaotic. I've edited most of that chaos out, but have left just a little of it in :-) Not only was Tony gutsy, but he also proved to be one of the faster typers we've had during these chats!
Session Start: Wed Jul 30 1997
*** TonyL has joined #ArtistShop
<cepir> Hey tony
<Swedish_fan17> Welcome Tony!!
<spike> Hi tony
<trombone> hey Tony!
<EthanT> hello Tony
<Lamp> Hi Ton
<TonyL> Hello everyone
<TonyL> Hi Rael, and others -- I think they're going to set up just posting one question at a time
<TonyL> hope so, this could get frantic otherwise.
<DigMe> hehe...hey dude...I'm your biggest fan...what kinda toenail clippers do you usew...;)
<TonyL> (analog toenail clippers, of course.
<Gumbo> lets all ask important questions.....TONY...you a vegetarian?
<DigMe> toenail clippers....vegetarian...what's the difference?
* susieQ^ 4 Do you plan to tour Southern California soon? ...Black Light Syndrome
<TonyL> Whee, I'll answer all these questions, and more, soooooon
<TonyL> but I think they need to set up the system to only show one at a time.
* Gumbo passes Tony a Cold Beer
<TonyL> thanks for the beer.
<Gumbo> anytime d00d ;)
<Mega> TonyL: I just watched the Gabriel NWLive video again. great show!
<Stax> Beer is a vegetable.
<cepir> Tony likes coffee better than beer
<KingTut> i thought beer was a food group unto itself
<Rael> so, Tony, what is about Black light sindrome?
* Lamp throws a sarcastic overhand right at Tony :)
<TonyL> well, everyone, I don't know why the system isn't just posting one question at a time, but I'll just pick some topics now
<spike> Yes, thrak, thrak, thrak
<TonyL> first, let me thank you all for coming. I¹d like to thank Gary for setting this up. Ken Mistove too - he will be handling the questions and pasting them here one at a time...
<TonyL> I¹ve asked that all questions be given to me / no filtering / but someone had to handle the flow of them, or I¹d be bombarded! If you¹re someone I know, please identify yourself in the note, if I can¹t tell from your nickname.
<DigMe> GaryD must be having some problems, Tony...it usually isn't this hectic
<TonyL> I haven¹t used this software before, and I DO have a Mac, so if there¹s no reply from me for a while, that¹ll be because I¹ve run into crash world - in that case, we¹ve arranged a backup via aol, so I can still get back to you...
<DigMe> A backup via AOL...now THAT sounds safe. :)
<TonyL> I hope nobody had trouble getting the software to work (I guess if they did, they¹re not here!) I know Gary had to help me with some details.
<ratt> Tony what's this about a new UK project?
<Jolly> Tony, what kind of bass is that 5-string you use?
<TonyL> I use a Music Man 5 string (as well as frettless
<TonyL> I have some other kinds of basses, but pretty much stick to the EBall basses for rock stuff
<Gumbo> is that you typing?????? damn your fast!!!!!!!!!!!
<Lamp> Lamp wishes to know what work Tony did with Anderson/Bruford/Wakeman/Howe.
<EricG> Tony, do you know of any plans for Peter's WOMAD in the USA?
<TonyL> With ABWH, I did a couple of albums, and a nice tour...
<TonyL> but I got sick in the middle of thattour and couldn't finish it.
<DougX> Tony what ever happened to that Bass you had with the TOAPP logo on it?
<Toto2> TonyL, are you going to do a MIDI bass?
<Ubo> TonyL why didn't you tour with the Floyd in 1987 ? As far as I know Pratt was the bassist at every gig.
* GaryS 4 do you plan to tour Southern California soon with Bozzio and Stephens?
<Nemo> Tony, something I've ALWAYS wondered: Are you related to the writer Ira Levin?
<TonyL> not related to Ira Levin
<TonyL> I understand that it's not poss. for one question to come at a time .... we'll deal with it.
<Mincer> why did you guys resurrect 'Schizoid Man'?
<Ubo> TonyL thanks for making it to Toronto at least :)
<Mega> TonyL: I'd like to ask you about your "sound". It seems to be the same no matter which instrument you play. How do you "get it" ?
<TonyL> Kenzak, go ahead and get chelkat to assist, becuase I'm told that Gary's crashed!~
<spike> Tony, what is happening with UK?
<TonyL> re UK, I did some of the tracks, on bass and Stick
<TonyL> though of course, John Wetton is singing, and playing some bass on the project..
<TonyL> it was fun, and good music, I don't know when it'll be out,
<TonyL> or who will play guitar on it...
<TonyL> Bruford was the drummer
<Ubo> I hear Eddie Jobson has set up an official UK website
<TonyL> re Jobson question, I'll find out if there's a site, and link to it off of mine
<DigMe> Mega...good question...especially the sound that sounds a bit like two basses playing...octave pedal? Chorus?
<cepir> TONYL: What is your favorite brand of coffee that I could go and buy right now in the store?
<infamous> good question mega,,,HOW DO YO GET THAT DISTINCTIVE SOUND MR LEVIN?
<drj> while the Thrack album did have it's "islands of calm" (in songs like "One Hand", the live tracks were pretty frenetic...what is the new stuff coming out like???
<Jolly> Tony do you use only Trace Elliot amps?
<Rubens> TonyL: I hear PG is a good guitarist now :P
<TonyL> Re trombone question, I don't think I have time to get into 'the beat' and such subtleties, at least until this room becomes moderated.
<Rael> Tony, are you interested in having an foto exhibition in Croatia?
<alpha> tonyl: when you play bass, live, what is your rack configuration?
<TonyL> With Peter that lyric writing process can take quite a while. Sometimes we even need to go back and re-record the tracks after lyrics are done...
<TonyL> My guess is that at the earliest, Peter will finish his album this year and tour starting next Summer. That¹s at the Earliest! You could add a year or two to that for the alternative schedule - it¹s happened before!
<TonyL> there you go... send questions to "CheleCat" and maybe we can get this more in control...
<TonyL> (though I admit it's been fun...
<TonyL> (for any who don't know, my site, Papa Bear Records, is http://www.papabear.com
<TonyL> and my page of updates off that is http://www.papabear.com/t-lev.htm
<CheleCat> <alpha> when you play bass, live, what is your rack configuration?
<Kenzak> Hi everyone, and welcome. We have lost our fearless leader, so I'll try to get this under control.
<Kenzak> Please post all questions as a private message to me and I post them for Tony to answer.
<TonyL> re question about rack, I don't really have one now (though I'd like to get one built...
<TonyL> but I have a ton of pedals, including all the usual...
<TonyL> and I also split the bass signal between two sets,
<TonyL> sending them to diff. amps....
*** GaryD has joined #artistshop*** Now talking in #artistshop
<TonyL> there's always a direct bass (maybe with just compression)
going to one amp
<TonyL> Ken, how about another question..
<TonyL> it's looking lonely here...
<GaryD> Hello folks
<TonyL> I see the Swedish guy is still here.... can't believe you're still up!
<CheleCat> re's Gary
<Kenzak> From Swedish_fa - What music has influenced you over the years to become the musician you are today? Did you listen to King Crimson before you had joined the band?
<TonyL> hoping everyone's seeing the same quuestions as I am...
<GaryD> Sorry to leave you hanging like that. Especially Tony. Got disconnected and couldn't get back on for a while
<TonyL> (welcome back Gary...
<GaryD> Thanks. Sorry for the problem
<TonyL> I listen mostly to Classical, but like a lot of guys,
<TonyL> I'm influenced by everyting I ever hear (even if it's bad -- which is why I try to avoid junky music - I believe it can't help
but affect your playing
<TonyL> growing up, I was only into Classical.
<TonyL> then later, jazz, and of course rock, which is where I'm most comfortable
<TonyL> Let me say now, my apologies to any who are waiting a long time for their question to be dealt with...
<TonyL> I only see them as you do...
<TonyL> and i'm typing as fast as my fingers will go.........
<GaryD> For anyone just joining us, like me (Ha, Ha), this is a moderated session with Tony Levin. Send your questions in a private message to Kenzak.
<Kenzak> Please send all questions to me from now on.
<GaryD> Hope I'm not repeating a question, but tell us a little about your project with Bozzio and Stevens.
<TonyL> love the nicknames I'm seeing .... what a group!
<TonyL> The Bozzio trio (B.L.S.) will be playing some clubs in Japan in September. Our plan is to see how those gigs go, and possibly book some West Coast dates later in the Fall. First we need to gear up and get some playing done, and see where the music goes.
<TonyL> I liked the cd, but I'm most excited about the live possiblities
<TonyL> esp. because I prefer the freer aspects of that music
<Kenzak> from Stax - when you play the bass, do you think about your part vertically, as part of the harmony, or horizontally, as a melodic
<TonyL> Re Stax question, when I toured Ages agao, with Gary Burton, he was asked that question...
<TonyL> and he replied with an intelligent dissertation on harmony and counterpoint...
<TonyL> then Roy Ayers was asked the same questions, and replied....
<TonyL> I think about sex!
<TonyL> Me, I don't even think
<TonyL> no, really, I suppose it depends a lot on the music,
<TonyL> with Crimson, I sometimes need to totally focus on one other guy, (often Bruford) or I'll lose the plot
<TonyL> While, say with Paul Simon, I happily listen to the lyrics, and my fingers take care of the bass part.
<TonyL> Hope that's a good answer for you
<Kenzak> From KingTut please elaborate on Classical music you like. Any personal recommendations?
<TonyL> Lately I'm trying (trying!) to get into Schoenberg, particularly because I think in Crimson we've
<TonyL> tried long and hard to get a Stravinsky thing going .. (at least I have) ... and it's time to ...
<TonyL> well, progress, or at least try.
<TonyL> I must admit, I can't cope when there's a tenor singing in German though.
<TonyL> Usually, for me, I'm listening to string quartets, or solo piano... bach, beethoven, and chopin
<GaryD> I understand there's much Crimson composing going on at Adrian's studio in Nashville. Care to comment on that?
<TonyL> Crimson is in a writing / experimenting period. We rehearsed and tried new material in Nashville last Spring, and we plan to the same in the late Fall. Until we have some worthwhile stuff to present, I don¹t think we¹ll be releasing any îmajor¹ or îinterim¹ recordings...
<TonyL> Having said that, I won¹t be surprised if our plans change! We¹ll also get together in smaller groups to come up with new material
for the group to digest.
<TonyL> It's always a risk to predict what we're going to do..
<TonyL> often you look like a fool
<TonyL> I was told, in the mid eighties, that the band had broken up...
<TonyL> I was told that in a ballet intermission, by a memeber of the audience...
<TonyL> I said "I didn't know that... where did you hear it?
<TonyL> He said, "on MTV."
<GaryD> Trey had said something before about you and he developing some stuff in microtones?
<TonyL> Re microtones, yes Trey and I have been doing a bit of work (it's really Work!) on quartertone playing,
<TonyL> which turns out to be quite possible on the Sticktype instruments, by tuning adjacent strings differently...
<TonyL> It hasn't gone anywhere yet (but pain) but these things take time... and you have to start somewhere..
<TonyL> you should have seen the pain on the faces of the other crims, when we showed them what we have so far!
<Kenzak> From Mega - Who is your favorite drummer to play with?
<TonyL> I've already spoken about ABWH -- I did two albums and half a tour.
<TonyL> I have no fave drummer, I've been very lucky to play with a lot of the greats...
<TonyL> And some pretty greats too!
<TonyL> Each has his own style, and I'm equally comfortable with all these styles,
<TonyL> because if the guy is great, he makes his style work with tht emusic being played.
<Kenzak> you stay mostly on the bass side of your Stick in Crimson; is this because it's difficult to fit a melody side part into the music?
<TonyL> On the Stick I'm almost always on the bass side with everyone ... that's because there are very good guitarists there...
<TonyL> and I don't need to interfere with them.
<TonyL> on my own stuff ("Caves, World Diary") I get to play both sides!
<GaryD> So tell us a little about Caves. Sounds like an exotic album
<TonyL> Let me abbreviate talk about my new cd, "Caves" by saying that there's quite a bit about it on my site (http://www.papabear.com)
<TonyL> it's Jerry Marotta on taos drums, Steve Gorn on Indian flute, and me ... all recorded binaurally inside
<TonyL> a local cave!! Beautiful there, with a lake inside,
<TonyL> and we made a video of the making of it.
<TonyL> (why not!)
<TonyL> (Because it was THERE!)
<GaryD> Yes, I would encourage everyone here to visit http://www.papabear.com and check out the new album as well as World Diary and other fun stuff.
<Kenzak> From Nemo - Tony, do you remember working on Randy Vanwarmer's album "Terraform," and do you ever think that album will see release on CD? Great semi-progressive album!
<TonyL> I do remember Randy, and doing his album - - I have no idea what's become of it... I believe the company was Woodstock Records,
which is long gone...
<Kenzak> From spike - Tony, is there any hope of getting together with D. Torn?
<TonyL> if it goes too long w/out question, I'll run into the kitchen and make (another) espresso!
<TonyL> I Love David (torn) and hope to see him soon (he's a neighbor
<TonyL> we have been working on a new project together, and it'll see the public next year sometime
<TonyL> his playing is unique.
<TonyL> very wild
<Kenzak> From TSky - Did Tony talk about Black Light Syndrome yet?
<TonyL> let me repeat, if any questions are from folks I know, please include who you are
<TonyL> BLS was a fun cd,
<TonyL> and I'm looking forward to touring
<TonyL> (we go to Japan in Sept... so far, that's all
<TonyL> (I have to do Crimson reh. in late Fall - there Might be more BLS dates in Oct, but we don't know yet.
<TonyL> Hi again trombone ... as for Classical to Jazz, I happen to have done an hour long dissertation on pretty much that subject,...
<TonyL> I think it's still on my site... if not, I'll put the link back next week...
<TonyL> As many know, it's a tough transition (for a rhjythm player) (as is the spelling of rhythm...
<TonyL> and quite complex...
<TonyL> as is Jazz to Rock....
<TonyL> but Classical to rock is pretty simple (imho
<Kenzak> From Swedish_fa - read somewhere that you wanted to take your Stick with you and ride around the US on your Harley to record your next cd with various people. Is that true? In that case, when will this be? Have you made any plans yet with any musicians?
<TonyL> that Harley plan is a bit difficult technically, with weather and gear the problems...
<TonyL> I hope to do it some June, when neither Crimson nor Gabriel wants me...
<Kenzak> from trombone - Tony, if you could speak briefly about playing for Buddy Rich, I'd really appreciate that
<TonyL> Buddy was a maniac, of course, both musically and ... well, there are Lots of stories...
<TonyL> He did fire the band the first day of the two days I was in the studio with them (I was a ringer, not in the band
<TonyL> and of course, he hired them all back the next day, as always...
<Kenzak> From Mega - My 12 yr old son wants to know why you shave your head? =)
<TonyL> Mega, I first shaved my head because it was a really hot summer....
<TonyL> for a couple of years I shaved all Summer, and grew hair and beard all Winter....
<TonyL> first warm day, it all came off....
<TonyL> but so many people told me that I looked better without hair, that efventually, even my small amount
<TonyL> of vanity kicked in....
<Kenzak> From KIlgoreT - When musicians are getting together to play for the first time, they'll usually play some fairly well-known tunes to warm up and get comfortable with each others styles. What are some of the tunes that you like to drag out at times like that?
<TonyL> Acutally with some players (like Crimson) that's not the case...
<TonyL> they mostly dont know the classics, and I think I'm right that at our first get together...
<TonyL> we did som old Crimson, and some of robert's new ideas..
<TonyL> all of which felt good
<TonyL> Likewise with Peter Gabriel, who pretty much uses his own music to try out musicians
<Kenzak> From alpha - what training techniques did you use to get into stick playing? i mean, it is much more parallel action than playing
bass or guitar, so it is much mor parallel thinking when one starts with it as a 'stick beginner'
<TonyL> let me repeat to you all that I hope it's not too long a wait to get your questions answered, I know how bumming that can be.
<TonyL> On the Stick, I just started playing simple bass parts, (of course, being just the bass player,...
<TonyL> and slowly added in other elements.
<TonyL> my main attraction to it was the difference in attack and sound in the bass notes
<TonyL> I've only become interested in the top half because it's there....
<TonyL> and I must say I'm still working quite hard to get a distinctive sound on the guitar side
<GaryD> You mentioned Peter Gabriel. What is happening with him these days? Work on a new album maybe?
<TonyL> sorry guys, I had to let my dog in!
<TonyL> I think I spoke about PG earlier, wait, I'll copy it...
<TonyL> Last November we did rhythm tracks for Peter¹s new release (and played a lot of ping pong!) The music was very good, and Peter had a lot of music ready, which is unusual for him. However, he¹s still working on the lyrics to those pieces...
<TonyL> With Peter that lyric writing process can take quite a while. Sometimes we even need to go back and re-record the tracks after lyrics
<TonyL> My guess is that at the earliest, Peter will finish his album this year and tour starting next Summer. That¹s at the Earliest!
You could add a year or two to that for the alternative schedule - it¹s happened before!
<TonyL> Sherlock Does rock!
<Kenzak> From spike - How was it to work with Paula C. and have you heard the finished product? Lyrics are kind of harsh.
<TonyL> paula's great - really nice, very creative, and great musician.
<TonyL> of course I've heard the finished cd... it's on the radio a lot here..
<TonyL> most of the bass lines were hers -
<TonyL> I just got to interpret them.
<TonyL> I hoped to play live with her a bit, but schedules didn't meld
<Kenzak> From Toto2 - Tony, what other bassists do you admire?
<TonyL> I like a lot of bassists...
<TonyL> no names come to mind, but if I hear a good line, or feel, I rembmer it, even if I don't know th ename.
<TonyL> and I can't help be influenced by anything good I hear, though I try not to copy.
<GaryD> How about Victor Wooten?
<TonyL> well, copying Victor's not an issue with my minimal technique!
<TonyL> I love his playing, but especially because I know from seeing him live, that he knows when to turn that technique on and off. A very valuable thing.
<Kenzak> From drj - what kind of dog ya got?
<TonyL> Sherlock's a Westie, and I apologize, when I mentioned him earlier, it was in response to a private message I thought you all saw.
<TonyL> No private messages, please.
<TonyL> I'm pretty busy with the others
<Kenzak> From Mega - I'm a Stick novice... how is yours set up? String gauge, tuning, and pickups.
<TonyL> I have two... a 12 string and a 10, both pretty standard
<TonyL> I believe one has "baritone" top side
<TonyL> frankly, I don't notice - just start playing and find something that works
<TonyL> Kenzak, if poss, you can send questions more often.
<GaryD> Actually, Tony, I think it's time for the trivia question.
<TonyL> well, I think we should handle a few more questions, if you're still getting them...
<TonyL> I really feel bad for people who don't get their stuff in
<GaryD> Ok if you're still going strong.
<GaryD> shoot, Ken
<TonyL> then, everyone, I've got a dumb question or two, and the first one to answer, I'll send some stuff - not the most classy thing I've
done, but I did put together a fiendish question or two
<Kenzak> From spike - Are the Clams still clammed up?
<TonyL> the Clams, a joke group I had w. my brother Pete, is long out of use, we'd love to reform, but don't have the time...
<TonyL> A classic question to come from someone named Spike...
<TonyL> (The Clams were a kind of updated Spike Jones group, and our single, "Close to Me" was a classic of stupid music!
<Kenzak> From scoob - Tony, your Web page is so well done... are there archives of your "diary entries" available somewhere? Do you get a lot
of email generated from it?
<TonyL> Scoob, thanks - lot of credit goes to Dan Beach, my designer and maintainer ...
<TonyL> I bombard him with stuff a lot...
<TonyL> we kept the diary entries linked for a while, but had to drop them, I'll re link sometime to the archives, which we still have.
<TonyL> no, I don't get mail from it, because I couldn't handle it -- the only mail address there is to Papa Bear Records, though my company, I don't pick up
<TonyL> that mail.
<Kenzak> From Mega - Your "sound" seems very consistant across your instruments. How do you get "that sound"? What effects?
<TonyL> Actually, I'm always trying to change my sound - and to modify it...
<TonyL> I try to get it right for the particular piece of music - I guess I'm not as good at changing it as I thought!
<TonyL> for instance, sometimes I'm really bassy, sometimes, with the funk fingers, really trebly.
<TonyL> different basses, etc.
<TonyL> Anyway, like most musicians, I'm not trying to be "me" I'm just playing along, and what comes out happens to sound distinctive
<Kenzak> From Relayer - Tony, you did some nice work with Joan Armatrading, a great singer/song writer who is greatly underappreciated in the US. What was it like working with her?
<TonyL> I love Joan's records, and I ve oplayed some of my favorite bass stuff with her.
<TonyL> I don't understand why she's not more famous...
<TonyL> but in the larger picture, maybe that's just as well.
<TonyL> she sure keep s putting out great music.
<TonyL> and what a voice.
<TonyL> I'd say working with her is musically a joy...
<TonyL> and though she's nice, how easy it goes depends a lot on whether she's happy ...
<TonyL> if not, it doesn't go easy.
<Kenzak> From TSky - What do you do when your not making music?
<TonyL> TSky, I have lots of hobbies..
<TonyL> one could say obsessions!
<TonyL> photography and oil painting on the photos...
<TonyL> my wonderful daughter
<TonyL> my great girlfriend...
<TonyL> I hardly have TIME to play!
<TonyL> how bout that question. Ready??
<TonyL> I'll post the question, and any one who knows, send the answer as usual. First correct wins... whatever.
<TonyL> O.k, here is my question - keep in mind, I was advised to make it a tough one - so it is! If nobody can get this, I¹ll try another...
<GaryD> Ok What I'll do is unmoderate the room when Tony posts his trivia question....
<GaryD> The first correct answer he recognizes will get the prize.
<TonyL> What is the first name of the second child of the third drummer in the Peter Gabriel band?? (I told you it wouldn¹t be easy!)
<alpha> moon unit
<spike> listenin to Caves, phil
<Relayer> Matte Kudasi (sp?)
<cepir> there wasn't any kid
<GaryD> This is definitely a toughie, Tony. Don't think I've seen it yet. Although you could write a baby name book with all these guesses
<Toto2> none of the above
<DigMe> Manu Katche the scond?
<TonyL> system's jammed up!
<Mega> Thela Hun Ginjeet
<Jolly> The Great Deceiver
<TonyL> o.k, whoever said MoonUnit...
<TonyL> You're crazy!
<Stax> Vanguard of the People
<trombone> Stick boy?
* alpha knows he's crazy, but zappa was, too
<TonyL> That was Manu Katche's daughter, Rose
<dumela> Nobody wins tony
<GaryD> Shall we try the next question, Tony?
<TonyL> Here's an easier one
<TonyL> This question would be utterly impossible to know, except that the answer is in the liner notes of the ³Cave² cd. What gardening
tool did Jerry Marotta play on the ³From the Caves of the Iron Mountain² cd?
<spike> a garden weasel
<TonyL> Spike's got it!
<GaryD> I think I saw it Tony
<TonyL> congrat's Spike! (you'd of been better off with a lottery ticket!
<GaryD> You're right, Tony, we've got a winner!
<TonyL> Garden Weasel it is
<TonyL> Gary, can you get Spike's (actual) address?
<TonyL> I'll say bye to you all...
<GaryD> Congratulations, Spike. You've just won a copy of Tony's new Papa Bear CD.
<TonyL> Let me again thank Gary Davis and Artist Shop for having me here. And Ken Mistove for fielding the questions. And thanks to all of
you for showing up.
<CheleCat> Bye Tony :)
<TonyL> Hope to do this again sometime ...
<GaryD> We certainly enoyed having you here, Tony.
<TonyL> and my apologies to any who didn't get their questions answered, or considered in depth.
<GaryD> I encourage everyone to check out Tony's new album, Black Light Syndrome with Terry Bozzio and Steve Stevens...
<GaryD> Also be sure to go to his website, http://www.papabear.com to check out his new solo CD and video
<GaryD> The Artist Shop hosts these regularly, so I hope you'll stop by and visit us at <http://www.artist-shop.com>
<GaryD> Thanks much to Kenzak and Chelecat for their assistance tonight.
<Kenzak> I tried to get at least one question in from everyone. Sorry if you got left out.
<CheleCat> my pleasure, Gary :)
<GaryD> Now I'll unmoderate so you can all chat amongst yourselves.
Session Close: Wed Jul 30 1997