Geoff Tyson and 10 Questions with TotalNtertainment. Acclaimed American guitarist Geoff Tyson will release his first instrumental guitar album on CD, vinyl and digital download on Friday 31 July 2020. We had a quick chat to him about his new album and Turkey sandwiches.
1. Thanks for your time Geoff, how is life treating you at the moment?
Quite well, thank you! It’s been a turbulent few months but I feel very fortunate to live in a country that handled the Covid crisis so well. The Czech Republic is a model for the world and now we are all enjoying an open summer with no restrictions. So I’m quite busy doing PR, making cool t-shirts and other merch that you should check out now atwww.geofftyson.com
2. You’ve got your debut instrumental guitar album out at the end of the month. Exciting times for you?
Yes indeed! I’m humbled by the positive reviews and attention it’s been getting worldwide. This being my first guitar instrumental album, I was a bit nervous about how it might be received. I’m especially excited to take the show out on tour, when the time is right.
3. You started learning guitar at a young age and learned with Joe Satriani. What was that like and was it Joe who made you want to pick up a guitar in the first place?
For me my “aha moment” was when I heard Eddie Van Halen. I had been playing classical piano since I was a child and that was the moment I knew I would quit and switch to guitar. I was completely hooked. I played constantly and I had outgrown two different teachers by the time I had been playing for six months. I had such a passion and curiosity for the guitar that I couldn’t get enough of it. Satriani was recommended to me as the guy who can turn you into a guitar hero. He wasn’t famous at the time, of course. But from my first lesson with him I realized that this dude was something unique and special. So I paid very close attention!
4. Joe holds you in the same regard as Steve Vai, that must be a massive compliment?
It’s a tremendous compliment. I feel that I’ve spread my efforts around to guitar, vocals, and production, and maybe with all those things combined I could maybe hold a dim candle to those masters.
5. You’ve worked with a lot of other great guitarists, who are the ones who make you sit there and go “wow!”?
I worked with Steve Ouimette on the Guitar Hero III “Devil Went Down To Georgia” soundtrack. I’ve known Steve for a long time and when he sent me the session to play to, many of his guitar solos were already done. Steve is a great guitar player and when I heard the level of skill he’d presented there, I knew I’d have to seriously up my game!
Doug Doppler, who is also a Satriani student, played on one of my tracks for a compilation album called ‘The Alchemists II’. The idea of the album is that each track would feature two different guitar players. So I sent a song out to Doug and he sent me a solo that was so cool and unique, that really complimented the track. Doug is a real talent.
6. What about up and coming guitarists, are there any who’ve caught your attention?
There is a local guy here in Prague, Karol Komenda, who has a trio that is really fantastic. He’s a modern John Mayer type of player and he has a tremendous, tasty blues style.
7. Given your wealth of knowledge, what would you say are the important skills a beginner should learn?
Aside from focusing on rhythm and scale theory and technique, I think that recording technology is at the point that production skills are a must have. There are so many cool and interesting styles of music that can be created with even just an iPad or cheap laptop. Exploring the compositional and production possibilities offers any guitarist an infinite canvas to create new and unique sonic environments.
8. Going back to your early years as a guitarist, were your family supportive of your chosen career?
My father was. When I was 19 I got a call from Satriani. The night before, his equipment truck had been stolen and that night he was scheduled to play at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, opening for the Steve Miller Band. Joe asked me to play the rhythm guitar tracks that had previously been triggered from a sampler that he lost. So I went out to the venue and Joe taught me all the parts a short time before we went out on stage. It was my first time playing live in my life and it was to 13,000 people and it was being broadcast live on the radio! My very conservative father, who had never been to a concert in his life, drove out and bought tickets to see the show. He later told me he had no idea what he was looking at, but was very proud when I was introduced on stage.
9. Just for fun: as a guitarist, if you had to replace your hands with anything other than claws or hooks, what would you replace them with?
I wish for a turkey sandwich, on rye bread, with lettuce and mustard, and, AND I don’t want any zombie turkeys, I don’t want to turn into a turkey myself, and I don’t want any other weird surprises. You got it?
10. Finally, the new album is out, what are your plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
All of my live tour plans through August were cancelled. The music industry is in a strange place at the moment. Every country has different restrictions for live music venues so it’s difficult to schedule any international concerts. So I’m taking the time to work on some new music videos, and doing demos for my next album.
Geoff Tyson releases his album ‘Drinks With Infinity’ on Friday 31st July. Pre-order from www.geofftyson.com
The album will also be available to pre-save and stream on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and Google Play via https://smarturl.it/GTDrinksWithInfinity.