singer/songwriter/guitarist MICHAEL VAN LONDON
Interview by Robert Urban for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
Well, I play with Gibson SG a lot, and I love this rip off version of the SG called, Jay Turser, I play one of those a lot too. I have an acoustic Lotus, and an acoustic Alverez too.
- What brand/model/year amps & effects (if any) do you use?
I love just anything fuzzy, but that carries melody well, thatís important. You know I really love straight ahead things, like, wheather im playing solo or with my other band, The Bombs, I usually use finger techiniques to make the sound different rather than a lot of pedals
- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Instrumentalist? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth?
Well, im my youth, I wanted to be Ace Frehley, then I wanted to be Susanna Hoffs, okay, lol, then I found Juliana Hatfield, who I think is probably a good mix of both of those. Jeff Buckley is huge to me as well as Heather Nova..
- Tell fans about your luv for your particular style of music, as opposed to other styles - how it became your favorite style of rock, etc-I think straight ahead melodic rock n roll that emotes feeling, and expression is really what ive always loved to be honest.
- Do you play/compose/record only your own original music? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc? Does your playing appear on recordings of any other artists?
know Iíve been playing out and recording as a solo act for so long, that recently, I really wanted to try something different. So, I started a 2 piece punk/rock outfit calling it, The Bombs. My friend, Rhianon Jones is playing drums and singing as well. Itís a totally different feeling on stage, and we are going to be recording soon. And, yes, I only do original music. I write all the time. So, but, I do think its important and can be really educational as a guitarist, to learn other peoples music, it shows you new ways to express and play, and you get to learn all these new chords and tunes and stuff.
- Is there a particular favorite solo or part you played on a recording, or a certain piece of composed music you wrote, that you feel represents your finest work?
No, not really. I just try to make everything I do better than the last thing I did. I think my level of pride and shame run hand n hand when I listen to some of the things Iíve recorded, lyric wise anyway. I often spill my guts a little too much.
Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?
Gosh, you know what, Iíve often said without my guitar, I donít know what I would do. I often say, without being able to express myself musically I would probably be a serial killer..Im only half joking.
Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a glbt player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?
Well, you know, I donít think itís as big of a deal as people would like to think it would be. Um, you know, when I was a kid, I played drums for along time and I think that really helped me get through. I just dove into playing, and it became my world. Through the years, it has stayed that way.- For a glbt player - how does the overall music scene differ today
from years ago?
You know I think that it probably differs quit a bit. I can only say from my own experiences what it was like, and what Iíve seen and read concerning all that. I think we have so much more of a chance to be who we are today, and expressing ourselves fully through music, will change the face of things.
- How is the overall music scene in your locale?
I live in Hollywood. So, the music scene is alive and well. There are so many cool bands and solo acts happening, I love being part of it all.
- Any advice for young glbt players?
-Dive in, make your music your life, thatís what I did, I helped me through the good times and the bad, and those times made for some great songs.
- What are your current and future musical projects?
- Iím writing and recording bits for my new solo record, im calling it, ďIce Cream & Blood & GutsĒ hopefull it will be out next year. Also, my other band, The Bombs, we will be recording our E.P. this year sometime. That will be a great one, Im really excited about it. Iíve also been toying around with the idea of doing one of those weird projects, like, playing a bunch of alley street inspired pop songs on a casio keyboard with my electric guitar over top, on to my 4 track Tascam and releasing it via myspace only, and calling myself, The Baby Koodies. LOL!
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