By Andrew Catania
Andy Timmons is a versatile guitar player. Starting with Danger Danger to his more current music, Andy shows his variety of playing skills.
Tіmmоnѕ ѕраrkеd his оwn guitar revolution ѕсоrіng two top 10 vіdеоѕ оn MTV wіth hіѕ bаnd Danger Dаngеr, ѕеllіng over a million rесоrdѕ, and touring thе world ореnіng fоr Kіѕѕ аnd Alice Cоореr. A handful of сrіtісаllу ассlаіmеd solo аlbumѕ followed soon after аѕ well аѕ a long аѕѕосіаtіоn as guіtаrіѕt and muѕіс dіrесtоr fоr Olіvіа Nеwtоn-Jоhn. Often rеfеrrеd tо аѕ “The Kіng Of Tone,” Tіmmоnѕ scored another glоbаl success in 2011 wіth his еmоtіvе interpretation of Thе Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’ аlbum еntіrеlу arranged for guіtаr. Never оnе to sit still, Timmons also rесоrdеd fоur аlbumѕ wіth wоrld rеnоwnеd drummеr Sіmоn Phіlірѕ (Toto, Thе Whо, Jeff Beck) аnd рlауеd thеm lіvе асrоѕѕ muсh оf the world.
Andy Timmons Band latest release was in 2016 titled Theme From A Perfect World. We spoke to Andy to get an update on his current and future plans.
How did the remaster of Ear X-Tacy go?
AT: 2019 is the 25th anniversary of Ear X-Tacy. We dug out the original master tapes. Meaning I found the original DAT (Digital Audio Tape) which is how we were mixing that record.
We went from the analog two inch to a DAT tape. That’s how it was sent to the mastering house in Nashville back in 1994. The pre-mastered version sounded so much better than the master version. I just hadn’t heard it in their original state in so long. I was just used to the CD like everybody else. Back then, I wasn’t as aware of the mastering process and just kind of accepted what they sent into my ear. Now it sounds very compressed and brittle and high end and the lows.
We released a remastered almost quote unquote unmastered version. Something that sounds way more like the original analog recordings.
it is nice to kind of revisit things you did in the past. I had the same experience when I did a Danger Danger reunion. It’s been six or seven years ago, we did a handful of shows and it was really fun to revisit that material because half of it, I couldn’t remember what I did. I really had to relearn technically how I achieved certain things. I think that’s always healthy, you’re going to have this curve of change in tastes and an approach to the instrument, and it’s all balanced. Just different parts of your life and how you’re feeling and what you want to express. It’s always good to go back. I’m sure Eddie Van Halen likes to listen to Van Halen I. I’m no way Implying I’m EVH but it’s fun to revisit the energy when you’re 25 years old.
What made you do a cover of David Bowie’s song Heroes?
AT: It was kind of a look at it as my own subtle way of telling people to get out and vote the last election. We could be heroes even if it’s just for one day. That’s how I was interpreting the message and I had a good time. I played all the instruments in the studio and did the vocals too. I’ve done all of the instruments and vocals on other songs of mine you’ve seen on the Spoken and Unspoken record and others I really enjoyed it.
How do you feel you’ve evolved as a musician?
AT: It’s fuller circle than you might think because if you look back on my Ear X-Tacy record, which came out in 94, there was a lot of that was recorded and started before I joined Danger Danger.
My first instrumental track, which is on that record was recorded in 1988 called It’s Getting Better. it’s already in that genre of what Vai, Satriani and a little Yngwie influence what those guys were doing at the peak of the shred guitar movement. It was those recordings that got me the Danger Danger Gig. I just wasn’t confident in what I was doing in that field. This just out of my usual humble humility. I thought I’ll never be that level of player and here’s this chance to join this band.
To be honest. And some people know the story. When I was offered the Danger Danger gig. I was also offered the Tower of Power Gig, which is, for those that don’t know, a very influential kind of funk rock group from Oakland, California. My capabilities could have gone either way. I’d already studied quite a bit of Jazz if Miles Davis called, I could’ve taken that Gig. There was definitely a different animal in the hairband genre than the typical guitar player that might’ve been playing in that field. That’s not to downplay any player that was doing it. I came to it with a completely different depth of knowledge of guitar music already at that point. So, what happened after that point is that I just continued.
Some of my stuff might have been in that genre or something that was going back to more of the jazz thing. I equally enjoyed all of it. I listened back to the stuff that I did in Danger Danger and I’m really proud of it because I think there are some really nice melodic rock and rock and roll and guitar playing.
It’s an evolution. It’s a natural growth that if you’re really dedicated to your instrument, and I’ve always been, I’ve always been in this for the strictly for the music, I love the art of music, guitar playing and I just want to keep getting better.
Do you improvise a lot in the studio and live or do you work out a lot of stuff?
AT: I do it both ways. My album ‘Resolution’ started being all improvised in the studio. When we did the rhythm tracks, I was playing rhythm guitars and hadn’t written all the melodies and solos, so there was a lot of improvisation. When it came time to finish the guitar tracks, I decided to scrap everything I already recorded, but I liked some of the solos I did. So, I would learn the bits I liked from the improvised part and compose parts to go along with it to make one really cohesive piece of music. There are many tracks on my early records that are one take improvised and there’s a great spirit about that. This is the first record I did this way, and I’m really happy with the result. I gave myself permission at one point.
There’s kind of a stigma in some players heads about composing a solo, because if you come from a jazz background, that’s completely out of the question. Every song has to be fresh and improvised. I believe that to a certain degree, but when I think this has to last for the rest of our lives and hopefully longer and approach it as a composer, I don’t have a problem with it.
What are your plans for 2019?
AT: We have a tour booked for Asia in April and hopefully be back in the states by summer. I’m working on a new Andy Timmons Band album here and there with my bass player Mike Daane. I’m not working on a deadline. When we have something special enough to put, we will. I also started working on another project where I’ll be doing the vocals and instruments again as time permits.
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