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QRD #41 - Guitarist Interview Series Part I - June 2010
about this issue
Guitarist Interviews with:
Jason LaFarge
Aidan Baker
Jamie Stewart
Brian John Mitchell
Martin Newman
Mat Sweet
Robin Crutchfield
Darren Hayman
Anna-Lynne Williams
Larry Marotta
Mike Cosper
Sibyll Kalff
Jamie Barnes
Nathan Amundson
Jenks Miller
Chris Olley
Don Campau
Colin Newman
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Guitarist Interview with Tam
June 2010
Name: Tam
Bands: Tam / The Vampires
Websites: www.myspace.com/tamofvampires, www.ecstaticpeace.com, www.youtube.com/user/tamisabel, www.cdbaby.com/artist/tam1, www.sonicbids.com/tamok

QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?

Tam – Classical Aria. I sold it cuz it was cracked.

QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?

Tam – Electric guitar “Tracer” to overdrive or delay to Fender amp.

QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig – guitar, amplifier, or effects?

Tam – Guitar & drum trax.

QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?

Tam – Fender. A friend gave it to me. Sounds dirty.

QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?

Tam – Tracer. It's a copy of a Les Paul cuz I never could afford a real Les Paul.

QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?

Tam – Red hollow bodied f-hole guitar (Gretcsch I think it is).

QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?

Tam – 200 effects in one box.

QRD – How many guitars do you own?

Tam – 2.

QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?

Tam – In their cases. At a friends place.

QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?

Tam – Cost. Haha.

QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?

Tam – Nothing. Given by a worshipping admirer.

QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?

Tam – No.

QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?

Tam – About a half hour. Plug it in, see if it works.

QRD – Do you change your rig around often?

Tam – No.

QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?

Tam – One. Only vary if the song requires it.

QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?

Tam – No idea. Red hollow bodied f hole electric guitar. Vox amp. 200 effect pedal box.

QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?

Tam – A picture of a loved one.

QRD – What have been the best & worst guitar related purchases you’ve made?

Tam – Strings. I hate changin’ ‘em. Bad straps that fall off.

QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?

Tam – Gibson, cuz everybody has one & everybody wants one. I hate those oval shaped acoustics too. Ovation I think they’re called, sounds like menstrual problems.… I hate 2 guitars on one... heavy metal nightmares.…

QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?

Tam – What a stupid question... that depends what mood I’m in on that day?!

QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?

Tam – 16 or so.

QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?

Tam – 25.

QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?

Tam – No.

QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?

Tam – No. Piano is best. Easier to learn notes.

QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?

Tam – Both when I can’t play what I wish I could.

QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?

Tam – Django Reinhardt/Mike King, John Reissner, Harry Howard, William Reid, Dave Wenger, Andy Flesh, the guy from Love & Rockets, Nick Cave’s guitarists.

QRD – Do you think people anthropomorphizing their guitars is natural or silly?

Tam – Depends on what chemicals have been ingested.

QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?

Tam – I don’t hurt my guitars.

QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?

Tam – I listen to guitar parts from songs I like.

QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?

Tam – Varies if I have a show or not, 10-20 hours... more I guess, but I cant make noise where I live.

QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?

Tam – Purple Dunlop, cuz they’re hard & solid & Mike King showed me they were the best & he was right.

QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?

Tam – Medium... not too light, but doesn’t hurt your fingers.

QRD – How often do you change strings?

Tam – Never. Only if one breaks.

QRD – How often do you break strings?

Tam – Not a good question. Never jinx never.

QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Tam – My hand doesn’t fret, my mind does & that’s what affects my style... the amount of fretting!

QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?

Tam – Myself.

QRD – What tunings do you use & why?

Tam – Regular. Sounds good. Though I should experiment more I suppose.

QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?

Tam – Tablature.

QRD – How high do you hold your guitar when playing (strap length)?

Tam – Down by my hips.

QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?

Tam – I wish I didn’t play such complicated songs so that I could dance around while I play, plus my guitar is so heavy, I need a light one but don’t wanna get rid of my heavy one.

QRD – Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someone’s guitar playing?

Tam – Piano or bass.

QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing do you wish you could do that you can’t?

Tam – Feedback noise style.

QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?

Tam – Really fast solos.

QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?

Tam – Bass lines as guitar lines.

QRD – What’s a guitar technique you’d like to master, but haven’t?

Tam – Feedback.

QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Tam – Yes, from Mike King. I learned about a billion swing jazz chords in diminished & augmented etc., etc.

QRD – What would you teach someone in a guitar lesson that you don’t think they would generally get from a guitar teacher?

Tam – Dim & aug chords.

QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Tam – Take a lot of drugs.

QRD – What’s your take on tremolo systems?

Tam – Too clichéd.

QRD – What do you see as the difference between lead guitar & rhythm guitar players?

Tam – Stupid question.

QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?

Tam – No.

QRD – Who do you think is currently the most innovative guitar player & why?

Tam – Black blues busker I see playing the metro cuz his guitar is so out of tune, yet he makes it shine.

QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?

Tam – www.sonicbids.com/tamok

QRD – Anything else?

Tam – Book me on tour please ASAP! Europe & UK I need to go! Need a tour manager, thanks.  Label’s real mad.