What prompted you to originally start playing music and guitar specifically?
I was a music fanatic from the beginning of my life. Including pounding my head on the floor along with my parent’s records… which explains a lot.
Do you have any specific musical influences?
The Beatles were played a lot in my house when I was growing up, and they’re definitely my first major influence. The Beatles, Black Flag, The Sex Pistols, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra are my favorite bands.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
A lot of 50’s and 60’s rock and roll as a kid, and a little jazz. My mother had good taste in music, and I grew up with a great variety. When I was 11, a neighbor lent me Frank Zappa’s “Absolutely Free” which sparked my interest in “unusual” music… opening the door for punk rock.
What type of music are you listening to currently?
Lately, I’m listening to very melodic music, old and new. Simon and Garfunkel, Fiona Apple, Pernice Brothers, The Beatles (always), and I’m checking out a lot of 90’s music I hadn’t heard before. I’m looking for new things to listen to.
How did you originally hook up with the guys from the Descendents?
Karl Alvarez (ALL/Descendents bassist) and I grew up together. We knew Bill a little bit from shows we did with Black Flag. When Doug Carrion and Ray Cooper left, Bill called Karl, and Karl let me know they needed a guitarist too. It made sense for us to join together, since we’d played together for so long. We had been huge fans of the Descendents, so you can imagine how great it was for us to get to play with them.
Aside from ALL and the Descendents what other side projects are you currently working on?
I play with an instrumental band called Slorder. We released an EP a while ago, and will probably record more soon. I’ve also got a big stockpile of songs I’m not sure what to do with. I write all the time, and I play drums and bass, so I’ve recorded them, but haven’t figured out what to do with them from there. Occasionally I post a few on MySpace. I also played drums on a great record for a Tulsa band called John Moreland and the Black Gold Band. They have a permanent drummer now, but that was a lot of fun.
What do you prefer more, recording or touring?
I like recording more than touring. Touring is fun, and I like the challenge of live shows, but I like the idea of the music being more “permanent”.
What type of guitars and amps do you favor?
I play Music Man guitars. I’ve got a couple of older Gibson guitars as well. I have several different amps for different things. Satellite, Sound City, Crate, etc.
What are your personal favorite ALL and Descendents albums and why?
Favorite ALL record is Problematic. Bill, Karl, and Chad kick major ass on that record. For the Descendents, it’s Everything Sux. It was a really fun record to make. (Otter’s Note: On a personal note, Everything Sux is my favorite Descendents record as well.)
Do you have a particular song that is your favorite?
I have several I’m really fond of. Thank You, Rotting Out, Carry…
What prompted your move to Tulsa, Oklahoma?
My wife’s family lives here, and I wanted my kids to be close to them. It’s also really inexpensive here.
How much of an effect does your location have on how often you get together with your various music projects?
A really big effect. Almost all of my collaboration with other musicians is over the Internet. Slorder makes their way down once in a while, but most music I do is by myself these days.
How and why did you get involved in owning your own recording studio?
I’ve been recording bands for many years, and had a large hand in building our studio in Colorado (The Blasting Room). Since my main work is recording these days, I set up a studio after I moved here.
How many different band’s albums have you produced?
Probably 30 or so bands, and more than 50 projects over the last bunch of years.
Do you have a personal favorite band that you like to work with as far as recording goes?
Not really. For the most part, I really love recording. I enjoy working on music that’s outside my usual style, and I get along pretty well with people for the most part, so I can always find a way to get into a recording project. Recently I’ve been recording a band called John Moreland and the Black Gold Band, who’s music I really love. If you really get into the music, recording is an awesome thing to do.
Do you have any favorite movies? Favorite books?
I’m not as much of a reader as I should be. I go through phases where I watch a lot of movies. I like Seven, Fight Club, all the Pixar movies, the first 3 Star Wars movies. Cheesy stuff that doesn’t make me think too hard. I’m not much for comedies, because I’m not funny.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the music industry? How do you feel about music going almost completely digital?
The music industry appears to be in an awful state. I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m comfortable with music being digital, but it’s sad that along with that comes the breakdown of the industry. It means that touring is the main means for a musician can support themselves, as recording is more often than not a losing proposition financially. It means that very few musicians can eek out a living unless they’re touring, which means that a lot of great music is overlooked, or not able to be heard.
What is next on the horizon for All? The Descendents? Any other side projects you have going on?
I think ALL will continue to do occasional shows, and I’d like to think we could record more in the future. As far as Descendents, touring is out of the question, but I’m hopefully for a few more shows, and maybe a record. My projects these days are my own stuff, which I’m sorting out what to do with, as well as Slorder… which is an instrumental band… and eventually Scott Reynolds and I would like to finish recording our 40Engine record. As long as I’ve got a place to record, I’ll keep putting stuff out.
Thanks for stopping by!