On this page we will from time to time present a few informal interviews and talks with Jay made by Webmaster and Jay's
fans. We also have another section for the formal interviews made by editors of music
magazines, newspapers, music web sites and similar media. Interviews of both kinds will be added on an irregular
basis, so just keep an eye
on both sections.
Photo copyright © KEO 2002. All rights
This interview was made in 2001 by a Norwegian fan - H.C.Rosbach.
In his own words:
"I did an interview with Jay in January, and I am forever thankful - it's such an honour to
interview one of my biggest heroes ever."
1 - How do you feel about the "trends" which changes all the time, talking
about both music and clothes. Do you think the youth of today (at least some
of them) get's "manipulated" by e.g. MTV, musicmagazines for the youth and
young "pop-stars" like Brittney Spears, Backstreet Boys et.c?
* Trends will always be a big part of the music business. If not, things
would get stagnant. Record companies thrive on such activity and they make
sure to sign artists that lead the way. This is the music business!
MTV is the propaganda channel of the era. Is this a bad thing? No — the
young people speak/buy product through the medium.
2 - Do you think the art "to play an instrument" has faded a little away from
the musicians of today? Then I mean "new" musicians. You are musicians of
today, but you've been in the business for quite awhile.
* Every era has its "POP" music. Lets start with 1950’s rock. Most of the
early players were either country swing players or jazz players. Simple blues
type chord changes were cake for guitar players/keyboard players/bass
players/horn players. These guys were playing simple forms of blues, jazz,
country, or country swing. More chops than needed but since the players were
from areas that required serious technique, the performances were very good.
The young players of the 60’s typically did not have the technical
skills of the 50’s players as their learning base started with Rock (instead
of jazz or country). The Stones is a good example.
The 70’s showed a musical growth as the 60’s players had grown.
The 80’s took things a step further — more chord changes, lines and solos
that included interesting scale extensions.
The 90’s were the beginning of the downslide regarding technique and
melodic input. In the mid 90’s, the electric guitar was mostly played like a
rhythm acoustic guitar of the 60’s folk era. Except for metal, guitar solos
almost disappeared. Further, the solos that showed up were like 60 guitar
solos — very simple melodically.
As to answer the question in brief, you are correct. This is a
generalization as there are some artists that continue the music of past eras
with growth but are not topping the charts.
3 - What kind of relationship do you have with the new music styles? E.g.
tech, trance, rap, urban hip hop etc.?
* I like some of that stuff. Some tech dance records are loaded with ear
candy sounds and memorable melodies. Urban hip hop has some good grooves and
melodies. At this point, I have not attempted to go after those types of
producing gigs. As the mediums grow, I may jump in.
4 - What do you feel has changed most in the 30 past years? Still talking
about music, but maybe also how the new musicians, if you wanna call them
that, of today affect the youth?
*Musical growth has reversed itself since the mid 80’s. We need something
like Beatles to swing things around. Bottom line here — 99.9% of the record
buying public are not musicians.
5 - If you had to pick out your favorite musician or band from each decade
since 1950, and you couldn't mention the same name twice, who or which band
would you name?
Would you mind state the reason(s)?
* The 50’s: Scotty Moore’s guitar playing/solos on Elvis records are
outstanding!! I must include James Brown and Little Richard as incredible
singers. Further, James Brown "grooves" are as good as it will ever get! I
can’t remember if Ricky Nelson started in the late fifties. As a singer, no
big deal but the guitar solos played James Burton are outstanding!
The 60’s: All of the Beatle guitar solos! Note that only George played
The 70’s: Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan as far as artists. Regarding
guitar players, Larry Carlton and Dean Parks.
The 80’s: Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan as far as artists. Regarding
guitar players, Larry Carlton and Dean Parks.
The 90’s: Samples of the above (g)
6 - Would you say that it was easier to make it as a pop/rock musician
twenty/thirty years ago than today?
* Yes — in this era in LA, there are hardly any paying club gigs so players
that have the talent need to take day gigs as to survive.
7 - Do you think it's easier to make a techno album today than it was to make
a rock album twenty years ago? May you mind state the reasons for your
* Too many factors to include as to answer in full. In brief, real band
records with great players take little time in comparison. In this era of
machines and hard disk recorders, much time is spent gathering samples, etc.
as well as doing the arrangements.
8 - What musicians/bands do you think should get most credits for starting
the developement of the pop/rock music? Michael Jackson? Elvis? The Beatles?
Bill Haley & The Comets?
* All of them and every band or artist that made an impact over the years.
9 - Do you think the AOR genre would excist without the pop/rock genre?
What I mean; do you think AOR music excists because of pop/rock?
* AOR is a logical demographic — as artists fade from the pop market, if
they want to survive, they get into this market.
Note a most important fact: When an artist hits the pop charts receiving
major airplay/sales, in most cases, they think it will never end. If they
just thought about the fact that most will only have a short run, they would
save a good portion of the monies generated. The sad part is that rarely
happens for many reasons. When the run is up, reality sets in but too late to
do anything about it.
10 - What do you think of the new "hot" artists who makes it huge on the
charts like Eminem, Backstreet Boys, Bubbles et.c.? Do they really deserve
* As we know, every era has its stars. Any artist that becomes a star
deserves the success and all that comes with it. They are not being graded
upon musical talent — just commercial appeal.
In this era of hard disk recorder pitch correction (or stand alone units
like the TC INTONATOR), pitch is no longer a factor — youth and looks and a
song people want to hear are all that is needed.
11 - Do you listen to classical music? May you name some of your favorite
(My, Hasse's, all time favorite of the classical stuff is Händel's "Music For
The Royal Fireworks".
* I like most all classical music. Bartok is my favorite.
12 - May we ask you who're your top-5 favorite
musicians/bands/singers...whatever...all on the same top-5 list! No seperate
lists...this one's hard, huh?
13 - What do you think of the title on Alice Deejay's CD "Who Needs Guitars
(AD plays techno. It sucks)
* Never heard of that artist so no opinion.
14 - If you've got the time, may you rank your:
- 3 favorite guitars through the past 50 years? (since the birth of the
* The 335 was the guitar that changed my life. The George Gobel Gibson (a small
body version of the L5). My solid body BOSSA signature model.
- 5 favorite guitarists
- Stevie Wonder
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Sarah Vaugn
- Frank Sinatra
- Steely Dan
- 5 favorite albums (please, pop/rock genre only)
- Ted Greene
- Lenny Breau
- Joe Pass
- Alan Holdsworth
- Larry Carlton
- Stevie Wonder — MUSIC OF MY MIND. This album was a milestone in pop music on
levels. Unbelievable melodic composition and the best singer of all time! All
of the following records are incredible as well!
- Steely Dan — THE ROYAL SCAM. All of the following records are incredible as
- Beatles — REVOLVER. All of the following records are incredible as well!
Seal’s first album. Not the vocal performance but the unbelievable synth
arrangements and sounds.
Interviews made in 2000.
Q.1. What is your process, both in writing and recording your songs. From the initial
idea to the finished product?
* The Writing Process
I typically play the piano (or a synth) and experiment with chord
changes. As I experiment, a melody starts taking shape. Eventually, I will
have a complete song section (either a verse or chorus).
If the written section is the verse, I start working on the "B" section
in the same fashion. After finding a "B" section that I like, time to find a
solid chorus (and a bridge if needed). After I have the sections basically
worked out, I typically make little changes as to maintain a melodic flow
If the first section written was the chorus, I start working on the
verse, then the "B" section, then a bridge (if needed). After happy with all
sections, as basically mentioned above, I do my best to smooth out
During all of the experimentation, I keep a cassette recording running as
to make sure I do not loose any ideas I like.
The above is one approach. Sometimes I get a melody in my head and then
go to a cassette record as fast as possible as to make sure I do not loose
Other options would be finding a guitar lick, a drum machine groove, a
bass line, etc., and use as the starting place. So many possibilities.
If working with other writers, someone will have a song start and we
basically work through the process in the various fashions mentioned above.
The Recording Process
If the song will be sequencer/machine based (drum machine (or drum
samples) with synths as the melodic foundation), I patch the gear into the
mixer and start working out parts.
If I have not set up a basic drum pattern, I do so - typically, a two bar
loop pattern (not to be confused with a drum loop although I may use a drum
sample loop instead). I then work on the main synth part and sound (patch).
After getting that part in the sequencer, I add a synth bass. After getting
all the basic synth parts in the sequencer, I work on the drum stuff in full.
After completing the drum sequence, if other synth parts are needed (strings
on a balled, whatever), I work out the sounds and parts. I may add other
You may wonder why I would not record the basic stuff before adding all
the synth parts in the sequencer. Two reasons:
1. I am not a good keyboard player so playing keyboard stuff in real time
(after recording the sequence track) would be a time waster.
2. With #1 in mind, you might think I should add the parts in the
sequencer after recording the basic track. All sequencers I know of need to
be time locked with the recorder as to sync up meaning the sequencer and
recorder are not the same program. With that in mind, every time a sequencer
is locked to a recorder using some type of time code, data interrupts occur
within the sequencer. Data interrupts cause timing slop which hurts the
If I get into data interrupts at this point, I will be typing for days.
The bottom line is this - the best way to record a sequencer track is to
record all parts at the same time. Skip to #3 below for the rest of the
If the song will be recorded with musicians, the process is standard. I
will list the order of things to do.
1. I write out a master rhythm chart.
2. I call the musicians I want to play on the basic track - drums, bass,
keyboards, and maybe a guitar player. Keep in mind that I engineer the
tracking sessions (all recording/mixing) so it would be impractical to play
on the session.
3. After the track is recorded, time to record the vocal (and background
vocals if needed). To explain this process in full would take around 40
pages. That information will be found in a books series I am writing along
with Craig Anderton on recording techniques.
4. The next step is to record any overdubs needed.
5. Mixing is obviously the last stage. *
Q.2. Could you share some stories about some of your classic cuts, both as
a songwriter and session guitarist?
* The book series will include stories but for now, one quick one. I was on
a session with a European arranger. When playing the chart for the first
time, about half way down the chart, I came across the chord H min 7th b5.
I asked the band to stop playing and then asked the arranger to explain
what chord was wanted as that must have been a mistake. The arranger said the
chart is correct. I mentioned that H is not a note! After thought, he said
"oh, H is a B."
Always something to learn as H is used for B in his country. *
Q.3. Can you share some advice on writing a "hit" song and improvising a
memorable solo, like the one you did in Steely Dan's "Peg".
* Regarding writing a hit song, if I had the answer to that question, I
would have most of the hits in the top ten all the time. Seriously, write
good melodies, good lyrics, and use a beat and sounds of the era. Hopefully,
the song will get recorded by a major artist.
Regarding improvising, everyone has their library of licks/lines. It
seems solos that stand out have some ideas not typically heard before. When
recording solos, my advice is to take chances - you will surely find new
positions and scales which will lead to further growth! *
Q.4. Finally, what sort of gear have you in your studio set-up?
Thank you for your time. - Joe
* All recording I do as a guitarist is in my studio. Other than my
projects, if I am hired as to play a solo, I ask for the tapes and work in my
room. With that in mind, all the outboard gear used is in the studio outboard
gear rack. Here is a typical setup for solos.
I bring up the amp mic and after adding Eq and compression, I blend in the
two effects to taste. The 4000 pitch is typically set 6 cents shard and the
delay line is set to 45 milliseconds.
The main reason I do not send the effects to the amp is because amp speakers
sound best when just seeing a non effected signal.
Best to all - Jay *
- Typically, I use my BOSSA guitar.
- I plug an Orange Squeezer compressor between the guitar and amp and patch
into my Rivera RAKE HEAD amp which would be in the control room.
- Speaker wire to RAKE BOTTOM (in another room).
- RAKE BOTTOM miked with a Shure SM 57
- Mic routes into mixer module X mic input.
- Mixer module X assigned recorder track bus #1 (whatever track)
- Mixer module X is also assigned to two other busses (Y and Z).
- Bus Y output goes into the HARMONIZER 4000 input and is assigned to
recorder track bus #1.
- HARMONIZER 4000 input goes into a unused mixer module input.
- Bus Z output goes into THE TC 2290 delay line.
- TC 2290 output goes into a unused mixer module input and is assigned to
recorder track bus #1.
This interview was made in July, 2000 by
The 1999 interviews
I have a book called THE ESSENTIAL STUDIO GUITARIST featuring among others -
you, and you are saying (among other things) about challenging dates, that
...."Thankfully I had had a great deal of experience in my younger days
working on shows such as Holiday On Ice where everything is written in two."
Do you remember anything more around these shows, for instance... when this
happened, what shows you played on, any names, any tunes, any something....?
* When I was in college, I had the good fortune as to play guitar in the
"stage band" (a "big band" consisting of 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes,
piano, bass, drums, and guitar). Such a band plays instrumental jazz
arrangements similar to the big bands of the 40's but with "hipper" voicings.
Our teacher (Richard Carlson) went to great lengths as to acquire quality
arrangements from writers such as Bob Florence. A huge bonus was the 2nd
trombonist, Ray Jackson, is a great arranger - his charts are ear candy and
fun to play!
This band consisted of great musicians since many were trying to avoid
the army draft - during the Viet Nam war, if in college full time, low odds
regarding getting drafted. If the draft was not an issue, most of the
musicians would have been working professionally meaning the band would have
had a lower caliber of musicians.
When the Ice Follies or Holiday On Ice show came to town (each, once a
year for two weeks performing at the Forum), along with a full time
conductor, they carried key players (lead trumpet player and rhythm section
minus guitar). As to augment to a "big band", many of the players in the
Valley College stage band were called for the gig along with some top notch
I played this gig twice a year for about three years. Only one rehearsal
before the first show and I clearly remember the first rehearsal (the first
time I played the gig) since I learned two things quickly - how to play in
"cut time" as well as how to fold and turn pages quickly.
Regarding "cut time", if you do not know the term, think of a fast "boom
chuk" feel. There are two beats to the bar but not like 2/4 meaning cut time
has 4 "notated" beats to the bar. In "cut time", when tapping your foot two
beats per bar, a written half note correlates to each of the two foot taps
per bar. A 1/4 note would be played like an 8th note, and so on.
Up to this point in time, I had little experience with "cut time" but
found it fairly easy as to adjust - I started thinking how common rhythm
figures would look in cut time verses how they look in 4/4 time. Just simple
Regarding page turning, this is an art when the music is mostly non stop
for two and a half hours! Also most important to organize (keep in order) the
chart just played as to have in order for the next show. Simple - put the
tune just played in the back of the "book".
The key to page turning is to use two music stands (side by side) as to
start. Note: if the chart is only 4 pages, no need for page turning since you
can open up all 4 pages and crease it inward on the middle of the first and
last page creases. This will keep page I and 4 from not falling off the end
of the music stand.
If more than 4 pages, or if the last song segue's into the next tune (no
time to fold a 4 page chart), the chart is placed with the first page and 2nd
page visible. Turning the 2nd page over (to the left) allows viewing of the
3rd and 4th page. If the 4th page was last, no more page turning. If more
pages, set up as to open like a book.
There are times when the page needs to be turned without a bar or so of
rest. The key is to discover what music is most important to play - the
passage just before page turning, or the passage on the following page.
If the passage preceding the page turn is important (a solo melody line,
etc.), memorize this passage, drop out before the line to be played, and turn
the page before it starts. If the antithesis (the next page starts with an
important line), drop out just before the page turn, turn the page, get
prepared and play the line.
In my case, the guitar book was mostly rhythm so if I dropped out for a
bar or so, no big deal.
I did find away around the problem which is - if playing "boom chuk"
rhythm, since I always use a volume pedal, I would "hammer on the chord
changes with the left hand (increase the volume with the volume pedal as to
match volume) and turn the page with the right hand.
This gig was non stop reading! On the weekends, there were two shows on
Saturday, and three on Sunday. The other nights were single shows. I can't
remember if there was a night off. As much as the gig was serious work and a
total burn out on the weekends, the musical education was priceless!
Since the shows traveled to some towns where they could not pick up
quality musicians, before the season started, Paul Walburg (conductor for Ice
Follies) would "pre record" stuff like guitar parts and any other key parts
After the first year on the gig, Paul called me as to record the
important guitar featured stuff. The sessions were intense since so many
styles of music needed to be recorded in a short period of time. The
instruments used were electric guitar, steel string acoustic, gut string
acoustic, banjo, mandolin, and other odd plectrum instruments.
Here is an example of how the session progressed. The first tune may be a
"rock" guitar solo. The engineer would play the multi track tape and I would
typically hear a guide piano part (for pitch and melodic reference) and a
clix track. Strange to play a rock solo without a rhythm section but such is
life as a studio player - you never know what to expect on a session.
Since so much music to record in a short period of time, I needed to nail
a good solo as fast as possible. Most of the stuff kept was "first take"
whether I liked or disliked the performance - such is life as a studio player.
The next tune may be on banjo or whatever. Time to switch mental gears
and get into that groove. Since so much music to play over many hours, most
important that I stayed focused and avoid "loss of concentration" mistakes. A
helper is to circle the DS, CODA, repeats that are not obvious, and so on.
When playing the Holiday On Ice show, the traveling piano player was
Bobby McFerrin! Yes, the incredible singer himself! In that era, I had jam
sessions at least every two weeks and would record using my Sony 4 track
recorder. One such session includes Bobby. I should pull out those tapes
someday and release (even though the playing was not very good - keep in mind
we were young).
One funny bonus regarding the Ice shows. I liked to drink ice tea out of
a jar. The band stand was plywood sitting on the ice and my chair was next
the edge of the plywood. I set the ice tea on the ice as to keep it cold! *
As a hard working session player do you recall any special gig memories you would like
to share with us?
* When working full time as a studio guitarist, the ice show "cut time"
experience came in handy in a big way for one gig in particular. The gig is
speak of was the 2nd Annual Rock 'n' Roll Awards TV show.
All big TV awards shows consists of a big band and maybe a string
section. As with awards shows, there are usually five nominees and the winner
is not known until announced. All of the musicians have 8 bars or so of 5
different tunes and when the winner is announced, the conductor calls out a
song number or holds up fingers, gives a downbeat (no count off), and
typically, all the horn players play the melody in unison. Of the 13 horn
players, maybe 5 or so actually catch the beginning of the melody and others
Well, that year, the producers decided that since it was a rock and roll
show, they just wanted the melodies played by the lead guitar player (me). If
that was not enough pressure, all the songs were written in cut time! This
was not logical from a musical stand point since such tunes would never be
written in cut time. The only reason I could come up with is when tunes are
written out in cut time, the arranger makes twice the money since twice as
many bars - the arranger is paid per bar!
Remember that I am looking at a chart with 5 tunes with 16 (or so) bars
each written in cut time! The winner is announced, the conductor says the
song number, and gives a downbeat. No count off so what is the tempo? Man,
the pressure was on!
Ed Greene was playing drums and he is a very solid player. He took
control of the tempos and it would take a few beats for the rhythm section to
lock into the tempo. Dave Parlotto was the bass player and I think Mike Lang
Fred Tackett was the rhythm guitar player and to complicate matters
further, occasionally, he had a melody harmony part to play along with me.
Fred did a great job as well as all of the rhythm section.
So for the three hour show, 99% of the time, the pressure was on big
time! I only blew one melody (I could not find it on the music paper in time)
so as soon as I found the music on the page, I just started soloing (playing
off of the chord changes) until the melody came around the 2nd time.
If not for the Ice show cut time experience, I would have made many
mistakes! After the show, I was totally drained!
The next day, I was playing a record session as usual, and the pianist on
the session, Tom Keene (not Tom Keane the pianist/songwriter) was telling the
guys on the session that the guitar player on last nights award show had to
play most all the melodies by himself and he played great! The others agreed.
He then mentioned the pressure factor since all players on the session
understand how award shows work. The others agreed.
After he was finished, I humbly told the guys it was me and mentioned all
the music was written in cut time. They all asked why would the arranger
would do that. I said it had to be for the double arranging money. They
congratulated me which made me feel I had done a good job.
So for any of you that want to be a studio player, always best to be
prepared for anything! Some gigs may be easy but some may be total pressure
on many levels. *
The 1998 interviews
Do you ever listen to classical music and get inspiration from this genre
and in that case any specific composers?
I listen to classical music from time to time. I appreciate and have total respect for such
music but rarely does this style directly relate to my compositions or productions.
The only exception is the song "BACH GOES SURFIN" on the RAKE AND THE SURFTONES album.
This song originated from a Bach guitar piece. I added a bridge that Bach would approve of if
he was hipped to surf music!
The 1997 interviews
Many of the Christian groups play what is referred to as Westcoast music. Do you have
any theory of why this kind of music would attract them?
* Christian Music is still based on westcoast pop music and keeps the style alive. I think it
is because quality pop is melodic and relates to Christian lyrics. There are metal Christian
bands and probably other current styles like "grunge" and the like. R&B Christian music is
also very good in most cases. *
Why is your studio called the Garden Rake Studios? Is there a story behind or did the
name just come from out of the blue?
* My nickname is Jake the Rake. Graydon sounds like garden so Garden Rake evolved. I must
thank my friends Dan Walsh and Harry Garfield for the combination. *
You are a "feel guy" of guitar playing, Jay, but do you also write down your solos?
Which comes first - the improvised solo or the calculated written down sheet music? Do you
practice reading a lot?
* Typically "feel guys" started playing without formal lessons. I studied later. This is good
and bad. The guy that can play from the heart and soul would have an advantage if he learned
to read music young since they would not have to spend hours practicing mechanics while
working gigs. During my early 20's, I played record dates, rehearsal bands, worked a 6 niter
club gig and then practiced for hours after the gig. No regular life! I am not complaining
since it was what I wanted to do. It would have been easier if I had learned to read at an
I never write down solos before I play them. I might write down "wire choir" harmony parts
after the first part is complete so as to save time. Regarding practicing these days, I play
when I need to get ready for a project. *
The 1996 interviews
You're known as a perfectionist. Are you hard to please musically, Jay? Do you ever
compromise and let go of your principles? And have you ever refused to play a session with
someone you didn't feel matched your standards musically?
* Yes I am known as a perfectionist which can be good or bad. It is bad if you do not like
records that employ good pitch, "good time" (steady tempo) and a good feel. This is good if
you respect the fact that I am making records as to have the performances as good as they can
get without being stiff.
Perfect records only exist in the mind of the listener. I have standards I try to follow like
good pitch, good feel and good time (steady tempo). I am flexible meaning that if the recording
does not require good pitch regarding the singer for "feel" reasons, I would adapt. If a
singer sings a line with incredible feel but is out of tune on one note, I may try to fix it
with a pitch changing device but if it messes with the feel, and I have trouble using "off
set time shifting" (pitch shifting devices have a random delay), I will leave it alone if it
is the best performance I think I will get from the singer after many recorded passes. Much
more on this at some point in time. *
When you produce songs for other artists how much is YOU in those productions? I think I can detect a
specific "Graydon touch" on albums like "Extensions" by Manhattan Transfer, "They Don't Make Them Like They Used To" by
Kenny Rogers or "High Crime" and "Breakin' Away" by Al Jarreau. Is it just my imagination or do you have some magic
impact on the artists to sound in your special way?
* Regarding how much is me when producing records, this depends on many factors. If I had
something to do with the composition and arrangement, then my input would be thick. All of the
records I have made have one common thread. I mixed them as the engineer so the "layering"
may have similar characteristics. *
The "Airplay" album is considered the most classic Westcoast record of all times. It was
a milestone in music history and it still is one of the greatest albums ever. How would you
define Westcoast music? How does it differ from other music genres?
* The Airplay recording was not successful in the States. David and I did not understand how to
be artists at that time. We were not forced into promoting for a few reasons. RCA had gone
through two "executive house cleanings" before we finished the album so the new top executives
did not have any feelings regarding the project. This is typical. Unless the artist is a
"star", they usually dump all projects and start signing their new rooster. The funny thing is
that the project was already paid for during the last regime, and with a little promotion,
their very small gamble would be a gift if it paid off!
Our management people should have been more active regarding staying on the promotion people at
the record company and should had us do interviews. I have learned to be very active in the
promotion of my records.
The term "West Coast Music" was defined by the fine people of Europe and Asia (I think). To me
West Coast Music means quality melodic pop music. *
You are right now on the verge of a new career, Jay?! Is that a correct assumption? What
I mean is that you will from now on give yourself a solo chance so to speak?
* Yes I am at the start of a solo career. The best thing about this is that I can make the
record the way I please. Even though I am a guitar player, I do not want to make a Jay Graydon
total instrumental album at this point in time since it limits the audience meaning that most
people like to be "sung to" and there is an over abundance of instrumental guitar "melodic"
Your studio "Garden Rake Studios" was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1994. Have you
rebuilt it by now and how is it equipped?
* Garden Rake Studios ate it big time in the earthquake but is now rebuilt and is better than
ever! I have 8 ADAT's and use them. I also still use the 24 tk
analogue machines as well. It depends on the project. *
Your plans for the nearest future, Jay? After this hectic tour in Japan and Sweden -
what's next? First sleeping off the jet-lag, yes, but then what?
* What is next is to learn the acoustics and new equipment in my rebuilt studio and make
records. The surf record that I recently recorded, "Rake and the
Surftones" is basically completed and will be available on Westcoast Records in Scandinavia
very soon. *
(Available since June 5, 1996. - Webmaster's comment.)
Your music is often referred to as "music for musicians". Are you familiar with that
expression and does it bother you?
* Music (albums) for musicians can be good and bad. If it is only listened to by musicians, we
will not sell many records. If the songs are radio worthy, the audience will be much bigger.
That is the main reason I like to make records with vocals.
The surf album "Rake and the Surftones" is mostly instrumentals which goes against the above
paragraph concept. This is a special circumstance. This record was recorded for 2 reasons. One
being that I needed a reason to check out the rebuilt studio with no "business pressure" and
the other being I always wanted to revisit my youth. The album was composed and recorded like
a surf record from the 60's. *
I have often wondered what it is like to always have to give and give of yourself when
you are touring and playing every night. Do you ever get to the point of complete
fatigue.......I mean, like, do you ever feel "What am I doing? I can't play no more, I can't
write or produce or sing...I have lost the drive and interest......Oh, I wish I were a
chartered accountant instead!"?
* Regarding playing live, I had not played live in a serious manor for many years until 2
years ago. WHAT FUN! Real time music instead of recording is much more gratifying!
Yes, I get extremely tired and burnt out when there are gigs every night for long periods of
time but when we hit the stage and the people are screaming with delight, a feeling inside
allows me to bypass the fatigue and deliver notes with expression from deep within my heart and
Regarding "What am I doing? I can't play, write or produce and maybe become an accountant." A
record producer is an accountant, psychologist and much more. Seriously, every musician,
writer and producer that is honest with himself (herself) and does not let the ego get out of
control, feels this sometimes. This should be looked at in a positive way meaning that this
should be the fuel for new energy to overcome the feeling.
The bottom line is that creative people must realize that tomorrow may bring new ideas. If you
are working on a song and can not find a good chorus, do something else for a while like
watching TV. I have come up with good ideas when my mind was clear like the time I came up with
the chorus melody and chord changes to TURN YOUR LOVE AROUND sitting on the toilet. *
(The secret of creating a Grammy Award winning song, maybe? - Webmaster's
How do you cope with the new music trends in society today? Do you feel you have to
change to go with the flow or are you obstinate enough to resist and play what you feel is
right for you? How much would you consider bending so to speak?
* Music of today is strange in the US and Pop is almost non existent. The states had always
been a place for a new sound. I think that the rest of the world has better taste than the
states. Music is always a reflection of society and the states reflect this with much low IQ
these days. It is rare when something sounds fresh and new. I try to be open minded and listen
to what is left of radio to no avail. I feel fortunate to have made records in an era that
appreciated good melodies. It is time for the next "Beatles" meaning a new sound that will
change the concept of pop music.
R&B music is still good in the states in general. I like some of the new singers and songs.
Regarding "musically bending, going with the flow", this depends on many factors. In the case
of my records, I would bend to a current style if I like it. If you mean would I produce an
artist that is young and current, it would depend on the talent of the artist and record
company interest. *
You said that you like some of the new R&B artists. Any names?
* TLC, Brian McKnight, and a few that were not announced on the radio when listening. *
Will there ever be an "Airplay" revival? Many of your fans would really look forward to
* This would mostly be up to David. He runs his record company which is a huge time burner. He
also produces most of his artists and produces outside artists as well. I wonder when he has
time to sleep!
Most likely, AIRPLAY will not make another record unless some huge fan /entrepreneur comes out
of the woodwork and funds the project. A major "states" record company would not care about
this style of recording in 1996 unless we had a guy in the band that has 2 heads or something
like that. *
Are you afraid that such a revival would take away the magic of this milestone album?
* No. It would just be another musical experience. The last thing to be afraid of is musical
Apart from your recent touring with Tommy Funderburk you have also done a couple of
gigs with parts of the "old" Airplay crew which was a tremendous success and much to your
astonishment, I believe.
* Other than my last tour with Tommy, 2 out of 3 members of AIRPLAY did 4 gigs in Japan along
with a video for Japanese TV.
I went to Japan with David about 2 years ago to perform with the "Super Producer" tour. The
artists were Celine Dion, Peabo Bryson, Color Me Badd, Wendy Walton, Warren Wiebe and myself
plus a 70 piece orchestra / top session rhythm players / horn players.
Kenji Sano told me that when we would play the 3 AIRPLAY songs, people would freak out. He was
right! 10,000 people a night for 4 nights applauded louder for David and I than anyone else!
How bizarre. I did not realize that AIRPLAY could have such an impact with this size audience.
Maybe by some strange turn of events, AIRPLAY may be back but not likely. *
Where do you find inspiration to your songs? Do you work hard on "calculating" harmonies
that go well together or is the song "just there" one day (more or less)?
* There are no rules when writing songs. It may start with a melody, or 4 or 8 bars of chord
changes which leads to a melody, a drum groove that sets up a bass line or rhythm pattern or
For some reason, ideas may pop up in my brain at times when least expected. The key is to get
to a cassette machine before the ideas get lost. "Calculating" harmonies grow as the song and
arrangement grows. *
How do you co-write songs? A stupid question, I know, but it fascinates me how musicians
can let go of their own ego so to speak and submit to other musicians' opinions. Do you split
up different parts of the songs - like "you do the chorus", "you do the words" etc. or is it
just a "happening" altogether? I mean, would you be calling up David Foster saying "I got this
beautiful harmony loop I can't get out of my head - can you write some lyrics to it??"
* Again, no rules. You may have an idea before getting together. If the idea develops, great,
if not, move on to another idea. The idea may set up a verse or chorus but may get discarded
for a new section later. Be open to changes.
The ego factor is not a problem in most cases. This mostly shows up with amateurs with little
experience. If an idea is not working, it will be obvious to professionals. You can't make
history every time you try to write a song. Move on to another idea if your first idea gets
tired and does not grow.
Song writing can be very frustrating and may take weeks to finish a song or may flow out of the
mind quickly. No rules. *
Keep your eyes open for the next interview update soon. There's a lot to tell. Jay also has his
very own corner where he will tell you stories from the files in
the back of his mind. Ask Jay about music on this page and he will
answer when he finds the time to do so. Jay also shares with us some tricks of the trade on
the Jay's Hints And Tints section.
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