Inquisition


We’ve dug deep in the basement of the Internet to bring this Inquisition back to life. Following is a quick Grace & Fury interview with the inventive avant-garde guitarist Janet Feder from approximately 2003.

What’s the last album you listened to?
Cassandra Wilson’s ‘New Moon Daughter’ after dinner tonight. Very romantic. Her covers especially of U2′s ‘Love is Blindness’, Son House’s ‘Death Letter’, and Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’ slay me.

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
Glenn Gould’s (1982) recording of J. S. Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’.

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with.
Bill Frisell.

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why.
You wouldn’t know her – her name was Dr. Gertrude Hausmann. She was my guide and my friend for my whole life until she passed last January. She was brilliant even when it caused her to be unpopular, courageously true to herself, passionate about family, friendships, and nature, and compassionate always. If my life is even a little like hers it will be worthwhile and good.

Do you read music?
Yes.

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Cycling (road).

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
When I was seven I imagined I could play ukelele chords on the top four strings of the guitar – they were all I could reach on my Dad’s plywood ‘Gibson J-45′ knock-off that he’d bought for about $10 when he was in the Navy. That guitar was so beautiful to me, all sunburst and funky smelling and had strings about 3/4 inch off the fretboard. I loved it so much I wanted to be it. It died a majestic death-by-drowning in the Colorado River. By then he’d bought me my very own guitar, a little 3/4 sized Gibson mahogany folk guitar with fake tortoise binding and pickguard which I stupidly sold for a…oh well let’s not go there. If anyone out there has that Gibson I’d buy it back in a second.

For a more current take, see also this NPR interview with Feder from 2012.

Here’s yet another archive Inquisition from the deceased Grace & Fury website. Enjoy the exchange with Alan Morse, guitarist of prog torch bearers Spock’s Beard.

What’s the last album you listened to?
I listened to a couple of cuts off “Tom Jones Greatest Hits” the other day, truly hysterical stuff. There’s this song on it called “The Young New Mexican Puppeteer” the never fails to crack me up, it’s so weird. The last time I listened to a whole album it would have been Ian Hunter’s first solo album. Mick Ronson’s guitar playing on that record is the killerest thing in the world!

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
David Bowie “Aladdin Sane”. Another Mick Ronson masterpiece. Did I mention I like Mick Ronson?

Name one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with.
Hendrix. What can I say? Or Mick Ronson…

Name one person outside of music that you admire and why.
My Dad. He just does what he wants, he doesn’t care what anybody thinks!

Do you read music?
I can, but not very well, I rarely have a need to. I guess it might help me remember all those 20 minute epics we do in Spock’s Beard, but it’s a little late to start now…

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Hanging out with my family, crossword puzzles, playing Tetris & Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, drinking good coffee!

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
My first guitar was probably one of those black “Stella” three quarter size ones. Great cheap guitars. I don’t have the original one, but I bought one just like it on ebay, it’s really fun. I looked around for one for years, I guess that’s the beauty of ebay, you can find weird old obscure stuff that isn’t worth much to anybody else, like old Captain Beefheart records or something.

Here’s another of the unearthed original Inquisition columns from Grace & Fury. I certainly have exchanged email with some outstanding musicians.

Please welcome the renowned and influential Richard Lloyd to The Inquisition. You can hear Richard’s playing on all of Television’s classic albums as well as on releases by others including Matthew Sweet.

What’s the last album you listened to?
Busta Rhymes – Genesis

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
Jimi Hendrix – Axis Bold As Love

Name one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with.
Mike Bloomfield

Name one person outside of music that you admire and why.
G.I Gurdjieff. Because he was awake.

Do you read music?
Not so good.

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Hypnosis, Yoga, Alchemy, Qi Gong, Tantra, Hermeticism, etc…

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
It was a Ukulele. I played it with a quarter as a pick. Then I got a Stratocaster. I have neither of those anymore, but I still play Strats.

Digging in the archives: Here is a reposting of one of the original “Inquisition” articles that ran on the long deceased Grace and Fury website.

This email interview was conducted with Shawn in 2001, less than 18 months before his untimely death. It is being presented here in its original form. One can almost sense the flood of words and ideas flowing through the man while reading this verbatim manuscript.

What’s the last album you listened to?
the 1958 hungaroton recordings of gyorgy cziffra including his legendary transcriptions of the william tell overture,tritsch-tratsch polka,flight of the bumblebee,and others,cziffra is an amazing pianist,easily
the equal to vladimir horowitz though much less known,in america at least,his pupil cyprien katsaris is his only true hier artistically,and as amazing as they are technically,they are still not in my opinion the virtuosi that marc-andre hamelin and maurizio pollini are,the former being the greatest young pianist ,the latter,possibly the greatest living pianist,now that glenn gould and sviatoslav richter are both dead.exiting vulgar stuff

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
j.s. bach the goldberg variations glenn gould columbia records 1955

Name one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with.
l.shankar (south indian carnatic music violinist) and my partner in music, bassist, jonas hellborg

Name one person outside of music that you admire and why.
noam chomsky for his intellectual honesty and clarity,also gore vidal(for the same reasons)

Do you read music?
no

Any other passions/obsessions besides music?
my other obsessions are;cinema,painting,politics,evolutionary biology,quantum physics, interviews, biographys,zoology,architecture,sculpture,sociology,history,anthropology, vermeer, velasquez, rembrandt,shakespear,ingmar bergman,tarkovsky,fellini,godard,bruegel,bosch,van eyck,the
element of crime,the fifth element,reds,nusrat and qawwali music,salamat and nazakat ali khan,bhimsen joshi,pandit jasraj,mandolin srinivas,1920′s piano recordings,david lynch and angelo badalamenti,sergio leone and ennio morricone,alfred hitchcock and bernard herrmann,louis lombardo,dede allen,conrad hall,sven nykvist,vittorio storaro.

What was your first guitar and do you still have it?
a teisco electric,and a green stamp acoustic,no i dont have them

David “Fuze” Fiuczynski is a man of action. The guitarist has been featured in every publication under our and other suns, has appeared on nearly 100 albums—including work as chief iconoclast with the fabulously uncategorizable Screaming Headless Torsos— and is a professor at Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music. What’s more, I appealed for this interview maybe 90 minutes ago. In the meantime Fuze accepted and turned around the following answers. See: Action. So in the spirit of rapid fire creativity, please enjoy the following:

What’s the last album you listened to?
I’ve been listening to microtonal music by Carrillo, Haba and Wyschnagradsky.

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
Hard to nail it down to one … I think everyone should listen to Beethoven, Miles, Beatles and James Brown.

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
Hard to say; I would love to collaborate with players who want to improvise, groove in a non-Western and microtonal context. Some completely new musical colors are possible!

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
The architect Frank Gehry. I love the fact that he has his own voice that’s modern but also functional.

Do you read music?
Not a great sight reader, but i do read music. It’s important; it’s like typing. If I could type faster I would spend less time on email (= business) and more time on music ( = fun!).

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
I love painting—Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso are my favorites. Sometimes I go to a museum and it seems like some of these paintings have become friends …

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
Beat up old Yamaha nylon string. I think it’s at my parents’ place.

You can find more on Fuze right here and right here.

Also, severely dig this:

Do I really need to introduce Michael Schenker? Probably not. If you’re a student of rock guitar you’ve heard his searing, distinctive playing on close to 40 years worth of recordings by Scorpions, UFO, and Michael Schenker Group. His two-tone Flying V is as iconic as any instrument in the field and his writing style has been an influence on the entire genre of hard rock. It is our distinct pleasure to present the rapid fire answers of the Mad Axeman himself:

What’s the last album you listened to?
MSG Live 30th Anniversary Album

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
Led Zeppelin 3

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
Rod Stewart – Blues Rock Album

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
My mother, because of her humbleness.

Do you read music?
No.

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Life.

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
Framus. No, I don’t have it anymore.

Keep up with Schenker right here.
Special thanks to Felicitas Siegel for facilitating the above exchange.

As you wade through the lagers and ales of the guitar playing world, with any luck you’ll eventually happen upon the champagne tone and style of Mr. Rick Musallam. He’s a bit more refined and tasty than the rest and goes right to your head, I tell ya. You can hear the LA-via Wichita-via Lebanon guitarist on a wide variety of releases by artists ranging from The Roots to Pato Banton to Mike Keneally, with whom he’s recorded and toured for many years. He can also be traced to the likes of SMUG and Mother Eff. It’s my pleasure to present the Rick Musallam Inquisition:

What’s the last album you listened to?
Deep Purple Stormbringer.

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
It’s really hard to limit it to one album—I guess it depends on the style of music someone’s into. For R&B – Stevie Wonder Innervisions , jazz – Miles Davis Kind of Blue, rock—so many great ones, but one that I can think of right now is Led Zeppelin IV,  funk – The Meters Rejuvenation, pop – Beatles Abbey Road or Revolver, more pop/singer-songwriter – Neil Young Harvest … I can go on forever, but you asked me for one :-)

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
A lot more than one for sure, but right now what comes to mind is Chaka Khan.

There is something to be said, though, for playing music without reading, when you really just have to rely on your ear.

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
Mahatma Gandhi , was a great example to all mankind.

Do you read music?
Yes, although the kind of gigs I do , I don’t get to do much of it, I find that I lose my chops as far as sight reading after a while. There is something to be said, though, for playing music without reading, when you really just have to rely on your ear more, most of the time you’re able to put more feel into something than reading something on paper you’ve never heard before.
All my idols never read or wrote a lick. Jimi Hendrix , Wes Montgomery, etc…

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Cooking, finding great restaurants and vacation spots, hanging out with friends, and tweaking old Marshall heads .

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
First was a Yamaha nylon string that I put steel strings on, because I wanted it to sound like “Stairway To Heaven”— I was 10 … long gone. My first electric was an Italian-made Strat knockoff called Melody Maker -natural finish, white pick guard which I spray painted red :-) — I was 12 … also gone.

Make sure to listen to Rick, okay? And check up on him at his website.

Right here.

George Bellas is among the most consistently amazing guitarists producing envelope-pushing music today. His phrasing and technique are breathtaking, his compositions as varied and exploratory as his spirit. I don’t need to do much heavy lifting in summing up Bellas as he speaks volumes in his answers:

What’s the last album you listened to?
The Dawn Of Time, which is my new album that will be released July 16th, 2010 at Lion Music.  The Dawn Of Time is an instrumental album rich in Romanticism and Futurism with over-the-top performances by Marco Minnemann and George Bellas. This new album contains a diverse collection of 19 songs that range from simple and delicate, to complex and ferocious. The production is dynamic, clean, and has an open sound to it allowing the music to breath naturally.

The Dawn Of Time was inspired by the universe, how it was created, and from where and what it came from.  I have always loved science, especially astrophysics, and this album is a creative expression of the visions produced from studying the works of great scientists such as:  Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Amy Mainzer, and Brian Green, to name but a few. Their research, thought-provoking lectures and writings have been the most inspiring resources I have ever had.

Marco Minnemann once again performed and recorded some mind blowing drum takes. Working with Marco is always an extreme pleasure.  I truly believe Marco to be one of the best drummers that has ever lived.  I compose and score all the parts for all instruments in my music, but when I hear Marco’s interpretation and the additional Minnemann pizazz he adds, it just blows me away and really takes the parts to a whole new level.

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
The one that they get the most enjoyment out of. Music is a very personal thing that stirs each individuals emotions differently, and so it is difficult to say what somebody “should” listen to.  Having said that though, I do recommend people to explore new sounds that they aren’t familiar with, it can be very inspiring.

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
Franz Liszt or Chopin. I love the Romantic era; it was filled with such beautiful melody, harmonic schemes, rich orchestrations, and intense virtuosity. And those two guys could sure play the piano.

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
Dr. Michio Kaku is one of my favorite physicists. His lectures and writings have been very inspiring to me over the years. How does the universe work? Where did it come from, and why? These are the things that I think about every single day. And Dr Michio Kaku (amongst other physicists) help me gain an understanding of some of the possible answers.

Do you read music?
Yes, and extremely fluently; I always have since I was very young. All of my compositions are composed on paper first before ever even touching a guitar or any other instrument. All I need is paper, pencil and an abundance of creativity. I do very much love to improvise too. My compositions are all meticulously notated, but the solos are always improvised.

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
I have always loved science, especially astrophysics, and the albums I’ve done are creative expressions of the visions produced from studying the works of great scientists such as:  Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Michio Kaku, Amy Mainzer, and Brian Green, to name but a few.  Their research, thought-provoking lectures and writings have been the most inspiring resources I have ever had.

What was your first guitar and do you still have it?
My very first guitar was a small scale classical guitar. I was 7 years old when I got it and remember the day quite well… My father, brother, sister and I were out shopping, and I would always ask my father if I could go the music section, so at the department store we were at they had an assortment musical instruments.  I could not take my eyes off of the guitar that was hanging on the wall.  It was like some inner desire was drawing me to it. There was nobody that ever inspired me to start playing, it was just an intense natural desire.

So, anyway, I wound up getting the guitar that day, and the whole way home I was making a bunch of noise with it in the car; strumming, plucking and pounding on the body. When I got home I ran around the whole neighborhood with my new guitar like some crazy kid. And then the next school day (3rd grade), I went to the school’s library and checked out every single music book I could find. It was hilarious, here’s this little kid with both arms full of these books. I was on a quest to learn everything I could about the instrument and music in general… and that passion has not decreased in the least bit. The more I learn, explore, and create, the more intense the desire and excitement has gotten. I will never feel I am good enough to stop practicing and pushing my abilities in performance and composing.

See what I mean? Killer Inquisition. For much more on George, check out his website right here or the Lion Music site right here.

Photo courtesy George Bellas himself.

Even if you’re not immediately familiar with the name Andy Aledort, if you’ve looked at a guitar transcription in the past 25 years you may be somewhat indebted to the man. Along with colleagues at Guitar for the Practicing Musician, Aledort was an early revolutionary in the game of super accurate and nuanced presentations of rock guitar literature. Verily, friend and fellow longtime GFTPM devotee Larry “Fuzz-O” Dolman deemed Aledort, “the Orson Welles of guitar tab.”

Currently an editor for Guitar World, Andy Aledort is more than just a journalist and educator. As a performer and recording artist in his own right, he has done sessions with Band of Gypsies (featuring original Hendrix bandmates Billy Cox and Buddy Miles) and Double Trouble (with original Stevie Ray Vaughan sidemen Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon)—how about stepping into those shoes? He also leads his own project, Andy Aledort & The Groove Kings.

What’s the last album you listened to?
Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

What is one album you feel everyone should listen to?
My new album, Live at North Star 2009

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?

Jimi Hendrix

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?

Pablo Picasso—artistic genius


Do you read music?

yes

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
Art, food…..

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?

a Guild F-20 acoustic…still got it
For more on Andy Aledort, visit his official website.
Right here.

A cursory internet search for Oz Noy will reveal that the he is Israeli-born and incorporates a variety of styles in his playing. Well, ok. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll learn that the guitarist was a respected player and sought after studio musician in his home country from an early age. And since coming to the U.S. in 1996 he has been surrounded by luminaries like Dave Weckl, Jimmy Johnson, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Mike Stern. Starting to get the picture?

His answer to the question of extra-musical obsessions below says a lot about Oz Noy’s focus and determination. You really have to listen to this guy.

What’s the last album you listened to?
Legends of Blues compilation.

Who is one person, present or past, that you would love to collaborate/jam with?
Miles Davis

Who is one person outside of music that you admire and why?
Shimon Perez -  he’s the president of Israel. Brilliant guy!

Do you read music?
Yes.

Any other obsessions/passions besides music?
No.

What was your first guitar, do you still have it?
Some horrible Korean copy of a Les Paul, can’t remember the name.

Jump back here to check out some brilliant improv from Oz.

Or stop by the official Oz Noy website to check out tour dates and more.

Right here.

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