The Piper plays the tune:
Interview taken from EDEN#5 an AAE fanzine dated June/July '91
Marty talks for a second time to KEN JONES about himself and his music.....
As I mentioned in my first part to this interview, the one thing that sets Marty apart from other guitarists is his unique style and sound.
I began asking him about the equipment he uses and how important that is to his overall sound?
"Obviously the equipment is very important but to develop the sound I've always gone backwards to old equipment.....I try to find things that are old because I think when you take a piece of equipment out of an era and bring it forward to the to the year you're in it sounds better than the equipment FROM the year that YOU'RE in!"
"As far as amplification is concerned I've used the same thing for ages, two VOX AC30's. . . They give me a certain amount of bite and tone that's really important, not the bluesy Les Paul volume. I did have an old ORANGE amp at one time and I've tried an old Marshall but the vox pair is a little different.....it's just what it is you know?"
"On the subject of guitars I mainly use Rickenbackers.....I've got three Ric's, six string and twelve string versions ...plus a Fender Stratocaster as well as a Takemine acoustic. I don't usually play Strat but I have done during this band(AAE). The other guitarist from 'The Church' plays Strat and I play Ric but in this band I missed the sound of the Strat.....I don't think Ric's are right for it all the time so I tried to use the Strat because it brings out a certain kind of song which the band is good at."
I was intrigued by the style that Marty has developed which is adventurous to say the least. I've long admired guitarists such as Richard Thompson for pushing out the boundaries as far as technique goes and Marty struck me as having the same attitude as Richard. I raised this comparison to Marty.....
"Well spotted!" was his response "I'm very into Richard's guitar playing.....he is such an underrated guitarist....I think he does things with the guitar that are just brilliant. I did a gig with him in San Francisco. We were both doing our acoustic sets....I love his voice and lyrics and especially his guitar playing."
Did he seem as depressive as his songs intimate?
"I wouldn't call him a depressive person in fact he just seems a really nice guy, y'know....I talked to him for awhile after the show along with his wife and he's just a real hero of mine. Yeah, he has written some depressive songs but they're just emotional darkness which everybody has, but they deal with it in their own way.....he asked me for my autograph for his daughter.....imagine what it's like having Richard Thompson ask ME for MY autograph! The main thing I like about his music is that he never stands still, he keeps pushing further out...."
From the times I've seen Richard playing he appears to have no fear of going one step to far. Is that true of Marty's style?
"Definitely....I'm not afraid of the bum notes, y'know? I discovered the art of playing the guitar by not really knowing what your doing but making it sound like you do," Marty explains with a smile on his face "I mean, I can play formulated lead and I do play single note, bottom string stuff but if you give me an A-minor chord sequence I'm not going to sit back and do all of those bluesy standard licks....all of my six strings are fitted with tremolo bars so I do tend to use them a lot. It means I can push a note, whamming with the tremolo bar up and slamming down....not in any sort of flashy heavy metal, Steve Vai sounds out of th instrument that the sound isn't responsible for. I'm a very right handed guitar player....Richard Thompson is to a bit.....and it's unusual for a right handed guitarist to play lead well but I think it definitely gives me an advantage. I'm not a gratuitous soloist and I don't know my scales and I'll never learn them....I'm not interested in learning them."
Doesn't that leave you at some disadvantage, not knowing?
"No not at all....in fact it's the other way around. The reason that Eric Clapton doesn't inspire me is BECAUSE he knows his scales, whereas me.....I'm more likely to be a little more adventurous."
In that case what does inspire you?
"There are four or five guitarists that I REALLY like, obviously Richard Thompson being one of them, I've always liked Jimmy Page and Paul Kassoff and especially Neil Young."
Neil Young? you surprise me....
"Neil is one of the most brilliant guitarists I've ever heard....absolutely fantastic....because you don't know what's coming next. I don't WANT to know what is coming up next. I know it's a really sad thing that Steve Ray Vaughan died but the amount of attention that he used to get as an axe-man and I don't see why."
Despite the strength of your playing, the tracks that I've heard so far blend well with Julianne's vocals....how did that work out?
"I think I understand Julianne's vocal thing and I think any guitarist has to. Vocals and guitars should never clash. I probably play more than Tim but I don't ever compete for the same space. I've got a sound, a clean sound, that I've worked on for years y'know?"
"It's been really weird for me being called up for a band who wanted me to be THE guitarist when I'm used to playing in a band with TWO guitarists......because there's just me! I'm the only lead instrument in the band and I find that really peculiar, but I'm getting used to it."
Does it put you under increased pressure?
"Yes it does, but only because....look I'm a guy who's played for whatever ten years or so....I've played all over the world with a band to nobody AND sold out....I know what playing live is all about....even when playing solo with just an acoustic guitar but it's just unusual and weird for me to have a drummer and bass player and all of the guitar playing on my side of the stage. Ther will never be a time when I'm laying back and one of the other guys is doing his lead solo.....I'm there all the time. It'll be interesting and I'm learning all the time y'know?"
You don't appear to be short of confidence in your ability if I may say so?
"I just feel that I do what I do as well as I can. I can recognize when I'm part of a good piece of music and I can recognize a lot of the crap that's around. So I don't have any inhibitions about my ability in relation to what is successful. It seems the media is telling me that a lot of the things are good and they're not. I have to have my own standards and that's when confidence comes in. It's not an egotistical thing and it's not even a particularly self assured thing it's just a matter of forming my own and using my own value system to judge what is good."
As you write so much stuff, are you confident you will never run out of ideas?
"No....never! You see, I'm also aware that there are some people who don't like the songs that I write and consider saying well I'd rather listen to someone who doesn't write so much songs but they are good....but I don't really care about that. Of course I can share with somebody what I've written.....to be able to communicate, that's fantastic, and I know that's gonna happen with the stuff particularly as Juliane is singing....she's such a great singer who really communicates."
Well we've learned a little about your past and we know what you are doing at present, but what about the future particularly with the Eves?
"I would hate to think that I couldn't do this again with this band, y'know? That's a horrible thought because it works and I really don't want the working relationship to stop here or stop at the end of the tour. Yes, I've got other commitments...another album with the The Church and I'm halfway through my fourth solo album...but this is something really special, a chemistry, and that is really important because you don't find that all of the time."
To see the difference in All About Eve since Marty joined leaves me with no doubt that Marty IS something special and that hunch that Julianne when she first thought of contacting him really has paid off. You not only have to have ability to be successful in the music world, but you have to have the confidence in your ability to really succeed. Marty has brought that confidence into All About Eve at just the right time.
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