An Interview With Well-Known Musician, ANDY TIMMONS On His Band’s Latest and Eighth Album “Theme From A Perfect World”
Posted On 10 Nov 2016
The ANDY TIMMONS BAND released their eighth album, THEME FROM A PERFECT WORLD, via their own custom label, Timstone Records, on September 30th. Co-produced by virtuoso guitarist Andy Timmons and his longtime bassist Mike Daane, THEME FROM A PERFECT WORLD features 10 all-new tracks of melodic guitar instrumentals that Timmons hopes will touch an emotional chord in every listener.
THEME FROM A PERFECT WORLD is comprised of 10 toe-tapping and fist-pump-inducing songs that warrant repeat listens, from the driving, rising force of “Ascension” to the crossover pop leanings of “Winterland” and “Sanctuary” to a pair of heartfelt, uplifting elegies, “That Day Came” and “On Your Way, Sweet Soul.”
In addition to Daane on bass, the album also features Rob Avsharian on drums as well as original Andy Timmons Band drummer Mike Marine, who appears on five tracks.
“I think we’re just scratching the surface, as far as tapping into the music’s emotional content goes,” the guitarist says of the vibe he and his bandmates strove to achieve collectively on this record. “My playing and musical tastes have changed or matured in some way over the years, and here, we’re trying to be impactful emotionally and certainly melodically.”
Andy Timmons—who’s played with the likes of Danger Danger, Kip Winger, Simon Phillips, and Olivia Newton-John– says he wanted THEME FROM A PERFECT WORLD to be both modern and vintage at the same time. “Overall, Mike and I have always been fans of the classic records of the ’60s and ’70s,” he admits, “and there was an underlying credo of trying to live up to the music we loved and grew up with, both sonically and vibe-wise. That’s been a consistent theme throughout the history of the band. It was always the common thread.”
The more challenges the ace guitarist tackles as he composes new music, the more he learns—and the more he wants to share his findings with his audience, both new and old. “The interesting thing I’m finding about this instrumental music is a lot of the songs are very specifically influenced by life events, be it my life or that of somebody else near me,” Timmons reveals, “but there are some songs that were inspired by just a groove or jamming with the guys in the band.”
Timmons thinks he’s able to better express himself more instrumentally than verbally. “Spoken language is a very finite entity, and there are only so many ways we can express a feeling in that way,” he believes. “Whereas the notes within the music and how they’re presented can sometimes strike people a lot deeper. The cool thing is, it may mean something specific to me, but it can be interpreted in almost any way by each listener as a very personal experience.”
Learn more about Andy Timmons in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are in the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
2016 has been an incredible year of musical growth, adventure and progress! Multiple worldwide tours with Simon Phillips/Protocol, opening for Uli Jon Roth in the U.S., a tour of Brazil and recording a Bossa Nova record with Roberto Menescal. Of course finishing and releasing the new Andy Timmons Band album, “Theme From A Perfect World,” would certainly be the proudest achievement thus far.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Could you see yourself doing anything with your life besides working with music?
Absolutely! I was the youngest of four brothers, all of us four years apart in age, so my oldest brother was 12 when I was born. Fortunately for me, he was an avid music fan and bought all the British Invasion records as they were released so from day one I was immersed in all the Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Kinks, Yardbirds, Animals and Herman’s Hermits records of the day. My earliest musical memory is hearing the flip side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” which was “I Saw Her Standing There” and really being enamored with the middle section of the song where they stopped singing: the guitar solo!!! That wonderful reverb-drenched solo from George Harrison is still an influence on me today! My older brothers also dabbled in guitar playing, so we had a couple of Silvertone acoustic guitars in the household. I think around the age of four my mother bought me a toy plastic guitar and I remember my brother showing me how to play “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” by the Monkees on one string! I really don’t remember wanting to do anything else and seeing Kiss in 1976 on the Destroyer tour (my first concert) kinda sealed the deal. I remember thinking that night “this is what I want to do.” Little did I know that 14 years later I would be on tour opening for them!
Last month, you released your eighth album, “Theme From A Perfect World.” Can you talk about your music has grown on this collection? Do you find that you take certain chances with your music now that you never used to before? Do you find that you experiment more with sounds and variety now?
Yes to all of the above! I think the new record is a great example of how I’ve grown as a player as well as a writer and also a nice document of how the band has grown as well. Certainly an artist’s playing, writing and musical tastes will change over time and the band has evolved into a more song-oriented ensemble versus a typical instrumental outfit which can typically be solo-centric. The arrangements are always dictated by what serves the song the best. “That Day Came” and “Sanctuary” don’t really have “solos” per se, the songs were strong enough on their own…why spoil it with superfluous soloing? Experimenting sonically has really become an excellent adventure for Mike Daane and I. Mike and I formed the ATB in 1988 with drummer Mitch Marine and over the years I was the primary producer in the studio, though the band was very much involved in all elements of the arrangements. Starting with the “Resolution” record (2006) though, Mike became much more involved in the engineering and production end of things and we began taking much more time with “tone questing,” meaning searching for the ultimate guitar tones. This was certainly tantamount for the “Resolution” record as it was strictly trio, no overdubs. This meant the guitar tone had to be tremendous! I’m very proud of what we achieved on that record and I think “Theme” is a nice continuation of that dedication and experience that we’ve gathered over time. We’re having more fun now than ever!
Why did you decide to release it on your custom label, Timstone Records? Are there other musicians on this label? If so, who are they and would you like to take on more in the future?
No, Timstone Records is purely designed for all the ATB releases and whatever other projects I may release in the future. It’s actually very easy these days to distribute your music both digitally and to brick and mortar shops so it makes great sense to be DIY. Of course it does require much more work and crafty financing without major label involvement but in the end it’s worth it because YOU control every aspect of your music and career. After my experience with major labels in the late ’80s/early ’90s I knew I would never go down that path again.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
Gosh, too many to mention but I’ll list a few of the most important ones. In the pop world of course The Beatles were and always will be my fave of all time. Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, the Dave Clark Five, The Kinks, Kiss, Rush, Todd Rundgren and Utopia all factor in largely to my foundation as a music fan and certainly shape my tastes as a writer and player.
In the guitar world, my main early influences were Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, Alex Lifeson and Todd Rundgren, though my biggest pivotal early influence was Steve Lukather. So many followed and factored into my musical education: Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson.
In the Jazz world (besides Wes) my faves are Barney Kesssel, Joe Pass, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderly. My all-time fave though would have to be Chet Baker who’s playing embodies so much intimacy, truth and depth. His playing encompasses everything that I aspire to do.
Where do you think you are happiest- in the studio recording, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Musically, it’s any time I have a guitar in my hands. Guitar playing has always been my solace, my emotional outlet, my way of communicating. Even just sitting and practicing in my office gives pure joy. I really enjoy living my life as a student. Growing is everything. I enjoy it all equally.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I hope it gives them the solace that it gives me. A safe place to feel a wide variety of emotions and to draw energy for life and the joy that I feel in writing and playing the music. And hopefully they’ll be humming the tune all day.