Hi and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.
Hi Pete! Thanks for having me!
Could you first introduce yourself and tell us how you made music your life?
I’m Geoff Tyson and I grew up in Berkeley California. At the age of 13 I had already outgrown two of my guitar teachers, and was fortunate to find Joe Satriani was teaching at a local music store. He wasn’t famous at the time, but I knew he was a master from the first moment I sat with him for a lesson. I studied with him for a few years.
I went on to record with my band T-Ride which signed a record deal and released an album in 1992. We went on to tour the world with Ugly Kidd Joe, Joe Satriani, White Zombie, and Shotgun Messiah, being featured on MTV and music and lifestyle magazines internationally.
I started my own recording studio business in 1994 which I ran until I was offered the guitar job with Snake River Conspiracy in 1999. We released one album and did the world tour thing again, touring with Queens Of The Stone Age, Filter, Monster Magnet and A Perfect Circle.
I moved to Hollywood after that and started the band Stimulator. We made one album for Universal Music and toured with Duran Duran, and the Go Go’s and had our music featured in Disney films and various TV shows.
I now record and tour with the Geoff Tyson Band in Europe.
How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?
My most recent release is my first guitar instrumental album. In addition to the shredder guitar vibes, I incorporate my love for 80’s Brit-Pop, Motown, and acoustic rock music into the production style.
How have your previous musical experiences been embraced in your music now?
I played classical piano since I was 3 years old. My love for the classics has a firm influence in my writing. In addition to that, I spent every summer in Egypt for most of my childhood, so Middle Eastern music influences my choice of scales and rhythms as well.
Is there a particular process to your songwriting?
It always starts with an improvisation. I try to record everything since many times, that first take has something that’s magical and irreproducible, and I will never hesitate to use a first take in the final mix. After that initial process, I give the tracks to various drummers that I admire, and then ask them to do the same one-take, and record everything. The resulting mess becomes the basis that I use to produce and mix the rest of the final track.
Would you tell us about your latest release?
Drinks With Infinity is my first instrumental album, so I had to rethink my composition techniques. Previously I had always done vocal music and the process is vastly different, in my experience. Before I started, I researched modern guitar players on line. Wow there is so much talent in the world today! I knew that, in addition to great guitar playing, I’d have to focus on the compositions and production styles, as those are strengths of mine that would need to be featured.
What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?
I like to be in the moment. It’s something I love about live performance too, that there is no ‘undo’ button. You’re riding the dragon and if you slip, you have to find a way to keep things going, to make it sound intentional, or at least artistic. I had to turn off my producer mind while composing, relying on the impulse, money-part of the brain to create the rhythms and melodies. Then after ideas were solidified, turn back to my producer instincts to put it all together. Then all the song titles are from funny phrases I’d heard at times living in a non-native English speaking country.
I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs in the main do that organically?
I asked some dude on the Internet and did what he suggested. Thanks Shaun!
What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in music and a band and similarly the most cathartic?
I love that every day is different. And with every crazy thing that happens, it becomes part of what you have to offer artistically. I can’t make music living in a bubble, I need chaos and craziness and long night drives and dirty backstage bathrooms to feel alive. I also love meeting new people all over the world, and connecting them through a love of art and music.
For anyone contemplating checking you out live give some teasers as to what they can expect.
My band has some of the best players in Central Europe. Every night is different. There are some aspects that follow the song structures as you know from the recordings, but then we go off on wild, random improvisations, feeding off the energy of the room.
What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?
I played with Duran Duran to massive crowds through the USA, but my favourite shows are always the smaller ones, sometimes impromptu, and always directly interacting with the audience. I played one show in Prague, finishing the night after a fashion show. I invited all the models up on stage with the band and they rocked out with us and it was beautifully chaotic.
Do you have live dates in the planning in this fiercely disruptive time?
All my USA dates are cancelled through August because of covid. I have a few small local gigs in Prague as well as some live-on-the-radio stuff coming up. Check my website https://www.geofftyson.com/ for updates
What else can we expect in the near future?
I’m trying to stay creative. I’m working on a few new music videos, doing demos for the next album, and doing tons of press for this one.
What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?
Pink Floyd always stuns me with their emotions and dynamics. Chris Cornell’s voice gives me shivers! Old Motown amazes me with their grooves and vibes. The Russian classical composers like Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky taught me about developing musical journeys, and then unapologetic pop from the UK in the 1980’s is so fun!
And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?
Van Halen 1 did it for me. When I first heard it, I thought “wow what a great keyboardist!” and then when I looked at the credits, I saw that there was in fact no keyboardist in that band. I couldn’t believe that this sound was coming from a guitar! I knew I had to go in that direction.
Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?
I have CDs, vinyl, and some cool new tee shirts, guaranteed to make you 100% more sexy on my web shop at https://www.geofftyson.com/ 🙂
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