WE LOVE YOUR SONGS BLOG
Interview with T.Byrd
T.Byrd introduces us to his music and his band, The Straightjackets.
Does the place where you live (California) has any influence on the music you play? I am referring to weather, people, particular mood in city where you live, etc. If so, how can you describe this influence?
Not as much as the places I've lived and people I grew up with. My uncles, aunts, radio were more of influence on the music I listened and still listen to. I was four years old when I got totally hooked on music. My Grandpa Byrd brought me "Meet the Beatles". He was in the Navy, also very in Love with his music. He,being in the service, was aware of the impact the Beatles were making across the world before they 1st appeared on Ed Sullivan. Well, I wore that record out... I'd listen to it almost every day, my head close to the record player speaker, singing along with it.
So California is influence-less? No influence from there for you?
Well, it has been too..Growing up near San Francisco, my uncle was old enough to see Hendrix, Joplin, the Doors and all that as it was happening. He played piano and I lived with him for a while at my Grandparents home in CA where I learned a lot from him. But my Mom would buy me the Beatles, Stones and other albums as they came out
What is your biggest influence?
Sarah Jean. She is a real person, her She inspires me. It's crazy. In the last 3 years I've come up with 70 to 80 songs, mostly inspired by her. She lives in Florida, but I met her years ago.I should say biggest inspiration, not influence.
Your music is very melodic, but in the same time very experimental. Experiments on styles, genres, jazz, pop, rock, etc. It seems like you are looking for something, crossing paths of genres. What are you looking for?
It didn't hit me till I had to download my stuff to WeLoveYourSongs.com contest, when I had to pick a genre for "Sarah Jean" song. I never thought about it till I was asked. What would you call it? I chose 'rock' at first, but after listening to some songs in the rock genre I had to really think about it.
The first thing that came to mind was 'Classic Rock' because that covers a wide range of different musical influences, Blues, Southern Rock, Ballads, Jazz, Funk..etc. How would you categorise "Sweet City Woman" by the Stampeders if you'd never heard it before? But I thought to myself, "How can I call it 'Classic' rock when no one's even heard it yet?" It's not classic by any means. You know what I mean. And UnClassic Rock wasn't an option!
Then I got to the next song, then the next, and I had to really think about it. When I come up with an idea, the last thing I'm thinking of is the genre, I just want to make sure I record it, because I know I'll forget it! I learned that from Keith Richards, in an interview he mentioned how he always keeps cheap little tape recorders/dictaphones all over the place like antennas to capture ideas, or he'd forget! I started using my webcam on my laptop for that purpose.With cassettes Kurt Derita (from The Straightjackers, bass player on my submitted songs) and myself have hundreds of original ideas scattered about too many cassette tapes, it get's to be too difficult finding anything after a while...
Back to the question.. I like your questions! And I was worried I wouldn't have enough to talk about for an interview... Blah, blah, blah! I love a variety of music, but If I have to pick one genre I'd choose Rock and Roll .. or Classic Rock maybe.
Why do you create music?
Another good question! I remember listening to the Beatles as a kid and being amazed that they made up the songs and played them. It seemed like magic to me!
I wondered how they did it. I wished I could learn to do it. I wrote my first song"The Brown Blue Bird". Lol, it was lousy! But I learned to play guitar and got into bands but never found satisfaction in learning other people's songs. Keith Richards shared the greatest tip for songwriting..
He said in an interview that he keeps a tape recorder in every room to capture his inspiration! I use a webcam. If I dont record it right away, it gets lost, even if I remember the chords n arrangement. It just loses the initialfeel if It isnt captured as the inspiration hits. I write song because I love it. My goal is to write songs or just song that will be remembered forever, like the songs that never grow old to me and never will.
You said: "My goal is to write songs or just song that will be remembered forever". Forever like Strawberry Fields?
Wow! That's beyond remembered! (Laughter). I'm thinking more of something that can be heard in years to come and still be pleasing to the ear. But, my song: "Sarah Jean Blvd." would be nice too, bnow that you mention it.
OK so tell me please about your band - The Straightjackets...
The Straightjackets started off when I was first uploading song ideas to youtube, as a joke. YouTube was new to me and there I was uploading videos of composition recordings, which I still do. But the songs started getting some attention after taking the songs to the studio.. I've known The Streetjackers them for years! Kurt [from the Streetjackers] and I started writing songs together in 1989.
Where you record your songs?
My friend Stan has a home studio. It's top of the line equipment in a room upstairs. Well, the drums and snake is all downstairs.
I love it, It's four hours drive so we don't get together as often as we'd like to.
Where you will be in 5 years and where you music will be?
Well, as people on the net started following, the name stuck.
But we're just doing what we can in the studio and just going from there. Still trying to find out along the way.
We're lucky to get what we get done in the short amount of time. We've actually been in the studio 5 years from now. We'll have a lot more music completed. I'm hoping we keep getting the new followers and get some albums out. We're getting together soon to record some new stuff. I'm thankful I have these guys to work with, and how it always seems to come alive when we get together. We're just getting started and looking forward to getting our music out there to more people.
Thanks for conversation.
Interview by Piotr Balkus (@PiotrBalkus).
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