SLIT: How'd you get involved with the Tucson music scene?
Van: by playing in bands, and watching other bands, and making friends with people in bands and in other aspects of the music biz
SLIT: When did you start singing?
Van: I guess around 1983, a couple months before I recorded my 1st record
SLIT: Which instruments do you play? Are you self-taught?
Van: When I was really young my dad showed me how to blow into a piece of paper wrapped around a comb. I remember thinking at the time that I was really great at it.
In 7th grade or so I began drum lessons with a great teacher and a really great drummer. His name is Fred Hayse, and I believe he still teaches here in town. He is also a world class jazz drummer and has traveled and recorded with a lot of famous people. Sadly, the band I was in, in Jr. High had a very good drummer already, who also bullied his way into singing all the songs, so that left me to playing a tamborine and a cowbell. I also got to sing "Smoke On The Water".
I played drums in a band after high school, went to California with them and decided that being a drummer sucked, and I sucked being a drummer. So I moved back here to T-Town and began playing a guitar. I play a guitar well enough to write songs and record them, and perform them. So whats that? The comb, the drums, and the guitar. I also think I could play a harp in like a symphony or something. I’ve never tried it but c’mon, it looks really easy.
SLIT: What kind of guitar do you play?
Van: Yamaha six string acoustic guitar
SLIT: How do you write a song, or put it together? What's the process?
Van: When I started writing songs, I had kind of a formula, and as a result a lot of them sounded the same. Anymore, songs come to me in a hundred different ways. Mostly I just try to make myself feel something…with varying degrees of success.
|(photo credit: Cliff Green)|
SLIT: Do you have any favorite musicians? Albums? Who inspires you?
Van: As far as artists I like, my list is maybe a little typical for a man of my advanced years, but here goes; Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Nick Cave, John Prine, Marc Bolin, Townes Van Zandt, Alice Cooper, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, and on like that. My favorite musicians are Rainer Ptacek, Kevin Pakulis, and Chuck Prophet. My favorite album is Nilson "The Point". As far as who inspires me: most of the people that inspire me have nothing to do with music.and I really wouldn’t know where to start.
SLIT: What are some milestones or highlights in your musical / creative life?