Whenever I blog about a musician here. It is because I want to share stories about how different individuals not necessarily professionals got into the art of making music. I feel we put too much importance on stardom and not enough focus on the fact that music is a gift for our soul. The other point of this blog is to introduce you to the wide family of great musicians I have come to know over the years, they are independent artists not signed to labels or record deals(that I am aware of) Most of them self produce their own music and record and release it because they love it and figure others would too. So please after you read this go and visit these artists they will be approachable, (I was able to approach them) listen to the music they make if they have it and share them with your circle of friends if you like them.
The first artist I am going to share is John Thayer who is in the band the Monkey Lizards . I met John when I was a guitar teacher at West Mesa High School. He was a teacher in the math department and as it turns out writes really thoughtful songs. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. He recently finished a new cd, and is ready to go on summer break.
When did you begin playing music?
For my 11th birthday, I walked into my room and there was a steel-string epiphone with really high action that my dad found at a garage sale. He left it with a Beatles songbook and a happy birthday note.
What instrument(s) do you play?
Guitar but I can also do OK on the Mandolin, bass, and harmonica
Do you come from a family of musicians?
My dad plays guitar and my brother plays in bands in San Francisco, writes songs, and teaches high school math, just like me.
Are you self taught or do you have training or a mixture of the two?
I started with the Beatles book and never seemed to sound as good as them, so I started writing my own songs so that they would always be played just like the original. I took some guitar lessons later on, then in my twenties I took jazz guitar lessons for about a year while I lived in New York. I again realized that it would be much easier to apply what I was learning to songwriting than to try to be as good as the guys I would see playing at the Blue Note.
How often do you practice?
Every day, even if it's for a minute. That way I can tell people I practice every day.
What was the first album you purchased?
The Fat Boys are Back by the Fat Boys, 1985
Does it still influence you?
If I'm ever in a jam where there is nothing left to do but beatbox my way out of it, I can do that. Darren Robinson, the Human Beatbox, was a legend. I'll never forget him.
What was the last album you purchased?
I can't remember if it was "DAMN" by Kendrick Lamar, or "God's Problem Child" by Willie Nelson. One of those two.
What is the most bizarre thing that has been shared with you at a gig?
I shared the stage with a drunk guy in a Colorado bar. I was supposed to have a band, but they couldn't come and I went anyway, just used a loop station instead. He said he could get his guitar and did. He kind of ruined my songs a little bit and then bought me a peanut butter Elvis burger to make up for it.
Do you have a favorite instrument?
I keep changing my mind but for the past year it's been a flamenco guitar made by Benito Huipe in Mexico. I bought it at a furniture store on Candelaria in Albuquerque in 2003 and it had a crack in it. I took it to Bill Richardson, "the governor of guitars." He was a Luthier and Guitar repairman at the time, not the governor of New Mexico and told me that the repair was good. The guitar plays itself and makes me feel like I'm lying under a desert sunset.
Does it go on tour?
It depends on how you define "tour." I am a singer-songwriter and currently leading the band "Monkey Lizards," but I am also a dad and a high school math teacher on the side. If I get the chance to go play somewhere I take it and summer is a great time to do that. I'll take the guitar almost anywhere on the west coast (I live in the San Francisco Bay Area now) but if I am going somewhere on a plane, like to Albuquerque, I will just borrow a guitar when I get there. If nobody has one for me, that's when I beatbox.
Thanks John and remember go check out John's music at Monkey Lizards