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Inspirations - Part 3/4
KO.OP Radio 91.7 Interview
transcript - 28th April, 2001. ...continued....
Bad Andy: 91.7 KO.OP Austin, you're listening to "Inspirations. In the studio with us is 54 Seconds.
Spencer Gibb: Yes! We're still here. (laughs)
Stewart Cochran: Yes
Early Warning (live in the studio)
Andy: Alright, we'll let your voice recover there for a second. ... We wanted to go ahead, and start asking you.. How did you get into music originally? What was it that first got you interested in music, first got you learning about music?
Stewart: (exaggerated southern accent) We'll back in Greensboro, North Carolina, everybody had to take..
Spencer: Oh here we go..
Stewart: ...everybody had to take piano lessons from the little ol' lady down the street, and my piano teacher's name was, Miss Flynn. I don't know whatever happened to her. And I took for like 3 or 4 years, you know, did the recitals. I've got some really cute pictures of me, with bad hair cuts, doing recitals at the local library, and stuff.... and then for some reason I just kept playing. Kept playing piano. Umm... And...stuck with it... and... went to North Carolina School of the Arts, when I was in high school, and then went onto college. ... And then I dropped piano entirely... Umm, picked up guitar. Learned to be a bar tender. Ah, moved to Austin, and by that time, I'd gotten to where I'd thought I was pretty good at guitar, but then I moved to Austin, and you know, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a really hot guitar player. And so I went, "Well maybe I'll go back to Keyboards", even though keyboards are... statistically the nerdy instrument, 'cause you have to kind of sit down at 'em, and know all this other stuff that guitar players never seem to use -- Like theory. And.. (laughs)
Spencer: Who needs theory?!
Spencer: I've got a theory for you!
Stewart: I put myself in college, playing in country cover bands, and I won't go any more into that. (laughs). And then started playing with Jimmy LaFave, and I played with him for 5 or 6 years. And then I played with Calvin Russell on a tour in Europe, and that's when I got an email, I took my computer with me, I got an email from some guy I'd never even met, named Spencer. And ahh.. My wife at the time, said you know, "some English guy named Spencer's calling, 'cause he's looking for a keyboard player, and he got your name from J.J. Johnson". I was like, "Well yeah, well whatever. I'll give him a call when I get...
Spencer: But you played with Davíd (Garza) then.
Stewart: That's right. Yeah, yeah. And Abra (Moore). Yeah, I met JJ with Abra. And so I got back to America, and I called the guy up, and he's like, "Yeah man, we're looking for a keyboard player. We got some stuff". So I went over to the ARC (Austin Rehearsal Complex) with my gear, and started playing, and said, "you know, I think this is what I want to do". So, and here I am. Still stuck with the guy.
Andy: So what brought you down here to Austin?
Stewart: Brought to Austin? I actually moved to Austin to come to U.T., as an English major, and ah, that really paid off (laughs). Yeah, yeah, 'cause now all I do is correct my friends grammar. And then I switched to being a music major after that. Studied classical for a while and then the jazz professor over there, Jeff Helmer, said, "No, you need to be playing jazz". So I changed my major again, to Bachelor Arts in Music, and finished studying jazz, and that's kind of where I developed my ear. All that classical training, and I never had much of an ear. Growing up I just loved the sounds of those old keyboards, and now it's my secret shame that I grew up listening to a lot of prog. rock. A lot of Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and ah, Stevie Wonder's not really prog. rock, but he was using it, and Herbie Hancock, using a lot of those kind of, old school instruments rather than just a bunch of..
Spencer: But it was new school back then.
Stewart: Yeah. Right, which were all new back then.
Andy: So can you tell us a little bit more about your musical influences?
Stewart: My musical.... actually, I've got a .. I'll just play a CD for you here if I could dig it up. It was kind of hard to pick one. I think I played something really silly last week when I was on.
Spencer: Yes you did.
Stewart: Actually, it'll just kind of speak for itself. Sort of a compilation of a few things.
Stewart's Influences (song). (Click here to download the MP3 HERE)
Andy: (laugh) 91.7 KO.OP, and we were just listening to Stewart's Influences there, and I have to say that, that takes the cake. (Stewart laughs) That is probably the best set of influences that we've ever listened to. Thank you for putting that together. Do you want to tell us a little bit about..
Stewart: It's mostly a product of indecision. 'Cause I like, you know, sometimes I'll like just a certain part of a song, or I'll like a certain sound of a song. But I don't necessarily like the whole song. I was like, "well why don't I just put together my favourite little things" -- and I actually ended up putting.... using a lot less than I'd recorded of things. I mean, I left out a lot of worthy things -- A little Tom Waits, and Ben Folds Five, and Chopin and all this other stuff that I'd wanted to put on, but that's just kind of what goes through my mind when I'm playing on stage. It's just all this weird stuff. That's where it comes from.
Spencer: That was really cool.
Stewart: Well thanks.
Spencer: Kind of hard to beat that really.
Andy: (laughs) Yeah, that's the unfortunate thing of of being after a "hard act to follow".....