Q – Hi Lloyd…I’ve really enjoyed listening to the XM show this week! I was curious about two things: what type of acoustic guitar do you play? And…who were your influences when learning to play the guitar?
A – I play various guitars, but at XM, and for the last few years my performance instruments have been made by Taylor and Collings. I’m still learning to play so I guess my influences would be anyone I’ve admired thus far – that would be Marc Bolan, Steve Cropper, Lou Reed, Paul Simon, whoever plays on Chelsea Girl (I think it’s Sterling Morrison), M. Ward, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, Richard Thompson, Neil Clark, Nile Rodgers, etc.. Really, there are too many to try to be exhaustive. If I think of more that are absolutely key to my playing, I’ll add comments.
Just thinking – I saw a James Taylor video some time around 1994 – I don’t like his work but I do love his playing on Carole King’s Tapestry – I liked what he was doing with the guitar so I tried to learn fingerpicking. I can just about manage it with two or three fingers max, but I won’t be joining any bluegrass bands. I wrote Trigger Happy with my new talent, but when it came time to record I found that I didn’t fingerpick in time very well, and the tone I was getting was too mellow. So I figured out a way to fake fingerpick using a plectrum and a lot of up and down strokes. That’s how Trigger Happy was recorded and it is, I suppose, my style these days – I don’t strum much anymore. For a mellower sound (something like the 62-63 Dylan albums is what I had in mind) I bought a Guild nylon string guitar and that is pretty much the sound of Music in a Foreign Language. I’d like to have it with me on tour but it is old and has no electronic in it, and I can only carry two guitars. If I find a great modern nylon string model, maybe I’ll give it a try.