Today’s Feature, December 1st-2nd: Tim Walker

December 2, 2007 at 3:02 am (Today's Feature)

walkfeat.jpg

“I’m calling it 365 Songs in 2007.” A simple explanation for a feat so exceptional to be sure, but nonetheless Tim Walker, the Tampa native with a locomotive chugging through his mind, is actually writing a new song each day for the entire year of 2007. You can listen to a new one each day by stopping by his MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/timwalkersingsandplays) or www. trymungous.com.

In all honesty, Walker is not the first to attempt 365 new songs within a year. However, he is the only one doing so with this much variety, mixing together rock tunes with some Americana/country songs, some folk, some blues, a little bit of reggae and maybe 10 funk based songs. He also stands out by not using any MIDI, samples or loops. This project has been executed by strictly using real instruments with a special sampling of guest musicians. Walker sums up his motives; “I’m basically trying to write and record the best song that time and energy will allow daily.”

You might have heard some of his stuff in the past, with the album “The Pimp$” garnering only favorable reviews from critics. But this year has been the most memorable music event for Tim by far, “I’m just a better musician than I was a year ago, and it’s because I’ve done something everyday.” You can check out his favorite song so far this year, “Cars,” written on March 14th by heading to the web site… but not before you get into his XXQ’s.

XXQs: Tim Walker

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get involved with music?

TW: I got my first guitar in 1979 at the age of 12, almost 13. From a pawn shop from some money I made doing some clean up work for my mom. I think it cost 59 bucks. Being that I didn’t really have access to a guitar or any other instruments, this would be my starting date, but as a kid I always wanted to play something, early on I wanted a piano, don’t know why, then I heard Kiss around 1975 and that was the start of the passion for guitar, which is my main instrument.

PEV: Growing up what kind of music where you listening to?

TW: My mom had some great records, and I remember being able to work the record player at a fairly young age, so I would just put records on and basically wear out the ones that really moved me. She had some of the Atlantic soul stuff (Wilson Pickett, Aretha, etc) and some Stax records, also Mahalia Jackson, and she had some of the cheesy Perry Como things, which I played once and didn’t care for. When I was 3 she started keeping foster kids and continued until I left home after school, so in the 70’s and early 80’s I listened to what was being played by some of these older kids, so I got Bad Co. and Zeppelin and “classic rock” the first time around when that was fresh, plus the soul and funk stuff like the Ohio Players, when it was happening, so those sounds were a big part of my growing up, and of course Kiss really got the ball rolling as far as rock-n-roll. Then as I got into high school, it was the metal stuff like Judas Priest, Iron Madien (my first concert) and probably my all time favorite rock band Triumph. I totally missed the boat on bands like U2 and REM, Sex Pistols, Van Halen and the Smiths and those type things, I sort of stuck with the blues based rock. Creem, Bad Co. Free. Then late 80’s Living Colour was the next big influence and basically showed me there was more than classic rock type things. King’s X, and Soundgarden in the 1990’s. A band called The Beautiful who had an album called “Storybook” in 1992 which is in my top ten albums of all time. Tori Amos showed me that you could use pronouns in your tunes and if nobody knew what you were referring to, it was OK.

PEV: When and where was your first live performance?

TW: The very first public performance was probably something at church, I had been playing for maybe a couple of years, and it probably wasn’t much of a joyful noise. I played an impromptu gig on my porch in the projects in Kentucky when I was probably 16 and we had maybe 50 people diggin’ it until the cops came. Of course I did the talent show thing a couple of times at school, again probably not too good.
My first real paying gigs were in the fall of 1987 in Wauchula, Florida, we made 150 dollars for the entire weekend, and we split that between 3 people. The place, was called The Dew Drop Inn, no shit. We played oldies rock, a couple of country songs, so we wouldn’t get shot and classic rock covers, there were always fights when we played because we had this sort of youthful energy that the patrons weren’t used to. All the cops knew us, it saved me from getting a speeding ticket a couple of times.

PEV: Tell us about your song a day in 2007 project (if another name please provide). What can fans expect from these songs?

TW: I’m calling it 365 Songs In 2007, but a Song A Day in 2007 is accurate as well. The songs are basically fully produced, a couple of weeks ago I counted the songs that had drums and full “band” arrangement and it was about 270 out of 300 or so. There are some with just acoustic guitar, but these are multi-tracked just like the others. I’ve made it a point not to do novelty songs, or stuff like that. I’m basically trying to write and record the best song that time and energy will allow daily. The songs are basically rock tunes, with some Americana/country songs, maybe folk would be an accurate description for a couple of them, 3-4 reggae type tunes, and maybe 10 funk type songs. Some blues tunes. And a couple of songs that would be hard to classify, not that that’s a bad thing. My favorite song so far is “Cars” from March 14. It’s shaping up to be a body of work that I can be very proud of and I’m sure the end will be bittersweet, but I’m ready for January that’s for sure!

PEV: How is your project of doing a song a day different from others that have attempted a similar concept?

TW: To my knowledge there have been only 3 previous (and 2 current) song a day for a year projects, and each has there own vibe. I don’t use MIDI, samples or loops, so my project is all real instruments. One guy had a backlog of tunes from several years, and I’m writing everything fresh. I have to mention Paleo, who just finished his song a day in April while touring and doing over 200 shows, so I have to give props to that! But they are all different and all have their strengths.

PEV: When you sit down to write, every day, what kind of environment do your surround yourself in?

TW: I get the daily idea of the songs whenever and wherever, and can sometimes write the lyrics when I’m driving, or at work. Really anywhere the idea hits because I can’t discount any ideas this year. But when it comes time to actually arrange the tune, I’ll just sit in the living room, or anywhere with an acoustic guitar and put it together. The actual recording is done in my studio room in my house. Recently I bought a couple of tools that allow me to be mobile with a laptop and a guitar, headphones, etc. So I can do stuff outside my house, but haven’t done that yet, I did cut a tune using the mobile rig in a different room in my house, but haven’t really ventured out with it.

PEV: What is your take on the current music scene today?

TW: Musically, I guess it depends on what scene you are looking at. I don’t really listen to much radio for enjoyment, just to see what’s out there, but if I’m in a club, I’ll hear hip-hop and it seems that the producers are going overboard on the production and inclusion of sounds instead of making a strong foundation on which to build. I love NWA and old school tracks, because they weren’t over produced. There are a lot of tools as far as production are available, but you don’t have to use all of them in one song. Same thing with the new alternative type stuff, the tracks are so cluttered, and there is lack of a underlying good song, and too many goofy changes (I’m showing my age) My litmus test is: can a song be played acoustically with no electricity? Then you have something to build on. I think the Delilah song is great, that shows that good honest tunes can stand out these days. As far as new artists, I like Ryan Shaw and Colbie Collaitt, I think they are great vocalists and Colbie has great songs that resonate with her audience, Ryan is the fresh voice that can bring some of the old soul to a newer generation, It’s cool to see someone like that becoming popular. And it’s great seeing the older acts like Springsteen and The Eagles selling well and being appreciated by younger audiences. They are called legends for a reason.
On the business end of things, it’s really anybody’s guess as to the future of how people are going to get their music and how the industry is shifting. If I did this project 3 or 4 years ago and was 313 songs into it, I think I would have already had a record deal and a good buzz going, but because of the cautionary way people are approaching things now, it’s been a bit tougher. But on a positive note, 10-15 years ago a 40 year old would have washed up and too old to break into the national scene, but now, it’s wide open. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, it only matters if you have something to offer, something real, so I think my timing is right on.

PEV: How has your musical styling changed since your first recording or over the years?

TW: I really hasn’t and that’s what I basically realized this year. I’ve been doing the same thing for 20 years, but my writing has improved and my style is defined more, but it’s really been blues based rock with country and funk influences, since I’ve started playing in bands. I’ve always had a 3 piece band, so it’s always been guitar driven.

PEV: Tell us about the first time you stepped into a recording studio. What was going through your head?

TW: I was fortunate to have recording experience fairly early. I played guitar on a demo that my drummer’s father did when I was still in high school, this was probably 1984. He was a keyboard player and singer, lounge type stuff. We did “Whole Lotta Shakin”, we just played, and it was cool. We were slightly intimidated but when it was time to play, we did fine, so that experience was helpful. Then I did a 3 song demo in 1987. Won some studio time and recorded then. Payed for some more demos around 1989. Some guys took us to New Jersey and did some demos to shop to the major labels in 1990, nothing came of that and honestly, we were nowhere near ready to be on a national level. Then I did a 4 song cassette release around 1993, that was the first time I played everything. That lead to a friendship with the studio owner and I actually started working there from 1995 to 1997. I wasn’t an engineer, I was doing duplication of tapes and this is where I started doing print graphics for CD’s and cassettes. And if clients needed guitar, I played on sessions, so I probably did 15-20 sessions in the course of those 2 years. Then the PIMP$ did 2 CD’s in 1995 and 1996, and used various studios, and I just tried to be as inquisitive as possible and learn from these engineers and producers who had worked with these great talents. So looking back I had a lot more studio experience than a lot of local musicians, and it’s helped with this project and moving forward will serve me well.

PEV: What is “road life” like for you? What are the best and worst parts?

TW: Well, I haven’t traveled much with music. Back in the day we only did the Central Florida/Suncoast of Florida circuit, Tampa, St Pete, Naples Fort Myers, Orlando. areas. This year I’m stuck at the house, but I really want to travel and tour next year. The furthest I’ve traveled was from Tampa to KY for a one-off New Years Gig, in 2005.

PEV: In all your travels, which city (International or US) do you think offers the best music scene?

TW: The grass is always greener, or course, but Nashville is appealing to me right now. Tampa doesn’t have a whole lot going on as far as live music anymore. There are some coffee houses and things like that, but there are so many entertainment options that live music doesn’t play as big a role as it used to. It’s probably that way in most of the country, I don’t know. I hope it turns around where people realize that there is nothing like a smokin’ live act, regardless of genre.

PEV: What or who is currently in your CD player right now?

TW: Afterhours (Ballad of Little Hyenas), this is an Italian band produced by Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers fame. It’s an incredible album, from what I understand it’s the first they did in English. I’d love to see them live. Also the Twilight Singers, They have 6 cd’s and I wear them all out, favorite is probably Powder Burns (2006) it’s the shit. Older stuff lately Roger Miller, Robert Johnson, Mahalia Jackson. I just bought a Lucinda Williams CD. The new Paul Rodgers live DVD is great, he does a lot of old Free tunes, and the sound quality is superb. He’s my favorite singer.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band that you think we should all be listening?

TW: Rebekah Pulley, who is from St. Pete/Tampa area, is great. She plays in the area a lot. Great songs, great voice, and is as good as anybody on a national level. I covered one of her tunes at a gig recently.

PEV: Who would you wish to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to yet?

TW: Greg Dulli, not so much collaborate, but I would love for him to produce an album of my stuff. And I’d play guitar on his stuff if he asked nicely! Rebekah Pulley as far as writing together or singing on a song of mine, that would be great. I’m friends with The Kentucky Headhunters, and would love to do something with them. I have a good friend Randy Pavlik that I’ll probably write more with next year when we have time to actually craft some songs.

PEV: What do your friends and family think about all your success?

TW: I don’t know how successful I am, but my friends are very encouraging toward what I’m doing, They believe in me and that’s important. I have a couple of good friends that keep me focused and grounded, and that’s a good thing.

PEV: What has been the most memorable part of your career so far? Why?

TW: This year of songs, by far. I think it’s yet to be seen why, but I’m excited. I’m just a better musician than I was a year ago, and it’s because I’ve done something everyday, where in the past I’ve been a bit lazy and unfocused and haven’t played guitar for a couple of weeks or written anything for extended periods of time.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Tim Walker?

TW: I’ve had 3 hole in ones. And I’m pretty funny once you get to know me.

PEV: Where do you think you’ll be in 20 years?

TW: Dead. But if I can still sing, play guitar and get an erection, I wouldn’t mind being around. But seriously, I’d want to keep playing until I couldn’t play anymore, continue to write, produce bands, collaborate with others, and really just work as much in the music field as possible, because it’s what I love to do.

PEV: What one word best describes Tim Walker?

TW: Indescribable!

PEV: So, what is next for Tim Walker?

TW: In January, I’ll lock the studio room and won’t record anything for a month. I’ll write if the inspiration hits, but no recording. And the first week of January, I’ll go on a 3-4 day mini vacation and do absolutely nothing. I really want to tour, see the country, so I’m looking for sponsors, a record label, an agent, all that stuff, just like everybody else. I do want to put all the songs on a DVD or something, I have all the lyric scribbles so maybe a book with some narrative about the year. I’m going to give away an iPod at the end of the year preloaded with all the songs. Really just take things one day at a time, and be open for all possibilities.

For more information on Tim Walker, check out www.MySpace.com/TimWalkerSingsAndPlays

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: