Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Christopher Maloney ($ign of Four, Dweezil Zappa, Cosmosquad, Lisa Loeb, Hardline, Lao Tizer, solo artist)

Thanks to Batttttty for this one!

1. What are you currently up to (studio/live/etc)?

Over the past few months, I have been quite busy with the details of releasing my new CD, The Terrors Of Intimacy. The recording has been finished since the end of '04, but there were still photos and CD layouts and manufacturing that had to be tended to. March was particularly busy. I did some Interactive Band Workshops in some stores in Southeast Florida, which was an absolute blast. They were a little like clinics, but more educational and interactive where players could get up and jam. Then I did some sessions for a great folk/pop singer named Debbie Hennessey for a CD of hers that'll be coming out this year. I made my first trip to Nashville to play with an amazing singer named Doni Flannigan. I've also been working with my friend Lao Tizer in his band arranging songs and getting ready to record his second CD. We will be touring quite a bit this summer. I also just spent a week in Peru hiking the Andes mountains for 26 miles. I guess you can say it's been a bit busy. Now I'm back in Los Angeles for a while, so it's on to getting ready to promote my new CD

Please tell us about the new album

With pleasure! I am very excited and very proud of this CD. This is my second one, and I feel that I've taken a huge leap forward in my development as a musical artist. I think other people will hear the growth as well. The music is a cool mixture of classic and modern rock with nods to Pink Floyd, U2, Supergrass, Jeff Buckley and other artists. It's a pretty diverse CD with acoustic ballads as well as some rockers thrown in there. My good buddies Jeff Kollman (MSG, Glenn Hughes) and Shane Gaalaas (Yngwie, MSG, the B'z) are playing on this, but I've reeled in their hard rock ways to highlight their rock/pop sensibilites. They are both such unique and versitle players, that they added a great deal of depth to the music. The lyrics, as the title of the CD would suggest, are about intimacy between people and relationships.

2. Brief history of your career and the style of music you play

I've been playing bass guitar since the ripe old age of 13. I played and sang in cover bands and ended up getting a music degree from a college in upstate New York. Afterwards, I decided that playing music was the only thing I wanted to do, but I didn't want to put my career in the hands of other players, ie my band mates. So I packed up my car, moved to Los Angeles and attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. I knew that school would really help solidify my playing to where I could play with anyone, anywhere and at anytime.

Although I play with a diverse bunch of groups with diverse styles, everything from folk to country to jazz to hard rock, my heart lies with vocal rock music. I always wanted to lead a band and write my own music. However, being a bass player, I was stymied as to what kind of band I could lead. I wrote and played fusion tunes, funk tunes, jazzy tunes, anything where the bass could have the lead voice, but none of that really turned me on. When I started singing my own tunes, I started to develop my own style. I don't really know what you'd call it, but a mix of classic and modern rock works for me. I love playing all styles, but that's the kind of music I write.

3. Who was/is are the biggest influences on your career?

That depends on whether we're talking about my session bass player career or my singer/songwriter career. As a bass player, my early influences were John Taylor, Mark King, Sting, Geddy Lee, and the bass players from the Cure and the Smiths. I really loved listening to rock/pop bassists who could make really cool and interesting basslines. Later, I enjoyed listening to Jaco, Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten.

As far as my singing and songwriting, that is also a varied group. I loved the Police, U2, Duran Duran, Jeff Buckley, Chris Cornell, Ours, King Crimson, Allan Holdsworth, old Genesis and Yes. My stuff is not as experimental as the later groups, but it may be headed there. I grew up in the 70's where, although there was a lot of schlock, there were also great pop songs with great melodies. I'm influenced by all that.

4. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoint(s) of your career to date?

I don't really think that I could pick out any real high and low points. I guess my recent highlight has been finishing The Terrors Of Intimacy and being so happy with it. I can't wait to get out and start touring to support it. I can't wait to do some solo acoustic shows followed by some band gigs.

I think the lowpoints are where I didn't do the best job that I could've. I auditioned for Steve Vai one time, and I totally rocked the jam. He ended up using his old bass player, and that was disappointing, but I wasn't disappointed in myself because I did the best I could. I'm only bummed out when I get onstage and I'm not as prepared as I know I should be.

5. What would you like to achieve ideally by the end of 2005?

Ooooh, great question! By the end of this year, I want to have already done dozens of solo acoustic shows, and have gotten my band together and started gigging with them. I want to have my management situation in place and start getting some tours booked. I also want to have some of the songs on Terrors to get placed in some movies and television. I really see this year as being a setting up year, getting the team together, working out songs live, etc. I see 2006 being the full-on push for promoting this CD, so the work that has to be done in '05 is crucial. Promoting this CD is going to be a long process, so I don't want to make any mistakes. I think people are going to really respond to it, so I want to make sure I get out to play for as many folks as possible.

6. What has been the reaction to your solo cds so far?

People have been very surprised by my songwriting and singing. I have recorded many, many CDs as a bass player, so I think people were suspecting my CD to be some bass player jerk-off record. I'm happy when I hear people say they were pleasantly surprised to hear rock songs about love and loss and life and all that. I think people were also surprised how honest and personal the lyrics were. I'm a pretty fun-loving kind of a guy, and most people see me like that both in person and on stage. I'm also deeply reflective, but I think that was a shock to some folks. Overall, the reaction has been very positive, so it inspires me to keep trying to get people to hear my songs. I'm not reinventing the wheel, but I think I've got a unique way of saying things musically.

Have you got any more recording plans for this year?

Not for my own stuff. I literally just finished Terrors, so I'll be promoting that for the next two years. I will be hopefully finishing a CD with the Lao Tizer Band sometime in the next few months. That's a really great contemporary jazz band! I'll also be doing my regular sessions and stuff in LA.

7. How important do you feel the internet is for promoting your music?

It's invaluable. I have international distribution just through my site alone. Anybody from anywhere in the world can log on, listen to some tunes, find out where I'm playing and buy my CD. That's a pretty powerful tool, especially for an independent musician.

8. What has been the live highlight(s) for you?

So many gigs...so hard to say. I absolutely love doing my solo acoustic shows. When I go see someone play solo acoustic, I'm usually dozing off after three songs it's so boring. I try to make my shows more like an unplugged rock show. The interaction and the intimacy between myself and the audience is more satifying than anything I've done musically before.

How easy/hard is it to get gigs and promotion for gigs?

I think it's pretty easy to get gigs, but not so much to get paid what you should for gigs. Promotion for gigs is very tough. It seems more and more to fall on the artist, which is pretty ridiculous. You need to book with someone who will also do some promotion. Club gigs offer very little promotion, whereas festivals and gigs like that have more of a built-in promtional mechanism. Those, obviously, are better gigs to get.

9. Do you see the interest in rock music growing on the West coast of America at the moment? And worldwide?

No, I think it's pretty much the same as it's been for years. I think it's just harder to get people out to shows. In LA, it's like pulling teeth. There are over 1000 bands playing in rock clubs EVERY WEEK, not to mention all the other things people could be doing in this town. Then you have all the home entertainment stuff, like DVD's, internet, etc, that are keeping people in their houses instead of finding entertainment downtown. There's always going to be a need for live music, though. You just have to adapt and find new and clever ways of finding an audience for the music you play.

10. What's the most rock 'n' roll moment you've had so far?

I'd say the most "rock and roll" moment I've had was with a band called $ign of 4 at the Marquee in London in November of 2002. I was playing with Phil Mogg, Shane Gaalaas, Jeff Kollman and Mark Renk. It was a small crowd, but the band was old school rock that really blew the crowd away. I changed on that tour from a funky, educated pop bassist to a, as I believe Shane put it, a "moltan metal beast" or something like that. I got infused with the power of rock. It was a great gig with a great band. I hope we play together again.

11. Message to your fans?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope you enjoy the new CD, and I hope I get to play the music live in your area soon. Thanks for listening.


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