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Interview with Geoff Tyson

Guitar, Vocals

Geoff Tyson guitar legend

Interviewed by Kaj Roth
Date: February 2010

Geoff Tyson might not be as famous as Eddie Van Halen or Randy Rhoads, but he certainly deserves to be mentioned in the same league. Geoff was a member of the short lived T-Ride that gave us their self-titled cult classic album in 1992. He is close friends with Joe Satriani and recorded a cool pop/rock album with his and Susan Hyatt´s band STIMULATOR in 2004, but now he´s moved to the Czech Republic where he is performing with his new Geoff Tyson Band. I needed to know more.

Kaj Roth: Hey Geoff, good to talk to you again. It´s been 5 years since we did the interview for and back then, you played with Susan Hyatt in STIMULATOR but now you´re living in Prague, Czech Republic.

Kaj Roth: Why did you move there?

Geoff Tyson I wanted a change. The music scene in Los Angeles was dying a slow and boring death and I wanted to go somewhere where the music scene hadn't peaked yet. When I first came to Europe, I toured on the train with just my acoustic guitar. I played in cafes and small clubs in 9 countries for 3 1/2 months. I wanted to see the music scene in each city and meet the people. I decided to stay in Prague because it has all of the ingredients for a thriving music scene - great clubs, talented musicians, excited fans and low cost of living. And the city and people are beautiful.

Kaj Roth: Europe has a much colder climate than L.A, are you used to the change of weather?

Geoff Tyson I will never get used to the cold. The coldest day I can remember in San Francisco was 8 degrees Celsius. Today, I am looking at a snow covered Prague and -12 Degrees. Yikes!

Kaj Roth: You sent me your new EP and I have listened to it several times in a row now, I noticed two songs are taken from your previous solo album " Slow Mad Descent .". Why did you choose "Polyrhythms" and "Riverbleue" to be featured again along with the new songs, do you feel they deserved a 2nd chance?

Geoff Tyson This CD is a promotional tool to be included in a big Czech music magazine called "The Report". Those songs were never released in this country and they got overwhelmingly positive responses in other countries, so I decided to include them. The full CD will be done early next year and I may or may not include them on that one.

Kaj Roth: Did you play all instruments yourself on these both albums?

Geoff Tyson Always

Kaj Roth: There´s a psychedelic vibe over the songs but I like the way how the music is rich of nuances from acoustic based songs to more rootsy stuff as well as heavy rockers, do you feel like you have artistic freedom when writing music and not being signed to a label?

Geoff Tyson I have worked as a producer for so many years and have worked on everything from hip hop to classical to metal and pop. They all have something great about them and those styles have become a part of the bigger songwriting picture for me. I think that most people have a variety of styles that they can relate to. So rather than trying to predict what my audience might like, I just do what I like as well as I can. Everyone has a different favorite and so I appeal to a diverse group of people.

Kaj Roth: You do all the lead vocals now, do you feel more comfortable handling the vocals yourself with this sound?

Geoff Tyson I love singing and I can't stand working with other singers. I am the only singer I know who is not a diva. When I do a track, I don't have to punch in and auto-tune it and so the process goes very quickly. From the beginning of the composition process to the final mix, I never take more than 3 days. With other singers, this process can drag on and on and it is boring for me. I also love being the center of the live show. As a singer, there is a much deeper connection to the audience than when I am just playing guitar.

Kaj Roth: There´s a video made of the first track "You don´t know" that was quite entertaining to watch, tell me more about it.

Geoff Tyson Thanks. It was directed by Ian Adam Bull and the whole thing took less than one hour. The girl is Karolina Kreslova who is also a singer that I am writing for and producing. Watch out for her project next year some time.

Kaj Roth: The industrial and more heavy rock of "100 Million Motherfuckers" is truly the highlight of these new songs and might appeal to all fans of T-Ride out there, do you get any requests of playing T-Ride songs when you stand on stage?

Geoff Tyson Thanks. Yes I like that one too. It is about some people I knew in Hollywood. I like the guitar solo in that one. I have never gotten a T-Ride request but I used to play "You and Your Friend" acoustically when I was touring. I don't usually run into people that knew me from the T-Ride days.

Kaj Roth: Where will this new EP be available for purchase?

Geoff Tyson 20,000 are available now packaged with The Report Magazine and . There will also be an article and an interview about my adventures in the Czech Republic. You can also get it on I Tunes.

Kaj Roth: When you play live with your Geoff Tyson band, do you only play your own solo material or do you perform any other songs?

Geoff Tyson Sometimes I will include a cover song if I feel like it. My band is so talented that they can follow along with anything I play without any rehearsal. Sometimes we do long improvisation sections. It is cool because every show is different. I have Jakub Xavier Baro playing acoustic guitar, Ulf Gjerdingen on the bass, Jirka Vidasov playing keys and Tomáš Novák on the drums,. They are the best!

Kaj Roth: You have toured with lots of respected artists like Joe Satriani, DURAN DURAN and FILTER in the past. Which was the most fun tour to do?

Geoff Tyson They are all fun in different ways. I like playing to 25,000 people a night with DURAN DURAN, but I also love the small club tours because you can interact with the fans on a more personal level. But it all depends on who is in your own band. If you don't like those people, there is nothing that will be fun on ANY tour.

Kaj Roth: Which one is your favorite guitar?

Geoff Tyson I have so many. Right now I am playing Duesenberg electrics, Martin acoustic and Gibson basses but I also have an old Fender Telecaster that I love for slide.

Kaj Roth: Is there any difference between your equipment used for recording and playing live?

Geoff Tyson Big difference. For recording, I frequently go direct and use SansAmp for the amp tone. I like it because it is easy to duplicate a tone and it is very flexible. For live, I have a variety of combos that I use. Nothing I really like a lot yet. I'd like to get a Marshall half-stack but I don't have a car and it is a pain in the ass to carry something like that on the train. I love the Matchless amps but cannot find one for sale out here.

Kaj Roth: I was wondering if there is a 2nd unreleased TIMULATOR album and if that´s the case, why wasn´t it released?

Geoff Tyson There is. Susan and I recorded many songs that were never released. Many of them are very dark and heavy and now she is talking about releasing them.

Kaj Roth: What´s the best concert you’ve been to this year?

Geoff Tyson I hung out backstage with Satriani when he performed in Prague last year. He always puts on a great show.

Kaj Roth: Thanks so much Geoff for the interview.

Geoff Tyson Talk to you soon.


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