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California Guitar Trio

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Bert Lams of California Guitar Trio from 2018

MSJ:

I know I interviewed the whole band for Poetry of the Air, and I interviewed Paul in 2017, but the last MSJ interview with you was quite a while ago. What's been new in the world of CGT?

After the recent release of our new album Komorebi, we've been touring and promoting the new CD. We're now on a short break until February, when we pick up an intense touring schedule across the US until Mid April. We've also started working on some new music, and plan to release another album this year.

MSJ:

What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?

 A few weeks ago we were signing CDs in the lobby of a theater after our show. A young boy stopped by, and told me that after hearing us, he wants to go home and play his guitar. That's the best compliment someone can give us.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

Well, I just landed in Newark, New Jersey, where I'll meet up with Italian guitarist Fabio Mittino in a few hours. This week we'll be on the road for a series of house concerts on the East Coast. It's cold here!

This year, I look forward to working on new music for the CGT and also recording a new album with Fabio Mittino:

Last month CGT convened in Los Angeles for a few days, and we got a good start on several new pieces. We'll be playing the new stuff at our upcoming concerts, and we'll build more repertoire as we keep on touring this year. I'm excited about that.

Fabio Mittino and I  are working on a second album with new arrangements of music by Gurdjieff/De Hartmann. This music has never been played on the guitar before. We plan to record this album next summer.

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

I'm now listening a lot to the sacred music by Gurdjieff/De Hartmann, looking for material to transcribe and arrange for our new album. And recently, I've  enjoyed listening to an up and coming artist named "Aurora Aksnes."

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

These are my desert Island books:

Moby Dick by Melville

The Brave Soldier Sweijk by Jaroslav Hasec

Scipio Africanus, Greater than Napoleon by Lidell H. Hart

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

It's been a while...When I'm off the road I don't tend to go to concerts, and spend all my time with my four year old daughter. Those are special times for me, since I'm away from home very often. But one of my favorites was a live concert by the group Magma in Gouveia, Portugal.  CGT played the same festival, on the same day.

MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?

You bet! That was Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in 1978 at Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. It was a hilarious performance and show, although the music was way beyond me. But I was struck by Frank Zappa's sense of humor and his wacky show and music! It was the beginning of a long exploration of new music for me.

MSJ:

Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?

I'm not much of a gear-head, but I do love the Eventide products, and the L.R. Baggs guitar pickups.  I use an Eventide H9 , which has high end effects, very unique, cool and special sounds! When you go to their website, you will see two sections on the home page: First one is instruments for cockpits in planes, and the second one is effects processors.

LR Baggs makes mostly guitar pickups, and are in the forefront of discovering new technology to amplify the guitar. Though most of it is still kind of Beta, I love testing the new stuff. Paul and Hideyo are probably wondering right now, what I'm going to bring on the road next. Right now I'm using their excellent Lyric pickup in my new guitar.

More than effects, I love checking out new guitars. I'm currently testing a new guitar model (Concerto), made by Breedlove Guitar Company in Bend, Oregon. It's an instrument made of myrtlewood. I'm honored to be the first one to play this new model they made for me.

MSJ:

Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

I want to thank you for this interview, and your continued support these past years. You know, we have played together for 26 years now, and it's the support of friends and music lovers like you that make all the difference. Thank you!

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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