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Progressive Rock Interviews

Michael Barry-Rec

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Michael Barry-Rec from 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Can you catch the readers up on your musical history?
I started playing the guitar when I was 10. I took lessons for a few months and decided to see what I could accomplish on my own. I’ve been exposed to a bunch of great musicians through the years that have taught me plenty, but the bulk of my musical knowledge has been self-taught. I have been in and out of bands but have been content for the most part with the solo approach which is where I’m at now. My interest in the lap steel was a direct result of coming in contact with Steve Kimock’s work about 5 years ago. The chemistry of that time ignited an intensely creative period for me which resulted in my album, On The Road to North Mountain.
MSJ: What do you think you’d be doing now if you weren’t a musician?
I’m a creator at heart. Over the years when not making music or raising my two incredible kids or otherwise, I have evolved into a master stonemason. For the most part working with stone has really satisfied another creative part of me. There are certain elements that apply to both music and stonework, i.e. structure, balance, color, texture and integrity. I feel strongly that a major part of our life’s work as human beings is to achieve and maintain a state of balance. For me, music and stonework have been a tremendous help in this respect.
 

MSJ: Are there musicians you’d like to play with in the future?
Definitely I would like to sit in with Kimock. In addition, I’d love to get together with: David Gilmour, Robert Randolph, Steve Winwood. Also, I think George Winston is an awesome solo pianist and would love to toss around some ideas with him.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their art described or pigeonholed, but how would you describe it?
I don’t create my music so it can easily fit in a box, be put on a shelf and sold. I create to create. I use the means I have available to submit to whatever it is trying to surface at any given point in time. The different styles I draw from, namely - rock, blues, alt-country and ambient/acoustic serve up a sound that is primarily acoustic based with expansive tendencies. It sits most comfortably termed as "progressive."
MSJ: Who do you see as your musical influences?
Early on it was The Beatles, hands down. I went nuts, I bought every album they put out. Currently, Steve Kimock’s work has really made some impressions along with Robert Randolph and other “sacred steel” bands. I’ve always loved David Gilmour’s and Jerry Garcia’s early lap and pedal steel work as well as their outstanding bands.  Some others include Neil Young, Steve Winwood, Roy Buchannan and Brian Eno to name a few.
MSJ: Do you think that downloading of music is a help or a hindrance to the careers of musicians? It’s been said by the major labels that it’s essentially the heart of all the problems they are having in terms of lower sales- would you agree?
I personally feel downloading of music needs to be structured and accounted for but affordable.
MSJ: In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
Fans recording shows should be decided by each band or artist. It can be an incredible promotional tool as was shown by The Grateful Dead in the 80's.
MSJ: What’s ahead for you? Touring, more recording?
I’m currently working on a project that I hope to release in the Spring of 2007 with a fair amount of touring support.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought or what have you been listening to lately?
The last CD I purchased was a live show performed at the 2006 Floyd Fest by The Lee Boys and The Campbell Brothers, two very talented “sacred steel” bands. Other CD’s that find their way into my player lately: Toubab Krewe, Warren Haynes at Bonnaroo, Donna The Buffalo- Rockin’ The Weary Land and I’ve just about wore out Steve Kimock’s-Live From Colorado 1.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
A band called “Tea Leaf Green” from San Fransisco.
 
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