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Progressive Rock Interviews

Tempest

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Tempest From 2001
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

What does Tempest mean to you?
Adolfo Luis Lazo: It means fun.

Jim Hurley:Tempest is a band that combines the best of traditional music with the best of rock and roll. I value both of them so highly that I will not give up either of them, and with Tempest I get both in spades.

William Maxwell: Boy, that's a good question. The main thing that I like about the music is, regardless of how I feel at the beginning of the evening, by the time I finish playing I always feel better. So, to me Tempest is sort of feel good music. There's a lot of energy to it. It's a combination of influences which make a very interesting end product, but to me is just the energy and the way people feel at the end of the night.

Todd Evans: Tempest means for me a chance to play lots of fast guitar licks, upbeat tunes and some heavy stuff. It's a great mixture of music. I really enjoy the blend of heavier music and up-tempo, danceable music.

Leif Sorbye: To me Tempest is a lifestyle, because it takes up all my waking hours. It usually means, I explained it once to people that it's 40% folk music, 40% rock and roll and 20% phone calls. That's what Tempest means to me.
MSJ: What is your musical background?
Todd Evans: I've got a Bachelor's degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston in sound engineering. I've been playing guitar for about 18 years, started when I was 15. I grew up listening to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. From there I started listening to the Grateful Dead. Berklee taught me about jazz. I've just been expanding my ears for the last 15 years.

Jim Hurley: The last gig I had was with Ritchie Blackmore, Blackmore's Night. That was fun. Ritchie is a nicer person than his reputation. From my experience, he was a gracious person who was always trying to do the right thing. I played with Queen Ida, playing Zydeco for many years. I played with Dan Hicks swing jazz for six years, and I've done a lot of fusion music. I have a music degree, but I've always taken left turns.

William Maxwell: I started on classical guitar when I was six, and actually continued with solo classical guitar work until just a couple of years ago. I took up bass when I was 12. I got a Bachelor's degree in music composition. The background is pretty varied. I've done everything from writing music for orchestras to rock bands, jazz bands, combos, orchestra playing - there's a wide variety of things I really like.

Adolfo Luis Lazo: I was playing in an original funk band. Then I did the top 40 band for a while. Then I did a rockabilly band.

Leif Sorbye: I started the band in 1988. Prior to Tempest I was in another American band, but it was a strictly acoustic folk band. Before that I had rock bands in Europe. So, Tempest was a way to combine the folk experience with the rock and roll experience.
MSJ: Who would you consider to be your musical influences?
Leif Sorbye: The people that I've listened to most over the years are people that I still regard pretty highly - Bob Dylan for one, The Incredible String Band, and The Beatles. When I first saw The Beatles I thought, "that looks like a good job."

Todd Evans: My main influences are probably, like I said, the guys from Iron Maiden, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith. I listen to a lot of Joe Satriani. I also listen to a lot of Dave Matthews band.

William Maxwell: Boy, there's so many, Chris Squire certainly is a player, earlier prog rock groups were a major influence on me - primarily because of the classical background, but also liking the entire rock area. The entire prog rock area really fascinated me because it comprised of them both. There are so many influences - everything from jazz (various phases of jazz) everything from Louis Armstrong to Weather Report. Pretty much everything I've heard that I've liked. Stravinsky, Weather Report, Yes, Genesis, Hendrix - you name it.

Adolfo Luis Lazo: I got into funk music when I was a teenager - like Bootsy's Rubber Band and Parliament and the Commodores and Ohio Players and that kind of stuff. That was really what I was into. I was not into rock and roll or folk art. I'd never even heard of Celtic music til I joined this band.

Jim Hurley: That's too big of a question, where do I begin? What I have in my Walkman for the upcoming drive is John Coltrane-Love Supreme. I'm going to listen to that between here and Dayton, Ohio.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought/What have you been listening to lately?
Todd Evans: Lately I've been listening to David Gray's "White Ladder". I listen to that a lot. I still listen to Dave Matthews Band all the time, and I just bought Iron Maiden's album "Killers" off Ebay for $5.

Jim Hurley: I went to my record collection and transferred some vinyl to CD, if that counts. I got out some old classical recordings of solo Bach that I haven't heard in ages, also John Coltrane. So, Bach, Coltrane, and there is a Zairian band called "Condo Bongo Man". I love guitar, too, and it's wondrous guitar music from central Africa.

William Maxwell: I listen to a lot of Michael Manring. He's not only my bass teacher; I think he's an awesome performer. He's one of the few bass players I know who can play solo bass pieces that non-bass players like. He can walk out on stage with a solo bass, attract a varied crowd and blow everyone away. To me, the most important element is to be musical. It's not to be technical. It's not to be flashy. It always has to say something, and Michael Manring is one of the people who does that. I listen to such a wide variety of things. Attention Deficit (a group that Michael Manring plays in), I was listening to a Yes album the other day, Genesis, you name it. Then there's also folk stuff I listen to. Occasionally I listen to orchestra stuff, which I really love because of the textures. So, I would say music anywhere from the 19th to the 21st century.

Adolfo Luis Lazo: Country music - I'm totally into country music. I love it. Now days, it's not even country sounding. It's more like pop, country pop. I like good straightforward simple songs that have great melodies and harmonies and all that. I'm not into complicated fusion and all that stuff. Which is probably why I'm a straightforward drummer. I'm not very flashy.

Leif Sorbye: The last thing I listened to was the new Afro Celt Sound System album, where they had Robert Plant on vocals. I don't know if it's out yet. I was just listening to a promo copy of that that I got from a music journalist friend of mine.
MSJ: What was the last concert you saw?
Todd Evans: That's a tough question. I haven't seen a concert in a long time. I think the last one I saw was Duncan Sheik.

Jim Hurley: The very last concert I went to was, this duo that Leif has called "Caliban". I went to hear them. I have an art studio and on the same block is this little pub they were playing at. So, I went down, and had a few Guinesses. It's like being on the gig and not having to play.

William Maxwell: The last concert I saw was in Berkley, and I hate to say this, but I can't remember their name. It was a pair of songwriters who almost sounded like a Seals and Crofts kind of thing. I think the biggest thing I liked about that show was the tone of it.

Leif Sorbye: It was Airto Moreira and Flora Purim.

Music Street Journal: Will there be another Caliban album?

Leif Sorbye: Yes. I'm working on a second one now. I've got a new fiddler in Caliban, Sue Draheim, who I was a big fan of when I was still a kid living in Norway. At the time she recorded with Richard Thompson. She now lives in California, and we've been doing duo gigs for the last couple of months. So, when I'm not on the road with Tempest, we're working on the next record.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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