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Progressive Rock Interviews

Rare Blend

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Victor Samalot of Rare Blend from 2009
MSJ:
We wanted to offer a CD with another twist.  With the ability to track shows, we sifted through material that we collected and thought, “wow, this would be really cool for an album especially the improvisational pieces.”
MSJ: Can you give our readers a look at the history of your group and your involvement in music?

It’s been a trip for sure.  The progression from writing for film/video to a jazz-rock fusion group evolving with every album has been a wild ride.  Now venturing into more improvisation is another step we wanted to take and bring that side of Rare Blend to an audience.   There is a lot of work into composing where as “improv” is what’s in your head at that moment.  Time to take the plunge!

MSJ:
If you weren't involved in music, what do you think you'd be doing?
Honestly I have no idea, really have never given it a thought.  Talk about a one-track mind, eh?
MSJ: How would you describe the sound of Rare Blend?

Not to sound corny but whip out the blender in your kitchen, mix equal parts of progressive rock, jazz, fusion, and world, mix thoroughly.  That just about sums it up.

MSJ: What's ahead for you?

We look forward to working with more of the jam band circle or any outlet open to the “improv” side of things. 

MSJ: Are there musicians you'd like to play with in the future?

There are so many great musicians out there; my list would be a phone book.   I am looking at different instrumentation to have on stage with us.

MSJ:

Do you think that downloading of music is a help or 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?

 The amazing things you can do to hear music via technology blows my mind.  It is what it is and technology isn’t going away for anyone.  If the artist wants to offer their music to be downloaded free or pay per song or the entire album, that’s up to them.  To me it’s another way of getting music into the hands of listeners.

MSJ:

In a related question how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I don’t have a problem with that.  Certainly I would hope that a fans interest in recording a show would lead to a bigger fan base and have them buy our music.  I think it’s good promotion.
MSJ:

If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch-nemesis and why?

As a superhero I would have no enemies, they would have been slain long ago (laughing), however, Jeff Beck came to mind as there is no way in hell I can get kryptonite tones like that! 

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band, who would be in it?
I couldn’t, as there would not be enough room on stage to hold them all.  We’d blow a circuit!
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view, who would be playing?

First of all the festival would literally never end with my choices.  People would breathe their last breath before we concluded the festival.  Remember the phonebook? However, included just off the top of my head would be classic folks such as Santana, Phil Keaggy, Rush, Vital Information, The Dregs, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis and that’s just the first day!

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought, or what have you been listening to lately?

Santana’s Caravanserai from 1972 - some amazing psychedelic jams on this album.  I have also  been revisiting Phil Keaggy.  The amount of music he has put out over the years is staggering. I recommend all guitar players take the time to listen to Phil and make him a part of your collection.

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Recently caught Jennifer Batten here in Cleveland.  Really cool stuff, amazing playing.  Her tribute to Les Paul was incredible! 

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Forgetting my guitar amp on a gig a couple of hours away at the Columbus Jazz Festival in Ohio.  Fortunately a friend of my drummer (a guitar player who lived in the area), let me borrow his amp.  This “thing” as I call it was a classic Fender wrapped in truly creeped out psuedo-fur.  Looked like one of those troll dolls with the weird hair.   Only piece of equipment I thought I would have to feed.  Aside from the looks of thing, it sounded fantastic and saved the day.  I always give a shout out to Lou when I’m in Columbus.  Wonder if he stills has it?

MSJ: Finally, are there any closing thoughts you'd like to get out there?

 

Big thanks to you Gary and Music Street Journal and everyone involved in Sessions.  Check out Rare Blend and become a fan/friend throughout our various sites on the Internet.  See you at a show down the road and keep on rockin/!
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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