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Progressive Rock Interviews

Brian Tarquin

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Brian Tarquin from 2014

Can you catch the readers up on your musical history just a bit?

I grew up in New York City at a time when music was prevalent in the clubs and there was a record store on every corner. I gravitated immediately at the young age of eight to the guitar and all of its nuances and wonderful tones. I took several private lessons around the city for years and went on to study at Mannes College of music for composition and the Center For Media Arts for engineering. After college I moved to LA and performed with my original band at such Hollywood haunts as, The Roxy, The Whiskey, Bourbon Square, The Baked Potato, etcetera. I was very lucky in music. I had a successful career as an artist in the 90s in the contemporary jazz format, having several top charting songs at NAC radio and Billboard charting album sales. I also began composing early in the 90s for many shows on MTV, ABC-TV, NBC-TV and CBS-TV. Later I received three Emmy’s for music composing and was nominated for an Emmy six times. I also received the 2006 SESAC Network Television Performance Award.

I was very inclined to open up my own record imprint specializing in instrumental guitar music. The label released the Guitar Master Series featuring guitar legends: Jeff Beck, BB King, Santana, Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, Stanley Clarke, Billy Sheehan and many others. This is where I started to get such guests as Steve Morse, Billy Sheehan, Frank Gambale, Gary Hoey, Chris Poland and the like to guest on various releases I was composing and playing guitar.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Jeff Beck, Billy Cobham, Alan Holdsworth, Santana, George Benson
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
So much, continuing releases like Guitars For Wounded Warriors.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Guitar Instrumental
MSJ: Your new album is a benefit for wounded warriors. What inspired you to do something like that?
My father was in World War II and growing up in NYC in the 70s I saw so many Vietnam Vets on subway cars begging for money to eat. I felt so bad for them. No one cared. So this is my way of saying “thanks” to all veterans for letting people like me be free and do music.
MSJ: How did you hook up with all the guest musicians on the album?
Through my 20 years being in the music industry, I was able to hook up with great musicians.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
That’s a real legal question. Of course, we need to keep our copyrights protected. However, we can take a real good look at 1999 when record companies were suing 13-year girls for illegally downloading U2 songs, that’s ridiculous. Music is a very interesting field. You really have to know your royalties and how the industry pays. I’m a big advocate for artists to be educated on royalties. I even wrote a book about it called “Insiders Guide to Music Licensing.”  Artists need to be proactive, because illegal downloading is not the end all. There are so many other ways of making money in this business with your music.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
You see that everywhere on You Tube. Maybe that’s why even the biggest artists have trouble selling tickets these days. Really something that has to be addressed on the Internet.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Katie Perry for the bad auto tuned vocals and ridiculous outfits!
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
There was one already-Led Zeppelin!
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?

Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Billy Cobham, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Santana-Shape Shifter
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Jeff Beck with Brian Wilson
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Amps that go to eleven and beyond when recording Leslie West!
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Tommy Bolin
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Burger King!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Just to acknowledge the US military who are fighting in the Middle East against tyranny while we sit comfortably home! If they didn’t we would have a draft! Next time you see a soldier out there, just say “thanks” or if you are in a bar buy him a drink! I remember years ago I saw a Sergeant in a bar and I said to him “thanks.” He was so taken back. He said to me no one has ever said that. A little goes a long way!



MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at
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