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Non-Prog Interviews

TD Clark

Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with TD Clark from 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at

On your latest CD Next Big Adventure, your songs really bring out an international flavor to your playing. Were they written while on your travels or when you got back home?
I think I wrote some of them on my travels and definitely a main riff here or there. A lot of the inspiration came from looking at the pictures from the various places and being inspired by that. Also thinking about the people, food, smells etc. All of that came into play. Some songs I had already written but they weren't finished or had no title and after listening to them they seemed to convey the feeling that I was looking for.
MSJ: Some of your other records have vocals. What made you decide to do a purely instrumental CD?
Well my last CD Perspective had some vocal songs on it but they seemed lost to the instrumental listeners who didn’t either like them or didn't like the fact they were on an instrumental guitar CD. Conversely many people who did like the vocal songs (I licensed all four songs at one time or another to different films) wanted more and weren't into the guitar shredding. So I have an entire vocal CD in the works right now. The band is called “Other Side of Nowhere” and we actually played some shows last year culminating in a show at the Whisky A Go Go in L. A. There will 10 or 11 tracks and I hope to have it done by early next year. There will be samples on my website which is going through a heavy revamp right now. This way guitar heads have Next Big Adventure and the vocal folks will have their CD and I will have some peace!
MSJ: Besides releasing your own music, you teach guitar. How did that come about?
I came back from my first major tour with Ted Nugent and Bad Company and I had a choice to make. I could go back to my day job or I could have a go at making a full living playing music. I had always taught guitar on the side so it wasn't a big stretch. Plus who the f*** wants to work a real job when they can play guitar all day - and do cool interviews.
MSJ: What’s the next project for you?
have an acoustic CD in the works that I am recording at my studio, Studio T, here in Aurora. It will be all kinds of influences from Latin to Arabian to Irish to blues - with every stringed instrument I can get my hands on. The vocal project obviously. I also have several instructional DVD's that I am selling and will be available for download on my site and maybe some retailers. Getting more bands recording in Studio T. A whole pile of stuff. Plus some mini tours/clinics to support NBA.
MSJ: From you experiences, what musical advice would you give to your students who want to make music their career?
Take it seriously. Practice your instrument and learn as much as you can and never stop learning. Then learn the business side of music which is no different than any other business. Learn marketing. Then quit and become an accountant! And hustle your ass off! Just remember if you want it bad enough you will make it happen! I truly believe that.
MSJ: What musical guilty pleasure do you have that would surprise your fans?
I really like the Bee Gee's. Those guys can write great songs. I don't sit and listen to them but I watch all the specials and am amazed. And some Yanni. I used to cover Santorini live, without the orchestra and with crunching screaming guitars of course. He has some cool melodies.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
The new Godsmack, which if you know me will be quite strange!
MSJ: Do you find it difficult to live in Chicago while the music meccas seem to be New York and Los Angeles?
Yes and no. I have had tons of success here in Chicago. Stevens Weiss (who represented Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company and little ole me as well) who was my first attorney was from New York. My current attorney is from L. A. I have been fortunate enough to play the strip in L. A. many times and have done a lot of business there. I go twice year to play at the NAMM show and other business related things. I guess I have had the best of all worlds really, although I would love to live in L. A. sometime. The scene in Chicago isn't very good but it is the bands that let it be that way. As well as some promoters who only want to promote cover music.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended?
I saw Steve Vai last year at House Of Blues. Strangely enough I don't go to many concerts. With my endorsements I could be getting passes and tickets but I usually spend my downtime doing other things.
MSJ: Who was your favorite band to tour with? Who treated you the best?
I loved opening for (George Lynch) Lynch Mob and Michael Schenker because they were heroes of mine as a kid. I also enjoyed opening for and playing onstage with Gary Hoey, Michael Angelo and Dave Uhrich. Those guys are awesome players and very nice. All the bands I have either opened for or toured with were cool. When you are a pro like the nationals are, they aren't morons usually. Unlike many cover bands that have never done anything and think they are rock stars. Bad Company treated us fantastic! They bought us dinner a bunch of times and I even went to England to jam in an all-star band with a few of the guys. Now that was kick ass!
MSJ: What is your favorite Spinal Tap moment from your tours?
I was in Cleveland (yes it is true of all places to have a Spinal Tap moment) and there were about 3,000 people in the Blossom music center and I started saying hello Columbus. Needless to say it wasn't the band’s best gig! If you come see me play you can still see the “Hello Columbus” banner on my 4X12 cabinet that the road crew put on there as a little reminder of that day. One last thing. Without my fans buying my CD's coming to shows and supporting me and my musical vision there would be no reason for this interview. So a heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone who ever supported any of my musical endeavors!

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