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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Chris Standring

chris standringSmitty: Well, it’s always a pleasure to talk with a great guitarist and we’ve got a magnificent one visiting today. He’s got a great new record set for release. It’s called Soul Express and it is a magnificent project.  Please welcome Trippin’ n Rhythm recording artist Mr. Chris Standring. Hey, Chris!

Chris Standring (CS): Hey, Smitty.  How are you? It’s good to be here.

Smitty: Yeah, man, its wonderful, and you’ve got a great project that you’ve gotta be proud of, with some great grooves and great melodies, and some magnificent artists supporting you on this great project. Wow.

CS: I’m very happy with it. It’s three years since my last record and creatively we went sort of a few different places on this record to get to where we eventually did, and I’m glad it’s done. (Both laughing.)

Smitty: That’s always a relief when you’ve finished it, huh?

CS: Well, it can be a bit torturous because when you’ve made a few records, it’s really important not to repeat yourself and to try and say something new, and the easiest thing to do is to make the same record over and over and over. And I just flatly refuse to do that.

Smitty: Yeah.

CS: And I didn’t want to do that on this one, and it just getting harder with every record you make, basically.

Smitty: Yeah. Well, I tell you, man, it doesn’t seem like it. You make it look easy and you make it sound easy because, man.  There’s some great grooves here.  Wow.

CS: Well, thank you very much. Well, that’s the magic, isn’t it, when you can make it seem a little bit easy, but sometimes that has nothing to do with me.

Smitty: So, how did you wind up with a guitar, man? 

CS: Well, it’s funny you should ask that because I was two years old when I asked my parents for a guitar, and who knows where I got the idea or the word, even, and I think for every birthday from then on I had a toy guitar. I even remember them to this day.

Smitty: Wow.

CS: And then when I was, I think on my sixth birthday, I was allowed a proper half size guitar and then I went to take lessons.  So I’ve just….it’s all I’ve ever really known

Smitty: Wow. When you got the regular size guitar, how did you feel?  I mean, was that something that inspired you to really look at this more seriously?

CS: I couldn’t stop smelling it.  (Both laughing.)  I promise you this. There’s something….and I still do it today. Maybe it’s that obsessive compulsive disorder.  There’s something about the wood, when you smell inside the sound hole, there’s something real about it.

Smitty: (Laughing) Really?

CS: Oh, it’s just weird, but, yeah, it’s brought back some memories of my childhood.  But, yeah, it’s something, you know, toy guitars don’t smell the same.

Smitty: How about that?  So on your next project, can we possibly expect a song entitled “The Sound Hole” or The Smell Of The Hole?  (Both laughing.)

CS: Yeah, or something like that, yeah.

Smitty: Yeah. Ahh, something about the wood, huh?

CS: Yeah.

Smitty: That’s pretty good.

CS: Sure smells good (Laughing.)

Smitty: Yeah, man. So is that an inspiration of your musicianship, your playing?

CS: Subconsciously probably, yeah.

Smitty: Well if it has anything to do with this record, I can understand why now.  Man…

CS: Oh, thank you. Glad you like it.

Smitty: Yes indeed.  Let’s talk a little bit about your selection of songs….

CS: Yeah.

Smitty: ….because you wrote or co-wrote most of these, right?

CS: That’s right, I did, yeah.

Smitty: And you started this project with “Catwalk,” which I think is beautiful. I mean, it’s a….

CS: Thank you.

Smitty: ….great tune and it features Rodney Lee a little bit and some of the things he does with keyboards.

CS: Right.

Smitty: And that was beautiful. That seems to be a nice combination with you and Rodney on keyboards.

CS: Well, we’ve worked together for years now. We actually worked on our first record together in ’96 called Solar System, which was supposed to be my first solo album, but we got so experimental and we brought in, you know, a horn section and singers and a rapper, and it just went to a whole different place, and that was the beginning of our sort of our writing and producing together, and we just hit it off so well that we just kept growing and writing and producing together and, you know, it’s very different now than it was. It was much more raw back then. But we just sort of matured together and it’s still a really, really good symbiotic relationship, you know?

Smitty: Yes, I think that really sums it up because you can hear the growth of you two working together on this project. And I must say that my favorite track is the title track. Man, it’s great.

CS: Oh, thank you very much. Well, you’re one of about three or four people to hear this record so far.

Smitty: Oh my ears, cool.

CS: And I think two out of those three people have said the same thing.  (Both laughing.)  Yeah. Well, when it comes out….when the record comes out May the 9th, we’ll see what people say, but, yeah, a couple of people have said that they really like that.

Smitty: How about that? The great minds are speaking, Chris.

CS: Yeah, yeah.  And what’s very odd is that I actually did that track myself at my home studio, so….and I’m not used to working on my own at all So it was kind of a first for me.

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