An "interview" I gave a little while back.
The "interview" below appeared in Junior's Cave, a web site hosted somewhere in the South. I put "interview" in quotes, because it was nothing of the sort: Junior sent me a Word doc and I filled out it out. Still, I thought the questions were good and I enjoyed answering them. Hope you enjoy reading it!
Isaac: We'd love to know about your inspirations growing up. I hear so many influences in your music. How old were you when you first discovered music? Is there any kind of musical history in your family?
Around 1970, the year I turned 7, my folks moved the family out to California, and one of the first places we lived was a rental house, equipped with a magnificent stereo console made of wood and cloth -- and magic. For inside, were some vinyl LPs left behind by the people who owned the house, and one of them was The Beatles Second Album. Up until then, maybe I’d heard some Pete Seeger or Joan Baez, but my folks didn’t go for pop at all -- they liked classical – so I was totally unaware of the music that was changing the world. The song I remember most wasn’t even a Beatles tune. It was Roll Over Beethoven, sung by George! But no matter. Along with the rest of the world, I, too, was changed.
Isaac: What drew you to pick up an instrument in the first place?
I truly don’t remember. I do remember, however, taking accordion lessons, then acoustic guitar, and finally, being allowed to hold an electric guitar. It was at Swain’s House of Music, in Palo Alto, California, and the thing that struck me hardest about that first ax was that it was made of wood. Wood? I was sure it would be some exotic material I’d never heard of. But wood? Honestly, it was a let down. My cheap-ass nylon stringer was made of wood.
Isaac: As you hit your teenage years, did you know that this was what you would be doing for the rest of your life?
Not at all. I mean, I fantasized about getting signed and the like, but I never really thought it would happen. And I was right. To make matters worse, I was not only a less-than-brilliant guitarist (I still suck), I was also, um, academically challenged, so my future was a very iffy thing.
Isaac: Is there a performer in any genre of pop culture that you would like to work with?
I would love to do something with Buddy Miller, who is the best singer/guitarist/songwriter on the planet.
Isaac: Who are some musicians that you really like, present or past?
There are so many. Buddy Miller, Neil Young, Keith Richards, Tom Petty, Tim & Eryn Young, Toby Germano, Richard Thomson, Iggy Pop, Gordon Gano, Steve Wynn, Dan Stuart, Paul Simon, Larkin Gayl, Jimmy Page, Sting (Police era!), Tom Ardolino, John/Paul/George and Ringo, Tom Waits, Steve Earle, John Fogerty, Pete Townshend, Tom Waits. I’m sure I’m forgetting some huge influences, but these are all big ones. Oh, the drummer and bassist I work with, Andy Korn and Sam Bevan, respectively.
Isaac: What is your ultimate goal with your music career?
To make a living at it. But, for now, I just want to make a good record, one I’m happy with.
Isaac: What have been some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get this far in your career?
I haven’t gotten anywhere! But for me, there have been two really huge obstacles to doing music. One, I was completely focused on making money for far too long, which took me away from music and into advertising, where I made it to the position of executive creative director, before a brain injury in 2006 sidelined me. And two, depression. I have always struggled with it, still do, and no matter what you read, trust me, being depressed does not help your creativity. It blocks you, and only when it lifts, can you do much of anything worthwhile.
Isaac: Would you recommend this "field" to others who are aspiring to be musicians like you?
Sure, just know that it’s going to be tough on your psyche and pocketbook. But anything worth doing well is hard.
Isaac: Describe one piece of advice you've have been given to by others in the music industry.
Be humble. More than any other words of wisdom, these stand out, because being humble is necessary to being good (you can’t just think you’re great straight off!), and no one likes to work with egomaniacs. No one.
Isaac: What genre of music do you consider most of your music?
Rock and roll, I hope!
Isaac: What has been your favorite piece of work?
What’s next is always my favorite piece.
Isaac: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
I do! My web site is www.cerebellumblues.com, and my main music download site is located at http://jeffshattuck.bandcamp.com. A quick word about bandcamp: it is The Best Site in the Universe for songwriters/bands who want to peddle their tunes, and it just keeps getting better.
Right now, I only have a few songs posted to my bandcamp site, but come October, I will have a full album, which will also be available through iTunes and Amazon before the end of the year.
Isaac: Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
For emotional and financial support, my wife, Catherine has been infinite. She not only stuck with me after I lost more than few brain cells in a fall, but she has also happily watched me burn through piles of cash to make my first album and never once made me feel guilty about it.
Emotional support has come from many, many people including my folks, Toby Germano, Dave Tutin, Cory Verbin, Andy Korn, Sam Bevan, Jaime Durr, Tim Young, Deb Burkman, and Larkin Gayl.
Isaac: Any last words?
My songs are all over the map, I fully admit, so if you listen to one, and it’s not your thing, please listen to another! Also, I am quite possibly the worst vocalist in the history of humanity, so as you peruse my tunes, you’ll hear Josh Fix, Larkin Gayl, Toby Germano, RodDammit, Jeff Tuttle (if it all works out) and Eryn Young on throat.