INTERVIEW I DID with MY FRIENDS from THE BRYAN ADAMS DUTCH FAN CLUB in
How are you doing?
First of all, a big HI to
Martine, Erik, Anneke and Henk Kramer from Groningen. Martine - the
best au pair we ever had!
great, thank Goodness. The kids are growing up, my ex-wife is slowly
disappearing, except for once-in-a-while occasions, my girlfriend is
great, I like some modern music, George Bush is going away soon (but
not soon enough!@) and me and my piano are still best friends.
I saw on MySpace that you
still make music. What other musical things did you do after you left
Well, even when I was with
Bryan and before, I wrote a lot of songs, and composed instrumental
music, first for piano, then later with synthesizers too - some
ambient, some rhythmic, some both. Plus I play piano every Friday night
at The Empire Diner in NYC, teach 2 days a week at Sarah Lawrence
College, and do other sessions and stuff.
I read you composed a couple of
operas. Can you tell us something about that?
Yes, thanks for asking. In the
early 70's after I finished university (just barely - I was so aching
to get back to my band!) I started working part time at a College for a
very creative Director. I had just finished a 1 year contract with Epic
Records, the division of CBS that had Sly and the Family Stone,
and many other current hit-makers. They decided not to release my
record, so I got all my songs back, and knitted them, with this
Director's help, into a loose plot - about a boy named Joe, and this
ghost like musician named Lurk who takes him under his 'wing'....for
better or worse. It was called Joe's Opera (I'm thinking of changing
the name now...) and we did it as a play Off-Off-Broadway at Cafe
LaMama in the East Village, and then the following year at another
Off-Off Broadway house, and then it was optioned for Broadway
Production, I had William Morris Agency representing me, and things
looked rosey. Only the Producers never raised the money to put it on
(that happens a lot in the biz). . . After a while it was 'rewrite
this, the backers have a problem with it - it's too gay' and 'rewrite
that, no one will like it, it's not gay enough' - it was about coming
of age, which always involves those issues to some degree, eh? and good
vs. evil or passion versus mind - I was a Philosopy major.) So again, I
got my Music back, and by then I had written a 2nd one, The Sea of
Simile, having learned some things from the first one. We did that one
at the college where I worked for that same 'creative' Director (named
John Braswell, btw, RIP), and it was da bomb. But it never went on to a
2nd production; Eventually I started recording the songs, and now after
many years, I have a complete soundtrack of it on CD, with great
singers (Dee Carstensen (Mrs. Mike Mainieri), Jimi Tunnell (from the
R&B group Shannon, and also Steps, he plays awesome jazz guitar
too.) Anyway, someone I was 'pitching' it to, asked me 'what do these
underwater characters look like?', and I realized I had to draw them a
picture. Well the pictures turned into a big book I carried around with
me, and the book and the music turned into a little animated movie,
more like a moving painting actually; Eventually I did the entire 100
minutes - you probably saw me on the road in the 90's, with my
computer, working on the drawings, or maybe the First Act's
animation!!!! remember?!? Finally, I did Act III with Apple's newer
software (iMovie and iDVD) and it's now a DVD! Wow. You can buy the CD
at cdbaby.com and the Apple iTunes Store.
What is the last musical thing
you did (and what was your last album?)?
Today, I did a 6 hour session,
playing keyboards on a new CD by Brady Rymer. He does really funky,
rockin fun records for kids. We must have done around 10 or 12 songs,
and it was fun. For the first time in the 3 CD's I've done with him,
there wasn't a Hammond Organ where we recorded. They had a (Swedish
made) Nord Stage keyboard which worked well, (but not as well as a real
Hammond B-3 of course!) You can check out some of Brady's music on
He's a great guy.
My latest album is called: Curio City (How
I Got Myself Killed)
and it has a lot of political
songs, some cool background vocals by Kirsten Thien and Elaine Caswell,
lots of Hammond, drum programming, even some guitars. One rap song to
my daughter, called NFD. Everything on it is me, mostly recorded in
Digital Performer on my Macs. You can hear it and or buy it at
http://www.cdbaby.com/group/tommy or the iTunes Store. The
one before that is called The Enlightenment of Age, and it has lots of
songs. . . including the soon to be famous Aliens On The Beach, and
Baby Please Come Back, a techno song featuring Lydia Burns (and me) on
vocals. She's hot.
What kind of music styles do
you like? And what artists have been musical inspirations to you?
It's funny - I'm not into
styles...I hate when style is more important than the music
itself. I'd call that posing. Me, I actually like certain
combinations of notes and chords. The same notes in ANY style
will make me feel good, make my soul sizzle, give me the chills, or
feel safe or whatever. . . Yet something in that same style, that lacks
my 'favorite notes' or chord sequences, just won't do it for me!
songs/recordings that I love are Sweetness by Jimmy Eats World,
Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles, No Expectations by The Rolling
Stones, Hands Clean by Alannis Morrisette, and Good Enough by Sarah
McLachlan. My biggest keyboard influences have been Steve Winwood (whom
I drank with in Amsterdam in '83!) Garth Hudson of The Band, Matthew
Fisher of Procol Harum, Nicky Hopkins of the Rolling Stones, John Lord
of Deep Purple, and though I'm not nearly as good, Michael Ratledge of
Soft Machine. Also Ray Charles, of course, Alan Toussaint, Dr. John,
Herbie Hancock (I wish!), Stevie Wonder, and Laura Nyro (a big
influence for a lot of us from that time. Check her out, especially Eli
and the Thirteenth Confession).
What other hobbies do you have,
I like having my mind read. And Mac graphics programs like Photoshop
and Painter. Also playing basketball and tennis, and being a good dad.
And my big new hobby- following the news & being horrified,
watching America fall apart because of its insane leaders and its
broken voting apparatus. http://www.rawstory.com
http://www.buzzflash.com stuff like that.
How did it feel to be on stage with
Bryan again? (in NYC,
in the Beacon Theatre, 11th January 2007)
It was like a strange dream. Because I've HAD that dream: that I was
back in the band, so many times - sometimes it's a good dream, and
other times it's just bizarre. And most of the dreams feel so
real, that IN THE DREAM, I actually 'pinch myself' to see if I am
dreaming, and I am almost always convinced that I'm not dreaming. . .
So when I was REALLY playing with the boys, I was saying to myself,
"You know, Tom, this could be just another one of those dreams, and you
wouldn't even know it!" (especially since the light show was so
different (more reds) and everything else was so familiar, but ten
years after the reality.) Lots of fun though. Wonderful.
How do you look back on your time
together with Bryan Adams?
Saw some great things, made a
lot of people happy, made really good friends, played well.
What were your favourite songs to
play with Bryan?
Somebody, Thought I'd Died And Gone to Heaven, Lonely Nights, Don't
Drop That Bomb on Me, Last Chance, Night to Remember, In The Heat of
the Night, Take Me Back, and especially Tonight. Some others too. Only
the Strong Survive. Anything except Touch the Hand.lol.
What are your plans for the future?
Get the Operas finally produced on stage; Protect my kids; make my
girlfriend happy tonight.
Tommy's Recent Ventures
Dutch Bryan Adams Fan Club Site