When were you first drawn to the guitar?
How old were you?
Did you have lessons?
During your teen years, what guitar were you using?
What guitar(s) do you use now?
Whose music influenced you the most?
What was it about that (or the) sounds that most struck you?
What are three of the most influential jazz guitar albums and why?
Can you name some other musicians you've played/toured with?
What were one or two of your more memorable playing experiences?
Playing with B.B. King and the Crusaders with the London Symphony Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall didn’t suck. I also got to share the stage with BB in Montreux back in 2004 or 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1X_nnVksUA
How did you parents feel about your lifestyle choice?
I know you've written a book about a jazz guitarist bored to death with playing tuxedo gigs and having been involved with truly rewarding musical work in the past. Was that based on you, or straight fiction? Tell us about the book.
WWIt’s what I call either a “semi-autobiographical novel” or a “fictionalized memoir”. It’s definitely me, but in scenarios that are mostly either totally made up or based on reality that is exaggerated, hopefully in a humorous manner. There are some accounts of stuff that actually did happen too.
Here’s the synopsis:
In New York City in the mid-1990’s, internationally known guitar player Barry Finnerty found himself in a very bad place. His glory days of the 70’s and 80’s, when he was recording with Miles Davis, flying first class around the world with the Crusaders, making legendary records such as “Heavy Metal Bebop” with the Brecker Bros, banging beautiful groupies and partying non-stop – all of that is a distant memory.
As he reminisces about the past and laments what might have been, he has no choice but to make a living as the rock singer in a high society tuxedo band, a job with no artistic satisfaction whatsoever, which he finds highly depressing to say the least. Self-medication with booze and cocaine is continuous, and he becomes so unhinged at one point that he actually believes he can escape his predicament by getting into a relationship with Yuvana Crump (the ex-wife of the notorious New York real estate tycoon Ronald Crump) because she smiles at him while he is onstage at a tuxedo gig at the Waldorf. When that brilliant idea doesn’t work out so well, he starts thinking that maybe becoming a stand-up comedian might be his way out.
The often hilarious narrative, told in the first person (from Barry’s own perspective) and in the present tense (except when recalling past memories), blurs the barriers between memoir and fiction. “There’s a lot of reality in it,” says Barry. “although many of the names have been changed to protect the guilty. And a lot of it sounds like it really could have happened… although most of it didn’t. But some of it did!”