When were you first drawn to the guitar?
I think it was when I first saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.
How old were you?
12
Did you have lessons?
I got a cheap classical guitar for my 13th birthday and took a few folk guitar lessons. Learned basic chords and stuff. But my friend came over who had just gotten a Fender Jazzmaster electric guitar and amp and after trying that I wanted one bad!
During your teen years, what guitar were you using?
In ’66 I got my first electric guitar in Hong Kong where my mom had gotten a Fulbright grant to teach English at Chinese University. It was a Fender Jaguar with a Deluxe Reverb amp. I joined my first rock ’n roll band that opened a show for Herman’s Hermits. Later, back in San Francisco, I got a Guild Starfire because I had seen Jerry Garcia playing one. Then I got a great old ’59 Gibson Les Paul, and as I got more serious about jazz I also got a beautiful ’60 blond Johnny Smith.
What guitar(s) do you use now?
I have been playing the Yamaha Image Custom since the early 90’s. Best electric guitar they ever made. I also have a Yamaha CPX-15 acoustic, Yamaha SA-2200 (like the Gibson 335) and a Japanese Fender Strat.
Whose music influenced you the most?
That’s a long list. As far as guitar playing, George Benson, Howard Roberts, Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery in jazz, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton in rock, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Albert Collins in blues. Compositionally, I am influenced by the Beatles, Steely Dan, the Cream, Joe Sample, Randy Brecker, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Clare Fischer, John McLaughlin, Charlie Parker, Horace Silver, Tom Lehrer, Mose Allison…too many to name. Also I love classical composers like Beethoven, Rossini, Bartok, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky.
What was it about that (or the) sounds that most struck you?
The most interesting thing about music is the part that cannot be put into words.
What are three of the most influential jazz guitar albums and why?
I can’t say which ones influenced other people, but for me, “It’s Uptown” by George Benson opened up my head to a lot of possibilities. One of the first jazz guitar albums I ever heard, “H.R. Is A Dirty Guitar Player” by Howard Roberts really knocked me out, he could play so funky and jazzy and melodic at the same time. There’s so many, but “The Dynamic Duo” with Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, and the Oliver Nelson big band with Grady Tate (recently deceased) on drums was a big influence… nobody could groove it like Wes.
Can you name some other musicians you've played/toured with?
Miles Davis of course, though unfortunately I never toured with him. In the 80’s I went all over the world with the Crusaders, who were very big internationally at the time. Also the Brecker Bros, Hubert Laws, Airto and Flora, Billy Cobham, Blood Sweat & Tears… And I have been going to Germany to play with my BBFC (Bad BF Collective) band now and then, great 7 piece band with 3 horns.
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?
Always very supportive.
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!”

I understand you're also doing stand-up comedy now. How did you get involved in that?
Well, I actually haven’t done any stand-up in quite a few years. But we are getting ready to produce a funny fake news show for today’s short attention span audience on YouTube: the Weasel News Network. Short clips, like 4-5 mins each. I got all the stuff set up, green screen, desk etc..
You've also written some guitar instruction books. Do you teach, do you like teaching?
I am on the adjunct faculty at CJC (California Jazz Conservatory) in Berkeley, but I don’t teach that much unless I can get really good students. I do most of my educating through my two “Serious Jazz” books published by Sher Music, and they are for all instruments, BTW.
Any recent gigs here or abroad? Any coming up?
In September, I just did a week in Japan with the Breckers Heavy Metal Bebop reunion band, then I had a couple gigs in Hong Kong with my old friend Ted Lo, a great piano player who lives there. I played the Silicon Valley Jazz Fest last weekend with my own band. A few club gigs coming up. And I got the Jazz Cruise out of Florida with Randy in February, hopefully some more coming next year.
Where can people find your cds and books?
My website if you want them signed. The books can be ordered from Amazon. Digital downloads from iTunes, etc.Barrybadbf@me.com5104598816
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