June 13, 2024

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Interview with Tim “Too Slim“ Langford: Pretty much peace, love and understanding: Video, new CD cover, Photos

Interview with Blues guitarist and unabashed blues rocker Tim “Too Slim“ Langford. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Tim “Too Slim“ Langford: – I grew up in Spokane Washington in the Northwestern part of the USA. I have always loved music since I was very little. My grandfather worked in Radio and I had an older cousin who was a musician. He turned us on to all his records bands like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cream, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Steppenwolf , The Doors. I really wanted to start playing guitar after I saw ZZ Top in Concert about 1974. After that I got a guitar and took lesssons and never looked back. That’s all I wanted to do and made a vow to myself that I would make a living playing music.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

TTSL: – My first guitar teachers were all Jazz players. I just wanted to sound like them. I also loved Rock and Blues music. So as my skills advanced on guitar I started experimenting with different guitars and styles. I wanted to be able to play in all styles. My heart though was drawn to Blues players like Otis Rush, BB King, Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins. I also had the pleasure of seeing younger players like Robert Cray, Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Jimmy Thackery live and in the flesh who were all big influences on me. I also liked rock music, bands like ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater. Over the years I started figuring out what guitars and amps to use to get specific tones. My preferences have definitely changed over the years. I’m constantly changing equipment to find what to me is the ultimate guitar tone. I feel like it’s a never ending search and I like so many different types of music that I’m sure I’ll always be trying new things. My main road rig consists of a Marshall Origin Combo amp, a Delaney Custom guitar, A Reverend Telecaster, and a Fender Telecaster Deluxe. Sometimes I switch one of these guitars for a Les Paul or a Stratocaster depending on my mood. My pedal board consists of a Strymon Riverside overdrive, a Strymon Flint Reverb/Tremolo, TC Electronics Spark, Cry Baby Wah and Boss Chorus and Delay pedals.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony? 

TTSL: – I try to practice at least an hour a day when I’m not touring. I change things up practicing scales and modes, working on picking technique, Rhythm guitar changes and playing along with Jam tracks in all different styles. I also watch Youtube guitar instruction videos. I feel that you can never stop learning new things with the guitar. It’s a never ending evolution.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

TTSL: – I absolutely have changed through the years. As I mentioned before the guitar has so many different directions you can go with it that you can never stop learning new things. I just want to become a better musician. There’s just so many approaches you can take with guitar playing that it never gets boring. The only limitations you have with the instrument is your physical limitations and your desire to grow as a musician.

JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

TTSL: – When I am ready to do a recording I make demo’s in my home studio and try to make them as accurate a representation of how I want the song to sound. Things always change when you get in the studio to actually record them but the demo’s serve as a guide to the musicians who will be performing. I do leave things open to interpretation to some extent as I find it’s good to keep an open mind to the input of other musicians. As far as performing live on tour it’s good to keep in physical shape and stay away from alcohol and drugs. I want to give the best performance I can give each and every night. You can’t keep your head right if your abusing alcohol and drugs. I did my share of that in the early days but there’s no good end to that. The older I get the more I want to keep my body and mind in good shape.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: Too Slim and the Taildraggers – Brace Yourself, how it was formed and what you are working on today. 

TTSL: – I love the fact that the album is from one single show. I feel it was a great representation of what the band really sounds like live. It’s hard to capture that energy in the studio sometimes. The audience can sometimes give you extra inspiration to excel beyond your normal capabilities. There were many other songs from that show that we couldn’t fit on one CD. It’s hard to pick and choose what to leave out. I turned it over to my Bass Player Zach Kasik to mix and master the album and he did a fantastic job. I guess I’m working on a direction to go with a new studio recording, writing songs trying to keep things fresh.

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

Brace Yourself

JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

TTSL: – The musicians who play on the album were the guys in my band. I met them both in Nashville TN. I always try and record with the musicians in the band unless it’s an instrument we want to add that none of us are particularly not skilled at.

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

TTSL: – I feel it’s important to know the intellectual side of music from a songwriting standpoint and to know your way around your instrument. When it comes time to perform though you have to feel it in your heart and soul. You can’t necessarily teach that to someone though.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

TTSL: – The emotional connection is what you are shooting for and trying to deliver in a live performance. The more you can deliver it to the audience and the more the audience is feeling that, the better it is.

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

TTSL: – We have had many shows opening for acts such as Lynyrd Skynyrd,.38 Special, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray ,Johnnie Lang, Bo Diddley. I remember when we played with Bo Diddley he traveled by himself so the local promoter of the show hired us to be his backup band. When he arrived in town we went to the club for a rehearsal. He asked us if we knew how to play a shuffle, a slow blues groove a stroll groove and a rock beat. We did a few bars of each kind of groove he asked us about, and then said ok, see you at the show. I thought that was kind of funny. He did not want us to ply the Bo Diddley groove. All the songs we did that had that beat he had us play with a straight rock groove. He must have like the band because we ended up backing him up when ever he came up to the NW part of the USA.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in blues when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

TTSL: – There seems to be every twenty years or so a new batch of young people who discover this type of music and put a little new life into it. In the 60’s it was started by the British players, Eric Clapton, Peter Greene,The Rolling Stones etc. In the 80’s you have Robert Cray, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Nighthawks, Ronnie Earl to name a few. Then in the early 2000’s you had Joe Bonamassa, Johnny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd. All these people seem to inspire a whole new crop of players. It seems there are a whole batch of women players these days who are inspiring young girls to pick up the guitar and play the blues music. Each generation puts a whole new spin on the blues music. There have always been those who try and keep true to the traditional approach to blues music from different era’s, but there’s a handful from each generation that ends up taking a fresh new approach. I think blues music will always be something that will continue to be around and evolve with influences of the new generation that’s coming up.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

TTSL: – I caught the spirit and love for music at a very early age. Music was very important to me from about the age of 5. It later evolved into me actually playing music. I ended up being drawn to the guitar as my instrument and later writing my own songs. There’s something about music that brings people together. I feel that I got a gift andI had to use or lose it as they say. I can definitely relate to what John Coltrane was saying with that comment. Music gave my life meaning . I can’t imagine my life without music being a part of it.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

TTSL: – If I could change on thing it would be the royalty structure of music streaming so the artist gets a fair share.

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

TTSL: – I still find myself listening to the bands and players I listened to growing up. As far as Blues musicians go that would be people like Freddie King, BB King, Lightnin Hopkins, Otis Rush, Son House, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Peter Greene, eric Clapton, Jeff Beck. In the rock genre, The Rolling Stones ,The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater, Johnny Winter, Cream, The Doobie Brothers, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Neil Young, ZZ Top. Jazz players like Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, George Thorogood, Jimi Hendrix. I’m not super hip on current rock bands, But I sure like Drive By Truckers!!

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

TTSL: – Pretty much peace, love and understanding. I just wanrt people to feel good and write songs people can relate to.

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

TTSL: – Probably the late sixties. I feel that rock music was in it’s infancy then and the ability for expression was wide open.

JBN: – Do You like our questions? So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

TTSL: – Yes, these are some very good questions you have been asking. I would like to know what gravitated you to music?

JBN: – Blues and Jazz musics are my life!

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career? At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview? 

TTSL: – Yes I absolutely have done many free concerts in my time as a musician. But I do like to get paid!!! I feel that professional musicians should be compensated for the hard work they have put in to get to that point. I guess from this interview I would hope to get people interested in the music of Too Slim and the Taildraggers.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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