The Kitchen Sink. Ya’know as a musician I’m always being asked questions which is great. One of those many question is just that: Your Genre…
I never try and put limitations on writing music or styling it a certain way. The important thing is to keep writing. I grew up in the 70’s in a really interesting time, with three generations of my family all living together… My Grand Parents were into eastern European music and my grandmother loved popular music of the day. My parents were in to jazz and 50’s music. My mom always talks about seeing Buddy Rich or Duke Ellington in her teenage years. Then my brothers and sisters were in to 60’s and 70’s music. Everything from Folk music like Dylan to John Denver…And rock stuff like Billy Joel, Deep Purple, Elton John and the Beatles.
MUSICAL COMING OF AGE
My own coming of age musically was in the 80’s. I really subscribed to musicians’ musicians.. Rush, Yes, Tower of Power, Stanley Clark, Jaco Pastorius and then later bands like Level 42. Then I really got into jazz like Mingus, Monk, Bird, Dizzy and masterful classic song writers like Cole Porter and Jerome Kern.. I also really love the soul era with stuff like James Brown, Bill Withers, Grover Washington Jr. And many more.
I love so many styles it’s really hard to pin point… Mingus used to say that when he went to Europe people would refer to him as an American artist. Not a jazz musician. I believe like he did, although people need classification, that putting music, art and ideas in boxes can sometimes segregate and separate people. It’s all music. Different flavors for different moments in our days, lives and things that require these most important variations.
HOW DID YOU FORM YOUR BAND?
I’ve been making music all my life and I’ll never stop… The band came out of being from jam nights down in Toronto Canada, Dave Patel and I had met years ago at Humber College in the music program.
Mike and I met through Dave and a number of other projects in the City. For a time we had a fourth member and second bass player; Rich Pell who was an old friend of a horn player I played with a great deal.
We all felt inspired by the creative process to work together and all of my stories and songs would be the libretto to the band. I think when we all met that the guys really took to the stuff I was bringing in and felt it was really special. We really worked hard at it and made some amazing music together. We’ve all know each other for 25 years or more.
SELF TAUGHT VS LESSONS
(I was) Self-taught a first. I think is really important for people to experiment with instruments on their own at first. There becomes something very personal and worthwhile in the learning process when it comes to self-discovery and I highly encourage all beginners to listen and explore possibilities. As time went on and I wanted to learn more about technical things, I sought private teachers at first and then later in high school and college it was a real focus for me… But like Jaco would say most great musicians are formally self-taught. (Laughs) truth.
ANY JUICY TIDBITS FROM PLAYING OUT?
The toughest thing that ever happen to me was in 108* temperature in a suit, at a Jamaican christening that I was asked to play at last minute. I thought that an acoustic rendition of Bob Marley’s “Small Axe” would have worked considering the message, and that he was a Jamaican…. Uh oh… As I started, the grandmother of the child on the wife’s side apparently flipped out that I was playing a Bob tune in church.
I was stopped and told “much respect mon but this lady is freaking out” as I turned back to look at her and the ceremony and then back to the audience, I realized that they were sitting with complete silence. I quickly broke into another tune and got though about a verse and chorus of my song The World Keeps Turning, I then placed the guitar on the altar and stood waiting for the ceremony to end which seemed like an eternity.
Afterwards practically everyone from the service including the minister apologized for the lady’s actions and told me I should have just kept playing… I played the song again outside the church on the steps to a mass of the congregation.
It was really great… Even gave a few lessons on a hill close by!
DOES LOVE OF MUSIC EAT UP YOUR FUNNY-MONEY?
I’ve been teaching for almost 25 years. Since I was 18.
Many years ago my dad was very insistent about branching out of music and trying to make a living elsewhere and thought that if I educated myself deeper than just playing in cover bands and rock bands, that my education could permit me to make a living from teaching music and it helping to pay the bills. Not to mention that a great deal of the musicians I inspired to be like were well educated in their own right. I’m lucky I found great mentors.
EVER BEEN TO ONE OF THEM HIGHER LEARNIN’ BOXES?
I went to Humber College in Canada after winning the music award at my high school
WHAT ARE YOUR SONGS ABOUT?
Well I write the songs. I’m a song maker.
The creative process is ongoing. Living life is the fodder for all music in my life. I’m always scribbling on things like scraps of paper, napkins, writing books, anything when the ideas start to flow. That’s really the whole deal. You have to follow the message. I can’t tell you how many times I would say, “I’ll write it down later.” Sometimes that later never comes or it’s very different as far as inertia.
The important thing is to act on the moment.
When you’ve started on the journey the process starts to show itself which then later dictates the recording process. Songs could take 5min to write and others may take months as they simmer in the cerebral brain soup.
SHOULD FLEDGLING BANDS AVOID DOING COVERS?
I think that good song writing is important. I mean it’s that why we play music isn’t it? Bands sometimes cover other music whether it be at the beginning of their careers or at times when certain songs affect them.
The Beatles loved old rock and roll so that’s why you heard covers from them like Long Tall Sally, Roll over Beethoven and so on at the beginning of their history. In the middle of Willy Nelson’s career he released Star Dust which were all-American song book classics.. I think the important thing is being earnest in approach. We are all defined by our influences and our limitations. Being yourself is the hardest but the Key…
MUSICAL DOWNLOADS > HELPING OR HURTING?
My motto is: “Buy the living and record the dead.” We really need to support music these days. Buying music from artists that are breathing on the planet is a good thing. Not many will benefit from the writers efforts after they’re gone other than companies mostly…
ARE YOU PLAYING THE FAME GAME?
I’ll ask you this… What is fame?
When I grew up to be famous was to have ability and stature as a musician. It wasn’t about the fancy cars, jets, money, lasers, and continual sexual innuendo. These things manifested after the fact in my mind. These days “fame” is not a reality but more a mass of onlookers in a state of shock. In this day and age, without sounding heavy handed, more of the public has been inundated with corporate music agenda that is extremely shallow.
Fame is sold more as the important aspect, than an ability and stature factor. What’s important to me is to make great music with good people and share it as much as I can.
When fame knocks I’ll let it in… (but) I will always be me.
For more Ed Roman, go check out his official website here.