In Conversation With… TriPod
By Jem Jedrzejewski
When we reviewed TriPod’s album back in September 2003, we were itching to delve a little further into the background of the unique music Clint Bahr, Steve Romano and Keith Gurland purvey. Too late to get tickets on Concorde’s last flight to New York to meet the guys, we persuaded them to break with tradition and use keyboards (computer keyboards that is) to ‘speak’ to The Hairless Heart Herald…
Warning: This article, like all others on this site is © The Hairless Heart Herald 2003 and must not be reproduced in any form without our express permission (and/or an obscene amount of money).
I’m sure you have been asked this many times before but just how conscious was the decision not to make use of guitar or keyboards?
Keith: Or accordions or banjos, for that matter.
Steve: As I understand it, they tried a guitarist and felt no need for it. The style of the bass and sax left only room for percussion.
Clint: It wasn’t a conscious decision at first. We started sessions in the very beginning with a guitarist, but I remember Keith suggesting it as a trio.
Keith: We decided to remain a trio because we're more manoeuvrable that way; better able to hear one another and to really play together.
Clint: So from that moment on, “TriPod was on track and we haven’t looked back”!
So was it a deliberate attempt to conjure up something completely new in the world of progressive rock and fusion, by using wind instruments in place of strings (Chapman Stick excepted)?
Steve: No ...it just happened that way.
Clint: No, it wasn’t deliberate to use woodwinds, Keith just happens to play all those instruments.
Keith: It's something I had always felt would work. You need strings; Clint has 12 of them on his bass.
Clint: The whole formation of TriPod came about by chance and in a very organic nature. One afternoon my wife and I took a walk in New York’s Riverside Park and I happened to hear this fabulous horn playing, so I introduced myself and the rest is history.
You know when someone’s a good musician within the first few seconds and both Keith & Steve were apparent immediately.
Steve: It jelled the moment we started jamming (as a three piece). We make enough noise by ourselves!
I would imagine that it is not easy performing your music live, especially considering that there are only three in the band. How do you go about it?
Steve: Actually it’s better live than in the studio! All we need is our equipment and we're ready to go!
Clint: TriPod is a LIVE band and is at its best on stage. There’s no problem whatsoever in re-creating our sound in concert, in fact it’s better!
All our music is written and arranged with performance in mind, and amongst the three of us is quite an array of sonic options to choose from.
But I must say we are VERY busy when we play………no slacker’s in TriPod!
Keith: It's an athletic event - (the TriPod -athalon?).
When it comes to composing, do you individually come up with ideas and develop it by means of jam sessions or is it more a case of one of you presenting the ‘finished’ work to the others? And do you make use of keyboards at the composing stage?
Clint: A little bit of both really.
Steve: Composing comes in many forms, some jams, some pre-written. But whenever a tune is brought into the band, it takes on a new life. Each member brings his unique personality to the song. I personally compose on electronics (drums, mallets, computer).
Keith: Basically, someone brings a piece to the band and the other two guys twist it beyond recognition. It becomes TriPod -ized. Some of the material might be composed on a guitar or piano initially, but we don't present it to one another that way.
Clint: Normally a song is brought in with a somewhat completed format and goes through the arranging process until we’re happy with it. We all write, so there’s no lack of material and we also have the improvisations/jams. As for what instruments I use for composing, whatever happens to be around at the moment of inspiration…….. guitar, piano, Mellotron, stick, bass etc…have all been used.
Also, there have been many times songs or ideas for songs, lyrics and arrangements have been composed without instruments at all – in my head.
Will your next album follow similar lines to the self-titled debut or will it have a totally different tack, maybe with the introduction of instruments not used on the first album?
Clint: TriPod is a rock band that follows no guidelines, so we could veer off in any direction.
Steve: The core of this band is bass, drums & sax...that will always be.....But we do experiment all the time so you never can tell.
Keith: We have a few new toys: electronics, effects, Theremins... no extra personnel, though.
Clint: The Chapman Stick will be used with TriPod. There’s also a considerable amount of music to choose from for the next album, some of it is already recorded.
When can we expect the next album and have you got a title for it yet?
Clint: There are no plans for recording a new album at the moment...........things are in the process for our current CD to be marketed worldwide and then we'll tour this music.
Steve: Well, we need to get this one exposed to the world and tour to support it. The next album I would hope in about a year.
Keith: At the moment we have no idea what the next record will be called.
Have you played any dates in Europe so far and have you any plans to do so in the near future?
Clint: TriPod hasn't toured Europe yet, but we are looking forward to it in the very near future.......it'll be a gas!
Keith: We'll be in Europe once the booking and album details are completed.
Steve: Not yet but we are working on it...we can't wait! We're all ready to RIP IT UP!
And we can’t wait either! Many thanks for the informative and entertaining answers. Until next time…
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