jazz rock land, hes referred to by informed guitar enthusiasts
as the other Allan, or in this case, Allen Hindswho
has just released what some are calling his best album yet, Monkeys
And Slides. Fans of the intense guitar pyrotechnics of guitar
legend Allan Holdsworth will enjoy the new Allen Hinds album as it
taps right into a similar sonic vibe. With a cross section of dazzling
fusion guitar instrumentals emanating from his fingertips, Hinds breathes
new life into his rising jazz-rock instrumental sound with the nine
track Monkeys And Slides. Several of the same musicians who
appeared on the 2009 of his Falling Up album appear on Allens
2011 album and, its nothing less than exciting to hear these
guys operating on the same musical wavelength. For those jazz-rock
fans not familiar with Allen Hinds, think of Pat Metheny at his most
daring but even kicked up another notch. In the following interview
on mwe3.com, Allen is promising to bring his music around America,
a thought well worth seeing happen for fans whove followed his
career this past decade.
mwe3.com presents an interview
with ALLEN HINDS
I didnt think it could get better than your last album, Falling
Up but you really give it your best shot on the Monkeys And
Slides album. Would you say theres a continuous flow between
the two albums and what are the sonic / stylistic differences you
set out to make between the two?
ALLEN HINDS: Thanks, well, flow? Not in the way I think you mean.
The new CD came at a request from a promoter in Japan to have product
when he brought me over for a tour. I really wrote most of the CD
in about two months. If there is a flow it's that I have always loved
the sound of slide guitar. Always been a huge pedal steel fan, David
Lindley, Ry Cooder, Lowell George, Duane Allman, Buddy Emmons, Greg
Leisz...and I always have song ideas floating around. Having the Japan
tour was the impetus to get working. I initially just recorded a million
guitar tracks with the idea of replacing a lot of them with keys.
Because of my rush, and my eventual getting used to the songs, I left
a lot as it was...and I have often had folks tell me they wanted me
to blow more on my CDs. So if you want lots of layered
guitars and solos, you got 'em on this CD. (laughter) But the songs
just started to unfold when I started laying down tracks. One thing
leads to another...but yeah, Im pretty happy with the way it
mwe3: Why did you call the CD Monkeys And Slides and who came
up with that wild concept artwork of the monkey heads peeping out
of the slides?
was sitting here putting together the title song, to eventually be
named Monkeys and Slides and it was a mother
to play. Convoluted, busy, hard changes to solo to. In front of me
at my computer I keep an array of slides and I happened to have these
little monkey figurines. I had initially bought for stocking stuffers
last Christmas. I was sitting here taking a break and just started
playing around, they fit perfectly and there you go. Besides the title
Monkeys And Slides can also have other connotations. In
life, monkeys on our backs. Up and down slides
in every day life, so it seemed to make sense.
mwe3: Do you have a core band that you work with in L.A. and what
players formed the crux of your band on the Monkeys And Slides
album? The addition of vocalist Rogerio Jardim really enhances the
title track with his wordless, yet totally soaring vocalizing.
AH: I do have a group of great players. Jeff Babko, from the Jimmy
Kimmel show, he also toured with James Taylor and Sheryl Crow. Weve
known each other for a long time. Dave Hooper is a rock solid drummer,
and J.V. Collier is a close friend. He works with Bruce Hornsby and
many others. At the same time I have always loved Jimmy Johnsons
playing, and while I was on tour with Gino Vannelli the last 5 years,
I came to love Reinhardt's playing. Its hard to decide on only
one combination of players. When you live in a city like Los Angeles
all bring something special to the table. And Rogerio is amazing.
I sent him the track with a melody, he sent back parts in 30 minutes.
Hes really a gifted musician.
mwe3: What electric guitars are you mostly playing on the new Monkeys
And Slides album and is there going to be an Allen Hinds signature
guitar model in the future? Are there any other guitars or guitar
related things catching your attention these days?
I used many. I do use a Les Paul primarily these days. Love the sturdiness
and the sustain and the clean sound is just great too on the CD. I
used my trusty Xotic guitar. Like a maple neck Strat with a humbucker
that has a Tom Holmes pickup. I know they sell many like this. And
I like the AC boost they make. Ive done a lot of ads for them,
but so far no signature guitar or pedal. I guess I am not quite famous
enough. (laughter) Anyway, I also used a 1964 335, a mid '80s SG with
Tim Shaw pickups for slide. I also have a 1060 Melody Maker with a
humbucker. It has a Palm pedal. I can do the poor mans pedal
steel simulation with that and I have a nice 1954 175 for the jazzier
mwe3: How were the Monkeys And Slides tracks recorded and were
there many overdubs?
AH: I recorded them all here, with Shure mics and Neumanns for the
acoustics. Avalon preamps, Bogner amps, Bob Burt cabs. And yeah I
did overdub but I keep the contour of the solos the same...in that
I will record one solo, and usually just keep that motif and punch
in where I messed up. But I try to limit the overdubs to the first
mwe3: What amps do you prefer recording with in the studio and live?
AH: I like the Blankenship Carry On model and I used a Bogner Barcelona
too. Both clean, around 20 or 30 watts apiece. Pedals work well this
way, for me.
Can you add something about the two live tracks on the new CD including
Toss It Back, the 11 minute closing number?
AH: Well, I wanted to catch the live aspect of our band, which I think
it does. We let it all hang out...go for anything we feel. With Babko
this is easy, and really the most fun I have in life is playing live
with these guys. I did one at the Baked Potato and one at my friend
Peter Hastings house.
mwe3: What is the key in bringing your studio sound to compact disc?
Even on the live tracks the playback sound is natural without much
distortion. Can you say something about how you master your tracks
for CD audio and just a few tips on how you get that amazing sound
onto CD? It's becoming a lost art form these days.
AH: I honestly dont put a lot of thought into that. I just dial
and tweak until I am inspired to play and Ernesto Homeyer helped a
lot by bringing his mixing skills to the table. But I dont really
use any chorus, just a guitar into the AC boost by Xotic into the
amp and tweak away, but tonally not much was done after the initial
mwe3: Are you planning a DVD in the future?
AH: Well, after recording the live stuff, weve been thinking
about doing a live DVD. We will see, but I think our live band needs
to be seen and heard. Folks come, and even if they are not guitar
enthusiasts they seem to really enjoy watching the interplay in the
band. Its very spontaneous and exciting. I hope to get that
out one day. Im also planning on some online instructional stuff
on my web site, like a weekly lick type of thing.
mwe3: How do you split your time these days between recording artist,
session musician and guitar teacher?
It's been hard of late. Im teaching at a new school called Shepherds
School in L.A. with Abe Laboriel, Otmaro Ruiz and Jimmy Branley. I
do a lot of sessions here at home, online, and still teach at M.I.
a bit. Been doing tracks for several cable TV shows. I just try to
keep busy, but I really want to branch out and do more live stuff,
hopefully more outside of L.A. and Japan. More around the U.S and
hopefully Europe. I think they would really like where the band is
coming from and Im looking for management now.
mwe3: What are some of your interests outside of the music world,
hobbies, special causes.
AH: Well I am a tennis nut. I have that bug. Its the best game
in the world in my opinion and I'm pretty good. Its a healthy
addiction but sometimes think I would get a lot more music done if
I wasnt on the courts 5 hours 5 times a week. (laughter) But
yeah... that is my balance to music.
mwe3: Looking back on all youve accomplished over the past decade
how would you compare your roots growing up in Alabama with now living
and recording in Los Angeles, which was always the king of the recording
world, and a city just breathes music I feel.
Well, although I guess its all a learning process. I feel I
wasted many years worrying if I was good enough to cut playing with
all these other touring groups and trying to play what another artist
thought was the right way to play. I am really thankful
I started doing my own thing six years ago or so... Its the
most satisfying thing I have ever done. I should have started 20 years
ago. But yeah, having my compositions and my playing accepted the
way it seems to be the last few years is the best feeling in the world...next
to hitting a backhand down the line for a winner. (laughter)
Thanks to Allen Hinds @ www.AllenHinds.com