most amazing place, Oklahoma has the tallest trees Ive ever
seen plus its home to genius rocker Dwight Twilley, who's from
Tulsa. From Norman, Oklahoma, is one of Americas finest surf-rock
guitar heroes, Terry Buffalo Ware. Perhaps its
because theres no oceans for a couple thousand miles, that Terrys
musical imagination gets a good workout on his fantastic 2011 CD Reverb
Babylon. As you listen to this amazing 14 track instro
rock classic, you can hear echoes of California surf-rock legends
The Ventures and also The Sandals, yet theres something cool
about the landlocked guitar groove that really keeps things rocking
throughout. Terry is capable of being a one man wrecking crew, yet
on Reverb Babylon he gets excellent support from members of
his group The Shambles, including drummer Ray VanHooser
and more. Like Terry says, Weve got reverb and were
not afraid to use it. Guitar fans lucky enough to have heard
John Blakeleys brilliant 2006 album Tan Mantis, will
enjoy Reverb Babylon, which kind of cuts a musical rug from
the same train of thought. Without a doubt, with one memorable cut
after the next, Reverb Babylon is viably Terry Wares
ultimate guitar instrumental statement. www.TerryBuffaloWare.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Terry Buffalo Ware
mwe3: What was your musical mission so to speak on Reverb Babylon
and how would you compare this new album with your earlier albums?
Ware: I would say my mission is always the same, which is to try and
present a collection of musically and sonically interesting compositions.
I think this record is similar to my others, but different in the
sense that I feel like theres a continuity to it that goes beyond
just being a collection of tunes, or at least thats what I was
hoping to achieve.
mwe3: When was Reverb Babylon written and recorded and who
plays with you on the album and on gigs that you play?
TW: I started recording it in December of 2008 and finished up the
tracking in April of 2011. Im always writing and getting ideas
for songs, so there were a couple of songs that emerged from previous
ideas that I developed and some that I wrote from scratch as I recorded
the project. Theres also one, End of the Gulch,
that was co-written with Gregg Standridge, who is a guitarist and
songwriter that Ive been writing with for about the last year
and a half. He also played the guitar solo on the track.
The players on the record are the same basic bunch that are on my
other albums. Ray VanHooser on drums, Marlin Butcher on bass, Dennis
Borycki on keys, along with Bob French on mandolin and dobro, John
Fullbright on accordion and piano, and Michael McCarty on percussion.
I should also mention Carl Amburn. Ive recorded the drum tracks
for all my albums at his studio, The Mousetrap. He also does the mixing
and mastering and does a great job.
mwe3: How does living in Oklahoma influence your writing and playing
and what are some of the other musical influences in play on the Reverb
TW: Oklahoma has a really rich and diverse musical history and I think
having been exposed to it and submerged in it contributes greatly
to the way I play and write. Ive got so many influences. A short
list would be The Ventures, Link Wray, The Beatles, Jimmy Webb, Brian
Wilson, Jesse Ed Davis, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, early Frank Zappa,
Ennio Morricone, Chuck Berry, Charley Christian, Don Rich. I could
go on for a long time.
mwe3: On Reverb Babylon, theres a cool cover of Crying
In The Rain. What is it about that song that you love and can
you say something about the two other covers on the new album? Are
there other songs youd like to cover in the future and what
makes a song good for you as a guitar instro cover?
Its just a beautiful, well crafted song and I've always been
a huge Everly Brothers fan as well. The thing that drew me to it is
first of all the melody. It also has a great chord progression and
feeling. The other covers on the album are Subway Surfin
which was written by Jim Hoke, who is an old friend and an incredibly
talented multi-instrumentalist. He used to live in Oklahoma, but has
been in Nashville for the last thirty years or so and is a first call
session player there. I Only Pray at Night was written
by John Fullbright, who lives in Oklahoma and is one of the best,
young songwriters there is. Skywriter is by Jimmy Webb,
who in my mind is one of Americas greatest composers, period,
and from Oklahoma I might add. Ive always wanted to do an instrumental
of one of his songs, but not one that has been done by a lot of people.
I finally decided on this song, which is really an amazing piece of
As far as other songs I'd like to cover, I don't have anything specific
in mind at the moment, but I'm sure something will hit me at some
point. That's what has happened with the others I've covered in the
past. I tend to gravitate toward really melodic pop songs in that
regard, and it ultimately has to be a song that is not only harmonically
interesting but also one that moves me emotionally.
mwe3: How is your blend of instro rock guitar music accepted in Oklahoma
and would you like to bring your music to other parts of the country
and the world?
TW: There's really not an instro scene in Oklahoma to speak of, so
I actually only get to do a few live gigs a year with The Shambles.
People like it when they hear it though, and we've got a bit of a
following. Also, I get a fair amount of work as a sideman and the
other members have so much other stuff going on that it can be tricky
getting us all in the same place at the same time. I'd love to get
out and play my music elsewhere here in the States and I do love the
UK and Europe. I've toured over there in the past with Ray Wylie Hubbard,
who I've worked with off and on since 1972. I did make it to the Pipeline
convention a few years ago also, along with my friend Dennis Meehan
from The Plungers, but didn't play.
mwe3: You list a number of guitars on inside of the CD packaging.
Can you give an example, on the Reverb Babylon album of how
you decide what guitar is right for a song?
TW: I'm a tone freak and I'm lucky in that I have a number of really
nice guitars. I'm also lucky that I've had several of them for a long
time and didn't have to pay outlandish prices for them. I've also
got some really great amps. The feel and spirit of a song are basically
what I base my guitar choice on. One specific example I could give
is on "Skywriter." Initially I played the melody on my Jaguar.
Then after letting it sit and coming back and listening, I decided
that it wasn't really getting to me and didn't really serve the song
well. I picked up my Les Paul and started playing along with the piano
track and playing with my fingers instead of using a pick and knew
immediately that's what I wanted. Then I overdubbed the harmonic swells
at the end with my Wilson Bros.
mwe3: When it is right to add effects and even more reverb to a guitar
instrumental? What favorite effects and amps help attain the perfect
guitar instrumental sound?
It's always the right time to add more reverb! (laughter) As far as
effects go, if a certain effect can add to the texture of the overall
sound it's right. The one effect that I use all the time is a Sex
Drive, which is made by Durham Electronics. It's a clean boost pedal
that doesn't alter the tone of the amp at all. I can't even tell you
exactly what it does, but I swear it's magic. I keep it on all the
time. When I record, I always use amps and mic them up. I never go
direct. My personal favorite amps to use are my '65 Princeton, '59
Bandmaster, '52 Gibson GA-20, '60s Magnatone Troubadour 213-A and
my '50s Bell & Howells.
mwe3: What do you remember about your first guitar and how did you
became interested in studying, playing and performing music?
TW: My first guitar was a Kay acoustic that my parents got with S&H
Green Stamps when I was 14. The first song I picked out on it was
"Pipeline." I actually started out on piano when I was nine
and studied it through my freshman year of college. Even before I
started lessons, I was banging out things on it. My first piano teacher
fired me for making up stuff, but we found another who encouraged
it. I'm self-taught on guitar, although I'd ask other players questions.
But I never took any guitar lessons. I played in a band in high school
and we worked just about every weekend, so I learned a lot "on
the job." I was lucky enough to be able to take an elective music
theory class when I was 15, which I loved. I also studied theory for
a year in college. However, nothing can beat just getting out and
playing gigs and learning how to play on the fly.
mwe3: What are some of your favorite guitar albums, then and now?
TW: I loved The Ventures Surfing and Ventures In Space
albums. I got those through a record club my parents were in for a
while. I also got singles at the local record shop back then and borrowed
and traded records with friends. Loved "Rebel Rouser," by
Duane Eddy, "Telstar" by The Tornados, "Raunchy,"
by Bill Justis, "Sleepwalk," by Santo and Johnny, "The
Magnificent Seven Theme," by Al Caiola, "Scratchy,"
by Travis Wammack, "Rumble" by Link Wray, "Baja"
by The Astronauts, "Miserlou" by Dick Dale, "Buckaroo"
by Don Rich, "Apache," by Jorgen Ingmann. I wasn't able
to get records by The Shadows over here, but once I discovered them
I fell in love with them too. As far as more current guitar albums
in the instro rock vein, some of my favorites are by Los Straitjackets,
Slacktone, Laika and The Cosmonauts, Big Lazy, The Plungers, Insect
Surfers and The Halibuts.
How does guitar instrumental music help unify music listeners and
TW: As cliché as it sounds, I think it helps unify folks for
the simple reason that music is the universal language. It transcends
race, gender, nationality and has the power to heal.
Thanks to Terry Ware @ www.TerryBuffaloWare.com