of the great guitar instrumental albums, in the spirit of West Coast
instro-cool, to be released this decade, Cruisin Pacific
Coast Highways - The Longboard Collection brings San Diego
guitarist Tim Coffman back into the instro rock spotlight.
In recent years, Coffman has successfully diversified his Rolltop
label and has even released a vocal / instro album of Hawaiian music
Ka Hula O Na Niu), but the 2011 CD release Cruisin
PCH is a solid Ventures / Sandals West Coast style dig. In fact
you can almost hear the echoes of the Endless Summer theme
permeating through the Cruisin' grooves but Coffman actually
spins off the classic sound by adding steel guitar to his Strat /
Tele style twang. The CD serves up a most solid spin that also works
as a surf-rock soundtrack, while the CD closer, Last Set
will leave you misty eyed. It's worth noting that while Coffman writes
and performs a number of instruments here, he also spotlights a number
of musicians that make some awesome contributions, including Duncan
Moore on drums. As an audio experience, the distortion free CD
sound is quite full bodied and has the capacity to bring out the best
in audiophile stereo equipment. (for those of us old enough to remember
such things!) Throughout, Coffman employs a wide range of guitars
and all vintage gear to get that classic surf-rock sound. Interestingly,
Cruisin PCH is actually the first in a series of guitar
instrumental albums that Coffman has planned that celebrates Californias
long and winding coastal highways. Surf-rock guitar fans will hang
ten in guitar paradise while admiring the merits of Tim Coffmans
latest instro rock masterpiece.
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: Tell me about the events that led up to the release of Cruisin
Pacific Coast Highways - The Longboard Collection. I hear youve
got a whole series of Cruisin CDs / instrumental soundtracks
(as you call them) planned that are devoted to sonically depicting
the scenic grandeur of the California coastline. Why did you call
this first one The Longboard Collection in the title and what
other titles do you envision coming out one day?
years ago I was in Oceanside California at the California Surf Museum
and I had some time before my next appointment so I decided to drive
south on the Coast Highway rather than take the freeway. There are
parts of Coast Highway that are right next to the Pacific Ocean and
it was a beautiful summer day, the beaches were full, the surfers
were riding the waves and you just couldnt help being in a great
mood. I have traveled that road many times and had never really thought
about the great impact it had on me. That was the start of the idea
to commemorate the Pacific Coast Highways.
I called the first CD The Longboard Collection because that
best describes the style, although there are many other influences,
all the tracks take you to the beach. It also is the beginning of
my own story, my first board was a 11 6 Longboard.
The next CD in the series is called Island Breezes and its
almost ready to release. The music is Instrumental Soundtracks
that bring together the Aloha of the Hawaiian Islands with the California
beach culture. The next two will be an original collection of spy
music (Bond style) and a collection of western music.
MWE3: I heard you played a number of instruments on the CD. How about
drums and how did you get such a clean sound in the studio and can
you say something about the vintage guitars you play on the album
and how they were recorded? It sounds like theres some steel
guitar on there as well.
One thing that is important to me is the drums themselves, I have
a 1965 Ludwig kit that I had all the bearing edges re-cut and with
new skins this kit sounds amazing. The next thing for me is a great
drummer. Duncan Moore is the primary drummer on the CD and he does
a great job of pulling the sound out of the drums. I used many guitars,
Strat, Jaguar, Mustang, Telecaster, Ventura and a old Silvertone.
Most of the time either a Shure 57 or Royer 121 into old Neves
or API Mic Pres. The Steel was recorded in Hawaii with my friend and
Hawaiian steel master Greg Sardinha.
MWE3: In an effort to enhance the guitar sound, what part does using
vintage amps, effects and vintage recording gear play in helping you
get that clean, retro surf-rock sound.
TC: Here is an interesting story. I recorded commercials for a few
years and my job was to record the music with a specific sound in
mind. One day the client would be looking for the sound of Revolver
by the Beatles, the next session might be BB King, The Beach Boys
or Charango. I had to listen to the sound, do the research and learn
what guitars. amps, effects and recording gear would produce that
sound. It was crazy at times but I learned how to produce authentic
vintage sounds and I have used that experience on my own music. You
never stop learning in the recording business but there is one thing
that never changes, there are no shortcuts to a great vintage sound.
You do need the real gear to get the real sound.
The CD closer, Last Set is a sonic masterpiece. Sounds
like Glen Campbell meets The Sandals on the Kona Coast! How did you
layer the guitars (how many guitars) on that track and overall how
do you layer guitars and guitar sounds to get the maximum fretboard
TC: Last Set is two guitars played in real time using
different old limiters to get that sound. I cant remember how
many guitar tracks but there is a lot. Much of it is experimenting
until you get the right sound. I also like old guitar pick ups, sometimes
a modern pickup that is to hot will not give you the best recording
sound. The Steel was recorded in Hawaii with Greg Sardinha and his
track is a nice part of the song.
MWE3: Where did you grow up and what guitars (brands, looks, imagery,
sound, etc.) and guitarists / bands influenced your playing the most?
TC: I grew up in San Diego and I love all good guitars. Fenders, Gibsons,
Gretschs or Taylors they all have a unique and usable sound. I have
always been open to a lot of different styles and artists. The early
influences were the Beatles, Ventures, Frank Sinatra, Chet Atkins
and the Doors. Later it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, Bee Gees, Foreigner,
Bob Seeger and Tom Petty. Recently I have gotten into Donald Fagen,
Asleep At The Wheel, Charango and Andrea Buchelli. I value soul and
tone over style.
Whats the latest news from your Rolltop Records? What role do
you play there and who are some of the artists youre working
with on the label? Do you do A&R too? Does Rolltop have a label
philosophy? How about mixing and mastering? Is that up your street
(so to speak) too?
TC: We do have a philosophy at Rolltop Music. We are always looking
for projects that are unique and artists that can be developed for
the long term. We are very excited about our newest artist Sarah Maisel.
She is a very gifted ukulele player and singer that does jazz and
standards from the American Songbook. She is not only a talented musician
but has a great work ethic, we are seeing her audience grow. Her first
two CDs Have Uke Will Travel and In The Moment are doing
well. She performs solo and with a band.
Rolltop Music is a small label and so we all wear a lot of hats. I
oversee most of the A&R, artwork and promotion and will do the
tracking whenever possible. I will give input, approve the final mixes
and sit in on the mix sessions but I want the other Rolltop engineers
to take the lead on mixing and mastering, they are very talented guys.
What have you got planned for the coming year, musically, and with
the Rolltop label and how about other plans up and coming?
TC: We would like to do 3 more Crusin Pacfic Coast Highways
CDs, a new Sarah Maisel project and a new Christmas CD.
mwe3: Can you say something about the albums Rolltop has released
by Sarah Maisel? How did you meet Sarah and decide to release her
music and what do you think Sarah's music and CD releases adds to
the Rolltop catalog?
5 or 6 years ago I produced several CDs for a prominent jazz singer
named Marchand Melcher, a few artists heard those recordings and some
doors opened to work on some nice projects. One opportunity that came
from that was recording, The Dance Of The Palm Trees, a collection
of classic Hawaiian music. One day the two Hawaiian musicians Frank
Leong and Herb Pillilaau asked me if they could bring this girl named
Sarah to the next session. After I heard her play, I asked her if
she would like to do a song on the project and she agreed to record
the song Waikiki. In the last couple of years we have
done two more CD project with her, Have Uke Will Travel and
In The Moment. The instrumentation includes drums with brushes,
acoustic bass, jazz guitar, ukulele and vocals. What makes Sarah unique
is she is a prominent female ukulele player in a male dominated field,
she is an authentic jazz musician and she can sing very well. We dont
know of any other ukulele artist like Sarah that does jazz and standards.
She also does some Hawaiian and country standards. There has been
an enthusiastic response to Sarahs music and she brings a new
dimension to the Rolltop catalog. Her CD Have Uke Will Travel has
classic songs like "The Lady is a Tramp", "Walkin
After Midnight", "Lullaby Of Birdland", "On The
Road Again" and "Misty". Her second CD includes "Quiet
Night Of Quiet Stars", "Have To Say I Love You In A Song"
and the James Taylor favorite "Carolina In My Mind". All
recorded in a vintage studio, its fun to buy a CD again.
Thank you to Tim Coffman @ www.rolltopmusic.com
/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org