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Guillermo Cides

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A exclusive Interview with Paul Richards, Berts Lams y Hideyo Moriya

leer version en castellano

Cides: When was the first time that you play togheter?
Paul: Bert, Hideyo and I met in 1987 in Europe on a series of Guitar Craft courses instructed by Robert Fripp. We first played music together in Switzerland on a Guitar Craft course held on a farm near Zurich. In 1990 we toured together with Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists. We first played together as the California Guitar Trio in January of 1991 in Los Angeles.

Cides: There is some difference between the music of the first time of the Trio with the current one?
Paul: Yes, there is a big difference. After 13 years of playing together, we are beginning to learn how to listen better to each other and finding new ways of playing together that was not possible 13 years ago.

Cides: What are the forces that do that CGT is kept togheter after much time?
Paul: Oh, that is very easy: It is the music! A good live performance can give us enough good energy to keep us going for a long time. Also, we get along together quite well and are good friends. When we are touring, we are together almost 24 hours a day for weeks and weeks. It is important to get along well.

Cides: What is your relation with R. Fripp?
Paul: Robert Fripp was our instructor for many years on the Guitar Craft courses. He has been very generous to the California Guitar Trio. One of the best things that has ever happened to the CGT was Robert’s invitation to tour as the opening group for King Crimson in 1995 and 1996. We gained many fans during that time, and we still have many people that tell us the first time
they saw us was on the King Crimson tour.

Cides: You play your instruments with a technique developed for R. Fripp, is this technique in relation to an attitude towards the instrument or is just a position for the best playing?
Paul: On the Guitar Craft courses with Robert Fripp, we begin by looking at our technique and how we play the instrument. When we realize that there are things that need to change in order to develop a better technique and become a better musician, a change in attitude comes as well. One of the Guitar Craft
aphorisms is: “How we hold our pick (guitar plectrum) is how we live our lives”

Cides: Your guitars have a special fret system called “Fan frets”. How it influences your technique?
Paul: At the moment we are playing Martin guitars with regular frets, but I also occasionally play the Somogyi Custom Guitar with the fan frets. The fan frets make the stretches in the first position a bit more difficult, but it is really not so hard to adapt. The fingers learn quickly where they need to go.

Cides: How was the experience to work with Tony and Pat? Are you playing in live togheter?
Paul: Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto are two of the greatest musicians in the world and it was a pleasure for us to work with them. I listen back to the CG3+2 recording we did with them and I am in awe of the incredible playing and musicality. We did several tours with Tony and Pat before we made the recording. Then when we released the recording, Pat was busy playing with King Crimson and Tony with Peter Gabriel, so we could not find time to tour to support the CD. Pat recently sent me an email saying that Crimson won’t be touring much for a while, so perhaps there will be another opportunity to play with them again.

Cides: What was the result for CGT after tour with King Crimson for one year?
Paul: We actually toured with King Crimson for 1 1/1 years. It was one of the best things we have ever done. The audience for King Crimson was very open to the music of the California Guitar Trio. We made many new friends and fans during that time and established a good enough following that we could tour on
our own.

Cides: Do you consider yourselves like an independent artists?
Paul: Yes, we are independent in that we own all of our recordings, and run all of our own business dealings. It is a lot of work, but in the end we will have something to show for it!

Cides: Which is your opinion in relation to the business of the music?
Bert: It seems that when we are focused on the music, the music business steps in at the right time. Paul and I spend easily several hours a day taking care of CGT business: respond to email from fans; updating the website and diaries; planning upcoming tours and travels; promotion of our upcoming CD release...
The music business is not interested in music but in money. We were fortunate to have our first releases with DGM, a company more interested in promoting the music and not run by corporate greed. They let us keep the copyrights of our music.
Our current label is Inside Out: they license our music for five years. After that it reverts to us. This means that we own and sell our catalogue during shows, and online.

Cides: How are the concerts of the CGT seen (observed) from the stage?
Bert: There is not a big show onstage, but people enjoy the visual aspect of the interaction between the three of us. I always get reports from the audience that they like to see how we interact onstage. But in the end it is the music that moves our audience, and this is what brings life to the performance.

Cides: In wich way the mysticism is a part of GCT's concert?
Bert: When we have a very good concert, the people seem to be touched by the music, and we can feel this onstage. Sometimes it feels like the music plays through us, and we receive a lot of energy and love from this. It is because of those moments that we still play together after so many years, and people keep coming back to see the CGT live.

Cides: Two questions in one and possibly in relation:
Do you looking for some thing new in the music?
Bert: Yes, always. We get often suggestions from fans, friends or musicians we work with.
Often times this leads to a new project, or a new element in the music.
Is possible some thing new in the music?
Bert: When I play a piece with CGT, be it an original or a classical piece, I need to feel what this piece really means to me, or what it is about. Every night the audience changes, and the three of us change, and need to respond to a different situation of the performance. So every performance is a different story. This makes the music new and fresh.

Cides: How many times have you been in Spain?
Bert: I was in Spain twice: the first time in 1988 on tour with Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists. The second time was in 1995 with CGT: we opened for King Crimson in Barcelona and Madrid. This year we have received interest from a Spanish promoter and we are talking about returning to Spain.

Cides: What are the next steps of CGT? Are you working in a new álbum?
Bert: We recorded and mixed a new CGT CD near Woodstock, New York, just a few months ago. The CD is produced by Tony Levin. The CD features mostly new original pieces, and is recorded on analog tape to be as true as possible to the natural sound of the guitars. We are looking at a release in September and an eight-week tour to promote the CD.

Cides: Thank you Paul, Bert and Hideyo.
Bert: See you soon, Guillermo.

California Guitar trio official Web Page

The Stick Center thanks CGT's collaboration for this interview.
©The Stick Center Archives
Traducción:Matias Betti.

© The Stick Center
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