A exclusive Interview with
Paul Richards, Berts Lams y Hideyo Moriya
leer version en castellano
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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