Dave: Hi Geoff. Appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.
Geoff Tyson: My pleasure.
D: For those who may not be aware you took guitar lessons from Joe Satriani and as it is said, you were one of his favorite students. Why is that and how was it learning under someone of his magnitude??
GT: Satriani was such an astounding player that sometimes the best lessons were just us jamming together. He used to schedule me at the end of the day so that we could play for hours without being interrupted. He was always very encouraging in the way that he challenged me to stay on the cutting edge always. A lot of his teachings have transcended into all aspects of my playing, producing, and songwriting. I am so fortunate to have had that experience.
D: Listening to your style, there really is no doubt about his influence. I think that you have a very good amount of discipline as well. Do you stay in contact with Satch, or have you done any project material with him??
GT: The last time I saw Joe was at the end of his tour where T-Ride was the opening band. I regret not having stayed in touch.
D: Looking back at T-Ride how did the band come together??
GT: The band was created by Dan Arlie. He enlisted Eric as his drummer and soon afterwards, they bought a recording studio to learn how to record the “ultimate” record on their own. I did session work for them for many years before they got a record contract. They asked me to be in the band afterwards.
D: The scene back in 1992 was in the middle of change when Hollywood released the album. The style really didn’t fit the hair metal scene and was really fresh sounding. Did you think, considering the climate, that you had a chance from a 1992 perspective??
GT: The style did not reflect the hair metal trends, nor did it sit well with the nirvana and white zombie fans. It is my opinion that it would have fit well in the def leppard hey day, 3 years earlier. But the record took 7 years to write and finish and so we missed our time. I think that Dan and Eric assumed that this kind of music and production would be stylish forever. The music was mixed differently than everything else at the time too and so it never had much impact when it was played on the “eq’ed-for-guitar” sound of the radio back then.
D: The album had some really cool elements such as bows with bass and such that really enhanced the sound of the album. Why did the band decide to take that approach??
GT: Eric’s version of artistic expression is interesting instrument tones. He took care to make everything on the record sound as unique and heavy as possible. He wanted to make a statement as a producer. This is one of the reasons the album took so long to record.
D: The band really has some interesting influence in the sound. What had the band considered as their influences??
GT: Queen and Van Halen.
D: Which emphasizes my point before of pop accessibility with a heavy edge, What contributed to the bands early demise?? I had always hoped for more, but wasn’t surprised with bands dropping left and right due to the shift in the music scene.
GT: Dan and Eric were certain that this record would sell multi-platinum. When it didn’t they took it personally. They blamed the record company, each other and their management and soured a lot of relationships. After they realized that they would have to do it without record company support, they gave up. Dan and Eric started fighting with each other and it ended up with a lawsuit and some pretty low personal blows. There is no chance of reconciliation ever.
D: That's really too bad because there was some really unique chemistry in the music. Is there any T-Ride material that may have been recorded in the sessions or any other time that may still be around??
GT: There is 3/4 of a second record. Some of it is amazing. Some of it reflects the frustration of the situation. I think that both Dan and Eric have the master tapes, but neither of them seems too be interested in releasing it. It is too bad. They worked hard through tough times and they can’t seem to let go of their anger.
D: As much as I loved the first record, that really bums me out. I would love to hear that stuff. Maybe someday. What have you been doing since then??
GT: After the band broke up, I didn’t have much of a direction. After Nirvana broke into the mainstream and “guitar solos” became unfashionable, It was impossible for someone who played like myself to make a living as a guitar player in San Francisco. I decided that the only way I could continue as an active participant in the music industry is to teach myself how to produce and record. So I opened a small music production company that specialized in instrumenting music for singers that did not have bands. I recorded everyone while I was learning how to produce. During this time, I taught myself how to play cello, sitar sarangee and keyboards, and I started what has become a very unusual and very extensive instrument collection.. I did this for many years with some near successes, and many failures. My studio business grew and grew until 1998 when I was approached my Jason Slater to be the guitar player for Snake River conspiracy. I sold my studio, my house and closed my business. Jason and I started producing tracks together and we took our protools system on tour with the band for more than a year. We played all over the globe supporting bands like Filter, monster magnet, queens of the Stone Age, and a perfect circle. After SRC’s record sold less than platinum numbers, the record company pulled its support and I ended up unemployed in Hollywood. So now I am running another production company, developing new bands, and recording a solo record. I also work for the legendary engineer/producer, Mike Shipley (def leppard, ac/dc, the cars, etc…)
D: How large was your involvement with Snake River Conspiracy?? Also, where does the band fit stylistically?? I've never really heard them.
GT: Most of the SRC record was finished when I joined the project. I helped produce one track on the album, but never got credit for it since the album art was already done. I also co-produced one remix track that I think is pretty fat. Jason and I wrote and recorded many tracks that were supposed to be on the 2nd SRC record, but they do not currently have a deal so I do not know when that might be released. There is some good stuff. Stylistically, imagine if the Supreme Beings Of Leisure had a metal guitar player and a female singer who sang about doing PCP and cleaning her gun.
D: Okay, that's an interesting description. Maybe I'll check it out. What are you doing in the future for your musical career??
GT: I have a few bands that I am producing and playing in. one of them is getting a lot of attention these day from various industry people, but these are tough times for a new band trying to get signed. I’ll let you know how things develop.
D: Yeah, be sure to keep me posted as I would be curious. Where do you see the scene going from here?? Seems like there is a bit of a mess in the industry and not a lot is really standing out although I have heard a few newer acts that have been interesting.
GT: I think that it is going to get worse before it gets better. I think the real musical revolution will happen of the business side of things. Someone will come up with a business model that works for both the company and the artist and it will allow both to thrive. Right now, we praise and reward over-blown karaoke singers as though they were actually artists. Something is really wrong here and it is just a matter of time before someone capitalizes on the fact that this sucks. Bands like the Vines are cool, but it cost the record companies over ten million dollars to promote them, and they still haven’t gone gold.
D: I think you are right. I have been complaining about the business side of the industry for a while and I believe that this is the area that has to become more honest or it will only get worse. They are feeling it in the pocketbooks and so they pass it on to the consumer through cd prices. I'll get off of the soapbox, but I am curious to what you are listening to these days.
GT: I love the new audioslave CD. Pete Yorn, Coldplay, a perfect circle, queens of the Stone Age, John Mayer, Marvin Gaye and deftones.
D: I do haved that Audioslave cd and it definitely has a cool vibe to it. Any other interesting facts about T-Ride that you would like to add in closing??
GT: Yeah, There were actually 3 guitar players on the t-ride record. It was me, Steve Oimette, and Eric valentine. Before they asked me to be a permanent member, they tried to record the record with Steve. He didn’t end up working out and I was brought back in after he and Eric had finished some stuff.
D: Well, thanks again Geoff and keep me posted!