I think the harmonica is just as much of a problem as the guitar, because even though you can use it as a bridge for the bass to play the melody, it makes the bass sound like the viola is floating in front. So you can only do it with two hands and you have to make sure you can play harmonica when other instruments are playing. I never had problems with them playing, but they were trying to play the bass notes. But the real problem is for rhythm, where you want the sound you’d prefer for a snare drum, the snare, and bass to be in one piece. And it’s hard to do that when you have no hand strength for rhythm.
How do you know when a player needs something different?
My friend Mike is the bass player on some of my records and he’s my first, second, third, fourth favorite. He goes to a few shows and plays with me, and I’ve always had respect for him. But I’m a little nervous because he could be in pain from a band that you haven’t liked in a long time because of problems on stage. And I’m still learning; I’m learning to be nervous. Also, people can take one look at me and know I know what I’m doing. But Mike is in there all the time, so I think the only worry I had was for himself. I don’t see how he’s never had any problems; I get that feeling; I haven’t had problems with him.
What was your experience doing a show?
This was the first record I did at my own home in New York, a little studio I lived in, with my girlfriend. I had no sound guy, no engineer. I had a guitar player playing on this record for like five songs, and my girlfriend was taking pictures of me. It turned out to be a blast, even though I didn’t have a lot of money. After that show, the record was picked up by Sony for $3 to promote. We were thinking of doing two records with the same band, but then I discovered the record store, and my wife and I got into music; I got into the band with The Fugs just as a hobby after the tour ended. It all happened pretty fast.
Would you ever consider going back to being an artist?
I was talking to an English guy and he was asking, “Do you still have a dream of living in New York?” I said
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