The next West Marin guitar hero that we are focusing on is Aram Danesh. He is a rockin guitar player and is actually playing at 19 Broadway the night we are publishing this blog! You can find him hangin down at the club on many a weekend night takin in some good tunes. Jon Korty interviewed him recently and got the inside scoop!
1. Who/what were your early influences/teachers/inspirations?
Coming from Iran in the 1970s, my first musical inspirations were limited to what was available to me at that time but what sticks out to me from back then was the feel and swing of Peggy Lee singing "Fever". The first time I head that classic rendition of the late 50's tune it really brought me to a warm happy place. As I grew up and traveled, AC/DC's driving rhythms and blues infused guitar solos quickly became my favorite. I had many teachers who ranged from my high school friends like Tony Mindel who taught me Grateful Dead songs to later on in college with Riz (Michael Rizza/Rizorkestra) who worked me over with complicated Jazz changes and pushed me to better my playing. I never gave up studying music. The more I studied the more humble it forced me to become and more reverend of the great players. Academically, I briefly studied at the San Francisco Music Conservatory and most recently studied with Matthew Charles Hewitt (Moetar, Zigaboo Modeliste, Narada Michael Walden) to further my education. I love all the Jazz giants like John Coltrane and Clifford Brown but also classic country like Bob Wills. My music ranges from Blues, R&B, Soul to Rock. Over the past 25 years I put together many bands with diverse styles like Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk and Latin.
2. How has your playing style/sound/equipment changed over time?
My approach to playing has changed a lot! Its hard to start talking about it...changes came in two main ways, 1) When you realize that your music can't pay the bills and 2) as a guitarist I realized to serve the song I had to pull back on my playing. The first change makes you understand that you don't need huge amplifiers and equipment for large concert venues (plenty of mics available at most places anyway)...play to the room and keep it tasty. The second is all about listening to yourself and your place within the song and within the band...better to underplay than overplay...although I have to admit I am still working on this.
3. Favorite Fairfax musical moments?
Easy: Zigaboo Modeliste band featuring Matthew Charles Hewitt on lead guitar. KortUzi band featuring Jon Korty's soulful singing and constantly evolving playing and our local guitar master Danny Uzivlevsky who switches from some twangilicious picking to ripping hard rock. Lastly seeing the Abyssinians on the 19 Broadway stage who are one of my all-time favorite classic reggae bands.