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INTERVIEW: TY TABOR – December 2017

| 16 December 2017 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Alien Beans, the new solo album from KING’S X guitarist Ty Tabor, will be released on January 12, 2018 via Rat Pak Records. Alien Beans is a double-disc album that features 10 new studio tracks and a “best-of” compilation disc. The “best-of” disc is comprised of 11 remixed and remastered tracks personally selected by Tabor from his previous releases.” We got Ty on the phone to discuss the new material, the remastered material, touring, and much more…

ToddStar: Ty, thank you so much for taking time out for us man.

Ty: Really, man, thank you. I appreciate it.

ToddStar: Well, there’s always a lot to discuss when you’ve got Ty Tabor on the phone, but I’m thinking of discussing a new album you’ve got coming out, Alien Beans. A two disc set – a bunch of new tracks and a bunch of classic stuff remixed / remastered. What can you tell us about this collection that your fans might not pick up the first or second time they listen through this collection?

Ty: Well, it’s basically, the way the whole thing came about, and this will explain which old songs are on the record and everything. What happened is, my manager suggested to me at one point because I was releasing a lot of stuff online that a lot of people wouldn’t really know about other than the direct fans that were keeping up with us online. My manager suggested, “Why don’t you put out that stuff on a label, so more people could come to know it and be familiar with it. And, it might even help to catalog sales of the online stuff.” And I thought, “Well, you know, that’s a pretty good idea, I guess.”  So, I was talking to Joe about it at RatPak Records, who my Manager was in contact with at the time, and Joe asked if I had any new stuff and I thought, “Yeah, I got two or three new songs we could throw on there too, just so it’s not just old stuff.” And then, all of a sudden some more songs started coming, and I started writing more and more, and I kept pushing off the release, and saying, “Hey man, why don’t we wait a little longer. I’ve got more stuff coming’…” Then it was, “Okay, we’ll put four new songs on…”, “Okay, we’ll put five new songs on.” Until, finally, I’ve got lots of new songs coming. Finally I told them, “Let’s just hold off, and we’ll do a whole new album also, with the old stuff.”  And so, we went back, and at that point decided let’s make this thing a really hard rocking’ record… just pick out some of the stuff that’s more in your face from the old catalogs, and then pair it with the new stuff, so it sounds like a record that should go together. So, that required a little bit of mixing and mastering of the old stuff. But, it did come together, to me, like a cohesive, single release, you know, even though a lot of it’s really old stuff. Of the old stuff, I think only two of the songs are songs that were ever released before on the label. All the rest of it was just online stuff that, will hopefully be new to a lot of people.

ToddStar: You’ve done something, similar before – Tacklebox. What was different about this for you than something like that, where you took all demo recordings and some new stuff, and put it out there for the fans? What about this stands out in your mind?

Ty: Well, this is a lot more developed than Tacklebox, ’cause Tacklebox was literally demos, sometimes just 4-track demos, and that’s all it was. There was the demos that were turned into King’s X, so that people can hear what the songs were before we worked on them. And that was kind of the idea. Most of my stuff was fully worked out ahead of time before I turned to them. I like to complete songs for pretty much all of my stuff, when I turn it in, not just as it is. So, that’s the difference. Tacklebox was just demos that were turned into King’s X in order to work on and record for real. The old stuff that’s on this album, the new album, Alien Beans, those were really released songs on real albums, even though they were just released to the online fans, they were fully real recordings. So, they’re real tracks, they’re not demos – they come from real albums.

ToddStar: Well, there is some great material on here; I’ve been lucky enough to listen through this. What are the couple songs that once you knew they were going to see the light of day and be exposed to more fans, really kind of got you excited? I don’t want you to pick a favorite, but what songs do you think really just grasp who you are as a writer and a player that you really want the fans to hear?

Ty: I think the song that I feel is the most “me” in one song, in anything I’ve ever written, is a song called “Ride,” that’s one of the old songs that’s on the album. “Ride” is a song about racing motorcycles, which I did for years, and it was a real big part of my life… and miss it really bad. I’m just too old to do it anymore. I would kill myself now. But, that song is really neat. And that song is “me” on record, as far the way I feel. I don’t know, someone else may feel different.

ToddStar: I would say it’s one of the stronger songs, and I think it helped pull some of the other tracks together that surrounded it in the play order that it’s in. You’ve got quite the discography in your history. Forget King’s X for a minute. Not only as a solo artist, but also doing different side projects and stuff, other than your Manager saying, “hey, you should do this,” what was it at the end of 2017 that made you decide now was the time to really give your fans a lot more of Ty?

Ty: The truth is it was my manager’s idea. I just really wasn’t thinking about it to be honest. In my mind, I’m always writing and thinking of doing the next album. I probably was just thinking to myself that I’m ready to go ahead and get working on whatever my next solo album will be. But, I wasn’t thinking about it being something like this that deals with catalog and everything. That was his idea. So, for me, it was just a matter I got talked into it. It seemed like an idea that was worth trying when I heard it. So, I said, “Yeah, I’m in. I’m all in to do it.” And, that’s really all it was. It was just a matter of Gunther my Manager, mentioning it, and it kind of went “Ping” in my head like, “Yeah, that’s an idea. That should happen.” And, it was just that simple.

ToddStar: Ty, the way you make it sound, this all came about pretty seamlessly that these songs kind of flooded out on you. If you had to pick, of the new material, because the old stuff’s kind of been bouncing around for you for some time, what song would you say came easiest, but on the flip side, also was the hardest to complete of the new material?

Ty: That’s a good question. I would have to actually pull up a list of the songs. Hold on a second; let me find one. Let’s see. “Back It Down” was pretty tough to do because vocally it stretched me to my limits, ’cause that’s the highest I’ve had to sing in a very long time. But, “Somebody Lied,” was like pulling teeth. I don’t even like listening to that one too much because of how much trouble it was. It was more trouble than any of the other songs. But, it ended up on the album because it was easier than everything that got left off. Basically, I had a whole bunch of songs, and if they were just not coming together, they got dropped. “Somebody Lied” was one of those that almost got dropped, but it kind of came together at the last moment and I kept it. But, as far as songs go I like, or came together easily, I think “Heavily Twisted” was one of the ones that just kind of flew out, and it’s probably one of the most difficult guitar parts, on the rhythm guitar… not that it’s really difficult, but it’s not just playing’ cords, it’s a little bit difficult. That one’s kind of special to me. It was simple and easy. “So Here’s to You” was pretty quick and easy. So was “Freight Train” and “Johnny.” Both of those came easy.

ToddStar: It’s weird to hear you talk about “Heavily Twisted” because you’re such a renowned guitar player, and for you to say, “It wasn’t the solo. It wasn’t the lead. It was the rhythm guitar part that kind of challenged you,”… how often is it that something that is considered more on the simple side a harder guitar piece versus a solo, a huge bridge, or something like that?

Ty: I’d say for me that the rhythm playing in general for me, depending on the song, is way more difficult than playing leads because I like to play things that aren’t normal. I like to do things – fingerings – that are unusual or just a little bit wrong compared to the way you’re taught. And so, because of that, sometimes playing the rhythm parts in the tunings that I’m in, requires some very unnatural hand positions and take a lot of work. So, for me, I’d say the rhythm playing for me in general is usually what is most difficult because I try to play difficult rhythm parts and different rhythm parts. I don’t ever make something difficult for the sake of making it difficult, it’s just that, whatever voicings I’m looking for, I find them ignoring whatever normal ways you go about getting them most of the time. And that helps me come up with things that put my fingers in weird places and make it help to train the brain to go there easily.

ToddStar: We’ve been discussing Alien Beans, the 21-track, two-disc set coming from Ty Tabor. For anybody who doesn’t know, it’s also the name of your studio. What’s the meaning behind Alien Beans?

Ty: Well, when I originally first started recording solo stuff, I bought a little digital recorder and set up some stuff in our house, and that became the first incarnation of my home studio, which is no longer a home studio. It started out at home. But, I was releasing stuff, and I needed to say it was recorded somewhere, and I didn’t want to say it was recorded at my house. So, I named the studio Alien Beans as a joke back then. And, you know, because every single thing I’ve ever done solo-wise has been recorded at Alien Beans, it was Joe’s idea that in fact I should just call the album Alien Beans.

ToddStar: You’ve done a lot of collaborations through the years, Ty, with different musicians. Who’s still out there on your wish list of people that you’d like to collaborate with, whether it was in a song, or in production, or even just sharing a live stage?

Ty: That’s a good question. There’s a lot of people I would love to collaborate with and share a stage with… really too many to name. And, if I name a couple, it’ll leave other people out that may even be higher on the list ’cause I haven’t had time to think about it. I’ve always wanted to write some music with Alice Cooper, and I talked to him not too terribly long ago, and he said to me at that time, “We ought to do something together.” And, it’s never happened, and I never really pursued it, but that is one collaboration that I would love to do, ’cause love Alice Cooper. I’ve been a big fan of his forever, throughout his career, and some of his music has been some of the most impactful music in my life. So, working with him would be a blast. Working with Frampton would be a blast. I’ve known him for years, at least just from running into him here and there once in a while and saying’, “Hello.” I’d love to work with him. I could just keep going down the list. I mean, Brian May would be fun to work with. I’m on the same album with Brian, but we weren’t in the studio at the same time. So, I didn’t actually meet him then. But, I don’t know, Brian would be a big one. You know, people ask me that all the time, like, “If you could name who you would want to be playing with on this Earth, who would it be?” And, I know this sounds cheesy, and it’s a cop out, but it’s the honest to god truth, but I already play in a band with the two guys who I really most want to play with on the Earth. I mean, there aren’t any other drummers I want to play with more than Jerry, and there aren’t any other singer-bass players I want to play with more than Dug. Period. There just aren’t. I feel lucky that we’ve found each other, and I’m luckily in the band of my dreams. So, I don’t think of anything like that ever, truthfully, because I’m so happy with my situation.

ToddStar: It’s hard to argue with the situation – banking on almost 40 years, you, Dug, and Jerry have been together a long time. Ty, 1980’s a long time ago – you’ve done a lot of things; you’ve done some solo stuff; you’ve done some projects; you’ve done some guest stuff; you’ve done a lot with King’s X. If you go back and look over something from your professional career, what’s one or two things that you think might’ve been a misstep, or if you had the chance, you’d take redo on them?

Ty: Well, I’m not gonna name the album. But, I participated in an album a while back, where when I was talking with the person I was talking to about doing it, and I agreed to do it, I misunderstood something about the album. And, I didn’t realize. And, If I had understood that about the album, I would have gracefully bowed out, and not done the album. But, because, I gave him my word; I did it. But, there’s one album I wish I’d a have been paying closer attention to what I was being offered before I said yes, because I didn’t wanna get in the middle of other people’s arguments and business. You know what I mean?  And that’s sort of what happened by me participating in that project.

ToddStar: Ty, I know you’re busy, so I’ve got another one for you before we cut you loose. If it came down to it, and I’m hoping this comes to fruition, but if you are going to tour behind this release, or if you could tour it, what are the couple tracks from Alien Beans that you would just love to do, on a stage, with a band, playing your heart out for an audience?

Ty: I really wanna do the song “Ride” live, ’cause it’s just by far my most popular song I’ve ever had put out. It’s got more plays than any other song. When I originally put it out on, a long time ago, on MySpace, it had half a million plays. And, this is in the old days, when that wasn’t happening a lot. So, it was one song that really took off for me, and people seemed to really talk about it a lot. And, I’ve never done it live. And, it’s my favorite guitar part, probably, I’ve ever written, as a solo artist. So, yeah, I would love to do that one live. I’ve got a band of guys that, I did one live show a few years ago down in Houston, just one show, and it was with Wally Farkas on guitar, Bill Walter on bass, and Darwin Keys on drums, and Darwin played with Pushmonkey, Wally was from Galactic Cowboys, and Bill played in Toy Subs and a bunch of other stuff around Texas.  So, those guys, we did a show together. And, I was talking to Wally just a few days ago, and he said, “They were into potentially putting a little run together in Texas.” So, I’m hoping we’re gonna go out and promote this album and do some live shows, and I’ll have a chance to do “Ride” live.

ToddStar: I’d certainly love to see that here in Detroit. We wish you well with the album, Ty, and we hope that fans of not only King’s X, but fans of great guitar rock, really kinda reach out and grab this album, ’cause I don’t think they’ll be let down at all with anything that you’ve done. So, again, we wish you well with the album. We hope that everybody recognizes it for the great album it is, and they put their hands on it.

Ty: Thanks, Todd. I appreciate it brother. Thank you.

ToddStar: Alright, Ty. Well, hopefully we get you up in Detroit. Whether it’d be solo or King’s X, we’d get ya up here soon.

Ty: Heck, yeah. We love it up there. Absolutely.





Category: Interviews

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ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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