Bay Area guitarist Jimmy Mac made guitar fans quite happy with his
2007 CD Life Is Good and he makes good on the promise of that
killer CD with the 2010 release of Give It Back. Funky, jazzy
and rockin in all the right places, Jimmy Macs instrumental
fusion sound combines impeccable guitar chops with great music and
the results will smoke you out! Mac cites Jeff Beck classics like
Blow By Blow and Wired among his biggest influences,
and to help him drive home his sound and vision, theres a top
notch group of musicians assisting Jimmy Mac on the Give It Back
CD. Amid the many fine players on tap here are esteemed Steve Morse
side men Dave La Rue (bass) and Van Romaine (drums),
as well as Andrew Higgins, who adds in his bass work as well
as earning co-arranger and production credits. Jimmys latest
music may be a little funkier than Jeff Beck these days but for a
favorable comparison with the U.K. rock master, take a listen to Jimmys
track Beslan, a live track situated like jewel amid the
freshly minted studio tracks on Give It Back.
MWE3.com Presents An Interview With JIMMY MAC
How would you compare some of the sonic and production / recording
differences between the new album Give It Back with your last
album the Life Is Good CD?
JIMMY MAC : Totally different and musically superior for these
reasons: The core recordings were done in "real time", that
is the rhythm section was engaged in the improvisation process on
certain tracks such as Beslan, Freddie, Trojan
Horse Aftermath, MMTG, Hello and Life
Line. Life Is Good was slick and well produced. Jimi
Fischer is very professional but...and this is not his fault, we focused
on composing and recording simultaneously which meant I stay too long
in the world of Pro Tools. Give It Back was done differently.
I relied on instinct and Andrew's ability to find the best performances
by all the musicians involved. All the instruments are real - no programmed
drums or synth bass.
MWE3: When and how did start working with Andrew Higgins and what
did Andrew bring to the table as far as the arranging and production
of the Give It Back album?
JM: Andrew is the reason this CD sounds as good as it does. He produces
from a very old school approach. He asks a lot from all the performers
well as from himself. He is an awesome bassist with an unusual intuition.
He was very much an equal in all aspects of the final product. We
met at a thrown together jam session backing a jazz singer at a block
party in SF. I knew after a few sessions together he was the "right"
guy for my new release.
MWE3: There's a number of fine players on the Give It Back
CD and you also call the new album a group effort. Can
you say something about some of the key players who are featured on
the release and do you have a core Jimmy Mac band lineup?
JM: Wow, I met Dave Larue and Van Romaine before Steve Morse snatched
them up. We all were working out of Marion Studios in the early 90's
and have done other recordings together. Kim Stone and I recorded
a great CD back in 98 and I loved recording with him. I remember
warming up before a session at Prairie Sun Studios and he and I decided
to do a duet of Charlie Parker's Blues For Alice - man
, it sounded killer good. The guy is really the complete pro! Andrew,
once again as well as Damien, Steve Rossi, John Mader and Bob Mocarsky
or Casey Filson are the core sound of the band I would bring to the
public. Scott Kreitzer, a personal friend and an awesome sax player
was and is a big part of my musical history.
MWE3: How would you compare recording live with your approach in the
studio? Do you prefer live or recording in the studio with overdubs?
Do you also "experiment" in the studio?
: We go with "live" first and foremost as far as a core
sound goes. Andrew and I create an arrangement and then we build from
there. Andrew has a very clever way of recording and performing simultaneously.
He directs and records the rhythm section and shifts tempo and feel
to create a more interactive sound such as you would hear at a gig.
Yeah we overdub but who doesn't? Experimentation is limited but often
needed to get a better idea as to what works and why something didn't.
Music is always experimental, from the moment a tune is conceived
the experiment is started.
MWE3: Are you mostly featuring the Sadowsky Tele on the new CD and/or
are you looking to branch out and include new guitars and will there
be a Jimmy Mac custom guitar in the future?
JM: The Sadowsky was the primary guitar but an old Strat and 61
reissue SG were used on the slide guitar performances.
I have a 59 Tele reissue I customized with a 3rd pickup and
a Stetsbar pro tremolo that I really enjoy right now. That could be
a Jimmy Mac model if any manufacturer was interested. A Tele with
MWE3: I know you're from New Jersey originally. What do you like best
about living in the Bay Area compared with the N.J. / NYC area and
are you planning to bring any shows to NYC in the future?
JM: I just played in Jersey. A surprise gig. I was asked to sit in
with a blues/rock band and we killed . But I prefer the west coast
because I have a "real" community here. Damien, the harmonica
dude on my CD is on tour in Africa right now and he and I, along with
Andrew are pretty good friends. These are the guys along with Casey
Filson or Bob Mocarsky I enjoy playing or performing with. As for
drummers, Steve Rossi and John Mader are as good as it gets - its
an honor to jam with these men. I can't leave out Chris Sandoval.
Chris, Andrew and I jammed as a trio and I really wanted Chris on
this project but logistics were too hard to manage. Chris was with
The Tommy Castro Band for awhile - great drummer!
No knock to Jersey or NYC - so many great musicians I've played and
learned from are based in the tri-state area. At this moment no gigs
for the North East are planned. I'm trying to see what venues I can
play this summer or fall. Its all up in the air so to speak.