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BowieNet Live Chat Transcription
Mike Garson - 14/9/00

Session Start: Thurs Sept 14 13:00:51 2000
*** Now talking in #_
*** Topic is 'BowieNet Mike Garson Chat'
Session Time: Thurs Sept 14 13:00:00 2000

SaintAlphonzo says: Hi everyone! We're ready to go - Mike is coming to us from East Berlin where he is on tour with the Smashing Pumpkins! We're starting a few minutes early because Mike will have to leave a little early... we almost had to cancel because Mike was expecting to be in New York this week - but instead he's touring with the Smashing Pumpkins and right now he's in the middle of rehearsal. He's been kind enough to take a break from rehearsal (quite literally) and keep the chat going. Thanks, Mike!

Thomo asks: How did you get started working with the Pumpkins?

Mike Garson answers: I met Billy when I was doing a TV show with Bowie in Paris about 3 and a half years ago - I like his music. About a year after that, he was doing the Ador tour, and they were auditioning keyboard players. I found out that he was looking for a player and called him, he didn't even ask me for an audition and I went on the tour for about 8 or 9 months. Then we did the movie Stigmata, composing the soundtrack together, we also wrote the closing theme called "Identify" which was sung by Natlie Imbruglia.

Mike Garson answers: After that I didn't see him for about a year - but then he called me up for the VH1 Storytellers special. That went well and the next thing I knew I was out here in East Berlin on tour!

Vivian asks: "What did you want to be when you were a little kid?".

Mike Garson answers: I knew I wanted to be a musician from a very young age, but in college I got sidetracked and entertained the idea of becoming a doctor for a while! That didn't last long...

Lizp asks: "Do you have any personal reason for lecturing in Utrecht? Aesthetically, I think it's an incredible city..."

Mike Garson answers: I love that school, and I'm actually hoping to go there and give a lecture next week on a day off. I'm going to be in Amsterdam. They are also very open to my type of music more so than in the states. Specifically my solo "Now" music, my improvised music.

Gabor asks: "Mike, have you ever played Bartok, or are you planning to play one of his pieces?"

Mike Garson answers: I'm not planning to play one of his pieces, but I have read through his music and am very fond of it, especially his string quartets and his piece for strings and orchestra and percussion.

CelineValette asks: "Hello, do you think midi keyboard will replace others instruments one day??"

Mike Garson answers: No - the original acoustic instruments will always remain, but will probably be played less frequently and most likely only by people that only specialize in it because it takes so long to master. There's a quicker learning curve with the MIDI stuff. scarecrow asks: "are there any of your solo albums that you'd recommend to start with?"

Mike Garson answers: the Oxnard sessions (Vol I and II) are maybe a good place to start - these are interesting live jazz recordings. Also the solo Now CD available on my website is improvised classical piano music.

Vivian asks: "Have you visited Alexandria yet?"

Mike Garson answers: Yes - she is gorgeous!

Ysengrin asks: "What is your favorite music period (classical, 20's, whatever...)"

Mike Garson answers: I love the Romantic period, followed by the Baroque.

Penelope asks: "What was the first instrument you learned to play?"

Mike Garson answers: piano. The first and only.

Jazzfyr asks: "Hi Mike. I heard your Schoenberg inspired music and really like it.. any plans for more of the same ???"

Mike Garson answers: Yes, I am continuing to write in that direction plus finding some new stuff of my own.

Scarecrow asks: "What is your favorite Bowie related memory?"

Mike Garson answers: Getting called by him and not knowing who he was.

Vivian asks: "Do you want to do something special with David in the future?"

Mike Garson answers: I would love to!

Scarecrow asks: "Does DB give you much direction in the studio, or does he just let you go at it?"

Mike Garson answers: David is the best producer that I've ever had. He gives me lots of freedom, but he does have a vision.

Calle asks: "How much have you contributed to David's songwriting over the years?"

Mike Garson answers: I co-wrote six people with him on the Outside album, and perhaps a new one for the forthcoming album next year.

Ramoana asks: "Mike, did you see all your birthday pics? =)"

Mike Garson answers: yes, they were wonderful - thank you all so much!

Jazzfyr asks: "Mike, Do you ever plan on a solo tour with your music?"

Mike Garson answers: Yes - probably in about 2 or 3 years I plan on doing a big solo tour.

Bianca asks: "In one of the Danish interviews I recognized that you and Sterling Campbell changed positions and you played drums. Where have you learned that?"

Mike Garson answers: From watching all those loud drummers all these years! \\;)

Calle asks: "Who was your first idol - in terms of music?, do you have one today?"

Mike Garson answers: Rachmaninoff was my first, now I am into Mozart, Scriabin and Messiaen.

UKMadBitch asks: "When did you start playing piano?"

Mike Garson answers: age 7

Jazzfyr asks: "Mike do you listen to Erik Satie ?"

Mike Garson answers: I have - a lovely composer!

Bianca asks: "Is there a difference of working with David in the nowadays than it has been in the 70s?"

Mike Garson answers: Essentially, as an artist he's the same.

Machine asks: "Do you have any special rituals or exercises that you do before you sit down to play or compose?"

Mike Garson answers: I try to get in a silent mode. Prayer and being peaceful is most helpful, especially being in the chaotic world of show business.

Calle asks: "Do you enjoy life on the road?"

Mike Garson answers: Yes and no. I love playing the music, but am kind of traveling around and planes and buses, and I miss my family.

Lizp asks: "When are you going to start giving Alexandria piano lessons?"

Mike Garson answers: I started telepathically transmitting already!

Bianca asks: "How important is improvisation in your piano-playing?"

Mike Garson answers: 85%

Scarecrow asks: "Do you and Gail ever share razors?"

Mike Garson answers: she was the one who taught me how to shave my head when I cut it off. \\;)

Gabor asks: "Is their someone who would you dying to work with (either historical ones)?"

Mike Garson answers: Most of the guys I'd love to work with are dead\\; John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Booker Little.

Mattdaman asks: "Mike: I understand you are now "Highly Technical" Please tell us about the "computer in your mind".

Mike Garson answers: The computer in my mind is quite a bit more advanced than my McIntosh computer. But that's why I have guys like you and Saint Alphonzo...

Zimmo asks: "are you working on new projects at the moment and if so which ones?"

Mike Garson answers: Yes, I am working on a piano concerto right now. The poor guy who is having to write it out is the one who has the hard work - my part is improvisation.

Penelope asks: "Interesting (only piano), did you learn classical piano first?"

Mike Garson answers: yes.

UKMadBitch asks: "When you write do you do it only with the piano or do you build up tracks and improvise something out".

Mike Garson answers: In the past it's been mostly through the piano, but recently I've been doing it using the latter method.

Calle asks: "Do you think there schould be more piano in rock/pop music?"

Mike Garson answers: It is what it is, but of course I would like some more. I take what's given me.

NeonDisease asks: "Will you be working on the 2.Contamination project?"

Mike Garson answers: I did all my playing on it already, just waiting to hear the final results.

BeckyBeusmans asks: "Hi what advice would you give to anyone learing a instrument as I am learning the guitar..."

Mike Garson answers: Like the old joke, the way you get to Carnegie Hall is practice, practice, practice...

CelineValette asks: "What do you think about techno music?"

Mike Garson answers: It has it's place - it's a small window for me, but it has it's place.

Jazzfyr asks: "Mike, how about Eno?"

Mike Garson answers: A very eccentric, creative artist!

Vivian asks: "What's your favorite Bowie song to play?"

Mike Garson answers: Life On Mars and Wild Is The Wind.

Bianca asks: "I was quite impressed when I heard that you played the musical part on Aladdin Sane at one take. Was it your idea playing the part the way you did?"

Mike Garson answers: You could say that David asked me to play something on the Avant Garde side and it was a good call on his part.

Lizp asks: "Where are your NYC haunts? If you still do the club thing, we'd love to see you live!!"

Mike Garson answers: I still occasionally play in clubs, although recently it's been in LA. The last NYC club I played was at the Blue Note a few years back with Stanley Clarke.

SaintAlphonzo says: Mike has to return to rehearsal in 5 minutes - last questions, please. In case you're joining us late, Mike is coming to us from a tour with the Pumpkins in East Berlin, and is breaking from rehearsal at this moment to chat with us.

Calle asks: "Do you ever go a whole day without playing the piano?"

Mike Garson answers: I missed 3 days about 15 years ago and I went psychotic.

Bianca asks: "Is there a possibility to see your jazz-combo soon live again?"

Mike Garson answers: Probably not for about six months.

Gabor asks: "What was working like with Stan Getz?"

Mike Garson answers: I only had one opportunity, but it's amazing - he's a very special musician.

Zimmo asks: "Did you ever play a piece with quatre mains?"

Mike Garson answers: No, but I have written some 4 hand music.

JCarr asks: "Ever been in a Turkish prison??"

Mike Garson answers: Planet earth is doing pretty good, Jeff.

Scarecrow asks: "Any keyboardists out there that you admire?"

Mike Garson answers: I love Keith Jarrett.

UKMadBitch asks: "Do you find that you still need to do exercises to limber up your fingers or are you way past that now?"

Mike Garson answers: It's always good to warm up for a few minutes before I play, it means a lot for me.

Vivian asks: "What do you think of Earl Slick being with the band again?"

Mike Garson answers: I am happy to be playing with Earl again. We played on the Diamond Dogs tour together and the Young Americans tour.

Bianca asks: "Have you had any influence in the choice of songs for the 60s albums and new arrangements?"

Mike Garson answers: my influence would just be the playing I did on the piano, Hammond Organ, electric piano and synth.

Ida_q asks: "Have you tried to get David Bowie to go for the shaved look yet ?"

Mike Garson answers: I've been trying to talk David into shaving his head - but if I had that head of hair I wouldn't shave mine! ;)

CelineValette asks: "What do you listen at the moment?"

Mike Garson answers: These days I've been mostly listening to the pieces I composed as I've been in a heavy writing period. There are times that I do a lot of listening to other music, but when I work on my own stuff I don't really listen much at all. It's a period of shutting everything else out, basically.

Bent asks: "Mike, did you see my question?"

Mike Garson answers: yes.

MoonWeazle asks: "DO You smoke?"

Mike Garson answers: Nope. Only on the keys! =8-)

Gilly asks: "How do you address Earl Slick?"

Mike Garson answers: I just call him the Duke of Earl.

Gilly asks: "can you play any non-keyboard instruments?"

Mike Garson answers: no.

Vivian asks: "Did you ever kissed your piano?"

Mike Garson answers: Yes, in fact I've made love to it several times.

Mike Garson says: Sorry I have to leave a bit early....I had expected to be in New York at this time, as this tour with the Smashing Pumpkins came up rather unexpectedly.

Mike Garson says: Time for me to get back to rehearsal! Good questions guys, hopefully I can do this again soon!

Saint Alphonzo says: Thanks, Mike! And thanks everyone for the questions!

Session Close:Thurs Sept 14 13:26:10 2000.

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Created: Sept 2000 © Paul Kinder Last Updated: 23/9/00