Q&A with Marvin LeeSimon Tucker is back from Portland, Ore., and will be staying in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley for the next few months. He is a busy guy with the recording of a new album. He’s also working on a side project with his brother, Nathanael Tucker, and gearing up to teach performance arts classes for Abuzz Theatre Company. I decided it was about time to catch up with Simon for a fun little interview.
Marvin Lee: What age did you start playing music and why?
Simon Tucker: I started with piano lessons at age 6 because in my family, well, you pretty much had to and also my other brothers were already doing music and I wanted to do whatever it was they were doing.
ML: At what age did you switch to playing guitar?
ST: I picked up the guitar when I was 11. I took piano lessons for two years and I also did a couple years self-learning, but then I heard Eric Clapton playing “Crossroads” with Cream and then decided ‘I wanna do that!’ So I dug my dad’s guitar out of the closet and started plunkin’ on it. I got my first electric guitar for my 12th birthday so that was kind of the official switch date.
ML: You used to play in a local band called READ 1984 with Jay Cobb Anderson, Keith Simon, and Bill Wilcox. Do you ever miss playing with those dudes?
ST: Absolutely! I miss having a bud to write songs with and share the band-leader responsibilities with … so yeah, absolutely miss playing with those dudes. I don’t know of anyone else I would want to enter into a musical relationship with, so it’s like I don’t regret not doing that now. I mean, I hate those guys (chuckles).
ML: You have recently told me that you are recording at Khind Of Records. How has that been going? When should we expect you to have your new album released?
ST: I have been working with Nate Golla and Ryan Leonardson. They have been a lot of fun to work with, really receptive to what I’m going for, and just an all-around good hang. We have been getting some really good sounding tracks. I really try to not set a release date when I don’t have a clear clue of when that’s gonna be but I would really like to have something by spring.
ML: Is the Simon Tucker Band still playing gigs? If so, do you have any shows planned? Anything in the Quad Cities?
ST: Right now I’ve been focusing on getting recording done and getting the info structure done for the band before I go back into booking, so as of now I am not actively booking for the band, which sucks because I miss playing with my band, but it’s going to be better in the long run when I have structure behind it. I need to get the business side of things up to snuff so when I do start playing out again with the band I can capitalize on it more. You know, point people to the website, point people to a record, and be able to develop a bigger fan base instead of just playing and having nothing to show for it or give out.
ML: Are there any new acts that moved you in 2014?
ST: Sam Smith! Sam has this, like, buttery voice that is a part of this new R&B revival that’s going on and I like his music videos a lot. I like his lyrical content. He sings like a little angel.
ML: “MASH” or “CHiPs”?
ST: “CHiPs,” because it’s cheesier (loud laughter from both of us).
ML: Is it true you and I were in a band together back in the day?
ST: It’s true. One band, two names. The Electro-Magnets and Bad Bats. I was in Electro-Magnets until it changed into Bad Bats. I played one Bat Bats gig and got fired. I think I got fired because I never bought drum sticks and didn’t have my own drum kit (laughter).
ML: Do you have any advice for someone who is wanting to learn an instrument or wanting to get into songwriting?
ST: You can take my class I will be offering in January. Torry Lewis and Abuzz Theatre Company are going to be offering classes in the performance arts. Sign-up begins Dec. 1 at their website, abuzztheater.com or at Abuzz Theatre on Sixth Street in Clarkston. I will be offering an intro to songwriting and beginner guitar courses. For real though, what I would suggest to anyone getting into songwriting or playing guitar is just to do it and don’t be self-conscience and do it unabashedly and even if you’re not that good, do it with confidence because that’s what it’s all about … self-expression.
Lee is a musician and aspiring poet who resides in Lewiston. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.