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Stimulator interview 

Submitted by Kaj Roth on 2004-02-18
He is not one of the most famous guitarplayers in the world but he is one of the best around,playing the 6 strings like hearing Joe Satriani and Robert Fripp in the same person......for my defense-the evidence are the revolutionary T-RIDE from 92 and his new STIMULATOR album.
Ladies and Gents,I want you to please welcome GEOFF TYSON!
Hey there,I must say that it was a nice surprise to see your name on the Stimulator album,then I realized that it?s pretty much your band together with singer Susan Hyatt,you?re not just playing guitar like you did on the amazing T-Ride album from 92,this time you also wrote the songs and produced the stuff you?re involved in. How come the complete change of direction from hard rock to 80?s Pop?
Geoff Tyson: Well, I have grown a lot as a musician in the past 12 years. In addition to guitar, I now also play bass, keys, sitar, mandolin and cello and have had a good 18 years experience in the recording studio as an engineer and a producer. Now I can express my musicality with all of those instruments put together.
The Stimulator music has some 80s pop influences, but there are also heavy rockers like "Just Like A Girl" and moody ballads like "Muse". The songwriting task has been challenging, because I am trying to make pop music that has musicality and substance.
The t-ride album was really the creation of Dan Arlie. It was his genius that wrote the chords, the rhythms, the words, and the sound. That guitar style could not have existed without his songs.

I noticed that you are 3 on the album sleeve with a keyboard player in the back but it only says that Stimulator are you and Susan Hyatt,who is he and has the band expanded to 5 members now which I read at your biography?
Geoff Tyson: It is difficult to keep musicians in los Angeles. The only permanent members of this band are Susan Hyatt and myself. We write, record and perform everything ourselves in my home studio in Hollywood

You have supported both Berlin and Missing Persons in several shows,I really think that Stimulator has lots in common musically with those 2 bands but also more modern Pop sounding like Garbage,what do you think you sound like yourself?
Geoff Tyson: I like to approach our music as if Blondie wrote songs for led zeppelin. I like to keep a deep musicality to the songs and the productions, and put a pop face on it. If you analyze the arrangements and compositions closely, you will see that it is actually quite deep. My goal is to combine the energy of soundgarden with the vibe of pink Floyd with the danceability of Rick James with the pop sensibility of Blondie.

How did you and Susan Hyatt meet?
Geoff Tyson: Drinking wine at an Italian restaurant here in Hollywood. I gave her my solo CD because I wanted to shag her. We ended up working together instead. You meet the most interesting people in Hollywood...

She has a great voice and lifts the big choruses to a higher level,was that a dream of yours to work with a female singer instead of a male?
Geoff Tyson: Music, to me, is very "in the moment". We work together and then that is how it turned out. I have worked with many talented male vocalists as well, but they just didnt have their shit together. You have to be more than just a great musician these days.

When I listen to the song "How far would you go",I must say that it feels like a song written for an upcoming James Bond Movie,it has the same vibes and is a truly charming track,do you have any offers on doing that.....well just spit it out?
Geoff Tyson: We are always interested in contributing music to movies. We just sold a song to Disney for the upcoming movie, "Ella Enchanted" and we are writing 3 more for another movie coming out this summer.
I love the old james bond theme songs. "you only live twice" is my favorite.

Sounds great!,and congratulations by the way for winning the runner up of the best rock song in the John Lennon Songwriting contest for the track "On top of the world",there are worse things that can happen to you I guess?
Geoff Tyson: Yea. We could have gotten hit by a truck.

Things are really going great for you,I was wondering though why you chose on doing ?Magic? by Olivia Newton John,it?s not everyday I see a cover of a ONJ song and it?s a nice thing to do because she is one of the greatest female singers on the face of the earth in my point of view!
Geoff Tyson: That song is so cool. Great chord changes, great vibe and no one has ever done a cover of it. If john Lennon had written that song, it would have been a classic. I remember hearing it over the loudspeaker at a supermarket when I was a wee lad and even then, I recognized it as something special. When else could I do a guitar solo in Lydian dominant in a pop song?

The heavier track "Just like a girl" is my fave on the album,on that song your incredible style of playing and taste for delicate riffs shows through the way I recognize it from the awesome T-RIDE album,a song like that must be made for the stage,is it one of your favorite live tunes?
Geoff Tyson: This is the song we close the set with. That song is written from the perspective of a female blow-up sex doll.

I think the production on the Stimulator album is really cool,the combination of a heavy synthesizer playing the same lines as the bass and the guitar is brilliant,that makes your sound a bit different from the rest in this 80?s retro genre,did you work a lot on reaching that sound?
Geoff Tyson: Every song on this album was written, recorded and mixed in no more that 3 days. Some were done in less that 6 hours. I have been working as a producer and an engineer for so long, that I know exactly how to get the sound I want. Most of the parts are actually improvisations. I believe that making music is about being in the moment, so I just turn up the speakers loud and jam through the song. The first take is always the coolest.

I understand that the album will be officially released on April 12,will it be self released or do you have major label interests?
Geoff Tyson: With the music industry being in the disastrous state that it is in, I dont see the advantage to signing with a major label yet. It would be like buying tickets for the titanic. Our April 12 release date will be done independently and we are coordinating it with a massive radio and print campaign that is all being done independently. We will be touring around the western USA at that time as well.

Will this be the beginning of a long career with Stimulator?
Geoff Tyson: Well, it has already been a long career, but I can see myself in this situation for much longer.

What I didn?t know was that you have worked with the band DROPLINE that released the terrific modern rock album "You are here" on 143 records in 2002,did you tour with them or?
Geoff Tyson: I mixed a lot of songs for them. I dont know which ones were released. They are a great band. They have one song called "the time the place" that I think is amazing. I saw their guitar player in the mens room at a bar last week. Hollywood is cool like that.

What albums are spinning in your CD player these days?
Geoff Tyson: Al Greene, Marvin Gaye, soundgarden, deftones, sly stone, coldplay, a perfect circle, prince, STIMULATORS SECOND CD!

I know that you studied together with genius Joe Satriani back in the 80?s,how much has he meant for your guitarplaying?
Geoff Tyson: Joes teaching was a great event in my life. Although he was very thorough about teaching music theory, technique and physicality, the lessons which really stick out in my memory are the philosophical ones. He would pose a question that had no answer and set my mind on an eternal quest for music knowledge. He was a sort of a guitar playing Buddha.

When I saw ROLLING STONE?s 100 Greatest guitarists of all time I thought it was a joke because I couldn?t see either Satriani,Eddie Vanhalen,Neal Schon or you on that list,your way of playing on the T-RIDE album is revolutionary and should be rewarded with a place on that list but hey!,you?re on mine-anyway what is your comment on that fake of a toplist?
Geoff Tyson: Wasnt Christina Aguilera on that list? I think that most people these days think a guitar is something that blonde girls pose nude with.
Here is my favorites list:
David Gilmore,Jeff beck,Pat metheney, Joe satriani,Jimmy page,Jimmy Hendrix, Prince

If we talk T-RIDE now,it?s inevitable I guess since your name is Geoff Tyson and was a part of making rock and roll history together with Dan Arlie and Eric Valentine,why did the band split up?
Geoff Tyson: Dan and Eric were certain that this record would sell multi-platinum. When it didn?t they took it personally. They blamed the record company, each other and their management and soured a lot of relationships. After they realized that they would have to do it without record company support, they gave up. Dan and Eric started fighting with each other and it ended up with a lawsuit and some pretty low personal blows.

The magnificent combination of layers of harmony vocals a la QUEEN on a heavy rhythm section a la VANHALEN meeting EXTREME is nothing but melodic euphoria,how did you pull it off on stage?
Geoff Tyson: We sucked live. Ha ha! we tried to sing all of those very difficult harmonies live every night and it was hell. Also, since we were all glued to the mic for the whole time, the show was not very fun to watch.

I never get tired of hearing that record and I believe that it was Dan Arlie who was behind most of the songs,do you know what he?s doing today and do you have any contact with him or Eric Valentine these days?
Geoff Tyson: Dan arlie wrote everything. I speak with him often. He still writes and records. Some of the stuff he has done recently is absolutely amazing.

I also understand that you recorded 3/4 parts of a 2nd album,tell me more about it all from the style on it to songtitles or anything else why it never saw the day of light etc!
Geoff Tyson: The second t-ride record was really dark, slow and moody. It was much better than the first one, in my opinion. I think that it would fit perfectly in todays dark and moody times. I have spoken with Dan arlie many times about releasing it and, since he owns the masters, I hope that he does it soon. Just from the responses I get on my website we could sell a lot...