Interview: Dan McInerney

Dan McAvinchey: Dan, how did you get interested in music, and who were some guitarists that influenced your musical tastes?

Dan McInerney: I heard guitar players could pick up chicks--just kidding. I got started in music when I was in high school. A friend of mine was in a band and I had long hair so I got the gig. There are two guitarists that have influenced me from the beginning, Jeff Beck and Jan Akkerman. I was also into Zappa, Yes, the Beatles, Brand X, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra just to name a few. Today I really enjoy Scott Henderson, Mike Stern, Robin Ford, Danny Gatton, and Alan Holdsworth, to name a few.

Today I'm plugging away on a second CD, teaching future guitar stars, and playing as much as I can.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us about the guitars and other equipment are you currently using to get your sound.

Dan McInerney: This is a interesting topic. I have heard good guitarists on different guitars and amps and the cool thing is they sound the same. My conclusion is it does not matter what you play, it matters how you play.

Guitars: Fender Strats, B.C. Rich Mockingbird, and Hamer.

Amps: Marshall 30th anniversary, Fender Pro Sonic, and a Fender Bassman.

As far as out board effects go I've been using a Peavey Profex II, and a BBE Sonic Maximizer. With the Peavey I don't use much effects, I mainly use just a little bit of delay, and a bit of pitch just to fatten things up a little.

Dan McAvinchey: What are you hoping to achieve musically?

Dan McInerney: I would like my CD, "Machinery" to go platinum, but until that happens I'll enjoy playing with good players, and possibly join a good recording act.

Dan McAvinchey: What are your most recently completed projects and what are you currently working on?

Dan McInerney: My CD "Machinery" is my most recently completed project, and at the present time I am working on a blues project with a local Seattle artist. I am also on song four of my second CD.

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Dan McAvinchey: How do you compose your music?

Dan McInerney: On a bag pipe--just kidding. Every song has it's own entity, so they all start out differently. Some songs start out as a melody, (e.g.. Halcyon Days and Jay's Dream from the CD "Machinery"), and I'll build chords and rhythms around it. Some start out as a cool chord progression, and I'll build on that (Pay Attention and Cha Chaw, also from the CD "Machinery")." Most of my songs start on the guitar, but a few have been composed on the keyboard. It also helps to have a good producer. I was fortunate to work with Steve Peterson, who produced "Machinery" for me. I also have a library of little ditties that sound good and I'll go back and listen to them from time to time. If one of them strikes me as a cool idea I'll attempt to complete it.

Dan McAvinchey: Did you record "Machinery" at home or rent time at a commercial facility?

Dan McInerney: Home studios and commercial studios are becoming one of the same. I have heard a lot of garbage come out of both. And I have heard good come out of both of them. I recorded most of my CD "Machinery" out of a home studio.

Dan McAvinchey: What went into the decision to form your own record label and release an independent record?

Dan McInerney: The bottom line is: I believe in my music. As an instrumental artist you're not going to land a huge deal with a major label ( I know...there's Kenny G). If you do get a deal the label is going to take a huge chunk of money, and even if they do sign you, they may not even distribute your CD. Some friends of mine signed with a major label, and the label has not done a thing with them. So they have a great product that they can't do anything with. If you distribute your own product you can call your own shots, and that's a good feeling. Don't get me wrong, I would love to land a deal with a label, but until then I'll keep pushing my product.

Dan McAvinchey: What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician?

Dan McInerney: The advantages are: #1. You have the final say. #2. You can set your own deadlines. Take your time, and do good work. #3. You can choose who you want to work with. The disadvantages are: #1. A major label can distribute your product all over the world if it wants to, as an independent it's sometimes hard to distribute it in your own town. #2. Everything is usually done by yourself, so some things tend to get put on the back burner. #3. If something goes wrong you can't yell at anybody.

Dan McAvinchey: Care to share any final words of advice for musicians about to release their first independent record?

Dan McInerney: #1. It has to start with your music. #2. Don't start out with stars in your eyes; do the music as a reward in itself. #3. Get as much input from non-musicians as possible and take their comments seriously. #4. Find good people to work with, there is a lot of very talented people that are not working for big companies. #5. Find a good producer. #6. If it's good, push the shit out of it. #7. Give your CD to as many industry people as possible, because you never know who is going to listen to it. #8. Get online, it's a great tool.

Finally, in the immortal words of Phil Collins, " I can't dance." Wait a minute, wrong song. I think it was, "If you throw enough shit against the wall something is going to stick."

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Dan McInerney is a talented Seattle musician and songwriter in the tradition of Larry Carlton, Jan Akkerman and Jeff Beck, with an aggressive and technical rock/fusion guitar style. Like Scott Henderson with Tribal Tech, McInerney takes his music beyond the boundaries of traditional electric fusion, and forges a highly lyrical guitar style utilizing expressive and tasteful tonal variety. McInerney has realized his musical vision on "Machinery", a ten track CD of original compositions plus renditions of the Beatles "And Your Bird Can Sing" and Mason Williams' "Classical Gas."

Dan McAvinchey asked McInerney to share his approach to composition, and to pass on some ideas for independent-minded musicians who are considering producing a self-released record.