Interview: Tim Jenkins

Dan McAvinchey: Tim, when did you first realize you had musical aspirations?

Tim Jenkins: When I was 15.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little bit about your guitars and other musical gear, and how you use it to get your sound.

Tim Jenkins: The guitars I play most often are an Epiphone Emporer Jazz box, a Samick semi-hollow body, and a Takamine acoustic guitar. Live with the trio I use a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, and a Line 6 Delay Modeler.

Dan McAvinchey: What are you striving to achieve musically?

Tim Jenkins: The most important thing is that my writing should be intuitive. If I think too much about the direction a song "should" go, instead of allowing it to
happen naturally I usually am dissatisfied with the results. Composition really
separates an artist from someone who is soley a musician, in my opinion. If I
am to be viewed in any way, I would like it to be as a composer.

As an improviser, I would like to cut to the chase a little more melodically. Central to this is playing only what I truly hear in that moment, or can sing in that moment. This typically has very little to do with 32nd notes.

Dan McAvinchey: Do you feel you get more from an artistic persepective by releasing instrumental
music, as opposed to hooking up with a vocalist?

Tim Jenkins: Not neccessarily. If the lyric speaks to me and the melody is strong, I can be quite happy playing or texturing in a way that serves the composition.

That being said, I am not at all interested in playing in a setting where I am not allowed to be myself musically, so if we are talking about some form of what most folks would consider popular music, I am certain I could be more expressive with instrumental music.

Dan McAvinchey: What do you feel are some of the general pitfalls with the kind of label deals being offered to musicians today?

Tim Jenkins: I don't really know. Part of me thinks I'd like to though.

Dan McAvinchey: Tell us a little but about your current musical projects, and what you have planned
for the future.

Tim Jenkins: Delirious Tremor will begin recording our fourth CD this fall.(2004). I feel confident the melodies are the strongest I have ever written, and I have high hopes for the album artistically. The trio finished an East Coast tour this summer,and are hoping to go out again soon.

I do a fair amount of solo guitar performances and try to improvise a composition or two each night. I have been recording these improvisations in hopes that I will capture some inspired stuff.

I am also planning to record a solo record, using only acoustic instruments and hopefully release it some time in the next six months.

Dan McAvinchey: How do you feel about the current crop of guitar-oriented magazines and how
they are currently covering instrumental music?

Tim Jenkins: Honestly, most of the magazines I have seen seem to cater to 14 or 15 year olds. I think most of their coverage is centered around rock players. Guitar Player seemed to at least try to present a little diversity as I remember.

A magazine I do really love is Just Jazz Guitar. The interviews are terriffic and I think they strike a nice balance between jazz guitar tradition and more modern players . As far as I know, it is available only through subscription and I highly recommend it.

Dan McAvinchey: What do you now find to be the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent musician and marketing your own music?

Tim Jenkins: I have discovered that I dislike the business end of things a great deal. Phone calls, e-mail, promotion, etc., all take an artist out of his element in my experience. I don't want to be responsible for anything except writing, recording and playing the music for folks. This is all moot as an indie musician, of course, because someone has to do all that stuff whether they are suited for it or not. I would imagine that most labels have someone whose job it is to promote, market, schedule, etc.

A major advantage to releasing CDs on your own is not having to worry about
making anyone a profit. This allows me to make fewer concessions in regards to
making the record I want to make.

Dan McAvinchey: Can you share any marketing or promotion tips for musicians about to release their first independent record?

Tim Jenkins: Play everywhere. Get in a van and play anywhere. Oh yeah, and make t-shirts. People who won't buy your record will wear your t-shirt. Isn't that weird?

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Dan McAvinchey: What do you see yourself doing in five or ten years time?

Tim Jenkins: I will continue composing. I would like to become more proficient at arranging for various instrumentation. I can see myself recording an album or so with little or no guitar.

I would certainly like to tour more with Delirious Tremor. I had a dream the other night with hundreds of pianos in my house. Maybe I should play more piano.

Dan McAvinchey: If you could collaborate with any guitarist in the world on one recording project, who would it be, and why?

Tim Jenkins: Probably someone like Ralph Towner. He is far more interested in being a musician than he is in being a guitar player (helps that he plays a lot of instruments). I think he could play on my stuff beautifully. Hopefully I could find a
way to complement his music.

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Guitarist Tim Jenkins leads the fusion group known as Delirious Tremor, a project in which he teams with drummer Dave Huether and a team of bass players. Their music is a blend of progressive jazz, world and electric fusion, and Jenkins can deliver intense, angular, overdriven guitar lines when the situation demands it.

Dan McAvinchey hooked up with Jenkins for the second time to talk music, equipment and the business.