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Meet the 'Dream Attic' Crew

 

Simon Tassano

 

 

     
What is your role within the 'Dream Attic' Band Tour?  

Tour Mother and FOH Audio engineer.

 

     

How long have you and RT known each other and how did you meet?

 

Over 30 years - How did THAT happen?  We first met at a rehearsal for a show with Yusuf (Cat Stevens) held at The Venue in London's Victoria.  I was head of audio there at the time, and my friend (who looked after Yusuf) needed somewhere to run through a few songs in the morning prior to the UNICEF Year of The Child Concert at Wembley Empire Pool  in December 1979. I told him to come on over and I'd open up the room for them to use. The guest was RT, who played electric guitar on Peace Train. (Which, incidentally, he did again a couple of years ago at Croppers when Yusuf played there.)  However, I doubt if RT remembers meeting me then.

I've known Pete Zorn from Shoot Out The Lights tour on and everyone else as they've joined the family / party.  I worked with Joel years before as I toured with the McGarrigles back in the 80's.  I do believe it was I who suggested him as a possible for the electric violin chair  (Hrmph... Oh Jo-el…… nudge nudge… was it a tortoise, a monkey or a carpet we spoke of?!)

     

Please list the equipment you brought on the road.

 

I carry a few mics, some outboard audio processing gear, several stuffed animals and various Hello Kitty™ items.

     
Please describe the 'Dream Attic' show visually and musically.  

Loudish, bright and full… then softer, darker and sparser and then a little louder and brighter again (but with different colours of bright)… and so on and so forth..

     

What is your favorite track on the new album and why?

 

Like most of us it seems, I tend to awake with one or another of them firmly front and centre (but Boss, I do miss Burning Man).

     

How did you keep in shape during the tour? Did you follow any special diet or exercise regimen?

 

I like to run, very fast, all around the venue during sound-check. The band think I'm checking the sound in different parts of the room, but actually I'm trying to escape from the little demon behind me.

     

What do you find to be the toughest part of touring?

 

Losing the demon.

     
Can you share a favorite memory of the U.S. tour?
 

I could, but it would be telling on someone…  Well, OK… here's one...

Actually no… because as I try and think of one a million pile in. Argggh!

Please feel free to ask me for one should we bump into each other at a show and I'm not moving fast glancing behind me.

     
How many fines did you accumulate and what were your DA road infractions?
 

Very few actually - I think maybe one squeal FOH during a show and a couple of missed "mutes". (Mute: silencing a particular instrument as it is being plugged in / unplugged which can cause a loud "thump and/or crack" over the PA.)  But then Bobby's my mate and he now lives in Austin and depends on me for friends and places to go!

     
To what other RT projects or tours have you contributed?  

I have been RT's FOH engineer and tour manager beginning with the 1982 Shoot Out The Lights tour. This was my first ever tour in the USA (I was still living in London at the time) and also my first tour as a Tour Manager.  Hmmmmmmmm…... 'Twas a very interesting ride that one…

After that I was out on all band tours and a year after The Big Band shows, I found myself traveling with Richard in all configurations; solo, duo, band. I missed a few tours / shows here and there due to scheduling issues (once with a band I was part of and a couple of times were due to being married / working with Shawn Colvin).

I am honoured to have been RT's co-producer / mix engineer for Front Parlour Ballads, Sweet Warrior and now Dream Attic. Also several live projects including both versions of 1000 Years of Popular Music.  I also tend to end up mixing all RT's projects that he records in his home studio - how fortunate am I??
     
 

More About Simon Tassano

     
Please summarize your background. Where do you call 'home'?  

Born in London, brought up around Guildford (30 miles SW of London) moved back to London, moved to NY (when I married Shawn Colvin), then LA and have been residing in Austin, TX for the last 17 years or so.

     
How did you become interested in music?  

Played along with "Top Of The Pops" using pots and pans and wooden spoons when about 7 years old, played in bands when at school, ran a disco with my friend, then started working for a small documentary film company in London as a assistant cameraman / audio recordist.  We had a tiny studio back at the office where the sound tracks for the docs were written and recorded.  I became really interested in that aspect and off I ran with it. I helped design and build various studios in London and finally left the studio world to mix live sound with a 10 piece political jazz rock outfit called Red Brass.  Then I fell into doing both live and studio work, and then I met RT.

     
Are you self-taught or formally trained?  

Self, on the whole.

     
Do you compose your own music?  

Yes - I like the ambient groove kinda thing.  I self-released a CD back in 2003 (I think it was?) - "Tropic of Texas".  I've been collaborating with a woman in Texas, Katherine Tanney, recently. We have a project called "SkRITCH".  We have a couple of singles out on iTunes, CD Baby etc.  (See below for FB link)

     
Are you a songwriter? A vocalist?  

I tend to produce instrumental beds and backing tracks for others' words and performances, but I have written a few.  I have worked for years with a fine didgeridoo player, Stephen Kent.  We have been involved in many projects of the "World" variety plus a lot of modern dance pieces and a (now defunct) band called "Lights In A Fat City" (UK based) and then "Trancemission" (Bay Area, SF).

     

With whom have you recorded/ toured?

 

FAR too many to mention but a HUGE spectrum. For example: Melanie, Rolf Harris, New Zealand Symphony, Lemmy, Ade Edmondson.

     
What is the strangest venue or gig you've ever played?  

With RTB, that car park in Nashville that Bobby mentioned was pretty strange, as was an old bowling ally in the NE of England. But I think a show I did years ago in a northern Finnish forest with Defunkt might have been the strangest gig of my career, for many, many reasons.

     

What is your most memorable musical experience?

 

Again, there are many of these, but one that really stands out is RT joining Beausoleil for their 25th Anniversary show at Jazz Fest in 2001.  Also on stage were Sonny Landreth and Cindy Cashdollar.  RT and I listened from side of stage until it was his time to join them.  We were both gobsmacked by what was going on up there and I recall RT stepping up to the plate and playing some of the most inventive things I had ever heard.  Wish there were a recording of it… ;-) Oh, and "Six Strings at Meltdown" - one of my most memorable music memories!

     
What's the most 'rock star' thing that you've ever done?  

I WISH I could tell you, I really do!

     

If you had to give up music - what would you do to be creative?

 

Something to do with soft furnishings and / or fabrics, I think…

     

What advice do you have for people who want to pursue a musical career?

 

Listen - A LOT - to everything - then get picky!

     
Tell us anything else that you would like people to know about you.  

I cannot bear to eat beets, due to a trauma I once suffered as a spoolboy.

     
What is next for you?  

Finish up the itinerary, pack and fly to London to begin the UK leg of "Dream Attic" tour. Then off on a boat around the Caribbean, something I've NEVER done and I must say I'm looking forward to! I know, I know - it's a tough life but someone has to do it…

Thanks for all these years RT - I still look (listen?) forward to hearing you play EVERY show - and I'm a picky bastard! :-)  You rock!

     
How can fans learn more about you and your music?  

http://www.rumiville.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/SKRITCH/118026797647

     
     
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Meet the
"Dream Attic"
Band & Crew