1) Tell us about your musical background?
I was the ringleader of 1980s indie heroes The Long Ryders. We were second only to the Replacements in the USA as Hip Indie Band of the time and second only to the Smiths in Europe for the same time, same thing. We were part of a movement in the USA called the Paisley Underground which was a major deal in L.A. thirty years ago. It was quite a scene, equal to Liverpool in 1963 or NYC in 1977.
2) What are you working on now?
I play bluegrass with a British band here in London called the Coal Porters and I play solo singer-songwriter gigs. The Coal Porters have five albums out and all of my music, solo or band, is on Spotify and iTunes should someone want to check me out. The Coal Porters play mainly in the UK and North America but we play a few festivals in Europe every summer.
I also do solo gigs all around the world. I have played everywhere from Hollywood to Hong Kong, San Francisco to Syracuse to Sydney to Stoke-On-Trent as a solo act and am doing that most of this month.
3) What is the role of education in music?
Without music there would not be enough Art to separate us from the beasts! I am heartsick our schools, both in my native USA and in my adopted English hometown of London, do not have nearly enough emphasis (or budget!) to give music a greater role in the classroom and in the upbringing of our children, who are after all not only the next generation of musicians but the next generation of leaders.
Listening to music is part of daily life for almost everyone on Earth but I feel playing music, any music at all, classical or folk or whatever, is crucial to learning how to work and adapt to others. And how to work with and adapt to your own strengths and weaknesses. It is not only how a person learns who they are and what they can do it is how a person learns who others are and how important they are to him or her through the music they make together as part of an ensemble.
4) How do you feel about the current ‘state of the music industry’?
Right now the music industry is coming to grips with the digital age. We are still seeing the transition from a generation, like previous generations, who expected a hard copy such as an LP or a CD and a generation which will hardly own any hard copies at all. My daughter is fifteen and plays guitar, piano and violin. She has about fifteen CDs, no vinyl and tons of things on her MP3 player. My son is five and he will own no hard copies of music unless I leave him my hefty collection of vinyl and CDs in my will!
And yes, I think musicians deserve to be paid for their music! It breaks my heart people think because something is digitally available it is free. My bands and I deserve to be paid for our labours and so does your band!
5) Why do use Pickboy guitar picks?
I used the Pickboy 1.00 hard pick. It never leaves your hand due to perspiration, it is balanced perfectly and the THWACK it makes against the string itself never dominates the sound. The pick is part of the sound and the music and helping you control it by the way you hold the pick, by the tightness of your grip and so forth, and the Pickboys I use stay in my hand every time. Like a loyal St. Bernard these picks do exactly as they are told! They are the best by far in my mind’s eye and I can hear this.
Learn more about Sid Giffin on Sid’s artist page.