VeniceQueen.it

RHCP Italian Community since 2004

20 February 2011
I Red Hot con Jack Sherman alla chitarra

Interview in English

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Hi Jack! it’s been long time. What are you doing these years? Did you collaborate in any other albums from 2000 onwards? (‘cause there is a lack of info about your musical news)

JACK SHERMAN

«I had a band with Gary Mallaber (drums) and Maria Sebastian (vocals) called In From The Cold from the Mid-90’s to about 2001. Maria was in Buffalo, N.Y. It was slow going and we did a few gigs and recorded a bunch of original material. I have been in Savannah, Ga. since 2003. I have done a little bit of recording here and play whenever I can locally. I did an independent record with a young man named Luke Mitchell called High Expectations

VENICEQUEEN.IT

When did you start to play music and why?

JACK SHERMAN

«I was born in 1956. I have a sister about 7 years older than me. Like so many others I witnessed The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show 47 years ago. So, in a sense I am a child of that culture.
A close friend had a guitar and we would try to sing Bob Dylan songs when we were very small. But, I did not play yet. I played Violin quickly changing to viola in 3rd grade but I quit. Probably, because I was being teased. I wanted to play it like a guitar anyway. When I was 14 my father bought me a cheap acoustic. I was very afraid of my father and I think because he said “If I buy you a guitar you probably won’t even play it” that on one hand I had his permission and on the other I wanted to prove him wrong. Anyway, I started playing in 1970 and never stopped.»

Jack Sherman negli Anni '80
VENICEQUEEN.IT

Tell us some artist/band or cd that you listen on this period.

JACK SHERMAN

«I listen to and love so many groups. But, mostly older stuff. For new stuff I like Coldplay very much. They seem to have a deep feeling in what they do. Older stuff is lots of Blues and groups ranging from The Beatles, Stones, Hendrix. To Mountain, Grand Funk, Wishbone Ash. I love all the Santana music with Michael Shrieve on drums.»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Who or what was your main source of inspiration on other form of art? (something about your favourite books, picture, cinema) …

JACK SHERMAN

«Good question! I have been going to the movies since my very earliest memories. And, still do. I saw Spartacus when I was 4 years old!! I love movies like The Guns Of Navarone. All the Godfather movies … on and on and on … I LOVE CINEMA. For books, when I was small I read all the James Bond books because of the movies and how cool all that was. I mostly read biographies and usually music related. Like right now, I am reading Bill Bruford‘s book and recommend it.»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

What about your Guitar Gear evolution during the last 3 decades? Have you changed any setting? (Guitar, amps, pedals and other things) and what guitar did you use the most on 80’s?

JACK SHERMAN

«Live in RHCP I had a Randall RG-80 amplifier. 2 Schecter Custom Telecasters. A Rat pedal I bought from Flea (still have it ) a TS-9 Ibanez Tube Screamer and a CS -9 Ibanez Chorus. That was the live rig. In the studio for the album, I also used a Les Paul Custom from the Seventies and a 61neck/’70body Fender Strat. There was a good sounding Marshall 50watt 2/12 in the studio that I used a bunch, too. Today I have a Top Hat Vanderbilt 33 amp, 1961 Fender Brown Deluxe, 1968 Fender Princeton Reverb, 1959 Ampeg Jet, 1959 Fender Tweed Champ and a 1965 Ampeg Reverberocket. All kept with as original parts and tubes as possible.
Guitar wise I have many. I would describe them as mostly recent Vintage Replicas types. If you look at my Photos on FB you can see some. I have a guitar made by Roger Giffin I named Ginger T. It’s wonderful. I also, have a few nice acoustic guitars. I generally go for a fairly clean sound. I have various pedals, often custom made for adding boost, or distortion … occasionally, I’ll bring different pedals for fun … but usually only 2 or 3.»

Una recente foto di Jack Sherman
VENICEQUEEN.IT

On which tracks do you play in R&B Skeletons In The Closet? And tell us how this featuring with George Clinton started.

JACK SHERMAN

«I play on the track Cool Joe! I am playing the same Schecter Tele I used with RHCP. I think it had Seymour Duncan stacked single coils at the time. I played through an MXR Dyna Comp compressor and went direct into the board. The engineer shaped the sound from there. George sat right next to me and made little comments while I played like «ring, choke, hard» and «let’s take it to the stage».. He knew I would know what he meant and if you listen very carefully to my part you can hear little pushes and pulls in the rhythm.
Back when the Chili Peppers and I were at the CMJ convention in NYC in 1984 we ended up in an MTV interview room with many stars such as Lou Reed and George. I was sitting right next to George in this tiny room. I was already a huge fan for about the last 8 years leading up to this moment. I whispered March To The Witches Castle in his ear. He turned his head toward me and said “wow, I haven’t thought about that song in a long time”. I introduced him to my manager sitting behind me Lindy Goetz and apparently Lindy had done promotion for George a ways back and the sort of knew each other.
Anyway, when I was let go from the band and RHCP was about to go and work with George on Freaky Styley I made the other members lots of cassettes of P-FUNK music as I thought they should be familiar with his music.
Later, in ’85 Flea called and invited me down to a gig an hour south of LA. George sat in with the band at this club and I met George afterwards again. He said … “I know all about them tapes you made for the guys and all about you and …. I thank you and the FUNK thanks you for what you did”. MEANING = turning them onto him and the music. At least it was a JOB for him then, producing them and he seemed really grateful to me. I was thrilled to say the least.
My wife is a really great cook so I the next day I called Lindy to see if he knew where George was staying and I got the phone number for the Park Sunset Hotel and Thai Restaurant. I picked George and his wife at the time Stephanie in Hollywood and drove back to my house in Santa Monica where we had a nice breakfast. Later on he insisted on carrying my guitar to the studio and we went and cut a song called Hooray For Our Team at Baby-0 studios. He called a few more times and we did some recording and some hanging out. One session he left Billy Bass and I alone and he and I worked on 2 of Billy’s tracks. Really, really great and amazing times for me back then.»

George Clinton
VENICEQUEEN.IT

The same two questions about your work on Bob Dylan‘s album Knocked Out Loaded.

JACK SHERMAN

«I play on They Killed Him. A song written by Kris Kristofferson and previously recorded by Johnny Cash. It was all live except Bob did his vocals and the other vocals later on. I played a Takamine acoustic direct tuned to open G tuning. Most of the day the stuff we played was just kind of jamming. When we cut that track I had a feeling it was special but would not know that it had gotten on the record until the record came out later on. I wish it had been an original song .. but hey, I am on a Bob Dylan album. Not too bad, right? Ha ha. I had played the previous year for Bob along with Barry Goldberg and drummer Jim Keltner … Bob seemed impressed with my playing and asked for my phone #. At that session, we tried recording a bunch of different stuff. Especially, this Allen Toussaint song called Freedom For The Stallion. We even did a little bit of In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. Pretty wild.»

Copertina di Knocked Out Loaded di Bob Dylan
VENICEQUEEN.IT

What’s your opinion about the Peter Case‘s The Man With the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar? I think it’s an underrated cd by and underrated classic-songwriter, and you are there in one song if I not mistaken?

JACK SHERMAN

«I am on Put Down The Gun, Two Angels and I play a pretty good solo live on the track This Town’s A Riot!
On Put Down The Gun I overdubbed at a later date some subtle but very important crunchy rhythm guitar that they seemed to be having a very hard time getting and had many players in to try.
Two Angels was live on the basic track. I played my G&L Interceptor on that. Yes, Peter is very talented and that is a very classy and high quality record.»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Do you still play or listen your old stuff? Maybe for your kids or friends?

JACK SHERMAN

«Sometimes! My son loves the Chili Peppers (and not because I used to be in the band). However, the other day he was playing the 1st Album (the one I am on) and I thought “hey, that’s cool … and that it sounded pretty good!”.
I do loads and loads of guitars on a barely known album called Soundtrack Of My Life by Kimm Rogers. I think it’s my best work in the studio. Great musicians and songs and also produced by Steven Soles who produced Peter Case‘s record you mentioned.
I also played on Notes From The Lost Civilization by TONIO K and also on OLE by him. T Bone Burnett either producing or executive producing. On OLE Booker T. plays organ on a song I co-wrote with Tonio called Maybe There Isn’t

VENICEQUEEN.IT

What’s your favourite The Red Hot Chili Peppers album track? Which Peppers’ song did you enjoy most playing? (also feel free to introduce some anecdote by that songs, if you want).

JACK SHERMAN

«Well, Mommy Where’s Daddy really has a lot of things that are special about it. Flea, Cliff and I put the music together fairly easily and quickly at rehearsal. It was a bit more funky and groovy than some of the other material which tended more towards intense punk and hard rock. Then when we went to demo it was the first time I heard the lyric/vocal. I was blown away and told Anthony how great I thought it was. A little bit creepy lyrically but not over the top. Flea used to sing the little girl part and that was really funny. But, when we recorded it they had Gwen Dickey who is famous for Car Wash by Rose Royce sing those parts. I, also like Green Heaven because it is mostly live in the studio. To be clear, that solo was recorded live on the basic track.
Back to Mommy the intro and the outro solos came out of nowhere in rehearsal. Andy Gill, said (after I had just played that intro without thinking about it) “What Did You Just Do, Can You Do It Again?”. I did and I have no idea where that came from. So, I did it again at the end. Ha ha. I am proud of that part. I really like getting all kinds of different sounds and playing different styles and I got to do that quite a bit on the record. Grandpappy Du Plenty was fun making all those strange sounds. And Dave Jerden told me (the next day) after we had recorded Baby Appeal that he could not get the guitar sound out of his head. I have a lot of respect for Dave and took that as a high compliment.»

Copertina
VENICEQUEEN.IT

Lately RHCP have changed their music, playing something closer to soft rock (I don’t know if you have listen Stadium Arcadium, for example). With more acoustic guitars and overdubs, do you like this style better than the punk rock stuff by the early demos (pre debut)? ‘Cause we know all the conflict between you and Gill vs Flea and Kiedis about the songwriting on that period.

JACK SHERMAN

«Well, you know what you have read, ha ha! I tried to bring in colors and flavours that they now use all the time back then and was shouted down violently. Still, the fast punkish stuff was fun, too. But, yes we have all their records and although I don’t listen all the time to them I do like the softer stuff. I have always liked ‘pretty music’. For instance, I think that early Black Sabbath is very, very pretty sounding. I like to hear a deep, ancient feeling in music … not just ‘head banging’. For many years I preferred Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks to his earlier stuff from the Sixties. I probably still do although I am open to all of it now.»

Andy Gill, produttore dell'album di debutto dei RHCP
VENICEQUEEN.IT

Are you still in touch with Flea, Anthony and Cliff?

JACK SHERMAN

«Cliff is one of my very closest friends even though we are thousands of miles apart now. Because I moved away in 2003 to come here to Savannah. I hope to see him in a few months should he come for a visit.
The other guys I ran into occasionally here and there in LA back when I lived there. But, no they don’t get in touch these days.»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Can you describe your feeling about True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes video in a few words? And what did you remember about that experience?

JACK SHERMAN

«It was fun. It was my idea to have the film reverse so that we would go back in the ground at the end, ha ha. Mostly, one very long day .. being creative. Having all that glow paint on was awful.
The ‘guitar’ I am ‘playing’ was just some string less prop. I figured “If we are faking along with the record why not use a fake guitar” …. ha ha. I have no idea what it was doing there.»

La chitarra di Jack Sherman nel video di True Men Don't Kill Coyotes
VENICEQUEEN.IT

What was your BEST gig experience? Or share with us one of the more magical thing happened!

JACK SHERMAN

«Well, I will assume you mean with the Red Hot’s?»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Yes.

JACK SHERMAN

«When we were on tour, Purple Rain was out in the movie theaters and there was so much excitement about PRINCE. It was a tiny bit like The Beatles. He was just so good and interesting. Anyway, Prince used the local club 1st Avenue in Minneapolis for the film. We ended up playing there on our tour and it was a great place, great audience and my good friend Phil Solem who plays with The Rembrandts came to the show. So, that was very nice. Being in the Chili Peppers was more about survival as they were hostile towards me a lot of the time. So, there wasn’t much room for magic. Although, who knows and it’s hard to remember but there must have been some at least good musical moments. There is a bunch of stuff from Columbus, Ohio (Cliff‘s dad was there and it’s Cliff’s hometown ) on YouTube. I was surprised how good we sounded.»

VENICEQUEEN.IT

Is there anything you wanna say to the Italian fans and VeniceQueen.it readers?

JACK SHERMAN

«Well, I hope when people listen to my playing that they enjoy it … that it is something they can learn and be inspired from if they are musicians. Or even if they are not players.
I like to think of myself as a person who ‘plays for the song’. I like the social aspect of making music. I think the bands that have been REAL BANDS have lasted the longest. And of course, to thank them for listening to and appreciating the music.»