Tim May Breaks Down His Most Iconic Guitar Parts | vertexeffects.com

Tim May Breaks Down His Most Iconic Guitar Parts


Today we're sitting down with Tim May: the go-to Guitarist for Lionel Richie and session guitarist to the stars. Tim's career spans over multiple decades, genres, and media forms, having played on hit records by Lionel Richie, Blondie, The Pointer Sisters (to name a few), as well as huge movies like Back to the Future and American Gigolo. Join us as we take a walk through memory lane, asking Tim about his biggest guitar parts and his experience working with some of the industries biggest stars.
Tim May Breaks Down His Most Iconic Guitar Parts
Paul Rivera Stage IV Amplifier: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/StageIV--rivera-stage-4-1-by-12-inch-tube-combo-amp
Table of Contents
00:00 Recording "Deep River Woman" by Lionel Richie
07:38 Tim's Role in the song "Hello" by Lionel Richie
12:35 Playing Guitar on "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie
18:17 Tim's Experience Being Lionel Richie's Go-To Guitarist
21:49 Tim Recalls the "Back to the Future" Movie Sessions
29:00 Tim's Experience Recording "Suspicions" by Eddie Rabbit
37:50 The Story Behind Tim's 1961 ES-335
39:35 Working with Herb Alpert on "Rise"
47:11 Tim's work with the Pointer Sisters
49:37 Tim Plays "Slowhand" by Pointer Sisters
51:43 Tim's work on "He's So Shy" by Pointer Sisters
55:25 Tim Plays his part from "Call Me" by Blondie
01:02:01 Tim Comments on Photos from his Career
01:06:44 Thanks for Watching!
Recording "Deep River Woman" by Lionel Richie
Tim May in Deep River woman that is a classic intro so good to have you here today and uh talking about your amazing
career with not only the great Lionel Richie but we're going to go through a lot of your career some of the hit songs
that you played on that we've heard on the radio that maybe was uh even you
know scored some people's weddings their first dance song In some cases there's just so many amazing songs that you've
been on I'm just I'm just uh so grateful to have you here at igloo in Burbank and just uh taking us through Memory Lane
with some of these amazing songs so uh let's talk about Deep River woman since
we started there and get into maybe some of the details that you can walk us through about gear the sessions and so
forth absolutely right this was the guitar that was used this was it the valley arts and so you said that they
you did 50 different variations of that intro well the when we did the date there was nothing written and you know
that we had cor chord changes for the tune and you know hey play a little
intro or something you know so I probably played a you know just off the top of my head cuz you know I okay I you
know didn't have too much time to put thought into which is sometimes good you know spontaneity but uh yeah played a
few different ones and that seemed to be the one that made the record for some reason I mean you were kind of the guy
for Lionel Richie for his string of like just huge records for pretty much spanning a decade uh and I always just
loved that sound I I always assumed it was some sort of Strat I had no idea that it was a valley Arts although I guess it should have made sense given
the time every session guy uh of of a certain level especially that of yours
was using Valley Arts yeah Mike was making guitars for everybody what was like what was the story behind this
particular guitar this was used on other ly Richie sessions I presume as well oh yeah this was used on this was my main
Strat for all that era you know and we'll get more into those particular songs but just tell us about this guitar just so we kind of know well Mike
McGuire at Valley Arts back in the day when they were on Ventura Boulevard uh put this together for me he was making
them and this is number 25 wow that he's made says on the back there and uh I
just said Mike go you know he made uh his his things that he wanted and he put
a very hard maple neck nice ebony fingerboard and it's Rosewood like we're talking about yeah Rosewood body yeah
which makes it heavy but you know it's it's manageable and it's just a turned out to be a great guitar it's I have a
theory about guitars that you get all the best ingredients you can think of and put them together but if they don't
really work together it doesn't work and you can get some marginal inexpensive
guitars that just sink together all the the neck and the body the woods and the whole thing I might be all wrong about
that but it seems like that's how they interact you know I mean you're you're taking dissimilar species of woods that
come from potentially different continents and you're gluing them together and it's it can be like swinging at a Pata you know yeah that's
right well that's one of the reasons why especially it's apparent with acoustic guitars it seems you'd play five of the
same exact guitar and they're going to be five different guitars absolutely similarities but you know that's that's
the nature of the yeah Mike made this did you have a lot of influence over like what he put like did you say I want emgs I want a mid boost I want the eony
board and the Rosewood body and the the bird's eye Maple neck or was you know I think I left a lot of that to him we he
kind of knew what I wanted I didn't want anything unusual and it was pretty much a common thing the mid-range boost um we
probably spoke about that yeah cuz that's good just to get a little more hitting the amp a little harder and that thing um especially with a you know just
aing single coil so that beefs that up um then of course the Floyd was a big
thing when the first the very first guitars that he made um they didn't have
the tuning key like the little micro tuners and it was oh it was brutal cuz
you get the guitar nice and tuned and you crank these up and then it twists everything so these go flat this goes
sharp and and then you got to really compensate when I'm tuning this train cuz I know I'm going to tune this you know it was a real challenge then this
came in shortly after and saved all that yeah yeah well everybody seemed to use these and it it seems like all when we
were talking with Paul Jackson and he has a Rosewood Strat really heavy one from
Valley Arts it seemed like people weren't afraid of the heavy strats back in the 80s no no I didn't even think
about it to be honest with you I mean it was just the weight didn't even occur to me so much but I knew it wasn't going to
be ridiculous it turns out to be a real hit maker after all it was a great guitar yeah it is a great guitar I should say yeah so this was the guitar
that was used on Deep River woman what about for do you remember anything about what you used for that you know I've had
so many well you know half a dozen different rigs I think at that time
there's a good chance I was using a couple Fender the the newer ones that they made in that with the blackface um
Deluxe and a Vibrolux I think and and they made Paul Rivera probably moded them up a little bit for me and uh and
my gosh I can't remember I think the pedal board I had was one of the first ones Paul Rivera made for me which
had a Mutron Phaser kind of built along the side of the chair and and I had all
my foot stuff here and then the base and it was a cool little board with all the buffers and stuff like that yeah yeah he
was the The Godfather of the pedal board at that time yeah but it was that I probably had the original Chorus' the
Roland CE-1 yeah yeah and uh you suspect that was what was on that intro
originally for the deeper woman most likely yeah but I CE1 I can't be sure but
I'm pretty sure that's that's probably what it would have been yeah yeah it's I mean that that clean tone on there is is
always amazing and it sounds you super stratty beautiful cleans and then all of the all of like the fills that you do in
it are also just like really gorgeous the tone works really good with the track and with Lionel's piano and stuff
and he was playing the piano on it yeah yeah that's him he played it and the good thing about um recording with Lio
is he would most often almost always sing the song while we were tracking really at least in the beginning maybe
not every single time but for the most part and that boy that was the whole thing cuz so many times you go in and do a record and you don't really have an
idea what you're backing up yeah you know well we're going to put the vocal on later and you know it it works you
deal with it and but it's there's nothing like hearing the real vocal so you get a complete thing of of what
you're accompanying you know and was he in the room with you was that done live or what he a lot of those we did at yeah that was we did it&m I think it was
um uh let's see maybe Paul L may have been on drums
uh who would have been on I forgot who else was on the session actually but yeah we did did him live and Li would be
there playing singing with us yeah I don't I'm not sure if he kept his what he performed at you know he just played
roads or sometimes piano but yeah we did him live so he was a legit musician I mean he could really play oh yeah he was
good you know yeah he he was a legit musician a learned musician but he had the intuitive part too you could learn
all you want but if you don't have that yeah musical Instinct it doesn't mean much I had no idea I had no idea I kind
of just mean so many guys in that era were just kind of like the voice but everything was written for them of course that wasn't the case for L Richie
that's right I want to go now to another huge song that we all know uh the song Hello and uh can you tell us anything
Tim's Role in the song "Hello" by Lionel Richie
about what what happened on that session that song well that was um pretty
straight ahead uh typical Lionel Richie session which was very well run and but
Lionel made everybody very comfort able very professional you know but he was the coolest is the coolest but it was it
was nice and it was I remember I played acoustic guitar my Martin d18 on that it's about a '61 D18 cuz you're doing
those like really nice arpegios and yeah and just just some uh that kind of just finger picking
things like that and uh yeah it was I remember we we played it several times
and it's the trick not the trick but the thing with because Lionel always played piano when he played and the thing that
I always try to do is play stuff that complemented his piano playing and and fit you know the right way and a lot of
it is well like like playing on anybody else's material it's not about man what
a great guitar player what a hot you know it's about supporting the song so you know sometimes the the best thing
that you could do for the song is not the most fiery Rippy kind of Guitar Hero thing you but that was hello it was a
very nice thing the whole key with that was just playing in time and locking in the yeah with I think Paul lion was
playing drums yeah and uh yeah it was it was a nice date and did you play the solo on that as well that was Louie
Shelton that was Louie Shelton overdubed that yeah um it sounded great too were you there when he did the solo no no no I
wasn't that was one of the overdubs no I wasn't there um nice track though no
question about it do you remember anything about like uh like when when you with your Martin do you remember
anything about like did you have like a mic compliment that you would often use when you were doing this sort of stuff as far as like getting the the right
acoustic tone for that well you know I always would would go to the date and and do everything I could with whatever
the best guitar that I thought was appropriate and then I let the engineer do his thing okay and unless there was
something I objected to I always deferred to how he wanted to mic it and and then if you know we could discuss
whatever tweaks we may want to make but I kind of deferred to the engineer and you know and a lot it's it's funny a lot
of times they would come and you know some three or four different mics all over there bobbing their head all over
the place and St like that but then other guys just put one mic and into the best mic and whatever was appropriate
for the guitar and just dial it in the right way and it's perfect do you remember where that was recorded yeah I
think that was at A&M Studios okay and was there like a a a big chart for that or was it kind of just like a chord
chart most of linos things were strictly chord symbols you know bar bar chart
with the the changes written out and then maybe some little uh little particular thing might if something
go some thing Ensemble where everybody kind of plays a little uh part of the
bar or into an ex section or something yeah those may be written out but it's pretty much chord symbols that one was deeper for woman okay yeah no I'm saying
like I could hear right away like it's like an iconic like walk up right right right you got a lot of those in that
song yeah that's right yeah uh I love that one uh so on on hello he was he had
his court charts and would you did he tell you like I want this trumed I want this P I want arpegios here did would
that be all up to you Lionel was was smart and and great that way because he would
pretty much let everybody he hired the players for their expertise yeah and the first you know I'm not going to hire a plumber and then tell them what to do
you know he let everybody do and then he would s you the producer James Carmichael and different people would
maybe suggest you know and tweak as as we the takes were going on and playing but he he led a lot of freedom with L
which was nice you know yeah um like I said he that's that's smart too because
you hire the best players to and let him do it the proof is in the pudding I mean like so many of those are there just
hugely successful records and it was like okay yeah yeah yeah uh Tim would
you be willing to play any kind of I know it's you're not playing a d18 but would you kind of be willing to play
maybe some of like the little parts that you developed or any of the our pegios for hello yeah you know
like it seems like it was that kind of a thing yeah you know and then and then it got into some strumming a little bit of light strumming and maybe like a little
in the chord it sounds like there's kind of like more of a strummy
like I do remember it was pretty gentle everything was even even well it got a little more intense with the Rhythm
thing but it was a pretty quiet yeah and were you using a pick or your fingers for that fingers and pick so that was
Playing Guitar on "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie
hello but I also want to go to another song on the same same record and do the song All Night Long mhm now this kind of
had like almost like a like kind of like a an afro Caribbean sort of like sound
to it what was the story with with that song in that session well
um liono didn't set it up anyway you know we just said let's start playing and right away we felt the vibe of what
it was um and that was a good one cuz it it was a long intro and a long very
extended performance the whole song uh that was we just started playing it you
know and again like all the stuff we Everybody Plays it the first time you play the song and you kind of Psy out
what's happening and then refine parts and kind of get an idea of where you're going to do what and so forth and that's
what happened and we just ended up playing it that way and do you think the intent was always for it to kind of have like it has like kind of like all these
like conas and like kind stuff like that and you know the was there like an intent to go or like do you know
anything about sort of the like what was the the reason for that song was just to kind of make something that had that
Vibe or I think so yeah I don't know much of the backstory about it um uh but
he definitely he he went into a dialogue coach to get the uh syllables right that he was saying so yeah um yeah I don't
know too much other than that and so what was like the what was that session like did he have you know standard
charts was he playing the the piano or he he always play and and again it was chord symbols chord charts and I
remember uh in the beginning I do some volume
thing here there was it was a very ethereal kind of the being with the little conas and different things and I
think I was doing some of the some of those kind
of yeah in the context of the you know the whole Space thing and then it started into the
groove uh and and I remember let's see that was in 8
flat I I think I I think the first guitar in the rhythmic entrance it was
like that kind of thing kind of a muted thing like that
and then uh then there was one section
uh uh uh the a I guess it would be the a section when I remember I had the chorus going and I for I just came up with some
doing something like just a a pad kind of [Music]
thing then it went to the all night long yeah you know and that was like just using the thumb cuz you can't really
soften it up with a pick as well right so it's [Music]
just yeah it was like that and so there's like the break that goes all night long and then and then do you remember the guitar almost sound like it
was kind of doing like a like like single note kind of like rhythm guitar stuff in there yeah yeah let
see I think I was getting a little loose with some of those kind of things but again not making a point of drawing
attention to it as much as making it an element of the track you know yeah it's
it's it's it's such a like a master class and like just beautiful Rhythm play cuz even in the even in that part
where like the intro you're doing the swells there's also like a thing that I could hear where it's almost like you're doing like a minor n hammer on it kind
of like comes in and out what's that one of those kind of yeah
yeah right right I do remember that now it's a minute ago um yeah I make you recall something that's like you know 40
years old almost you know this case and so I'm sorry but I'm not sorry cuz I just love hearing these stories about no
it's cool yeah it's it's fun so and that was also this guitar that was this guitar yeah this I used this electric on
the whole record I don't think I used my 335 on any of that stuff and was it also
likely the same Rivera amps that you that would have been the same era um setup that I was using were you
typically running both the amps at the same time was it stereo was it really how would run out of U uh either the
board or I may have at that time had a small rack that I had built and I would just run left and right out of that into
the two amps and dial them in that way did you ever have producers or anybody like be irritated with the stereo setup
or were they always accommodating no um but I would always accommodate if they say well we don't
want to go stereo yeah okay you know I'm I'm I'm hired out you know and I'll do you know the best I can do
but it's their gig and so you know I wouldn't say no no we have to do this you know I would I would kind of try to
push ideas that I had to a certain extent but again you know I would defer to the people that want to do it and do
you think that that was also the the boss ce1 The Big Box chorus on that yeah
it would have been that and uh the Rivera amson maybe just that do you think any compression on any of that
stuff probably not okay you know I I I tend to think that it I wasn't using the
compressor a lot in those days okay you know it's funny often times I I'll use some compression and and it it's good
and then I'll dial it in and yeah that's good and then I and then it sounds best when it's not in the C so it's okay yeah
sometimes that happens but you know it's appropriate when it is yeah all right so that was three huge lion Richie hits and
Tim's Experience Being Lionel Richie's Go-To Guitarist
and again I I just can't appreciate you enough Tim for the the beautiful work
that you did there I'm just uh I I'm so in awe of the tones the just the
tasteful guitar playing that's on all that all the beautiful fills and again I I think other than you and Carlos Rios
there was really nobody that they were calling to do those records and so there must have just been something incredibly
special about what you brought to the table for Lio where it's just like session after session after session
album after album he's still calling on the great Tim May to to play the the guitar thank you I'd like to think so
but you know maybe I was available what do you think you know like just to finish on on L Richie what
do you think was like The X Factor that he really saw and what it is that you
brought to the table that kept on having him call you back boy you know what I don't know you know it's hope you know
hopefully he just thought I did a good job and and did what he needed and that's that's the bottom line that's the
best thing I mean I don't think there's no other reason to have a player there or not you know
um yeah it just worked it worked nice you know um obviously I'm not the only guy that
could have played the session there was you know a lot of great players but it just it was a nice thing we all got
along real good too and I got you know the rest of the guys in the band and I always played together for years so yeah
it was just a nice uh comfortable feeling you know I was glad to be there with the with that kind of quality of
playing and production and and it must have felt so cool when you heard those records on the radio and you're like I F
that part that's it was kind of fun when I first started hearing things on the radio I wow that's pretty neat yeah cuz
I always thought some was just what kind of led me into the studio guitar scene is it always intrigued me about an
anonymity of players that wow there's a guy sitting at the bus stop and he played this you know I know it just kind
of cool I like the the lowprofile thing about it and my other favorite thing about playing sessions was that we'd
work on a tune uh you know maybe 10 minutes maybe maybe 3 hours maybe a few different sessions but then when you you
got it done it's like okay don't ever play that anymore yeah you know I love the next to go on and play the same
stuff over again is not my favorite idea you know well we never thought you'd be sitting here and having to replay this
stuff 40 years later that's right I would have written it down but and the last thing and I I'm sorry
to keep buggy about Lionel Richie it's just it's very exciting to me because I I really love these songs like did you
have a sense that these were going to be huge hits when you were playing them and was there already sort of like uh like
when you're hearing it come together like oh yeah this is going to be you know big or was there not that Vibe at
the time you know I think anytime we did any record or any kind of thing we'd hoped it would be a big hit but it
wasn't a priority I never thought about too much of it I think cuz you know when you went into a session the whole Focus
was to do what you need to do now and everything else was kind of peripheral didn't really I didn't think about well
this will be that or if I do this that'll happen you know you have to focus on so there was no like pressure
on you to like we need a manufacturer hit in you know well there's always that implied you know no anybody goes into a
project they go well we want this to be big you know and there's you know then there's also every musician has the
personal pride of you want to go in there and you want to play good even if it never sees the light of day yeah it's
just a musician thing yeah I hear that well speaking of things that did see the
Tim Recalls the "Back to the Future" Movie Sessions
light of day uh this is one of the coolest stories I think about about your guitar work uh is the movie Back to the
Future obviously was a huge hit 1985 and there were some amazing music
on there uh huie Lewis had a big hit that was on the soundtrack for that this is in the days where soundtracks
mattered right right but one of the most important scenes in the entire movie is
at the end when Michael J. Fox Marty McFly has a uh was it an ES355 that ES345
playing the red one and he's playing the song Johnny B. Goode to this group of of
high school students at like a prom or something like that right that that that sort of is is is a decade later than
what you know the music is that they had available to them at the time and it turns out it's not Michael J fox that
was playing that it was actually you playing Johnny Be Good yeah it was me and on this very guitar this was the
guitar and the reason I chose this guitar because I had my choice of my Les Paul or my 335 is the direction I was
given was okay we want to go in this performance uh from Chuck Berry 50s style to the
current which was like Van Halen and that sort of thing and all we want to Encompass the guitar history of the
guitar from there to there okay so you know we just played a few takes and uh I
just did whatever I did and it seemed to work but I chose this because I had the I was doing the hammer on and the yeah
cuz you you do like almost like an erupt type like tapping thing at the end yeah and I needed the the the uh Floyd for
that Floyd Rose and it worked out good it was you know it it covered all the bases for me do you remember how you
were pitched the idea of doing this well we were on the date and I think we did another couple uh couple tunes that they
they used in that scene that particular scene maybe Night Train I think we played and some other Tunes you know
Chuck DMonaco was playing and um maybe Mike Lang may have been playing piano I forgot who else was playing but
we did a few tunes and and then they they were more like standards or well I think I think we did oh um Earth Angel
was one of them remember he played that yeah cuz it sort of like music that was that was supposed to be concurrent uh for for for the time of of when this
this school dance was taking place in that scene that's right and they were playing I think that was what the scene we were working on primarily that day
and then they said okay this is this one and we got to do uh there was a funny story about that though because we we
played the the track and and all that stuff and and you know I did whatever I did and you know that and then uh you
know went home and and my wife said oh there's you got a call from a new guitar player uh in town who would like to you
know see see you a session go on a session with you and yeah sure so you know I looked at my book and I said oh
here's another Back to the Future date coming up that should be guitar heavy again this will be a good one for him to watch Mark Carter was his name he a good
guitar player lives in Orange County I think anyway so he showed up at the session it was a group four Studios and
I remember it was just me overdubbing I I didn't know what it was going to be I walked in and it was just me and the guitar set up and he's sitting there all
excited and uh they okay Tim here's what we need to do do you remember the scene in the movie where he plugged in that
amplifier and he had the guitar and you hear the thing and he plays that big Power that was the scene they were
working on so so so they're going okay now first thing you need to do is take
out your guitar chord and go with the with the thing okay cuz they they were
making all the ambience that [Music] where okay just noise at The Amp now
bang the Reverb you know so it's like those kind of and it just all ambient sounds and this guy Marcus sitting
going big time studio stuff he's going what am I doing and we we I know him we
joked about that since then but uh that was that Scene It was kind of I'm well you know there's usually much more we have to do and you have to actually play
he's like I'm going home but anyway that was kind of interesting and and was it the was it the music or
or the uh the movie studio that contacted you to say like hey we need a guitar player that can that can not only
do like these Jazz standards but can also do oh know Van Halen stuff or like
cuz usually there wouldn't be much crossover the guy that's going to be playing Earth Angel is not usually the guy that's going to be tapping right
that's right well no I mean we were we were contracted there was uh alen sylvestri was doing the music for that and we had worked already several
sessions on the rest of the the score and this was another thing so it was the
contractor I believe it was Sandy De Cresent called and said hey we're doing another date and you know she just you
know the guys were called that that do that you know and most of the players were you know all the players were versatile enough to do whatever they
needed it wasn't like yeah you know they didn't specifically pinpoint a guitar style that they needed yeah they just
needed a guitar player they could do whatever they needed so so that's how I was you know um that's how that worked I
just you were the guy and and uh so this was the guitar this was it and what was the amp cuz obviously you needed
something that had a little gain those I think those must have been if I cuz I remember pounded on them that was uh
that was the fender the blackf 80s vintage uh the okay okay and these are the
Rivera arrow ones no this was a little after that but Paul I'm sure did some tweaking on those ERS but they were the fender uh I think it was called a Viber
luux okay and a deluxe I had two of them and those are probably the same amster they were just kind of contemporary for
that time for the mid 80s Fender made a run of those amps with blackace around that early ' 80s yeah they had like
concerts that's right I think one of them was a concert coming through yeah yeah very cool well uh would you mind
playing a little bit of kind of what you did on Johnny B. Good yeahe I'll try all right
yeah something like that that's incredible that's it's such a it's such a great and memorable song like that scene is you know it's sort of the you
know just like the crescendo of everything that's going on as as a as a kid watching the back the future series
like you know being a fan of guitar it's like that's the best scene in in the whole thing and I abolutely no idea I
was you know just like okay Michael J. Fox so multi-talented this is sort of perfect timing because we did break a
string but we got the the take and uh I think that what I want to do is move to
not only a different guitar be because we were going to need a different guitar but also because for the next couple of
sessions I want to talk to you about are all based in the semih hollow body 335
right and uh so let's change guitars and give a little suspense to our audience
to see what those songs might be okay all right Tim so we've changed guitars
Tim's Experience Recording "Suspicions" by Eddie Rabbitt
We now have your beautiful 1961 ES335 electric Spanish electric Spanish
as as as uh many of us know uh and we're going to go into your beautiful guitar
work with Eddie Rabbitt now this is something that actually I had learned
about a couple years ago that just showed up to me uh in a Spotify playlist and I thought oh this is like a really
cool kind of viby like sound that this guy has like it's it's got some really cool grooves I had no idea who he was or
that he was even a thing back in the the late 70s and early 80s but he had some great songs one of which was the song
suspicions yeah that you played on loved it yeah and uh this was the guitar that was used yep and do you have a sense of
what was uh like the the other gear components of it it's kind of got this really nice like viby clean tone really
cool kind of like drum drum sound really cool kind of bass and yeah um well let's
see I remember I was in the booth and running out that rig may have been at the time I was
using a big Marshall head uh and a little 12-in speaker with that and the
usual array of pedals and stuff this may have been that Marshall head uh was it
like a a JMP or a jcm800 a JMP it it's possibly a JMP I can't
remember what was it 100 or a 50 or do you remember it was 100 it was a big head okay and was it a four input or was
it a two input two input okay if I'm not mistaken yeah okay yeah that those are those are still great amps good amps
yeah and and you can actually get some pretty good kind of glassy clean tones out of them uh you can get a great but
the Marshall's always had a real organic sound to me really natural sound I don't know what how to describe it better than
that but they're oh I got one of those little little tiny m P whatever 15 was m
and the stupid thing sounds really good I mean it just it's just got a good sound yeah you know and and was and that
was that Paul Rivera pedal board that you were using on that one um or was that predated
79 no no that would have been a Paul Rivera pedalboard I'm pretty sure yeah okay and was there it sounded like maybe
there was some chorus and some processing on there what kind of stuff were you using I may have may have used a little bit of chorus there was a lot
of chorus going on in those days um it may have been the Roland yeah yeah I had
another uh couple courses in Iraq I used to use a delay probably not in 79 though
you think you had a rack back then well let's see when did I no maybe not no I'm sorry you're right yeah that was is that
the Year this was yeah 7 I mean the the record came out in 79 but probably you might have recorded it I mean there used
to be more of a gap between like the sessions and the then right um well yeah in that case
it would have been uh well then it wasn't the Marshall probably then it was probably the um oh gosh Fender the Paul
Rivera Princeton maybe oh like so just like like one of the the like either silver face or like the mid6 yeah yeah
and it was just modded with all of his kind of stage mods that he would do Paul put his hands on most of my amps
ironically the the amp that we've been using the whole time today for both the clean and the dirty is the newest Paul
Rivera stage 4 which is basically an incarnation of his modded Fender
platforms with all of the specialty that's uh mods effect Loops push pulls and all that stuff which a great
sounding amp yeah um that's do you remember anything specific about the the
session like how you got the call for it was Eddie there like any of the production uh things I do remember that
date uh it was just me overdubbing I went in overdubbed the track and I don't think Eddie was there if if I remember I
think it was at Westlake Studios maybe the C the small room and
um gosh you know I honestly don't remember who was their must have been the producer yeah um but it was just I
was the only player and it was it was an interesting day because it was you know
I had the freedom to ride away do whatever you know okay what do you think so he started playing some stuff and and
I first I came up with that little uh the muted uh part in
the which you know was pretty subtle little thing but it worked good at the track and that whole little sneaky kind
of vibe that they had and uh and now I did some of the
uh we overed up some of those little lines that that you know became a part through the thing and then with the
chorus the um I I was having I I tried some different thing and again you know
there's 4,000 ways to approach any piece of music so I was I remember I was trying something and that didn't go over
so good and nobody seemed to be happy with what I was trying to do and I tried a few different things things so you
start digging into your bag of tricks and and just you know you don't even I don't even put too much thought into I
guess I do to an extent but it's like you want to what naturally feels good because if you start overanalyzing it
for me it doesn't it takes longer it doesn't doesn't achieve the goal of the
best musical part anyway so we I was fooling around and then I was just about ready to say well I don't know if we need anything there and then I just came
up with that little thing and it just really worked around the lyric and everything
like that I believe the lyric was on there when I did that track yeah how sparse was it when you were playing your
your parts was there drum and bass or yeah I think it was pretty complete with and there's also like a sound like a roads or something like that is also on
there yeah that I'm pretty sure that was all there the base the the it's a great Groove it's a really great great Groove I love the the piece and it was
fun and I was glad I did that little thing and that really became like you know you try this no no no know then
boom yeah and everybody loved it and it's just that's what you want all the time when you go to work do you remember hearing that on the radio for the first
time you're like oh yeah oh sure yeah yeah cuz it I mean you know I feel like maybe we don't hear about it so much now
because it kind of didn't come out during the Spotify like you know kind of releases
but you know so sometimes when you look you know at least when I've looked at sort of like you know the playability of
of a song that's maybe from the' 70s or even the 60s like they don't even compare with stuff the music that's
released now of the numbers because that's not how it was consumed at that time but that was big hit like back at
that time it was big and uh I would I would love to hear we actually have the track for this okay and I would love it
if you would be willing to kind of play through the the different sections of it and your parts I'll do what I can right
let's do yeah that's pretty that amazing amazing yeah the part seem to just work well
with the track and you know again every every musician wants to go on there and okay play something play wow that's the
best thing we ever heard but you know that that took a minute to try different things and get the prod producer to and
the artist and who whomever is making the decisions to to love it you know that's what you always want man it's
it's uh yeah I mean you nailed it masterfully you know it's uh again you
know that's 79 again we're talking well over 40 years here between presumably
the last I mean you never like toured this song or anything like that did I was just about four years old when I did that you know
right and this guitar sounds incredible this is a good one yeah so what's the story with this guitar well this guitar
The Story Behind Tim's 1961 ES-335
I got when I was was living in Cleveland and playing a lot of cover bands and stuff like that and uh I just founded at
a store wanted a 335 couldn't afford the new one this must have been in about
1972 or something like that thank God you didn't get a new one I know and I said
real dogs at that point oh man and it just it lucked out it's one of those really great John Carruthers did a you know put
his hands on it and refined it just got the tuners I think I was had one of the humbuckers replaced because it was
getting a little funky somehow but it's all the PAFs and uh he put new tuners on for me so you have like the Grovers and
then you added the the toggle switch right this is this switch is a pickup splitter and it'll split both pickups at
once and it's just it just can I play it I'll show
yeah that's very and then just takes a little bit of that
Medium low mid out of it and the reason that becomes so useful for me is that
sometimes in the track you know you can sit down and play i' I've done this before you play the guitar that's a great sound sounds good then you put it
in the context of a track and it's just not as perfect as it should be so this is one of those things that just thins
it out just makes it fit in the track I technically I don't know what it does harmonically but it it just makes it fit
in the track better it's a very useful little thing although I put about a $33,000 hole in this guitar right but it
sounds great right well no matter what if you paid you know 150 bucks or bucks for this thing yeah yeah you're
definitely will come out ahead plus I got my I got my money is worth out of the guitar I used it a million times
Working with Herb Alpert on "Rise"
yeah well I want to go to another song that used this guitar okay as we've
already spoken about a little bit offline uh which is the great herb
alpert's song rise rise now the ironic thing about rise is that it's probably
gotten equal if not more play in its sampled version by the the late great
Notorious BIG in the song hypnotized where your guitar part is just looped in
that kind of echoing you I have to say I played all the Rhythm stuff on that that guitar part was played by Chris pinnick
that with ch he he did that down that that Echoplex so he just added that in yeah that was an overdub he put in there
and uh yeah I I wasn't there when he did it but but that was done so all the other guitar parts were you but that
part was not you that's right and it was an echo Flex I I imagine some sort of echo thing he did obviously with you
know with that piece do you remember what year that you it was that you recorded
that well do we know what year it must have been about '79/'80 so around the time of the Eddie
Rabbitt yeah yeah around the same era do we do we have a DAT on '79 yeah that sounds right so I would have been using
the same pedalboard in fact no I specifically remember that that was at A&M Studios we did those okay and I
remember using that cuz I I Ed the octave uh divider then I think maybe the
Mutron and the Bi Phase I had great deep Vibe thing and uh yeah that and the modded
Paul River amp the fender modded and and were you using uh you know obviously he
would mod whatever you brought him but do you remember if it was a Vibrolux or a deluxe or a Princeton I had a Princeton and
a Deluxe okay um did it have those like concentric knobs that you would see on
on some of like the Steve Lukather one had like this kind of funny concentric knob
that almost looked like a like a master combo lock that you'd put on like your high school
locker well yeah it had a little round gray thing it was like a fat switch it
that and I think it had some pushpull things in there too to to get different filters going yeah but Paul boy he he
did it yeah I mean he was he's the guy and and and you know he God bless him he brought us an amp today for us to
use I might walk out with that today yeah it's a great sounding amp don't tell him and uh so on her Obsession you had that
stuff do you remember anything you know remarkable about the session how much of it was written out like what was the
session like uh well that was again it was Abe Laboriel and Mike Lang great
pianist Steve schaer I think and just the four of us on the tracking day and Herb of course uh we no it was the I'm
if I remember right and I'm pretty sure I do it was just chord charts again just you know make up some stuff guys here we
go and uh we just started playing it and then play it again try try this and
everybody's learning their parts and doing different things you know and it was nice there's a lot of just Groove
Vamp stuff yeah I mean it's an incredible groove I mean one of obviously like you know one of the best of all time and I think you know as I
said it's been kept alive through hip hop and and it's and it's sampling uh I
would love to if you're willing to play through some of that I got some of the track yeah yeah yeah and maybe you could
play through some of your parts I hope so yeah I remember I played a couple different kinds of
things oh something like that it's such a great part it's a it's kind of cool so uh what
the I mean the voicings of this are are a little are a little tricky what are what are the the chord voicings that
you're doing on that well I'm just doing the standard uh in in in this it's a just F minor 7th chord and uh I'm but
what I'm doing is I'm doing a little half step little SL then the d d flat major
7 the same thing the only tricky part is getting getting that kind of smooth
that kind of thing that just I don't know something to come up with and so
like that wasn't something that was dictated by her it was just like here's the court chart you're going to embellish it in whatever ways that you
exactly right we just got F minor you and do you remember like was that like a super long session or is it kind of just like like with the whole band just did a
couple of takes or you know boy you know we did it was a whole date I think working on that tune perhaps and you
know we probably went a few hours but I think I think her recorded that tune with a couple few different bands um
some different guys maybe maybe one or two different times anyway and whatever
this is the version he ended up liking with interesting so he kind of pulled a little bit of a Steely Dan where he had like a musical chairs I think he did I
think he did yeah but I remember we worked yeah I don't think herb took his time I think we spent most of the day on
that tune was that all neck pickup or what was that this is actually I'm splitting the pickups I'm using both of
them uh and uh I have them out of the the pickup split so so it's a little
thinner just a little little cutier and do you think that that's likely what you had on the original record I think I did
you know again it's hard to remember but you had that mod done by yeah early on I did the mod pretty early yeah I'm sure I
had that splitter in there okay that's really cool that's awesome well man what a what a cool sound and like you know
the the voicings of those chords is just it's such a perfect fit such a great Groove and you know understandably it's
it's why it was such a huge song when it originally came out and also in its in its sampling nature hopefully uh you
know her was still getting a good paycheck for the sample yeah I
didn't but man like kind of cool that it it it it continues to memorialize
through through just a total different group of fans who probably don't know that that's the origins of it but and
who have thought time when we were doing it you know that that would be the thing yeah I mean you know '79 embryonic stages
of of hip-hop um you know at least in a commercial sense and uh you know how how big it's became as a genre but uh man I
Tim's work with the Pointer Sisters
want to I want to talk about one more group that you worked with that I think
was pivotal in your in your career uh where you might have also used this
guitar uh is with the the the great Pointer Sisters oh yeah and uh they of
course have had an amazing career plenty of hits and uh some of their biggest
records They called none other than the great Tim May to uh put down some guitar
what can you tell me in general just about working with The Pointer Sisters your experience and in in those sessions
oh it was great Richard Perry produced those records okay we did those at Studio 55 and it was it was always nice it was
it was just a fun thing we all of Richard's dates they show up and the first thing we do is order food from nickel's next door and eat and relax and
we play and and uh po I don't think The Pointer Sisters were there when we did most of the
tracks like slow hand for instance uh there was we did the basic tracks and I
did a lot of overdubs on that uh where it was just me in addition to that
um as far as I think it may have been Nathan East playing I'm not sure who else was in that band at the time John
Barnes was doing a lot of playing at that time yeah um I do remember I do remember at the end of a long day at the
end of the night we were all packing up and Nathan was going direct of course with his base and he's he wanted to redo
his part so he was in the middle of the studio and he opened up his four-page part of the you know Master Rhythm and
we were packing up and didn't have to be quiet because he was direct so I was saying goodbye see you guys and I walked
by Nathan East and I just lit his music on fire left side of while he was playing
so he's playing in the he's about a bar and a half before the music is burned and he to tore it up though he did
it didn't matter yeah that was just a little well maybe give him a little extra incentive you know just to don't
mess it up cuz this is it the music has bur that's what I never thought well he I guess at you know Pointer Sisters this
would have been probably in the '80s right the the early part of the 80s for some of these Pointer Sister records
so Nathan would been pretty young he would have been you know probably in his 20s well yeah we were all Young Nathan
was uh he's just a couple years younger than me I okay but uh yeah we were we were young punks all of us so uh I think
Tim Plays "Slowhand" by Pointer Sisters
maybe we we start with uh slow hand and uh and you know obviously a huge hit for
them and there's some really cool guitar stuff I think volume swells too that's right we did a lot l in me begin um so
you're using this guitar still the Rivera rig for that or same rig I would
think yeah same couple yeah this was that same era you have any sense of whether again it was Princeton most
likely or same AMP probably that that concert and the uh the Princeton or
Deluxe okay those two okay and and the Rivera pedalboard and and uh do you
remember what kind of volume pedal you're using like there wasn't so many choices back then there was like the show bud I think it was a showd yeah
that's most likely what I had yeah the biggest volume pedal you've ever seen big yeah yeah then you have to fix that
string every once in a while yeah yeah wow um so would you be willing to maybe
play through some of the your your your parts and and just kind of show us maybe
how how you approached it and how yeah well for the first part that I played U the the basic rhythm part was a lot of
just uh just some little chug on Fifths like pretty fundamental part yeah in the
beginning I remember doing some of the volume pedal things
like some of that kind
of those kind there nothing you
know that kind of thing
yeah pretty simple and it was again it
wasn't a part it was just some feels that we were were overdub so that so that came in afterwards that sort of stuff that was an over so more the the
more like the F stuff and kind of the chugging thing that was kind of more what you would have done during the actual like tracking okay that's right
it was a lot of that yeah there there's such great Parts I I also really want to hear about uh he's so shy right um you
Tim's work on "He's So Shy" by Pointer Sisters
know because it starts you know the guitar sounds like it's kind of varied a
little bit I think the introduction I don't know if it has any guitar or not at least I can't really tell if I can hear it or well what what most of the
part was it was mostly that kind
of back beat kind of thing and then almost like an old school kind of almost like a motat approach to something you
yeah it was just that was I think Richard Perry told me that we did that track with a Rhythm Section and
then he redid some parts and stuff and he said the only part that they kept was that back be part from the original
session which was interesting but uh it was not you know it wasn't such a
ridiculous part but it just fit right with the whole thing and then there was that one part of the tune uh um I forgot
what the key it was in but it was like a it's just a little thing everybody
kind of hit that little there was in the charts was all again chord symbols but there would be little little um items
throughout the piece that might be just a little Everybody Plays Unison it's that kind of thing you know
and then of course there was the old uh that make it through the track that harmonic yeah cuz there's sort of like
it sounds like there's like a synthesizer that's kind of doing like a like an arpegio kind yeah kind of goes ascends
and then descends a little bit uh and then it sounds like the guitar might like almost uh doubles that in a way I
don't know if that if that if you remember it that way it's kind of buried in there so I don't know if I'm hearing things oh you know what yeah come of
thing I do remember um
there's a little Unison that's right you know what I I forgot about that they did write some little again like I'm saying little Snippets where everybody was
playing the Unison part that sort of thing and yeah that was with the uh the clavinet I think was playing whatever
that was at the time um but yeah it was it was they built the
track you know that way but it was it was a it's a good song you know yeah it's an amazing song and it's it's
sparse but the the rhythm guitar part is is important for kind of again like the glue that holds the song together yeah
it was one of those classic Back Beat Parts you know do you do you remember where that one was recorded Studio 55
okay so both of them per okay yeah that was his room okay uh yeah and and as you
said The Pointer Sisters were not there for any of those recordings you know um I think they were there some of the time
actually now I'm thinking about it uh not all the time they would maybe sing with some of the tracks with us and live
yeah yeah uh they were there part of the time not all the time and did they have a lot of input as far as like guitar
parts or were you mostly just no not so they might say they might um come up
with a suggestion for any of the the players probably through Richard saying know she Ruth (Pointer) or June (Pointer) or something might
say Richard I need something here to do it and Richard might okay piano player do this or it would be kind of through
them the pointers and the sisters bar they came up to me and you know or anybody said were they musicians or were
they just primarily they were well you know I'm I'm assuming I don't really know I never never really got to know
much about their musical if they play that way but they sure saying right and oh yeah undoubtedly I think I'm I would
guess that they're very schooled okay yeah I mean it's a it's a it's a classic
classic song I mean both of those are just incredible hits and yeah they were good songs among many that they continue
to have whether you know it was you know pre those records or after they had a lot of great hits but
Tim Plays his part from "Call Me" by Blondie
I'm one song that's coming to mind that we haven't talked about yet and I think would be an interesting one to finish on
would be from American Gigolo which was the Blondie hit call me right right and
uh you know it's an interesting one because uh you know I'd looked extensively through your catalog and you
as we know credits on discogs and all credits are they're kind of all over the place and uh and it they don't I I
couldn't find any credit on a guitar player and so I'm so glad that you had said to me I played this part because
it's like it's actually like a pretty cool guitar rhythm part yeah it's kind of neat and of course the song was
hugely successful for blonde I mean arguably one of her biggest hits yeah and I think everybody has heard this
song at one point whether it's you know used in a in a you know popular music or a popular movie that other than American
jigo had showed up on other stuff as well outsid