Kenny Schick - 10 Questions Music Interview
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I have been in bands all my life, starting at the age of 13 when my dad came home after a poker game with an electric guitar. I knew music was going to be my life at that point, but it wasn’t until 1984 when I joined the post punk band Dot 3 that I started co-writing and writing original music. The band founders, Mark Renner and Mike Freitas, were key in showing me how to make original music—music that reflected my aesthetic and opinions.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Being called out on stage with my sax at a jazz festival to trade 4’s with Bobby McFerrin was a trip—it was super fun to have him just sing back to me what I’d just played and then develop it into a crazy conversational improv. A few years later, playing a sold out show with Fishbone and Red Hot Chili Peppers, the members of Fishbone came out during our last song, picked me up and tried to toss me into the audience, as it was my 21st birthday.
What has been the high point of your music path?
There are multiple high points, in different areas of the music world: as a performer, it was being in a successful band that got to open shows frequently for bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Firehose, and Fishbone. Becoming a producer and running my own business with my wife has been the other high point. It is fantastic to use decades of experience to help others create music they love without all the stumbling blocks I had to experience, and it also gives me new ideas for my own music as well.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Performing in many genres, with many different bands has given a number of ways to approach writing. Because I was an instrumentalist first, and because I played several instruments from sax/woodwinds to guitar, bass, vocals and percussion, there are times I write with a genre or style in mind, and in those cases, sometimes I start with the music and textures first.
Having moved later to a singer songwriter approach, and working with a lot of singer songwriters from a production standpoint, I also write from a words/melody first approach sometimes, like a more traditional song writing approach. I like having a number of ways to approach writing, because if one way isn’t yielding inspiration, I can try one of the other approaches. It can come from a feel I want to portray, or it can come from words I want to say.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
I’m sure many artists will answer that a big challenge is making money from music in the days of streaming services. Couple that with COVID 19 where live performances have pretty much ceased to exist, and you have a real challenge when it comes to making a living. That’s part of what my song ’The Ghost Of Nashville’ is about. Here in Music City, where so many rely on touring and performance to make money, this time in history is an incredible hardship. I am luckier than most in that I have been making my money from music production for well over a decade now, so I don’t rely on song writing to make a living.
If I could change something, it would be for some sort of new consciousness to take hold: a mindset that if we want to keep something as important as music in our lives, we have to make sure to figure out a way for artists to be able to keep solvent. It is very hard for artists to be business people as well as artists—in fact, sometimes, those things are almost polar opposite ways of thinking, so it would be nice if those in the industry who are good at business—like Spotify, Amazon, Apple, etc—looked out for the content makers so that music, the thing that so many people rely on to make it through their days, can keep being made, and that those that do it well can make a living focusing on creativity—what they do best.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I think at this point, opening for someone like Jason Isbell or Gillian Welch doing my solo thing would be the most fitting and exciting thing for me at this moment in time.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Since I’ve done ’the solo thing’ for quite awhile now, rehearsals are much more subdued than used to be in the crazy punk and ska years…lol. My bandmates can be really annoying, or downright boring…lol. I prepare for live shows, though I do them infrequently these days, by sitting on our back porch practicing my songs and making sure I remember how they go!
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I’m just about to release a 7 1/2 minute song that sounds like it should have been written by Tool or something… it was challenging in getting all the parts to string together, and being a different style than I might normally work in, I had to channel creativity from a little different place. At this point, I’m writing in any style I’m in the mood to write in, and as a lot of my songs are written without any constraints of a need to perform them live, the challenge is getting into the space of whatever style I decide the next song will be in.
What's coming up in the future?
I have a funk song that is very horn driven coming up, followed by the release of the tool-like song, and I will be balancing those releases with a bunch of production work I’m doing for other artists….my ‘day job’ if you want to call it that. Lucky to have a ‘day job’ in the music industry so that I can always continue to create, whether it be for me of for others.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Stream on Spotify
About Kenny Schick
Kenny Schick might get labeled a singer/songwriter simply because he plays solo, his weathered acoustic guitar supporting his lilting tenor vocal, but Schick has a loyal following because those who experience his shows find a lot more ‘under the hood’ than just another guy with a guitar could ever provide. Schick’s audiences feel this passion – the experience of decades of performance in every imaginable genre and the observations of one who takes the sometimes tumultuous road less traveled. At Kenny’s shows, there is laughter, tears, musical craftsmanship, and thought provoking lyricism. The shows take listeners on a journey and includes them, with much banter back and forth.
For more information on Kenny Schick, please visit his website.
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