Sometimes, it’s best to simply take a more casual and on the go approach to things. A previous writer for Blood or Love conducted an interview with Simon a few years ago which I feel is mostly formal, thus, more concise in professional areas. It does not reflect in full what I have had the chance to observe on Facebook since then. In that light, much to Simon’s patience, I decided to give a spin at it in my own style. Hopefully, you, the readers, will have a more comprehensive look at the founder of Up Recording Studio and musician known as Simon Tuozzoli at the end of this read.
Hows it goin?
Good. Gonna buy a flute.
Oh yeah? I've never played one. Ian Anderson is the bomb though. I was always a string instrument guy, never got into the lung instruments.
It is great. I played cheap ones as a kid.
I've always liked the sound.
What do you like about string instruments?
I'm not sure, I've never thought about it. I just wanted to play the violin when it was offered in 4th grade. Maybe I knew it was the gateway to a guitar or bass subconsciously. Might be the visual tie in though. Notes are lined up. I think on wind instruments, it's more of a puzzle.
Aha. I am partial to playing bass myself. Don't think I can fully master guitar.
It's a little more complicated. It takes time when you are doing other things. I made the switch about 14 years ago, but just playing in the studio. I've only played about 3 or 4 gigs on the guitar. The bass is a different story, that's my main instrument.
When did you first pick that up?
The bass? I was 17. Late bloomer. Might have been 16, going on 17. I joined a band and borrowed a bass. The violin basics let me pick it up pretty quickly. My ear was also in good shape as well. That might have been innate.
Classically trained or self-taught in violin?
I played in my elementary school. Had lessons once a week and a few concerts during the year. Some of the other students took private lessons as well, but I didn't. I'm not sure we could have afforded it if I asked.
Fair enough. No flutes here. My mother likes this ukelele.
That's a cool instrument. My dog has fleas.
Those damned fleas. Hard to get rid of. I just want an instrument that I can master on the road. What was your first band experience like outside of school?
I understand that. I had a road gig for a while and I bought a Danelectro semi hollow guitar. It weighed like 3 pounds. Easy to carry around. I would bust it out in hotel rooms on down time and write material.
Ohhhh. Good idea.
Yeah, it didn't need an amp. These days though, you probably could use your phone as an amp. Ridiculous.
Vox has a portable headphone amp. Which I have. Just no room for a guitar.
Not even a kids size guitar? Or the shorty. [Laughter]
[laughter] Fun. What was your first band experience like outside of school?
Full gigging band?
In general and full gig.
Junior year in High School, I joined a band called Solitary Confinement. It was mostly original, sort of classic rock vibe. I've always leaned toward original only or mostly in every band I've been involved with.We had fun until we started trying to improve. Sometimes it's better to follow good chemistry and let the band tighten up slowly. Especially when you are that young. Good rapport is important when working creatively. Is that sentence grammatically correct?
I had to let my grammar coach go. This economy blows.
Ha. It looks fine to me, but I am no expert. Also true on communication. Off topic, but interested in knowing: what kind of cuisine is your favorite?
It's a tie between Curry and Sushi.
You like spicey foods?
Yes, indeed. Hot sauce on my breakfast.
Oh yes. Me too. So what projects do you have in the works now?
Well. I've been working on a new King of Salem EP, but that's being held up a bit, because my drummer is the busiest man in the business. We started out many years ago and all of his other projects were all over. Now his other projects are in state and he has a hard time finding time.
Phil (From Vestal Claret) and I are currently working on a 4 song recording of covers, half of which is done. This project is entitled Bestial Clitoris. Phil is the King of Shock. After we are done with the 4 covers, we are going to do a full length of originals under this project. This recording will be done on 4 track cassette. Why not? B.C. has a punk vibe and I am already riffing out for that full length.
I also played bass on a Murder Castle record that is done and on the shelf. It's an independent release. I play drums in a rock and roll band locally, for exercise. It helps with cardio and with being a better recording engineer and producer. Besides all this I have to keep busy finding bands to work with in the studio. Got to keep the doors open and the bills paid.
Drummers are in high demand everywhere. Hardest musician to find. I understand about the money situation. Speaking of which, how did UP start?
Indeed. A lot of folks cheat these days when it comes to drummers. Makes me a curmudgeon.
UP started because I wanted to start recording. I've always 4 tracked myself and bands, and I thought it would be cool to expand past 4 tracks. I got two 8 track machines and went on myspace and checked out hundreds of local bands. I messaged a bunch asking them to come in for a free demo (3 songs I think) and some responded and I was off.
I have made a lot of mistakes and errors. I had a trial by fire. But I carved a niche for myself here. The people who come in appreciate the real sounds. I get compliments on my drum sounds constantly. That's because they are drums played by people. You might think you need to quantize your performances. You might think you need to replace or augment your drums with samples or prerecorded tracks. But when it comes down to it, our innate appreciation of natural sounds overrides that. You'll get tired listening to perfection. Same goes for airbrushing cleavage on women. Please. The truth is very important to me.
Very nice comparison.
The way I come off on the subject may make it seem like I'm completely against the process of fixing things with recording software. I'm ok with other people doing it. I just don't want to do it myself in my studio.
Matter of pride.
I'd say somewhere between principle and being lazy. I originally wanted to print "Fix Your Own Mistakes" on the back of the UP Recording Studio tee-shirt. [Laughter]
A member of my family told me that was rude and I couldn't put that there. Someday though, I'll make a few.
I would make it. Screw it. What is your prefered style of music when playing? Also, what are you earliest memories with music? I find that a lot of people have stories of parents and family exposing them to music from a young age.
My preferred style is anything that is raw and has an edge. I would be in a country band if it had balls.
Ever check out Those Poor Bastards? It is recommended after that comment.
My earliest memory of music was playing my mom's records by my lonesome. She had a copy of Nilsson's "The Point", which I still enjoy very much to this day.
No, I'll definitely check them out.
[A few minutes pass...]Oh yeah, these guys are dirty.
My mother opened the gate for me too. And yeah! I love them. Satan Is Watching You is my favorite album and shirt.
I can definitely see that on a shirt being a daily uniform.
I have an ad in my facebook sidebar.. Bryan Adams has a new album. Produced by Jeff Lynne.. I wonder if it cuts like a knife.
So glad I nixed out those ads. Speaking of which, what upcoming releases are you looking forward to?
Oh, I never pay attention. I usually just hear about something like you just told me. I live in a world where if someone doesn't hit me with a record, I'd never know.
I also like to keep my listening to a minimum to create musical boredom. Out of musical boredom comes music that I have created.
I usually pay much more attention to movies.
Reminds me of something similar Pete Steele said in an interview. He said he never listens to music when in the process of creating.
It can sway you a bit. Some people like that. They rehash old ideas and it works for them. Which is fine, that's how the blues got rolling. That's just how I like to work. And it saves me some money.
I do the same with writing. I do not read books or anything when creating.
For true introspective creation, you need a blank slate.
Tabla Solo! Hossam Ramzy. Any foreign music influences in your life?
Does Opera count? & Classical?
Yeah. Definitely does.
Other than that, I don't really delve into popular modern foreign music. I have listened to a few different artists here or there. I expose myself to classical and opera when I can. It helps with my musical thinking and harmonies. I also like folk music from around the globe. It's a shame I don't understand the words, but it's still pretty cool. My favorite holiday record is Folkjul - A Swedish Folk Christmas, it's awesome (to me).
Nice! I will check it out. As a closing statement, what is your most memorable moment in playing live music?
I remember once I was right about to play with my band SPANK, and one of our friends told us that we sucked and we were a joke. Then we walked right up on stage and we kicked so much arse that girls were throwing panties at me. [Laughter]
Ha! Nice. Thanks for the interview.
It was great talking with you. I must leave now and fetch my offspring.
Likewise! Enjoy the day. And the offspring.