Ted Russell Kamp [Interview]

 

Hello Folks! And welcome back to another beautiful Wednesday here at Trainwreck’d Society. While I am usually always so excited to share interviews with you fine folks, today I am particularly excited for a somewhat singular reason. Not only is our guest today and amazing and talented human being, but we have a musician back in the house, Folks! It’s the wonderful Grammy award winning musician Ted Russell Kamp, Everyone! For those not in the know, TWS was essentially just a music blog. That was where I laid my original roots and will always be proud of the fact. But, the main reason I started this site was to move into other categories. Now here we are, close to 700 interviews later, and musicians just don’t show up as much as they used to. I guess we are starting to change that, right now!

Ted Russell Kamp is a long time bass player, songwriter, guitarist, just about everything you could imagine. Regular readers of the site will remember that Ted appeared on our 2020 year end lists for both a song as well as his amazing album, Down in the Den, which landed at #40, as well as our favorite track from the album “Home Sweet Hollywood” landing at #45 on our Top 100 Songs list. And Folks, while it is very early on, it is damn near safe to say that we will be seeing more from Mr. Kamp at the end of 2021. Our man has a new record coming out on May 7th that I was fortunate enough to get an early listening to and, Folks, he’s only getting better. Being his 13th album is proof that Ted is in no way aging out and continues to put out fresh shit on an extremely fast pace.

So Folks, be on the lookout for his album, Solitaire, available everywhere on May 7th (we will be talking about the album more in the future, I guarantee it), and please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Ted Russell Kamp!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of music? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

I started playing trumpet in the 4th grade in the school band. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and at the time it was New York state law that every student had to join the choir or start and instrument. At the time I was deathly afraid of singing, so I started with an instrument. My dad actually played in some big bands when he was in college so I asked him if I could just use his old trumpet. And that’s still the trumpet I play on a lot of my recordings.

When I got to High School, I got a bass guitar and started playing in rock bands and the high school jazz band. I was hooked for life.

What was your first paid gig in the world of music? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still impacts your work to date?

I had been playing bass for a year or two, so I must have been a Sophomore or Junior in High School. A Senior bass player who I really looked up to, asked if I would sub for him and play a gig with a band he worked with. They were mostly guys in college and they had a small-town festival in a field a few towns over from where I lived. They were a New Wave band and I remember learning Duran Duran, the Cure and Howard Jones covers. I had heard some of that music but was not a fan. I was a classic rock guy and mostly avoided music with too many synths. I really did my homework but was so nervous I could barely deal with it. They were older than me, cooler than me and I think I got paid $25 or $50. It was a huge deal and it was the first time I played in a band with people I didn’t know.

Back when you were able to tour the land doing shows all over the place, what were some of the more off the path types of cities and venues that you performed in that most people may not realize are wonderful towns for live music?

I love traveling and trying to get to know the people and heart of every city I go to. Some of my favorites are the small cities you don’t hear about until you get to them. Tuscaloosa Alabama is great. Norco California. Amal Sweden is another. Nokia, Finland. Some of the best gigs are when you go to a small town or city where they don’t get much live music so your arrival is a big deal you become the big show in town. You really feel the heart of the people and the deep appreciation that you don’t often get in big cities.

You have a new album coming out in May that is already shaping up to be one of my favorites of 2021. I’ve enjoyed your work for years, but Solitaire feels special for some reason. Can you tell us how this record came to light? What made you want to put these tales out into the world?

Solitaire is my 13th record as an artist and front man. I played and recorded it by myself, almost entirely in my home studio, The Den, during the last half of 2020 in the COVID quarantine. This is record deals with the isolation me and many of us have felt this last year so there are more than a few sadder and more introspective acoustic songs on it. Overall, I’m an optimistic type of person so I also wanted to have some songs of hope and inspiration on the record because we are all trying to find ways to stay sane and pull through. I have definitely had ballads on my records before but this album as a whole shows a moodier and more introspective side to my writing and playing. It’s as much of a classic folk and singer songwriter record as I have ever made and it really shows my folk influences like early Dylan, Guy Clark and Nick Drake.

 

 

One track from Solitaire that has really hit me hard on a very personal level is “Birds That Sing at Dawn”. For reasons that I don’t really care to get into, this one hits me, Man. I’m curious to know what it is like to deal with this scenario. When people personalize your already very personal lyrics to themselves, how does that make you feel? Is it a good thing in your opinion? Why or why not?

I wrote this one with Brad Raisin, who is an artist i have played bass on a bunch of his records over the years. He actually loved my record Flying Solo and started to learn one of the songs on that album so he could start playing it. It’s “The Way Love Burns”. So, his messing around with that evolved into this song. Then he sent me a recording and i tweaked it a little more to get it to what you hear on this version. I love this one. A relationship has fallen apart and the narrator is left reliving the memories and trying to start again. He’s up all night thinking and drinking and wondering what’s next. That’s someplace we have all been.

I’m honored that you relate to it and that this song stands out to you. One of the things I try to do with certain songs is to give a lot of detail and feeling but keep it vague enough that listeners can see themselves in a song. We’ve all had lonely times like that and worried about what we did wrong and missed a better time. I hope this one helps you through those memories.

You received a well-deserved Grammy last year for working with the legendary Tanya Tucker on her wonderful album, While I’m Living’. We always like to ask our statue holding friends this one question: Where do you physically keep your Grammy? And does its location have any sort of symbolic significance?

That was a truly amazing and inspiring record to be a part of. Not just working with Tanya Tucker, who is a legend, but also being in the room with Brandi Carlile, Shooter and the rest of the team. It felt magical from beginning to end.

I didn’t know this, but when it’s an artist and not a band, not everyone gets an actual Grammy statue. I believe the producers, engineers and artists get a statue. The musicians get a pretty awesome commemorative certificate. My wife framed it for me as a gift and it’s hanging in our living room.

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

This record comes out on May 7. I won’t be doing any touring of course but I’m excited to get this music out into the world.

As of now I am booking a tour in Europe for February of 2022 and then I hope to do some traveling and playing with Shooter Jennings next year as well on my own.

I also have a few records that I will be producing and we are figuring out the best way to start them while in quarantine.

Aside from that, I just hope to keep making music for a living whether that’s playing live or in the studio.

And you know I’m going to keep writing songs and putting out records.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My wife is a high school teacher and is just starting her own podcast about education and critical thinking. It’s called Think or Thwim and the first episode just got put on Spotify a few weeks ago so she is really excited about it. I have been working in the studio recording and editing her first few shows and I even wrote a theme song for it. We laugh a lot while we are working together. Since our professional lives are usually completely different, it’s great that I can use my musical and studio skills to help her.

 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: