A conversation with the King Of Heart
(06 Dec 08)
Eric Vandenberg: What are you currently up to ?
Abi von Reininghaus: I am trying to find more time for playing live. Aside from JAZZMACHINE - don't let the name fool you - I have several project bands. We play the songs from King of Heart side to side to my new material. We come up with wonderful spontaneous ideas as we go along. The response is encouraging and my guys insist we do more. Studiowise there is a strong focus on Jazzmachine II which we are producing right now. Parallel to this runs a project with the working title "Audio Morgana". I also sat down and laid out a concept for an acoustic album. I figure if I plan more than just one thing chances are some of it will come to life and be it just coincidently... ;O)
All of this is an evolutionary process that taps into each and every inspiration I ever received - Spanish guitar, steelstring open-tuning, Jazz, you name it...
It is highly satisfying seeing all the music I grew up with falling into one of these projects projects I am involved with right now. There is flamenco, resonator slide, open-tuning steelstring, some bluesharp, all alongside with the electrics.
EV: It´s been a few years that King Of Heart has been released. It seems though as if that record still is rather popular, as I hear quite a few musicians mention it a lot. Are you still getting feedback on it ?
AvR: You are right, I get a lot of feedback on it. Surprisingly over the course of the last six months it is even picking up and I made an effort finding out why that is. Since there is no apparent reason, like a tour, or a new CD or anything like that it may just be the swinging pendulum of time - more songs, more melody, less placent shred.
Here is what s really funny about it: the most radio-unsuited song gets the most airplay. "Don't Wait For Love" is a 7 minute 40 affair and it gets significant airtime in late night shows as well as use in TV productions. I was right to give King Of Heart a sort of a "timeless" feel. It seems to not sound 'old' in a good way.
EV: Any plans for new recordings in the near future ?
AvR: Aside from what I mentioned above I would love to do a keyboard/guitar album, preferrably with B3 organ. I am writing songs for it right now and I hope that time will allow me to realize it.
Q: You´re the guitarist for the german band Jazzmachine now. What made you decide to take that job ? What is the challenge about it ?
AvR: I have always had the greatest repect and deepest appreciation for strong gutsy jazz. Montgomery, McLaughlin, Benson, Martino, Metheny - their sounds have alwas driven me. When I was first approached by Stefan Zaradic to get Jazzmachine on track I had almost forgotten how great a part of my musical development Jazz had been. (Despite all bad jokes I keep making about poor jazz...) The recordings for "Radio" were spanning almost 2 years and I grew deeper into it with every session we did. I added equipment that went a totally different direction. Gibson L-5 Wes Montgomery, Ibanez GB-5, original '65 Blackface Twin, speakercabs with Naylor 50 speakers, ... Very much old-school-jazz, as you may notice.
Now is a similar process of change. I sell some of the obsolete gear and steer into acoustic instruments.
EV: How important do you consider a website for the promotion of a musician these days ?
AvR: Vital! I know the difficulties as musicians tend to be more audio oriented and less interested in the visual aspect. But audio and visual is inseperable these days. So we better accept it and act accordingly.
EV: Do you try to stay up-to-date with the instrumental guitar scene ? Any new players you really like a lot ?
AvR: This may not be a name anybody waited for but John Mayer has been a major surprise. Check his live DVD and CD "Any Given Thursday! Barely ever have I heard a player with better time and tone. This goes for is acoustic as well as his electric playing. On top of that you get a funny guy with some pretty astonishing thoughts and comments about the world.
EV: What are you listening to a lot these days?
AvR: Vincente Amigo, Gerardo Nuñez, old Santana, Greg Howe, Richie Kotzen, Audioslave...